The Cardinals are walking a lot of batters this season. Like... a lot a lot. Think of an amount of walks in a game that you would consider a lot, then double it and lately that is about how many walks Cardinals pitchers are issuing. It is problematic at best and, quite honestly, a bit unwatchable. There is more to baseball than whether it is pleasing to the eye for the fan, but my goodness, it is hard to watch a team issue 8 walks a game — 8.67 was the Cardinals BB/9 during the series against the Padres. On the season the Cardinals are worst in the league in BB/9 at 4.63 and BB% at 11.9%.
The Cardinals bullpen is very talented, so I want to preface this stat by saying that there are lot of contributing factors that go into it and it certainly does not mean the relievers are, as they say, bad. This is a stat from a quarter of season worth of games played, so it is to be taken with a grain of salt and will likely (hopefully?) improve.
The STL bullpen right now has the highest walk rate in the divisional era? pic.twitter.com/oLS95Z3eVD— Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) May 17, 2021
Oftentimes high strikeout relievers will have high walk rates. Per Fangraphs Kenley Janson leads relievers in BB% at 21.5%. Right behind him is Alex Reyes at 21.3%. Both are having very successful seasons! That does not mean that granting all these free passes is not concerning, though. Reyes has a .043 ERA, but a 3.18 FIP. Those number will eventually start to move together and it probably won’t be fun to watch if you are a Cardinals fan.
Walks are game-killers. They change the entire mood of the game, zap the energy out of the team, spark something for the opposing team, and worst of all they are just so boring. Walks cost the Cardinals every game of the series against the Padres. I know it is easier said than done, but if the Cardinals are going to respectfully defeat good teams, then this is a problem they will have to solve.