The Cardinals have had a lot of problems internally with their own starting pitching, but they’ve also faced a different but somewhat similar problem: other team’s starting pitching.
The theme of this year’s season has been bad pitching and bad defense. The only thing that has gotten the team this far has been their stellar offense throughout the first half of the season. When their starting pitching was miserable, their offense was beyond spectacular. Now that their starting pitching has gotten slightly better, it seems their offense has gotten worse.
There was a time where the Cardinals offense was leading the MLB in average, runs, and home-runs. Now, they’re only 14th in average, 4th in runs, and 3rd in home-runs. Still pretty good spots for runs and home-runs, but something has happened recently in the hit-getting department.
The really odd thing about this is that even though the team is now 14th in average, they’re second in average (.268) from the 7th inning onwards and first in average (.273) from the 9th inning onwards. That means that the Cardinals must be absolutely terrible at hitting starting pitching. In the 1st through 6th inning of games the Cardinals are 26th in average (.250). This is a really odd trend; you would expect a team to hit better against a pitcher they see more throughout a game.
I honestly don’t know what the explanation for this is. One thing that could possibly be a factor is the Cardinal’s woes against left-handed pitchers. Against a LHP the Cardinals are a mere 23rd in the MLB in total batting average (.247). Maybe if there is more left-handed starters than left-handed relievers, than the trend is really explained by the handiness of the pitcher.
Or the other possibility is that the Cardinals veins are just pumped with clutch. Or maybe, their DNA encodes for only one protein, the clutch protein. Theres nothing better than a comeback, and maybe they just live for it. I don’t know, it’s just a theory.
Let us know on twitter (@CardsBlog) what you think the reason is.
Photo captured by Billy Hurst- USA Today Sports