Monday, September 28, 2015

Why the Cardinals Won't Make it Past the NLDS

With the MLB Playoffs coming up the St. Louis Cardinals have the best record in baseball. That's because, like the New York Yankees, they know how to play regular season baseball. Let me get out of the way that I think their offense is overrated. They are eleventh in runs scored and eleventh in home runs. They know how to walk and hit doubles, but also strikeout a fair amount as well. But it's not their offense that is going to be their downfall. It's their pitching. The team has one of the best team ERA I've seen in recent years with a 2.91. That's not the problem however. It's the teams WHIP. In my opinion they have survived on an easy schedule and dumb luck. The fact that they walk too many and give up a ridiculous amount of hits does not work in the playoffs. Let's look at their five starters ERA and WHIP respectively.
  1. John Lackey       2.69 ERA/1.21 WHIP
  2. Michael Wacha  3.15 ERA/1.19 WHIP
  3. Lance Lynn        3.16 ERA/1.36 WHIP
  4. Carlos Martinez 3.01 ERA/1.28 WHIP
  5. Jaime Garcia*    2.36 ERA/1.01 WHIP
Other than Jaime Garcia's WHIP, which is above average, that's terrible. Michael Wacha can get away with that WHIP more often than not but John Lackey and Lance Lynn are going to be lit up. They are actually lucky that Carlos Martinez was shut down for the year. Plus they don't have any way to move Lance Lynn to the bullpen. Their only other starter is Tyler Lyons and his WHIP is just as bad as Lynn's. This rotation reminds me of three Mark Buehrles and a sleeper ace (Jaime Garcia). Mark Buehrle is notorious for having a high WHIP and a decent ERA. Three of those are going to go bad fast.
It gets worse from there. Several members of their bullpen have terrible WHIPs including their closer. Let's take a look starting with their closer.
  1. Trevor Rosenthal    2.13 ERA/1.26 WHIP
  2. Kevin Siegrist         2.13 ERA/1.16 WHIP
  3. Seth Maness           4.35 ERA/1.43 WHIP
  4. Carlos Villenueva   3.00 ERA/1.17 WHIP
  5. Randy Choate*       3.67 ERA/1.26 WHIP
  6. Matt Belisle            2.76 ERA/1.47 WHIP
  7. Jonathan Broxton   2.45 ERA/1.31 WHIP
  8. Steve Cishek           2.18 ERA/1.11 WHIP
As someone who relies on statistics this baffles me. I don't understand how they can have low ERA when they give up that many hits and walk that many. This will not translate against playoff teams, especially hot teams like the Pirates, Mets and Cubs. Not really worried about the Dodgers, but I'll get into that another time. So one of two things are going to happen. They are either going to shut everyone out or they'll be swept in three games. There is no even medium for this. I wish the Cardinals good luck, but I don't think it will help.