Daily Archives: April 5, 2011

Preseason Approval Ratings: Pitchers

Continuing my post series on the preseason Cardinals’ approval ratings. Today I’m going to move on to the pitching staff.

Adam Wainwright did not make an appearance on the list due to his injury, but I’m fairly certain that he would have been the highest rated pitcher on the staff. Call me crazy.

Instead, that opened the door for the Cardinals’ other ace, Chris Carpenter, to take the nod with his 8.5 rating. After a rough September last year, Carpenter has a lot of work to do to regain the “ace” status that many feel he lost last year to Adam Wainwright. It’s the year that the Cardinals need him too. Wainwright and other stepped up when he was hurt, now it’s his turn to step up.

Second on the list was a surprise to me as Kyle McClellan picks up an 8.0 rating. McClellan has been the go-to guy in the bullpen for the last three years, but moves into the starting rotation this year. He is buoyed by the strong spring where he took command of the battle for the fifth starter’s role. There’s a big hole in the bullpen now, but I think McClellan will be a sweet surprise in the rotation this season.

Next comes late season addition Jake Westbrook who scored a 7.5. He finished the season exceptionally strong, so it wasn’t a surprise that he notched up here. Though I was a little surprised that he exceeded the number that Jaime Garcia, who scored a 7.4, got. Close enough to virtually be equal but it was interesting.

I was also surprised by Kyle Lohse at a 7.2. Seems many fans are giving him a break on his injury and have buoyed him up due to his strong spring where he didn’t walk a single batter. Perhaps there is also hope that he is once again completely healthy and ready to perform at the 2008 levels that earned him the contract that makes him the second highest paid Cardinals’ starter.

After that it comes the bullpen guys. Really surprised as Mitchell Boggs, Trever Miller, Fernando Salas, and Ryan Franklin all scored 6.8. I guess most fans view the entire bullpen as interchangeable. Bryan Augenstein was close too with his 6.7.

Jason Motte came in with a 6.2 and I have to wonder why. He seemed to break out last season, but perhaps it was his slow start in spring training that cost him a rating higher up with the rest of his bullpen-mates.

Also, new bullpen arm Miguel Batista, who just picked up the win tonight, scored a 6.1. He might have gotten knocked down because he was new, but I think the fact that most fans felt that the bullpen would be in better hands with the younger pitchers also contributed to the low rating. Ultimately, he has performed fairly well both in spring training and this young season, thus far.

The lowest man on the totem pole was Brian Tallet with his 5.9. Ultimately, I think his rating was reduced due to many not being familiar with him. When he was picked up, I know I wasn’t the only one that went “Who?” and then responded with “Why?” after seeing his stats.

And getting to the one minor league pitcher on the list, Shelby Miller scored a 7.7. That basically makes him the third highest rated Cardinals’ pitcher. He’s still at least a year away from garnering any real consideration for the big league club, but it shows that he’s impressed and he’s on the minds of Cardinal nation.

Game 5: Cardinals 3, Pirates 2

Is that the hallelujah chorus I hear? No? Well it should be! The Cardinals eked one out tonight with a hit by Albert Pujols that just barely squeaked past the infielders. Plus, it wouldn’t be the ninth inning without Ryan Franklin letting someone on base. My thoughts on the game:
Kyle McClellan did everything we could have asked him to do. Threw a strong six innings and kept us in the ballgame. You have to rely on the offense to score some runs because no pitcher will always be perfect. He made one real mistake in the first inning that resulted in a two run home run by Lyle Overbay, but settled in after that. Who can blame him? The St. Louis boy making his debut as a starter in front of the home crowd, my nerves would be flying. In the end, six innings, 6 hits, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts.
Colby Rasmus has turned into a beast in the two spot so far this season. He goes 2-for-3 tonight with a walk to improve his batting average to .400 on the short season. Hitting in front of Albert, even a slumping Albert, has gotten him hot. If he can maintain the attention he seems to be paying to the game, this may be the season he polishes his game and puts it all together for a very big year. Return of the MV3 in 2011? We could see it with Rasmus, Pujols, and Holliday in the middle of the lineup.
And yeah, Albert Pujols finally comes through. He might not be out of his slow start yet, but he manages to get the game winning RBI and for 13 or 14 hours, all will be right with the world. It wasn’t a very well hit ball, but it went between the infielders for a hit at a crucial time and that’s what matters.
Hero of the Game: Craig and Pujols are obviously both very good candidates, but I’m going to give it to Kyle McClellan tonight. (6.0 IP, 6 H, 1 BB, 2 ER, 7 K)
Zero of the Game: Does there have to be one? I think I’m just excited about another win. Looking at the boxscore, I think that has to go to Gerald Laird, though David Freese could get it too as his struggles at the plate continued. It was his first start of the season, and I heard the 600th game of his career. Unfortunately, he did not celebrate it in style. (0-for-4, 2 K, GIDP, 3 LOB)