I followed yesterday's game via radio rather than watching on TV and for that I'm thankful. Aaron Miles walked 6 times in 151 PA last year. In 2009, he walked 8 times in 170 PA. Yesterday, Cardinal pitchers walked 8 Padre hitters in 45 plate appearances. To borrow tom's phrase from yesterday, I believe that constitutes a shitpile.
Let me play Debbie Downer for just a moment to rehash how our season has started:
- Adam Wainwright goes down for entire 2011 season for Tommy John Surgery.
- Matt Holliday goes down for 2+ weeks with an appendectomy.
- Miguel Batista makes the team, gets called into a high leverage situation and promptly loads the bases before being pulled from the game.
- Skip Schumaker makes some costly errors on relatively routine defensive plays.
- Ryan Theriot makes some costly errors on relatively routine defensive plays.
- Ryan Franklin blows a save.
- Jake Westbrook implodes in his first start of the season.
Some of these things are isolated (Westbrook will likely be fine) and some are persistent (Wainwright will no be riding a unicorn out to the mound any time soon) but the 2011 Cardinals have managed to shock me with their early season hijinks. Again, the emphasis needs to be placed on the "early season" aspect of this because we've played, like, two games.
* * *
A quick run down of yesterday's NL Central action starting with the little bears. The Cubs beat the hapless Pirates with an 8th inning 5 run rally. Carlos Marmol picked up his first save by striking out the side. I wouldn't expect Marmol's arm to stay attached for long given his usage in recent seasons and his pitch selection but he's a tremendous reliever. If you missed it, Marmol recorded 233 outs in 2010 and nearly 60% (138) of those were strikeouts. That's more strikeouts than some starters recorded in about 40% of the innings.
Wandy Rodriguez was torched for 7 runs in 4 innings by the Phillies. With Cliff Lee on the mound, that's a tall order for the Astros offense to make up and unsurprisingly they weren't able to do so as the Astros lost 9-4. Whenever I check the Astros roster I question how that team can possibly compete in the next 2-3 years. Whenever I look over their farm system, I question how that team can possibly compete in the next 4-6 years. Drayton McLane and his GMs are building a terribly vortex of awful in Houston.
The Reds and the Brewers squared off with Travis Wood taking the mound against Shawn Marcum. The Reds combined a handful of walks with timely hitting to pick up a 4-2 win. Scott Rolen started the scoring for the Reds with his 2-run home run.
And, since I know some of you still have an emotional attachment to Rick Ankiel, his two run home run was the decisive tally in Washington's win yesterday.
Finally, if you're in the mood for some awful puns, may I suggest you peruse the different headlines within yesterday's MLB Gameday. Go to the Cardinals site. Click the box score from yesterday at the top of the page and then click through the various game scores across the top. Each game leads with a full picture splash page and caption.
* * *
I'll leave you this morning with a quick word of forberance: Don't worry about slight downticks (~.5mph) in fastball velocity during the month of April. Mike Fast put together some really great graphs at Baseball Prospectus comparing fastball speed and game time temperature.
What I love about this is that you don't really need to understand correlation on a nitty-gritty math level to look at the two graphs, see that they have the same trend and grasp the connection. It's so apparent and intuitive.
Game time is 1:15pm. Game thread goes live at 1pm.