Thursday, May 05, 2005

pen pals

since izzy’s injury eight games ago, the cardinal bullpen has yielded 30 baserunners and 10 runs in 14 1/3 innings — 6.28 era, 2.09 baserunners per inning. phew. those numbers are slightly misleading — aside from journell and cali, the relievers have pitched pretty well. and they’ve done their primary duty, ie hold leads — they’re 3 for 3 in save situations.

but how might we be feeling if not for that 7-run rally monday night? had the cards lost that game, it would have dropped them to 2-4 post-izzy, with the bullpen breaking down in two of the four losses. then a close call in tuesday’s win, nearly blowing a 4-0 ninth-inning lead, and another pounding last night . . . . . it’d feel different. more like an urgent problem.

and in fact it is an urgent problem — one temporarily masked by a flukey rally and a weak division. also by a heroic run from the starting pitchers: they have eased the burden on the weakened pen by throwing at least 6 innings in every start since the injury. their line in that span: 55 2/3 innings, 42 hits, 11 walks, 39 ks, 2.75 era, 0.96 whip. and they're doing it without high burnout risk: avg pitches over those eight starts is only 98, more than acceptable. the bats have picked up some slack, too: .300 / .356 / .459 / .815 since izzy went down, scoring 42 runs (5.25 / game). this is what good teams do; one pair of oars goes out, the others pull harder.

but if the cards are serious about winning a championship — beating great teams under october pressure — they're gonna have to have some new oars out there in the bullpen. and no, bill pulsipher and cal eldred were not the ones i had in mind. i was thinkin’ maybe this guy . . . . . or him . . . . i might even take a flyer on this dude, who keeps the ball down if nothing else . . . . . and he still throws hard and seems to have got his career back on track; yeah i know ex-cub, but they could do worse . . . . there’s always you-know-who, but check out the homers-per-inning; scares me . . . . he comes cheap and can sop up innings: over his last 177 ip (back to 2001), 160 hits vs 150 strikeouts, era 3.76, whip 1.33 . . . .

more on the 'pen today at get up baby

btw, per my LOOGY thing a few days back: since the inj'y the cards are 2-2 in one-run games; the LOOGYs have thrown 5.1 innings and yielded 6 runs (5 by cali), 8 hits, and 7 walks . . . (thank you, day by day database)

viva el birdos