As I always do before a radio appearance, I pull the most recent stats sheets for the Cardinals and the National League. I was a bit surprised at what I saw.
With 11 games played and eight wins in the bank, the team is one or often two decisions ahead of the other clubs. Still, the Cards have some impressive stats in the average as well as the counting categories.
Here is a very quick run through some of the team highlights.
Batting average: #1 in the NL at .299. The next closest club, the Mets, are 17 points behind.
Home runs: #1 (tied) with 13.
When is the last time the Cards paced the NL in long balls for an entire season? It was way, way back in 1940. Johnny Mize led the Cardinals, the National League and MLB with 43 home runs, so he gets the photo.
The original “Big Cat” was my personal choice as the #13 Cardinals player of all time. Though Mize came out #18 in the final voting, I offered a case comparing his numbers with those of Albert Pujols. Though he didn’t remain a Cardinal as long, Mize’s stats were Pujolsian.
Though the Cardinals finishing number one in the NL in home runs likely won’t happen in 2009, it is a fine start.
Sacrifices: #1 with 11. A stat that shows a team working together. The next closest team total is seven.
Strikeouts: Fifth fewest at 58. Good to see that with all the offense the club isn’t striking out a lot.
On-base percentage: #1 at .377.
Slugging: #1 at .479. The next closest clubs are 34 points behind.
ERA: #5 at 3.34. The pitchers are first at 2.86 while the relievers are in the middle of the pack of their NL peers at 4.28 runs per nine innings. Thursday’s game helped bring the two Cardinals groups closer.
Hits: #2 at 92. A by-product of playing more games.
Runs allowed: Tied for seventh at 41. Not bad at all considering the hits allowed.
Walks: Fifth fewest at 31. Very impressive.
Strikeouts: #4 at 72. Not what the staff will be known for, but the youngsters help.
Opposing batting average: #4 at .241. Keeping the runners off base.