When you your mind is aglow with whirling, transient nodes of thought careening through a cosmic vapor of invention, you must somehow dictate those thought particles or risk losing them forever. Think of it as “situational blogging”. The nearly inevitable post of random unrelated pieces of information and theories of quantum baseball mechanics basically amounts to a bunt. In the middle of week filled with much more cogent posts, that bunt becomes the unnecessary sacrifice with runners on 1st and 2nd with 1 out. Win probability blogged may actually decrease 50%, but you still have to bite the cutter and go with it. At the very least, I’ll use some fancy blogging thing like “bullet points” to maintain some sort of logical separation. And..GO!
With last night’s win, the Cardinals gained a significant advantage in the race for the 2nd wild card spot. Sure, the Dodgers didn’t lose, but they do now have to make up a game that could very well be a must-win. Perhaps just as importantly, the Dodgers have to potentially squeeze in yet another game into a very crowded schedule, and the potential ramifications of compressing the workload on the pitching staff could be their undoing. Granted, the Dodgers represent just 1 of the obstacles to overcome, but they are the nearest obstacle to the Cardinals. With basically 2 weeks left to play, the magic numbers to eliminate each team slowly approach zero.
- Dodgers – 14
- Brewers – 13
- Pirates – 12
- Phillies – 11
- Diamondbacks – 11
- Padres – 8
- Mets – 4
- Marlins – 2
If the Cardinals finish 8-6, the Dodgers would have to go 10-5 to finish with an identical record and win a spot in the wild card play-in game by virtue of a tiebreaker. While the Brewers appear to be the team with momentum, the Brew Crew would have to finish 11-4 to finish in a tie with the Cardinals. Even a 7-7 finish to the season for the Redbirds puts the pressure on everybody else.
Oh by the way, the Cardinals get Chris Carpenter back on Friday. No way of knowing whether he’ll be the same guy who has gone 95-42 with a 3.06 ERA during his time in St. Louis, but even a reasonable facsimile of that pitcher would be a huge boost for the rotation.
Kyle Lohse may not receive a great deal of consideration for the Cy Young Award, but he certainly has pushed his way into the conversation. At 15-3 with a 2.71 ERA (129 ERA+), Lohse sits 3rd in the NL in ERA, 5th in innings pitched, 4th in WHIP, 3rd in walks per 9 innings, 2nd in win probability added, and 5th in sacrifice hits. Maybe instead of dressing up like Tony La Russa, Lohse should dress up as Carp, because his imitation of the big guy has been outstanding this season.
Hipster Yadier Molina deserves at least a few votes for NL MVP. After just edging ahead of Andrew McCutchen on the NL WAR leaderboard, he probably has earned more than a few. Granted, everybody in that top 5-7 merits consideration, but the guy having a career year for a team that lost a future HoF 1B by the name of Albert Pujols must be straight money.
- The .322/.379/.505/.885 batting line with 19 HR and 67 RBI betters anything he’s put up in the past. Not many players would be ashamed of those numbers, but Molina has done all this while hitting primarily from the #6 spot in the lineup.
- The Cardinals are 68-53 when Molina starts and 10-17 when he does not. By contrast, the Giants are 76-55 when Buster Posey starts and 9-8 when he doesn’t.
- You can call me all kinds of names for raising this issue, but Posey spent a large portion of his season with Melky Cabrera hitting in front of him. A case could be made that Posey benefited substantially from this fact. Cabrera’s line before being unceremoniously toppled by MLB for a failed drug test was .346/.390/.516/.906. From the beginning of the season through Cabrera’s last game, Posey hit .331/.407/.544/.951 with 19 HR and 76 RBI. After Cabrera’s last game, Posey slightly improved his batting numbers – .339/.414/.536/.950 with 3 HR and 17 RBI. The not-so-subtle difference appears when you project both lines over 162 games. With Cabrera around, Posey was on a 162 game pace for 30 HR and 117 RBI. Without Cabrera in the fold, Posey’s 162 game pace dropped to 17 HR and 95 RBI. Sample size and park factors can explain some of this, but Posey’s BAbip increased from .354 to .402 in order to maintain the line. You really can’t blame Posey for the situation, but it’s worth noting that his WAR total would probably be a little lower without Melky rocking a .390 OBP in front of him.
Oh, and did I mention that Chris Carpenter makes his return on Friday?
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“My mind is aglow with whirling, transient nodes of thought careening through a cosmic vapor of invention” – Hedley Lamarr (Blazing Saddles)
NOTE: The original post included pure confuzzlement regarding how the wild card tiebreaker system works. I have since remedied that and am still just as confused as I was when I wrote the original.