Blowouts

Another night, another opponent putting up double-digits on the Cardinal pitching staff. Sound familiar? It should.Last year, I undertook a study to see how many times the Cardinals were giving up double digits and how often those were blowout losses. While VEB has set their standard of blowout wins or losses at 5 runs, I had 8 as my criteria, so that’s what I’m sticking with. The results are ugly enough with that standard.

I’m going to replicate the tables shown in the CardsClubhouse story above, but updated for the end of 2006 and 2007 through last night. I’m fairly sure there should be some sort of parental advisory warning sticker here, because even with the subject matter, what you may see could be very unpleasant.

First off, let’s see how many double-digit games there have been in the last 12 seasons (the length of time Tony LaRussa has been here) and how many can be attributed to the thin air of Colorado:

Year G W L % Col
2007 20 0 20 .000 0
2006 13 0 13 .000 0
2005 7 0 7 .000 0
2004 9 1 8 .111 0
2003 9 2 7 .222 1
2002 8 0 8 .000 0
2001 13 1 12 .077 2
2000 15 2 13 .133 2
1999 15 0 15 .000 0
1998 9 2 7 .222 2
1997 8 0 8 .000 1
1996 12 0 12 .000 4
Total 138 8 130 .058 12

(G–Games opponent scores 10 or more. W–Number of those games the Cardinals won. L–Number of those games the Cardinals lost. %–Winning percentage. Col–Number of those games in Colorado.)

I knew the pitching had been bad this year, but this is borderline ridiculous. 20 times the opponent has scored double figures, almost 13% of the games the team has played so far. That’s five more games than the worst years (2000 and 1999) and seven more than last year’s team which was so shaky in the pitching department. There is a reason that they are possibly going to be the most scored-on team in Cardinal history. 14.5% of all such games in the past 12 years have been played in 2007. With an even distribution, you’d expect about 8%. Also interesting to note that the humidor must be working in Coors, since the Rockies haven’t scored 10 or more against the Redbirds since 2003.

OK, so what percentage of those double digit games are considered blowout losses?

Year G BL %
2007 20 17 85.00%
2006 13 8 61.54%
2005 7 2 28.57%
2004 9 2 22.22%
2003 9 5 55.56%
2002 8 4 50.00%
2001 13 7 53.85%
2000 15 6 40.00%
1999 15 6 40.00%
1998 9 4 44.44%
1997 8 4 50.00%
1996 12 3 25.00%
Total 138 68 49.28%

(BL–Blowout loss. %–Percentage of double-digit games that are blowout losses.)

Apparently, if an opponent scores more than 9, the Cardinals aren’t going to be anywhere close to them. A full quarter of the blowout losses in the TLR era have happened this year. That really makes that comeback against the Phillies last week even more remarkable. Being down 11-0 fit right in with this team. Losing only by two really didn’t.

Let’s look at how much the Cardinals usually lose these kind of games by and whether it’s a bullpen issue or a starter issue. (OK, never mind, you know that already. The bullpen has been one of the strengths of the team. But I’ve got the numbers, so I’m going to put them out there.)

Year G Mgn AMgn RA5 RS5 ARA5 ARS5
2007 20 -190 -9.5 156 29 8 1
2006 13 -103 -7.9 121 32 9 2
2005 7 -46 -6.6 56 15 8 2
2004 9 -48 -5.3 63 28 7 3
2003 9 -59 -6.6 66 20 7 2
2002 8 -55 -6.9 67 19 8 2
2001 13 -90 -6.9 114 43 9 3
2000 15 -89 -5.9 99 56 7 4
1999 15 -90 -6.0 100 58 7 4
1998 9 -43 -4.8 54 43 6 5
1997 8 -64 -8.0 59 19 7 2
1996 12 -51 -4.3 86 37 7 3
Total 138 -928 -6.7 1041 399 8 3

(Mgn–Total margin of defeat. AMgn–Average margin of defeat. RA5–Runs allowed in the first five innings of double digit games. RS5–Runs scored in first five innings. ARA5–Average runs allowed in first five innings. ARS5–Average runs scored in first five innings.)

We all know that the Cardinals are being outscored at a record clip and these type of games are a big reason why. You can take almost any other two years in this study, add those margins together, and still come out less than the 2007 version. (In some cases, you can take three or more!) And, as we expected, most of it happens early, with the Cardinals usually in a 7-run hole before the sixth starts.

Last chart: Games by month. Are we done for the year, or should we expect more?

Year April May June July August Sept/Oct
2007 1 3 3 5 3 5
2006 1 1 4 3 3 1
2005 2 0 2 1 2 0
2004 3 1 1 1 1 2
2003 1 0 4 1 2 1
2002 1 1 2 2 2 0
2001 4 1 4 2 2 0
2000 2 5 2 5 0 1
1999 1 5 4 2 2 1
1998 1 2 2 3 1 0
1997 0 2 1 0 2 3
1996 4 5 0 0 3 0
Total 21 26 29 25 23 14

Most years, you’d say the odds of the Cardinals giving up another double digit game the last week of the season would be pretty slim. I mean, before this year, there had only been 9 such games in the 11 years of LaRussa. But since this team has already posted 5 in September (over a third of all September games of this ilk) and that five is the record for any month, you have to guess that this team will break one more negative record before it’s done. Look for a double digit pounding–and most likely a blowout loss–sometime in the next 6 games.

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One Response to “Blowouts”

  1. My Ballot for the Cardinal Blogger Awards « C70 at the Bat Says:

    […] comeback from his hip problems. He might have had 40 saves this year if the Cardinals weren’t routinely in games with large score differentials. Ryan Franklin and Russ Springer both had very solid years out of the pen, with Springer fashioning […]


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