Finally, the Cards got a sweep. The starting pitching continued to be great. The offense was again a beast after hibernating for a few days in Houston. Manager Mike Matheny pushed all the right buttons, expect for 1 inning with J.C. Romero. The Cards won the first game after Lance Lynn only pitched 5 innings, won the final game by doing the same with Kyle Lohse, and Carlos Beltran’s 2 HR’s combined with Jake Westbrook’s nice rebound game got us the middle game.
Yadier Molina suffered nothing more than a bone bruise on his left hand after being crossed up with Mitchell Boggs on a 96 MPH fastball that Molina thought would be a slider. It doesn’t appear Lohse will miss any time after tweaking his hamstring. Matt Holliday is heating up, and Lance Berkman is coming off the DL tomorrow. Yes, things are looking good.
What I really want to talk about today is WAR and run differential, specific by teams. A lot of readers don’t like the new stats, but I have yet to find a better stat than WAR. Instead of doing individual stats today, I’ll do them by team. If your eyes tell you that the Cardinals and Rangers are the best two teams in MLB so far in 2012, then let WAR tell you the same, because it does.
Using Fangraphs, here are the current team WAR leaders in 2012:
Leading the Cardinals individually in WAR are Rafael Furcal at 2, Beltran at 1.8, David Freese at 1.7 and Molina at 1.5. That should make sense with the eye test as well. Where the Cards would be without Furcal setting the table is something I’m glad we don’t have to worry about.
Getting into run differential, the Cardinals again lead MLB, and it isn’t really close. Here are the leaders, with the Cards and Rangers again running away from the pack:
1) Cardinals +75
2) Rangers +65
3) Braves +24
4) Dodgers +23
That’s right, the Cards have a run differential of 51 runs better than the next team in the NL. Bernie Miklasz of the Post Dispatch talked about being greedy the other day when talking about the Cards. I feel the same way. With such large leads in these two categories, the Cards should be a little closer to 23-8 instead of 20-11. The problem has been in the one run games, where the Cards are 1-5. Jason Motte has only blown 1 save, so that’s not really the problem. So far, though, the bullpen has looked a little shaky here and there. I think if there’s a chink in the armor of this team, it’s the bullpen. One thing to keep in mind is that the guy with the best stuff isn’t on the team yet in Eduardo Sanchez. He had some control and mechanical problems in ST, but I expect him to be up from the farm soon.
Now that the season is about 1/5 of the way over, I’ll be covering things a little more from the statistical analysis standpoint. I’m not big on small sample sizes, and we’re getting to the point where I like to dive back into at this point in the season.
For one last thought, I haven’t seen much in the way of replies from members such as Nuke and The Machine. I wonder if it has to do with the struggles of the Albert Pujols? I guess these were the few who were more Pujols fans rather than Cardinal fans. Do you all still feel that the Cardinals should have signed him at any cost? Yeah, I didn’t think so.