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Game 36 Open Thread, Take 2 -- May 16, 2009

Suppan Wainwright
2-3, 5.50 3-1, 4.35

The Cards called Brendan Ryan off the DL yesterday and sent Mitch Boggs to Memphis. We could all see this coming and I’m not going to argue that it doesn’t make sense but there’s a pretty decent argument to be made that Boggs, at least to this point, has been one of the Cards’ 4 best starters and deserves to be taking the ball every 5th day. Now, logically, we know that’s not going to happen for a lot of reasons – the veterans’ experience, the veterans’ salaries, the fact that Boggs has options, etc. But he has done a pretty good job so far.

The table below compares our starting pitchers in terms of tRA and xFIP

Carp 1.36 2.90
Pineiro 3.66 4.48
Boggs 4.11 4.74
Lohse 4.92 4.41
Wainwright 4.80 5.04
Wellemeyer 4.86 5.23

Not only has Boggs pretty clearly pitched better than Wellemeyer and Wainwright, but he’s struck out more batters than Pineiro (20-14) in half as many innings (22.1 to 45.1). I’m not going to suggest that Boggs is clearly better than those 3 guys but neither is it clear that he’s our 6th best starter. I’m not quite sure if that’s a good thing – that our rotation has more depth than maybe we thought entering the season – or a bad thing – our "veteran" starters aren’t very good. Hopefully, it’s the former.

Much has been made of Wainwright figuring out the flaw in his delivery and the flaw’s relationship to Wainwright’s as-yet-uninspiring pitching this season. Well, today – Mother Nature willing – we get to put that theory to the test as Wainwright takes the mound for the first time since his revelation. To this point he’s really only had 2 (of 7) pretty good starts. We need him to be better than he’s been so far and hopefully the road to recovery begins w/ the recognition of the problem. We’ll see.

His mound opponent is former Card Jeff Suppan. Suppan was awful last year and hasn’t been very good so far this season. One problem is an unusually high number of walks – (4.1/9 IP). A 1.24 K/BB ratio is rarely a harbinger of success. Another is the fact that he’s already given up 7 HR in just 37.2 IP. Lefties are mashing him so far this season to a Wellemeyer-like OPS of .916. Righties aren’t exactly struggling against him, however (.822). Considering how well we’ve hit righties this year and how well we’ve hit at home, we ought to get some runs this afternoon.