it keeps getting 2003er by the day . . . . .
jorge sosa is the 2d pitcher to carry a 3-10 record to st louis (weaver's the other). are the cardinals the first 1st-place team in history to acquire two such pitchers in the same summer? gotta be. the diff'nce between these two guys is that the 1st half of 2006 is anomalous for weaver -- way out of line with his career figures, and off the charts vis-vis his PECOTA projection. sosa's performance, by contrast, is right in line with his career pattern and his PECOTA; his one good season (2005) was the anomaly. his fangraphs chart suggests that sosa got at least a little lucky last season, recording an inordinately low BABIP (.273) and stranding an inordinately high percentage of his baserunners (85 pct); he held batters to a .194 average with runners in scoring position last year, which accounts for that high LOB rate. unfortunately, none of the foregoing represents a replicable skill, so it's no shock that sosa's not replicating any of those figures this year.
i did find one very encouraging thing about sosa while digging around: he can be very hard on right-handed batters. before this season he'd held rhb to a .225 / .302 / .350 line over his career, while getting ripped by lh batters (.284 / .379 / .481). that's a consistent split, maintained through good seasons and bad, with two exceptions: a) he finally kept the damage vs lhb within reason last year, which helps explain the improvement in his overall line; and b) he's not getting right-handers out this year: .277 / .315 / .510. that's the anomaly the cardinals might, with some reason, hope to turn around. sosa's awful hr rate this season is also anomalous, but of major concern nonetheless; the cardinals already have yielded the 6th-most hr in the league.
if it were me, i'dve simply promoted brian falkenborg from triple a; he pitched well in st louis during his brief tenure here in early may, and he's holding pcl hitters to a .224 / .274 / .269 line; only has yielded one HR all season and is getting gobs of a) strikeouts, and b) groundballs. he pitched extremely well in spring training . . . . i dunno why a project like sosa is deemed a better option.
hope he works out.
the post-dispatch headline terms the deal "underwhelming"; lotta comments therein from jocketty about players the cardinals didn't pursue, and did pursue without success.
it's thought that shawn green may still end up here if the dbacks are amenable, and if green waives his no-trade, and if mulder displays enough health and effectiveness in the rehab process to make a starting pitcher expendable . . . . . lotta ifs. the biggest "if" of all is whether green would be worth it; lotta strings come attached, ie a flabby 2007 contract commitment that would impede the (more important) search for new pitchers this coming off-season. there's always the hope that duncan will continue to hit. . . . none of this is of great importance; they can win the division with the offense they have. the rotation is what scares you, and short of landing dontrelle i don't know what the cards could have done about that yesterday.
they're still well positioned to make the playoffs, and if they do they'll show up for their games in october and try to win them. the nl bracket will be a weak one; they might very well tiptoe through. . . . but a world title sure doesn't look very likely, does it.
same as it ever was.