Series Preview: St. Louis Cardinals (90-72) vs Philadelphia Phillies (102-60)

St. Louis squeaked its way into the playoffs thanks to a late-season collapse by the Braves. Again, I find it crazy that there are 2 NL Central teams in the playoffs.

Team Overviews

Team stats, with NL rank in parentheses

Cardinals Phillies
wOBA .332 (1st) .316 (6th)
UBR 4.0 (5th) -5.7 (14th)
UZR -29.8 (15th) -10 (9th)
DRS -13 (11th) -31 (14th)
SP FIP 3.69 (5th) 2.98 (1st)
RP FIP 3.87 (13th) 3.91 (14th)

Overall Philly’s rankings don’t look that great but their starting pitching more than makes up for the rest. I’m surprised to see both teams grade out poorly on defense. Well, maybe not that surprsing in Philly’s case

And that was before he aged an additonal three years!

The Cardinals have had several culprits contributing to their negative defensive numbers, most notably Lancer Berkman (not surprsing), Ryan Theriot (also not surprising), and Skip Schumaker (not surprising). More surprising is that no one at all posted a UZR over 3 this year.

Pitching Matchups

Saturday: Kyle Lohse vs Roy Halladay, Philies win 11-6

The Cardinals got off to an early 3-0 lead thanks to a Berkman bomb but the final score reflected what you might expect from the pitching matchup.

Sunday: Chris Carpenter, RHP (3.45, 3.06, 3.31) vs Cliff Lee, LHP (2.40, 2.60, 2.68)

From what I remember, Carpenter got off to a slow start but looking at his numbers now he certainly managed to turn it around. He was nails in game 162, throwing a complete game shutout while striking out 11 Astros.

Cliff Lee probably deserves the CYA, but Kreshaw is going to get it because Lee is “only” 17-6. If my twitter feed is to be believed, he saw half a million leads blown by his bullpen this year.

Tuesday: Cole Hamels, LHP (2.79, 3.05, 3.02) vs Jaime Garcia, RHP (2.70, 3.41, 3.62)

Cole Hamels has quietly had the best season of his career in the shadow of Lee and Halladay. I can’t see his name without thinking of the hilarious twitter account @FanSince09. Shoulda traded Coal Hammels, indeed.

Not only did Garcia avoid the sophomore slump this year, he lowered his walk rate by a full batter per nine. He’s the real deal.

Wednesday: Roy Oswalt, RHP (3.69, 3.44, 3.95) vs Edwin Jackson, RHP (3.79, 3.55, 3.73)

What is it about Edwin Jackson’s career 4.34 FIP that makes him such a hot commodity? As I alluded to in the other NL preview, Jackson has been involved in two of the biggest hornswoggles of the past few years – the Daniel Hudson trade to ARI and the Colby Rasmus trade to STL. He’s been on seven teams during his career. I just don’t get it. StL should have done the right thing and gotten rid of the real problem in their clubhouse – Tony La Russa.

Oswalt was banged up a bit this year and not surprisingly saw a big drop in his strikeout rate. It’s strange that this is only his second season with the Phillies. It already feels like he’s been pitching there forever.

Friday: Chris Carpenter vs Roy Halladay, RHP (2.35, 2.20, 2.71)

Speaking of pitchers who deserve a CYA, Halladay just put up the best season of his HOF career. He set career bests in strikeouts and HR allowed in 2011, and should be going strong as he actually pitched 20 innings less than he did last year.

Prediction

I hope this series goes 5 because that matchup would be incredible. Unfortunately I think it’s Phillies in four.


berselius

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