if you missed it, the cards won 6-3 last night after a long rain delay -- indeed, spent longer delayin' (2:52) than playin' (2:43). edmonds launched a couple of doubles, giving him 4 extra-base hits in his last 12 at-bats -- after having swatted only 8 in his previous 141 at-bats. jim's OPS stands at an even .800, the first time it has reached that threshold since april 3 -- the 1st game of the season. maybe there's life in that old boy's bat yet.
i hark back to that 1st game for another reason: with half the season in the books, i thought i'd revisit my Opening Day musings and see if 81 games' worth of baseball have changed the outlook. the game-thread post from that day contained an assortment (not quite random) of observations about the journey ahead. stuff like this:
later in the same post, i listed three statistics i would be watching in 2006. how do those look?
jason marquis' walk rate. "i'm gonna set the cutoff point at about 2.5 walks per 9: if he's walking guys more often than that, i'll expect the same old inconsistency." jason walked 3.3 guys per 9 innings in the 1st half, his highest walk rate as a cardinal.
mark mulder's strikeout rate."if he can sustain a rate of 5.5. k/9 or above this season, then mulder might finally be the ace the cards hoped he would be when they acquired him." his k/9 is 4.87, the same number he posted in 2006, but that's not relevant at this point; mulder's health trumps any other indicator we might use to assess his performance.
- the cardinals' double-play rate. "the cardinal pitching staff's extreme groundball emphasis hasn't changed, but the keystone combination has -- and the instability at 2b could prove costly. as long as the dp rate is at least 1.0 per game, i'll feel pretty good about it." the cards turned 78 dps in the first half, on pace for 156 -- a 40 dp dropoff from 2005, but still a good total. no worries.
here's how the schedule looked from opening-day:
"it's tailor-made for a fast start." check.
- "their toughest stretch begins on june 20, when they face the defending champs for 3 at comiskey, then play detroit on the road and come home to take on the indians. after a 3-game breather vs the royals, they head back out on the road to close the first half in atlanta at houston." yup, that was a tough stretch. . . . . . didn't even get the breather vs the royals.
only one of those three teams has to get hot to put the cards in deep trouble.
in a post right before spring training began, i played around with the cards' PECOTA projections and surmised that the cardinals might score in the neighborhood of 793 runs in 2006, while allowing 712; at those totals, we would expect a 90-72 won-loss record. tho many of the assumptions underpinning that bit of guesswork have proven completely inaccurate, the overall conclusion doesn't look so terrible; the cardinals' 1st-half totals project out to 812 runs scored, 782 allowed, an expected record of 84-78 . . . . . and i was worried about a total of 712?
at this point, 90-72 looks like a very realistic and worthy target for st louis.
speaking of projections, some of you recall (and/or took part in) a series of community forecasts in january and february -- a sort of "wisdom of the crowd" exercise to predict the 2006 statistics of certain stl players. i guess some crowds are wiser than others . . . . we did pretty well soothsaying en'cion, not so well with the rest of these guys. but we were no less accurate than the "expert" forecasters like ron shandler and bill james. take a look, the forecasts are kind of amusing:
finally, it might be amusing to read this preseason conversation among four know-it-alls about the nat'l league central. i had the reds finishing dead last with a 67-95 record . . . . .
tomorrow, a look forward from midseason.