The Cardinals in a Pair of Graphs

The Cardinals are just ridiculous.

Last year.


Source: FanGraphs

This year.


Source: FanGraphs

We’re all going to be telling our grandkids about the early 21st century Cardinals and their miraculous Octobers.



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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


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Michael
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Michael
3 years 8 months ago

How many teams have won the WS after being 1strike from elimination? We know the 2011 Cards and the 1986 Mets did it in the WS, but what about 1 strike away at any point in the postseason?

schlomsd
Member
schlomsd
3 years 8 months ago

1986 Red Sox against the Angels in Game 5 – the Dave Henderson home run off Donnie Moore – is another one.

Ian R.
Guest
Ian R.
3 years 8 months ago

Last I checked the 1986 Red Sox didn’t win the World Series.

Antonio bananas
Guest
Antonio bananas
3 years 8 months ago

Hmmm “at any point in the post season”. Good job at reading Ian.

B N
Guest
B N
3 years 8 months ago

@Ian: As a Red Sox fan from an alternate universe, I resent that implication!

@Antonio: No, he is correct. The phrasing said that the team had to win the WS, but could have been 1 strike from elimination at any point in the postseason. Not that they avoided elimination in that round after being one strike away.

mkd
Guest
mkd
3 years 8 months ago

“How many teams have won the WS after being 1strike from elimination?”

The Red Sox survived being one strike away from elimination in the 1986 ALCS. They did not go on to win the World Series. Good job reading Antonio.

Stuart
Guest
Stuart
3 years 8 months ago

Closest I can come up with are 1985 Royals, 1997 Marlins, and 2001 Dbacks who were 2 outs from elimination in the World Series.

Mattq
Guest
Mattq
3 years 8 months ago

the cardinals were down to their last strike twice in game six of the world series last year, and they were down to their last strike twice in the 9th inning of last nights game. Molina and Freese both had two strikes and managed walks

chuckb
Member
chuckb
3 years 8 months ago

I heard they faced 5 pitches in the game Friday that were their last strikes, or could have been.

Anon
Guest
Anon
3 years 8 months ago

Cardinals! WOW!

Slats
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Slats
3 years 8 months ago

Well done on choking Nats.

Outliarbaseball.com
Guest
3 years 8 months ago

I’m pretty sure the Cards bullpen gets credit more than the Nats deserved to get slammed. 6.2 IP, 4H, 6K, 1 ER, and the W.

ralph
Guest
ralph
3 years 8 months ago

I had only been casually following this until the last couple innings. Then I saw that Wainwright came out very early, and immediately had to see who the bullpen heroes had been.

Plus, Matheney might have learned from previous games by bringing in Motte in a non-save situation to keep it close (granted, it was an elimination game), AND letting him hit in the top of the 9th so he could “close” it out in the bottom of the 9th.

Impressive.

chuckb
Member
chuckb
3 years 8 months ago

Matheny has 2 rookies — Rosenthal and Kelly — who largely weren’t counted on as part of the Cards’ bullpen this year who can absolutely throw gas and be real factors in the pen throughout the playoffs. They’re making what was a pretty mediocre bullpen into one with a lot of depth and a lot of power.

The Cards should absolutely not worry about getting more than 5 innings out of their starters from here on out and just turn it over to Rosenthal, Kelly, Mujica, Boggs, Motte and maybe even Shelby Miller.

gnomez
Member
gnomez
3 years 8 months ago

Needs a third graph: 2011’s playoff expectancy.

Drew Storen
Guest
Drew Storen
3 years 8 months ago

I don’t always choke, but when I do, I make sure it’s when the game is on the line.

Pat Golden
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Pat Golden
3 years 8 months ago

*Season

cass
Guest
cass
3 years 8 months ago

Fuck you, asshole.

Storen pitched his heart out. Just fuck you. And fuck all the commenters who thumbs upped this item. Fuck you all.

I hope you try really hard at whatever your job is and come up just short in a critical situation cause someone else just was really good or really lucky and then people on the internet make fun of you.

jim
Guest
jim
3 years 8 months ago

this was one of those times where you type out the comment and then hit “cancel reply”

WhosOnPhyrst
Member
3 years 8 months ago

Back to back walks in the 9th. Case closed. pitch over the plate and you win 7/10 times. Walks = base runners, base runners = runs. Its Baseball, since little league, throw strikes.

Tim
Guest
Tim
3 years 8 months ago

Great job by the Cardinals, but way too many walks from the Nats bullpen. Storen had with a terrible performance. But hey, kudos to the Cardinals making their 7th LCS in 12 years, one of the top 5 organizations in baseball for sure.

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11
3 years 8 months ago

And here we are again, not giving credit to the offense for earning walks.

We all understand that batters make a conscious decision to “not swing”, right?

We also understand that certain players and teams are better at it than others?

That’s not to say that the Nats didn’t struggle to find the zone.

cpebbles
Guest
cpebbles
3 years 8 months ago

They are strictly screwing with people at this point. They could go 162-0 and sweep the postseason, but they live for that moment when 50,000 people all get silent at the same time.

Felix
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Felix
3 years 8 months ago

Why don’t we see you around on GRB any more? :[

mikey
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mikey
3 years 8 months ago

game 6 was at home

R Plarr
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R Plarr
3 years 8 months ago

2011 Philly, 2011 Milwaukee, 2012 Atlanta, 2012 Wash were series clinchers on the road.

Dylan
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Dylan
3 years 8 months ago

Anyone who ever doubts the Cardinals is making a grave mistake, they have the will of the warrior and THE EYE OF THE TIGER! GO CARDINALS!!!

Tim
Guest
Tim
3 years 8 months ago

If it’s Delmon Young’s eye they’re gonna be in trouble.

chuckb
Member
chuckb
3 years 8 months ago

The will of the warrior, the eye of the tiger, and the spunk of an Eckstein! (except this time the Eckstein was the hitting coach for the Nats)

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
3 years 8 months ago

Methink that dry cleaners down the street can remove the spunk of Eckstein…

Pete
Guest
Pete
3 years 8 months ago

Murderer’s row there, Drew! Daniel Descalco and Pete Kozma! Where do the Cardinals find these things and why do they succeed every time?

hscer
Member
3 years 8 months ago

Sickening.

Joel
Guest
Joel
3 years 8 months ago

Nationals fanbase just got gut punched in the worst way possible. No one deserves that.

John Thacker
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John Thacker
3 years 8 months ago

I think that fans in Montreal could imagine a worse way to get gut punched, no?

youppi!
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youppi!
3 years 8 months ago

yes, but the dozens of us have largely moved on

Jon L.
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Jon L.
3 years 8 months ago

When I visited Montreal in August (2012), I saw lots of people wearing baseball caps and t-shirts – and I don’t just mean out-of-towners from Boston and Toronto. There were baseball decorations hanging on some restaurant walls, and live baseball on TV in the bars. I got the feeling I was in a good baseball town, even though it’s hard to believe, considering the circumstances.

Ralph
Guest
Ralph
3 years 8 months ago

This is their hazing into the world of DC sports, say Caps fans and Wizards fans.

chuckb
Member
chuckb
3 years 8 months ago

Except that the Nats will be back there next year. That’s a really good baseball team.

Petruchio
Guest
Petruchio
3 years 8 months ago

Storen was visibly nervous, the cameras would cut to a profile of his face and it looked like his teeth were chattering. He didn’t get the calls he wanted, but it paints a vivid picture of the contrast between inexperience and experience in tense situations.

TKDC
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TKDC
3 years 8 months ago

Thanks for the after-thr-fact analysis, doctor phil.

Ron Washington
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Ron Washington
3 years 8 months ago

That’s how you choke!

Rippers
Guest
Rippers
3 years 8 months ago

It’s in the Cards.

DWrek
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DWrek
3 years 8 months ago

Refuse To Lose!

marlins12
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marlins12
3 years 8 months ago

Perhaps this question is rather irrelevant, but isn’t weird that Davey Johnson is getting no criticism? In the 9th inning, 1B was open and he decided to pitch to Kozma with Motte on-deck. I believe the only available pinch-hitter the Cardinals had (according to the broadcast) was backup C, Tony Cruz.

Why not IBB Kozma there? Tony Cruz hasn’t had a PA in more than a week, sucks more than Kozma, and it would’ve gotten Motte out of the game.

Thoughts?

arch support
Guest
arch support
3 years 8 months ago

I thought this exact thing.

willis668
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willis668
3 years 8 months ago

Storen hadn’t been too accurate. Don’t want to be in a position to walk in the go-ahead run.

JG
Guest
JG
3 years 8 months ago

He was barely hitting the zone against Motte, even.

Tom
Guest
Tom
3 years 8 months ago

As soon as Kozma came up I had no clue why they would be pitching to him.

At the very least it forces Motte out of the game. Given the bulllpen usage I think it would have given the Nats a better chance in extras (if it stayed tied) or a better chance of a comeback (if the inevitable PH for Motte delivered).

Also not sure about Edwin Jackson on 1 day rest. Was the bullpen that trashed?

Pitnick
Guest
Pitnick
3 years 8 months ago

Kozma had 948 PAs in AAA over the last two years, in which he hit .223/.286/.324. It’s nice that he’s had a little hot stretch, but I have a hard time blaming anyone who doesn’t want to give him a free base.

vivaelpujols
Guest
vivaelpujols
3 years 8 months ago

kozma is a terrible hitter, despite recent heroics, and loading the bases is never good. But that’s a good point about getting motte out of the gme.

Brendan
Member
Brendan
3 years 8 months ago

It’s already getting some focus in some of the press — ESPN’s columnist criticized this decision as well. I can understand the reasoning either way — Kozma is a bad hitter, really, and so awarding him first base would be also second guessed had Storen then walked the PH as well. At the same time, it would almost have certainly gotten rid of Motte. In hindsight, it looks like the IBB would have been the smarter call, but hindsight is pretty much always 20/20.

There’s enough blame to go around for this loss throughout the Nationals team, really, including but not limited to Johnson.

chuckb
Member
chuckb
3 years 8 months ago

1B was only open after Descalso stole 2nd with 2 strikes. Once he had 2 strikes on the batter, any manager’s going to be inclined to pitch to him since batters fare very poorly with 2 strikes.

There’s a good argument to be made that once it got to 2-2 he should’ve pitched around Kozma but maybe that fastball he threw was supposed to be further off the plate and he just missed with it.

jim
Guest
jim
3 years 8 months ago

the cardinals are just so… cardinals

Jonathan Reimer
Guest
Jonathan Reimer
3 years 8 months ago

Between Matheny, Bochy Showalters’ bullpen management we’ve seen managers willing to use their best relievers in the highest leverage situations regardless of the save situation. Might this mean leverage is finally reaching major league teams? Might we see closers used more often in non-save high leverage situations?

Voxx
Guest
Voxx
3 years 8 months ago

During the playoffs, sure.

But there’s probably something to be said for the familiarity of bullpen roles in the long grind of the regular season. With the depressed run environment in the playoffs, there are going to be more frequent high leverage situations compared to the regular season, when there could be 5-6 games without one – so you end up just not pitching your best relievers then.

It’s eh. I don’t look for clearly defined roles to go away anytime soon in the regular season.

chuckb
Member
chuckb
3 years 8 months ago

Interestingly, Matheny didn’t use Motte in a similar situation in game 4 — saving him for a save situation that never happened. In game 5, however, he went to Motte in the 8th, probably only because he had exhausted so many relievers in getting to the 8th after having to pull Wainwright in the 3rd.

Maybe Wainwright was simply trying to force Matheny into using his pen properly, playing rope-a-dope knowing the team was going to be able to come back from being 1 strike away.

longgandhi
Guest
longgandhi
3 years 8 months ago

Gio Gonzalez was one of the best pitchers during the regular season in the NL this year, gets spotted a 5-run lead yet after the 4th inning forgets how to throw strikes… but he gets none of the blame? The Cardinals bullpen was great and the Nats bullpen did not do anything to impress tonight, but that point is moot if Gio doesn’t pitch himself out of the game in the 5th.

thalooch
Guest
thalooch
3 years 8 months ago

oh there’s so many faults. Gio for one, sure. He’s got to put the team on his back, draw some inspiration from Sabathia and Verlander. What about the coaching? Didn’t see too many mound visits to help settle down the pitchers when they were struggling.

And maybe Storen was overworked? 3rd day in a row pitching, he threw 26 pitches the night before, and let’s not forget the kid is 25 and missed most of the season, plus was just recently put into the 9th inning role. Maybe using him in the 9th inning of an 8 run game was a bad move….hmmm Davey???

I think if Storen isn’t used for no good reason in game 3, he’s sharper in game 5 and we wouldn’t have this cardinals cinderalla story all over again.

You know also, not too long ago, on Sep 29th Storen blew a save vs these same Cardinals. Kozma and Descalso both singled off him in the 9th. Funny the announcers never mentioned that….quality broadcasting by TBS.

Pennant
Member
Pennant
3 years 8 months ago

the argument has been made to let the local guys announce the playoffs ; good pick up

chuckb
Member
chuckb
3 years 8 months ago

6 run lead.

In fairness though, didn’t he pitch 6 innings and give up only 3 runs. Against the NL’s best offense, I’d hardly blame Gio.

Shannon
Guest
Shannon
3 years 8 months ago

The Cardinals’ magic is clearly the only magic potent enough to counter the curse of the #6 org.

JG
Guest
JG
3 years 8 months ago

What kind of person watches an incredibly awesome baseball game (or incredibly painful; my point is unchanged) and immediately decides to make an almost completely unrelated joke about the 2010 Mariners?

Your comedic timing is not so good.

Joe
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Joe
3 years 8 months ago

Its a fangraphs joke, not a Mariners joke, really. Sorry Mariners fans.

Shannon
Guest
Shannon
3 years 8 months ago

As Joe stated- it was not intended as a joke about the Mariners, but rather a fangraphs joke, as after the 2011 season people began joking about a #6 org curse (after the first 2 #6 orgs tanked the very year they received the #6 org spot).

Next time maybe try not being so sensitive?

Spoilt Victorian Child
Member
Spoilt Victorian Child
3 years 8 months ago

I’m probably going to wait until my grandkids are 16 or so before exposing them to this sort of thing.

Tim
Guest
Tim
3 years 8 months ago

If, instead of cutting Strasburg off cold, the Nats had moved him to the bullpen in August, they probably would have won this series.

(Sorry. Someone had to say it.)

Ivan Grushenko
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Ivan Grushenko
3 years 8 months ago

No they didn’t

JG
Guest
JG
3 years 8 months ago

This is the only reason why I was rooting for the Nationals in the NL: because I wanted to not see an onslaught of Strasburg “what if?”s for the next six months.

Devon
Guest
3 years 8 months ago

Wish I could see Albert Pujols reaction to last night’s Cardinals game.

Ryan
Guest
Ryan
3 years 8 months ago

He was very likely too busy playing in the playoffs with the Angels to watch.

Ivan Grushenko
Guest
Ivan Grushenko
3 years 8 months ago

He was probably pretty happy for the guys while wishing the Angels had made it. What reaction would you expect?

Pete
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Pete
3 years 8 months ago

Weeping and gnashing of teeth, clearly.

Mark
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Mark
3 years 8 months ago

I think Albert was probably looking at his bank account and is so very thankful that he has $250 million. What the heck, a guy needs to feed his family.

Bob Gibson said it best. “He should have been a Cardinal for life”

Still frustrates me to this day and I cannot watch The Machine bat.

Samuel
Guest
Samuel
3 years 8 months ago

I was kind of amazed I didn’t hear anything about this on the broadcast last night.

bjs2025
Member
bjs2025
3 years 8 months ago

Probably because the Carsinals replaced him and then some. Their first base production was slightly better than what Albert did this year. It’s really amazing that people have pretty much forgotten Albert in St. Louis already.

chuckb
Member
chuckb
3 years 8 months ago

They’ve been too busy talking about Strasburg to even remember that Pujols was once a Cardinal. To some of those nimrods, Pujols’s days as a Cardinal are as distant as Rogers Hornsby’s.

Jake
Guest
Jake
3 years 8 months ago

You say miraculous, I say demonic. Potato, potato.

LT
Guest
LT
3 years 8 months ago

I know the narrative on this series is going to revolve around the miraculous 9th inning comeback in game five, and the heroics of probably-lucky-to-be-in-AAA-pete kozma… but i have to say that kind of overshadows how well the cardinals played overall, and how much they outplayed the Nats in the total series:
Overall Series Score: Cards 32, Nats 16
Cards hitters drew 29 walks (almost 6 per game!), Nats drew 14
Cards pitchers struck out 46 batters, Nats 43
Cards hit 6 hrs, Nats 7.

Lets say descalso strikes out in the 9th last night, how unlucky would the cards have been as a team that lost a five game series but outscored their opponent by 12 runs (assuming game 5 ended 7-5 in favor of Nats…)

Samuel
Guest
Samuel
3 years 8 months ago

It’s just a macrocosm of their entire season.

Every game they lose is by one run in heartbreaking fashion, and then they blow out teams in the other ones.

I’m not sure anything is going to be different the rest of the playoffs, but we’ll see…

chuckb
Member
chuckb
3 years 8 months ago

* microcosm.

Bob
Guest
Bob
3 years 8 months ago

When you’re outscored 32-16 in a five-game series, it’s just kind of hard to say you “choked,” regardless of the game five particulars.

Congrats to Davey and the Nats on a great season. They look like they should be very good for years to come.

dj87
Guest
dj87
3 years 8 months ago

“We’re all going to be telling our grandkids about the early 21st century Cardinals and their miraculous Octobers.”

Not complaining, but unfortunately for us Cardinals fans, the gut-wrenching tension of last 2 postseasons have probably knocked enough years off our hearts that we won’t live long enough to tell our grandkids about them. I wouldn’t change a thing!

bjs2025
Member
bjs2025
3 years 8 months ago

I definitely had to have a beer in the 9th inning of game 4 just to calm down a bit.

gary
Guest
gary
3 years 8 months ago

wow- what a game . as a white sox fan we know choke. all season in first last 10 games bye bye- congrats to cards fans and washington fans. least u made it to the show and game 5.

Frank
Guest
Frank
3 years 8 months ago

The Braves are the champions of choke, until someone else shats the bed 3 years in a row.

Baltar
Guest
Baltar
3 years 8 months ago

I thought I wasn’t going to be interested in either League Championship Series when the A’s and Orioles were eliminated, but I hate Budweiser–an insult to beer.

Mark
Guest
Mark
3 years 8 months ago

Yeah.. but they sure know where and how to invest in baseball teams.

R M
Guest
R M
3 years 8 months ago

I blame Bud Selig, for making a rule that allows a Cardinals team that was 5 games out of the WILD CARD race to even participate in the playoffs!

At this point, the baseball season might as well just be one giant round of playoffs when we have single games determining the outcome of a 162 game season.

P.S. I am a Red Sox fan.

s spiker
Guest
3 years 8 months ago

Baltar….Dude….You hate Budweiser!!!!???? You must be a loser too.

Nick
Guest
Nick
3 years 8 months ago

“We’re all going to be telling our grandkids about the early 21st century Cardinals and their miraculous Octobers. ”

No we won’t.

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