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First Week Recap

Well, the Cards are 4-2 and entering the final day of the first week. Kyle Lohse goes later this afternoon for the sweep and will be opposed by lefty Wandy Rodriguez (more on him in the game thread). There’s a lot to like from the Cards and some areas of concern as well – one being that we’ve played the Pirates and Astros and not the Cubs and Brewers. Still, we’ve got to beat them so…it just doesn’t tell us much about how good we are.

What’s to like:

  • Chris Carpenter – need I say more? 7 IP, 1 hit, 2 walks and 7 strikeouts. If we had ended up losing that game by giving up a grand slam in the 9th inning, I would’ve considered it a victory. A tremendous start for Carp.
  • Joel Pineiro – 6+ innings and just 2 ER. He walked 1 and had 14 ground ball outs. As I said yesterday, there’s little margin for error but as long as he can continue throwing strikes and pounding the bottom of the zone, he’ll be ok.
  • Big Albert – when he hit that slam yesterday into Big Mac land, my jaw flew open and all I could mutter was "Wow! What a homer!" Airplanes don’t move as quickly as that ball flew out of the yard. It was a screamer into the upper deck. I’d have loved to have caught that homer but also been glad to have health insurance when I did – or rather, when it caught me! Otherwise, Albert had a ho-hum first week -- .429 BA, 5 walks, 1 strikeout, 3 homers, 9 RBI, 6 runs scored. He basically stole home Friday night, allowing Yadi an undeserved RBI. He did make an error that led to a run in Carp’s start Thursday. Slacker!
  • Skip Schumaker -- .412 BA and a relatively uneventful week at the keystone – just 1 error. I’ll take uneventful.
  • Ryan Ludwick – 2 bombs following a very slow spring. He’ll be just fine.
  • Chris Duncan appears to be healthy – 5 hits and a homer
  • Joe Thurston has 7 hits
  • Colby Rasmus – 4 BB and 1 K in 20 PAs; .400 OBP in the first week. He, too, is going to be just fine. It still makes no sense that he hasn’t become the defensive replacement for either Duncan or Ankiel, our 2 worst defensive OFs, but hopefully that will come.
  • Kyle McClellan had an uneventful first week. After his spring, I’ll take uneventful. It’s just 2 innings but it certainly could’ve been a lot worse.
There’s also, of course, some things that haven’t been great.
  • Adam Wainwright – 10.1 IP, 8 BB. His inability to find the strike zone led to an early shower yesterday and that could’ve really hurt the team were it not for Pujols being, well, Pujols.
  • Jason Motte – ‘nuff said (though yesterday was a little better).
  • Brad Thompson stinks and Chris Perez is in Memphis.
  • Josh Kinney appears out of sorts – 3 BB in 1.2 IP.
  • Todd Wellemeyer was horrendous Wednesday. It’s just 1 start, though.
  • Rick Ankiel’s struck out 6 times in 23 PAs and hasn’t hit a loud foul yet. He’s only walked twice in those 23 PAs.
  • Khalil Greene – despite how many times we’ll hear Joe Buck or Dan McLaughlin tell us how well he’s performing offensively, just isn’t. He’s 4-21 w/ 1 double. At least he has just 3 Ks. Maybe he’s feeling pressure to perform w/ the move to the new team.
  • The lefty-right splits are a concern. The only reason we appear to be adequate against lefties is b/c we blew Wesley Wright up yesterday. Were it not for that inning, we would’ve been downright feckless against lefties in the first week.
    vs. RHP 118 .353 .424 5 14 13
    vs. LHP 112 .277 .357 2 12 17

    It’s certainly too early to panic over things like Ankiel’s strikeouts, Greene’s inability to swing the bat, or poor platoon splits but they are things to keep our eyes on. This is particularly true for the platoon splits as I think they’re something that might linger. Ryan is a big offensive step backward from Skip at 2B and none of Ankiel, Duncan, or Rasmus are nearly as effective against southpaws as against RHP. Our offense is going to need an effective Joe Mather and a healthy and effective Troy Glaus in order to do consistent damage against lefties. On the other hand, we’ll rarely, if ever, face 4 lefties in one week again.

    The last thing to be concerned about is our impatience at the plate so far. Over the first 6 games, the Cards’ position players have averaged just 3.56 pitches per plate appearance, an average that would make us one of the most impatient teams in baseball if it held for the entire season. Right now, we’re easily the least patient team in the NL. You’ll see below who the biggest culprits are so far.

    PA P P/PA
    Pujols 26 107 4.12
    LaRue 1 4 4.00
    Duncan 22 87 3.95
    Skip 19 72 3.79
    Ludwick 17 64 3.76
    Greene 88 24 3.67
    Ankiel 18 66 3.57
    Freese 13 44 3.38
    Thurston 14 47 3.36
    Yadi 25 83 3.32
    Rasmus 20 64 3.20
    Barden 6 16 2.67
    Ryan 12 32 2.67

    I’ll keep telling myself it’s early but only Pujols, Duncan, Skip, and Ludwick have what can shown above average patience at the plate. The rest of the team has done a poor job making pitchers work, seeing pitches, and working counts. That, absolutely, must improve. Brendan Ryan, absolutely, cannot be used in the leadoff spot…period! There’s no way Thurston will be able to maintain this success if he’s not more patient at the plate. Yadi’s ratio is ridiculous. Ankiel’s is considerably lower than last year. It’s reasonable to say that it’s not a big deal that Ankiel and Greene aren’t really hitting b/c there’s such a small sample and it’s just one week. However, they can still be patient at the plate. The problem is, we’re not talking about hitters who are historically patient.

    Anyway, one more lefty today and then the first week will be officially over with. Did anyone else notice that we’re in first place? After one week, it means about as much as Ankiel’s 6 strikeouts but I’d still rather be in first place than last.