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hallelujah --- the cards are out of the cellar in nl runs scored. they passed the nationals yesterday to slip into 15th place. the astros lie dead ahead, 9 runs distant; pass them, and the cards can shed the ignominy of having the weakest offense in the weakest division in baseball. another cause for rejoicing: yesterday's output nudged the cards' scoring average past four runs a game for the first time all year.

small triumphs . . . . they may have to suffice this year, so we may as well celebrate 'em.

on the flip side, st louis is now tied for dead last in national league team era, at 4.77. they occupied the bottom by themselves for a day or two, but yesterday the phillies got bombarded for 17 runs at the hands of stl's next opponent, the (gulp) royals, to sink to the cardinals' level. couple of interesting things to note about that, however. first, the cards are much closer to league-average than to league-worst in the component stats (batting avg, on-base, and slugging):

avg obp slg era
league avg .260 .329 .409 4.14
cardinals .269 (11th) .334 (10th) .426 (13th) 4.77 (16th)
league worst .280 (pgh) .355 (fla) .464 (phi) 4.77 (phi/stl)

we can chalk those anomalies up to reyes' and wells' terrible numbers with men on base --- if the cards simply do a better job of stranding runners henceforth (and they ought to improve just by random chance), they'll see that era come down quickly. here's another interesting item: against national league teams only, the cardinal pitchers aren't half-bad:

era avg obp slg w-l
cards vs nl 4.31 .254 .311 .375 26-28
nl avg 4.14 .260 .329 .409 27-27
cards vs al 9.17 .363 .418 .553 1-5

the fact that the cards actually salvaged a game against the angels is in itself a rare achievement: it was their first regular-season win in two years (less two days) against an american league team with a winning record. that last happened in this game, one of the more memorable ones of a memorable year. just another reminder of how unexpected, how downright bizarre, the cardinals' world series victory was last october.

against teams that currently have winning records, the cardinals are now 4-16 in 2007; they're 23-17 against everybody else. against the nl central, st louis in 19-14, a .576 clip. the cardinals play 44 of their final 66 games inside the division, and 27 of their final 33 --- and carpenter will be back by then. just gotta stay close . . . .

items:

  • since he injured his knee during the last week of may, chris duncan is 2 for 22 with zero walks and 12 strikeouts. one of the hits was a homer . . . .
  • pujols is slugging .886 for the month of june; encarnacion, .818.
  • bernie miklasz did an interesting breakdown of pujols' swing tendencies; i reckon he's using some proprietary data from stats inc, bis, or the like. the upshot: albert has been notably less aggressive than usual on the first pitch this year. something to keep an eye on.
  • 3 of the cardinals' 4 active minor-league affiliates boast a league-leader in home runs. brandon buckman is pacing the midwest league with 14 clouts; allen craig sits atop the florida state league leaderboard with 13 (his teammate mark hamilton is 2d in the league with 12 hr, and tied for the league lead in rbi); and joltin' joe mather leads the texas league with 17 bombs. caveats: first, all these guys are old for their league, dominating weaker competition; second, three of the four are natural first basemen. all four of these guys are good candidates to move up a level just before or after the all-star break, but if they ever help the big-league club at all it's likely to be as trade fodder.
  • here's a bizzarro world interview with ozzie smith . . . .
  • spot reportage of the springfield cardinals at whiteyball and, remotely, the swing of the quads at future redbirds.