Through Saturday, May 19, the St. Louis Cardinals had completed almost exactly ¼ of their 2007 schedule, 40 games. During that stretch, they won 16 and lost 24 contests. Their .400 winning percentage placed them fifth in the six-team National League Central Division, 8.5 games behind first-place Milwaukee. Only the 17-26 Cincinnati Reds and the 15-28 Washington Nationals had poorer records in the NL.
While the club's bottom line is well-understood, the magnitude of the seemingly complete unraveling of the defending World Champions really comes to light when looking at these numbers and rankings.
2007 Cardinals Record
In 2006, the first season of the new Busch Stadium, the Cardinals enjoyed a 49-31 edge at home. Not so here in 2007. They are on pace to roughly match their 34-47 road mark from last season, however.
At home: 7-11
On the road: 9-13
The relative weakness of the National League Central looks to be one key reason the Cardinals current record isn't worse than it is.
Within division: 12-12
Outside division: 4-12
The better teams are handling the Cardinals, while they are holding their own against their peer sub-.500 clubs.
Vs. teams with a winning record: 3-13
Vs. .500 teams: 4-2
Vs. teams with a losing record: 9-9
In recent times, the Cards have struggled against lefties (23-34 in 2006), and are continuing that pace in 2007. However, they aren't faring much better against righties in 2007, either. (Last season, the Cardinals were 60-44 versus right-handed starters.)
Vs. left-handed starters: 4-8
Vs. right-handed starters: 12-16
This Cardinals team is clearly not doing its best work after dark. They also had problems at night last season (46-59).
Day games: 9-7
Night games: 7-17
Despite the bullpen being one of the few bright spots this season, the bottom line is not impressive as this team does not own a winning record in close games. The offense in clutch situations shares the blame, as the Cards are hitting just .179 with the game tied and .245 when up by one run.
One-run games: 4-6
Extra-inning games: 2-1
Only because of the existence of the Nationals are the Cardinals not in the league cellar in almost every major hitting category this season. Being second-worst isn't much solace, however. Especially troubling is being last in walks on top of all the hitting problems.
Last in NL (16th) – total bases (457), triples (3), home runs (19), RBI (129), walks (117), stolen bases (10), shutouts against (6)
15th – runs (140), hits (333), doubles (61), slugging percentage (.339)
13th – batting average (.247), on-base percentage (.314)
The recent struggles of the Cards'
starting staff have led to an erosion of the team pitching stats, with their
ERA dropping rapidly toward the very bottom of the League. Only mile-high
15th – wins (16), ERA (4.64), strikeouts (241)
11th – runs (199), earned runs (183)
Given all those opposing runners on base and the traditional strength of the Cardinals infield defense, it is surprising to see the club turning the second-fewest double plays in the League. Yet, the facts don't lie.
15th – double plays (31)
Brian Walton can be reached via email at email@example.com.
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