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Cardinals 3, Pirates 4: How to crush fan confidence with untimely everything

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ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 4: David Freese #23 of the St. Louis Cardinals demonstrates what it's like to play third base without functioning ankles.
ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 4: David Freese #23 of the St. Louis Cardinals demonstrates what it's like to play third base without functioning ankles.

There's a lot wrong with the offense right now, but I think we can draw some specific problems out of tonight's game. For instance: Skip Schumaker had the only extra-base hit. The team reached base 12 times and scored three runs. Those might both be related. (Cutting-room floor specific problem: Daniel Descalso wouldn't have hit Joel Hanrahan once in 100 times with those swings.)

Through extrapolated runs we can test whether or not the Cardinals are "stringing hits together", in broadcaster parlance, in an optimal way, and the answer, depressingly enough, is absolutely. This team is operating above the level you'd expect from its totals so far, even as Lance Berkman threatens to shatter the all-time pitches-taken-barely-outside-for-ball-two record. 

They've scored 11 runs, after tonight's outburst, and XR estimates that a team with 27 singles, one double, a triple, two home runs, etc. etc, should have 10.3. That's just how a punchless team feels; even when it gets runners on base there is a stagnant feel to those baserunners, as if they've all reached with two outs and the pitcher due up after Skip Schumaker. 

The entire team is either underperforming, injured, or Colby Rasmus; it has to get better from here, unless the Seattle Mariners traded us Maikel Cleto and their nightmarish offensive contagion in exchange for Brendan Ryan. But that doesn't make games like this any easier to watch, which is why I count it a minor privilege to have grown up in the cartoon-home-run-hitters era.