Search Archives
Follow Us

Featured Sponsors


Mailing List
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for our Email Newsletter
For Email Marketing you can trust
Twitter Feeds

This site utilizes the MLB analytics platform powered by TruMedia Networks

Entries in St. Louis Cardinals (38)

Thursday
Oct172013

Rosenthal's Heater Untouchable Above the Belt

By now you may have realized Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal is one of the hardest-throwing relievers in baseball, and this observation is an accurate one. Pumping out heaters at 96.4 MPH on average -- second-highest among relievers with at least 74 innings -- in 2013 to go with a max fastball velocity of 101.4, the 23-year-old Cowley County Community College product has a clear knack for dialing up his fastball whenever he so chooses.

But what you may not have realized is how dominating the offering has been for Rosenthal, especially in the postseason.

Over 12 career postseason relief appearances dating back to his playoff debut in 2012, Rosenthal's heater has held opponents to a .119/.178/.167 slash line, including an absurd strikeout total of 21 to go with just 3 walks. Throwing the pitch 88.2 percent of the time, this has obviously been the primary reason behind his not allowing a run -- earned or unearned -- to cross home over 14.2 career postseason innings.

In TBS's broadcast Tuesday night, the network's own Cal Ripken, Jr. pointed out that batters tend to struggle against Rosenthal's fastball when located in the upper half of the zone. Here, it is more difficult to adjust the plane of the bat to the ball compared to the bottom half where it is easier for hitters to simply "drop the bat head" on the pitch.

The evidence suggests Cal is correct (no surprises there).

Opponents' In-Play Rate vs. Rosenthal's fastball in postseason

The image above validates Ripken's premise, and the numbers are startling. Opponents have placed just 8.7 percent of Rosenthal's fastballs in play when he's located the offering in the upper half of the zone. When placed in the lower half, batters have garnered a 40.5 percent in-play rate in the postseason.

Video/Mechanical Synopsis

What's truly impressive about the way in which Rosenthal has dominated with his fastball in the postseason is that he's thrown it nearly nine times out of ten. One would presume batters take this into account when they're batting against him and adjust their strategy at the plate to reflect that.

But clearly they've either a.) failed to look over their scouting reports or b.) simply can't touch Rosenthal's heater, regardless of whether or not they've looked over those reports.

Andre Ethier's plate appearance at the end of game two shows what I'm getting at.

After whiffing at a 98 MPH heater in the first pitch of the at-bat, Ethier should have a good sense of when to begin his pre-swing load on subsequent fastballs later in the plate appearance. But such was not the case, as he whiffed in the pitch shown above (and swung and missed on the pitch after that, which was another fastball clocked at 98 MPH) and was noticeably behind on the offering.

What's remarkable about this pitch, in particular, is how far behind Ethier is in his swing progression when Rosenthal's fastball crosses the plate. Ethier's hands are extended to where they should be, but the bat head is obviously no where to be found because Rosenthal's fastball -- for whatever reason -- catches him off guard.

Clearly, opponents will need to start adjusting by beginning their pre-swing loads sooner. This could open up their vulnerability against Rosenthal's offspeed stuff, of course, but they cannot continue to let their bat heads drag against his heater. So far it's been one of the key reasons behind St. Louis' dominance this October.

Tuesday
Oct152013

The Cardinals struggles against lefties are growing

The Cardinals are the Ted Cruz of baseball with an ever-increasing inability to cope with those who come from the left side.

The St. Louis Cardinals had the second highest batting average in the National League this season, trailing the Rockies by only .001.
2013 National League Hitting
AVGOBPSLUGOPSHRXBHK
1. Colorado Rockies (COL).270.323.418.7411594781,204
2. St. Louis Cardinals (STL).269.332.401.7331254671,110
3. Los Angeles Dodgers (LAD).264.326.396.7221384361,146
4. San Francisco Giants (SF).260.320.381.7021074221,078
5. Arizona Diamondbacks (ARI).259.323.391.7151304631,142
6. Milwaukee Brewers (MIL).252.311.398.7081574381,183
7. Washington Nationals (WSH).251.313.398.7101614471,192
8. Cincinnati Reds (CIN).249.327.391.7181554491,245
9. Atlanta Braves (ATL).249.321.402.7231814491,384
10. Philadelphia Phillies (PHI).248.306.384.6901404271,205
11. Pittsburgh Pirates (PIT).245.313.396.7091614691,330
12. San Diego Padres (SD).245.308.378.6861464181,309
13. Chicago Cubs (CHC).238.300.392.6931724871,230
14. New York Mets (NYM).237.306.366.6721304251,384
15. Miami Marlins (MIA).231.293.335.627953451,232

But that only tells part of the story

There were only two teams in the National League who had a lower team batting average against lefties: the Miami Marlins and the Chicago Cubs, that's not the company by which you wish to be judged.
2013 National League Hitting vs. Lefties
AVGOBPSLUGOPSHRXBHK
1. Colorado Rockies (COL).269.323.395.71839122357
2. Milwaukee Brewers (MIL).267.316.420.73642113315
3. Pittsburgh Pirates (PIT).262.328.407.7352896272
4. Arizona Diamondbacks (ARI).258.318.379.69728132311
5. San Francisco Giants (SF).257.312.378.69132133323
6. San Diego Padres (SD).254.319.410.72852140383
7. Los Angeles Dodgers (LAD).253.315.391.70639132337
8. Cincinnati Reds (CIN).241.317.392.70946137368
9. New York Mets (NYM).240.304.366.67136130431
10. Atlanta Braves (ATL).239.321.380.70141110360
11. Washington Nationals (WSH).239.306.367.67436108324
12. Philadelphia Phillies (PHI).239.304.375.67939111324
13. St. Louis Cardinals (STL).238.301.371.67233122309
14. Miami Marlins (MIA).233.301.362.66336115356
15. Chicago Cubs (CHC).232.298.394.69352133354

Now, look at these numbers in the postseason

So far, the Cardinals are the worst hitting NL team this season in the postseason
2013 National League Postseason Hitting
AVGOBPSLUGOPSHRXBHK
1. Los Angeles Dodgers (LAD).280.337.455.79272565
2. Pittsburgh Pirates (PIT).238.300.386.68671442
3. Atlanta Braves (ATL).214.290.275.5641542
4. Cincinnati Reds (CIN).188.235.375.610146
5. St. Louis Cardinals (STL).180.255.286.54261455

And it gets even worse against lefties

2013 National League Postseason Hitting vs. Lefties
AVGOBPSLUGOPSHRXBHK
1. Pittsburgh Pirates (PIT).417.467.500.967011
2. Los Angeles Dodgers (LAD).273.298.418.7161510
3. Atlanta Braves (ATL).207.301.256.5571226
4. Cincinnati Reds (CIN).207.258.414.672145
5. St. Louis Cardinals (STL).144.212.189.4010318

The Red Sox are almost twice as good this postseason

The Red Sox have a batting average that almost doubles the Cards hitting against lefties in the postseason.
2013 Remaining Teams Postseason Hitting vs. Lefties
AVGOBPSLUGOPSHRXBHK
1. Boston Red Sox (BOS).282.367.471.83821120
2. Los Angeles Dodgers (LAD).273.298.418.7161510
3. Detroit Tigers (DET).216.333.353.6861511
4. St. Louis Cardinals (STL).144.212.189.4010318

And yes, the Cards have been even worse against the Dodgers lefties

2013 LCS Hitting vs. Lefties
AVGOBPSLUGOPSHRXBHK
1. Detroit Tigers (DET).219.342.281.623024
2. Los Angeles Dodgers (LAD).143.143.143.286001
3. St. Louis Cardinals (STL).125.173.188.361029
4. Boston Red Sox (BOS).000.500.000.500000

Who are the objects of our scorn?

Last night, David Freese's single to right leading off the 5th was the Cards first hit of the game against the Dodgers' lefty Hyun-jin Ryu. However, Freese was replaced by a pinch runner because of tightness in his right calf and is listed as day-to-day.

It's been no Holliday for the Cards this postseason against lefties:
2013 Cardinals Postseason Hitting vs. Lefties
AVGOBPSLUGOPSHRXBHKAB
1. David Freese (STL).286.375.429.8040117
2. Pete Kozma (STL).250.400.375.7750108
3. Jon Jay (STL).222.200.222.4220019
4. Matt Carpenter (STL).167.231.333.56401312
5. Matt Adams (STL).154.154.154.30800413
6. Yadier Molina (STL).111.200.111.3110019
7. Carlos Beltran (STL).111.333.111.4440019
8. Matt Holliday (STL).091.091.091.18200111
9. Shane Robinson (STL).000.000.000.0000002
10. Michael Wacha (STL).000.000.000.0000033
11. Joe Kelly (STL).000.000.000.0000022
12. Daniel Descalso (STL).000.000.000.0000002
13. Adam Wainwright (STL).000.000.000.0000013

The Cardinals biggest problem as the LCS continues

Dodgers Lefties in the LCS
GPAABHXBHHRBBKAVGOBPSLUGOPSERAWHIP
1. Clayton Kershaw (LAD)1201822015.111.150.278.4280.000.500
2. Hyun-Jin Ryu (LAD)1242330014.130.167.130.2970.000.571
3. J. P. Howell (LAD)28710010.143.250.143.3930.001.000
Monday
Oct142013

Two Games of LCS Pitching

The pitching in these League Championship Series has been remarkable and worth taking a deeper look.
2013 LCS pitching through two games
IP PA P/PA AB H XBH HR BB K AVG BABIP WHAV ERA WHIP
1. St. Louis Cardinals 22.0 85 4.09 76 14 3 0 7 24 .184 .269 .026 0.82 0.955
2. Los Angeles Dodgers 20.1 74 3.89 67 9 3 0 6 18 .134 .180 .000 1.33 0.738
3. Detroit Tigers 17.0 69 4.43 59 8 3 1 9 32 .136 .269 .017 2.65 1.000
4. Boston Red Sox 18.0 78 3.65 70 17 8 2 5 13 .243 .273 .072 3.00 1.222

Two broad strokes:
  • The Dodgers are one unlucky team, but the Cardinals are also pitching brilliantly.
  • The most significant number that might explain why Boston is tied in their LCS can be seen as they continue to do what they do best: work the pitcher. Their 4.43 pitches per plate appearance is significantly greater than any of the other three teams.

Let's go deeper by looking at the starting pitching

Clearly the Cardinals and Dodgers starters have been outstanding, but the Tigers starters have been even better. As we progress in this postseason, it would be fair to say that the Red Sox starters are the weakest of the four teams and the team's greatest weakness.
2013 LCS Starting pitching through two games
IP PA P/PA AB H XBH HR BB K AVG BABIP WHAV ERA WHIP
1. Detroit Tigers 13.0 50 4.48 41 2 1 0 8 25 .049 .125 .000 0.69 0.769
2. Los Angeles Dodgers 14.0 48 3.67 45 6 3 0 2 15 .133 .194 .000 1.29 0.571
3. St. Louis Cardinals 12.1 53 3.91 49 11 2 0 3 13 .224 .306 .041 1.42 1.105
4. Boston Red Sox 12.0 53 3.60 49 14 6 2 1 10 .286 .324 .083 4.50 1.250
2013 LCS Starters through two games
IP PA P/PA AB H XBH HR BB K AVG BABIP WHAV ERA WHIP
1. Anibal Sanchez (DET) 6.0 25 4.64 19 0 0 0 6 12 .000 .000 .000 0.00 1.000
2. Clayton Kershaw (LAD) 6.0 20 3.60 18 2 2 0 1 5 .111 .143 .000 0.00 0.500
3. Michael Wacha (STL) 6.1 26 4.31 25 5 1 0 1 8 .200 .294 .080 0.00 0.900
4. Max Scherzer (DET) 7.0 25 4.32 22 2 1 0 2 13 .091 .222 .000 1.29 0.571
5. Jon Lester (BOS) 6.0 27 4.04 24 6 1 0 1 4 .250 .300 .125 1.42 1.105
6. Zack Greinke (LAD) 8.0 28 3.71 27 4 1 0 1 10 .148 .235 .000 2.25 0.625
7. Joe Kelly (STL) 6.0 27 3.52 24 6 1 0 2 5 .250 .316 .000 3.00 1.333
8. Clay Buchholz (BOS) 5.1 26 3.15 25 8 5 2 0 6 .320 .353 .042 7.94 1.412

Let's go even deeper by looking at the bullpens

Tigers fans instead of bemoaning the fact that you are leaving Boston tied 1-1, you need to feel really happy you got out of Dodge with a win. The Red Sox have lit up the Detroit bullpen, barely escaping with a win in Game 1 and you saw what happened in Game 2.
2013 LCS Bullpen pitching through two games
IP PA P/PA AB H XBH HR BB K AVG BABIP WHAV ERA WHIP
1. Boston Red Sox 6.0 25 3.76 21 3 2 0 4 3 .143 .167 .048 0.00 1.167
2. St. Louis Cardinals 9.1 32 4.41 27 3 1 0 4 11 .111 .188 .000 0.00 0.750
3. Los Angeles Dodgers 6.0 26 4.31 22 3 0 0 4 3 .136 .158 .000 1.42 1.105
4. Detroit Tigers 4.0 19 4.32 18 6 2 1 1 7 .333 .500 .056 9.00 1.750
 

It's not just one Tigers reliever, it's all of them

You have to wonder if Jim Leyland is going to have the phone removed from the dugout
2013 LCS Tigers relief pitching through two games
IP PA P/PA AB H XBH HR BB K AVG BABIP WHAV ERA WHIP
1. Al Alburquerque 1.1 5 4.00 5 1 0 0 0 3 .200 .500 .000 6.75 0.750
2. Joaquin Benoit 1.1 6 5.00 6 2 1 1 0 2 .333 .333 .000 6.75 1.500
3. Jose Veras 1.0 4 2.50 4 1 1 0 0 2 .250 .500 .000 9.00 1.000
4. Drew Smyly 0.1 2 6.50 1 0 0 0 1 0 .000 .000 .000 27.00 3.000
5. Rick Porcello 0.0 2 4.50 2 2 0 0 0 0 1.000 1.000 .500 - -