On July 7th, Rich Harden and CC Sabathia had been traded to Chicago and Milwaukee respectively without yet having made a start. At the time, the Cubs were at 53-36 and leading the division by 3.5 games over then 2nd place St Louis who were at 50-40 a half game ahead of the Brewers 49-40. Those three teams were 1-3 in terms of best records in the National League.
Since that date, Rich Harden has pitched 54 innings, striking out 75 and walking just 18 with two hit batsmen and six home runs allowed totaling a 2.95 xFIP and a 2.72 tRA. Meanwhile, CC Sabathia has logged an impressive 102 innings with a matching 102 strikeouts and 21 walks alongside three hit batters and five home runs allowed. That’s good for a 2.94 xFIP and a 2.50 tRA.
During this same time period, the Cardinals have given nine starts to Joel Pineiro and 12 starts to Braden Looper. Not exactly up to the same caliber as the other teams and the Cardinals have struggled as a result. Since that date, the Cubs have compiled a 34-22 record and widened their lead in the division by a game, now over second place Milwaukee who have gone an impressive 34-23 themselves.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals have only been able to hold serve at .500 with a 28-27 mark and have since fallen behind the Houston Astros in the NL Central, who made their own mid season pitching acquisition in Randy Wolf who has useful on his own in addition to helping keep Shawn Chacon away from the rotation. There was plenty of criticism of the Cardinals for not making a significant trade at the deadline because it was thought they wouldn’t have the horses to stay in the race. This time around, it appears the critics were right.
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