Blogging, Superstitions and Still an Impressive Pitching Staff

Is it possible to be superstitious and still write a blog ?  I never really thought about that, because most of my writing is about Cardinals history.  I think it is going to take a lot more than a text editor and web server to change the past.

Fernando Salas (courtesy of ESPN Deportes)

The other day, I put together a short piece looking at how good the Cardinals pitching staff had been so far this season.  Yes, they had been been good, like 1968 kind of good, in spite of what I keep hearing on the radio and reading in the paper.   In the two games that followed, one bullpen meltdown cost the Redbirds a game, and another gave Cardinals fans quite a scare before the last out was recorded.

Did that article jinx the pitching staff ?

Of course, it didn’t.   If might make you think for a moment, and then you start laughing when you realize that nobody has that kind of power, and if they did, they wouldn’t be writing about baseball, would they ?

There’s actually some real evidence to support that this wasn’t a jinx.   I know, that takes all the fun out of this story.   Let’s look at the ERA+ of all the pitchers used in the last two days, and see how much the numbers actually changed.

Pitcher April 25 ERA+ April 29 ERA + Change
Eduardo Sanchez 177 n/a
Miguel Batista 341 411 21%
Fernando Salas 271 312 15%
Jaime Garcia 269 185 – 31%
Mitchell Boggs 269 184 – 32%
Jason Motte 213 234 10%
Kyle Lohse 192 234 22%
Trever Miller * 186 93 -50 %
Ryan Franklin 51 39 – 24%

* has not pitched enough innings (7 1/3)  to qualify for an ERA+.

As with the last set of data, there are several interesting things we can learn from this.

  • Miguel Batista proves that it takes more than ERA (and ERA+) to describe the effectiveness of a pitcher.  After all, when the runs aren’t charged to you, there isn’t a penalty for letting them score.  I would hardly call his outing a good one, and his ERA+ shot up 21%.  Fortunately, things like WHIP and IR to help us here.
  • Kyle Lohse 2.0 continues to be impressive.   There is no other way to describe it.
  • Even with the blown save, Mitchell Boggs continues to put up impressive numbers.
  • Poor Trever Miller.   He needs to face some more batters so that when he does get tagged, it doesn’t totally tank his numbers.
  • Ryan Franklin is asymptotically approaching an ERA+ of zero, the abyss known as the worst pitcher in baseball.  He needs to get better in a hurry, even if it means a trip to the disabled list and an extended rehabilitation trip through the minor leagues.  Frankie has been roughed up, but he is far from the worst pitcher in the game.

Eduardo Sanchez (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

The conclusion is the same as it was three days ago.  While they were roughed up a bit by the Houston Astros, the Cardinals pitchers are doing what it takes to win the National League Central title.  There is no reason to panic.  In fact, quite the opposite.   With Fernando Salas and Eduardo Sanchez, we are witnessing the maturation of two impressive baseball players.

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