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Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

Cardinals quality starts come from quality starters


While the offensive exploits of newcomers Matt Holliday and Mark DeRosa have dominated headlines, the St. Louis Cardinals have been winning as much or more because of their quality starting pitching.

Coming into Sunday, the Cardinals starting pitching staff had worked an National League-high 664 innings this season, posting a league-best 45 wins while ranking second in ERA (3.56). Three of the Cardinals starters are among the NL’s top 10 in ERA: Chris Carpenter (2.10, first); Adam Wainwright (2.79, eighth, pictured) and Joel Pineiro (2.84, ninth).

Another pitching metric is the term “quality start”, coined to reflect a good outing by a starting pitcher. Specifically the appearance must be six innings or more allowing three or fewer runs.

Currently, there is a three-way lead in the NL at 18 quality starts this season held by Dan Haren, Josh Johnson and Tim Lincecum. Pineiro is among a group tied for sixth at 15, with Wainwright and Carpenter right behind at 14 each. Only St. Louis, Arizona and Atlanta have three starters with as many as 14 quality starts in 2009.

In terms of ongoing streaks, Pineiro leads with nine games, Wainwright has eight in a row including Sunday while Carp has just six. However, the latter also had a seven-start run earlier this season.

With the Cardinals this decade, Pineiro’s and Wainwright’s current streaks are third and tied for fourth longest, respectively. The longest? It was Carpenter of course, at 22 consecutive quality starts during his Cy Young Award season in 2005.

Cardinals consecutive quality starts (2000-2009)

Streak Start Streak End G W L GS CG SHO IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Chris Carpenter 5/12/2005 9/8/2005 22 17 2 22 6 3 173.1 120 34 32 33 158 11 1.66
Woody Williams 5/15/2002 7/1/2002 10 6 3 10 1 0 69.2 51 19 18 18 55 8 2.33
Joel Pineiro 6/12/2009 7/29/2009 * 9 4 3 9 2 1 66 48 18 12 6 32 1 1.64
Adam Wainwright 6/26/2009 8/2/2009 * 8 4 3 8 1 0 60.1 56 11 10 17 56 1 1.49
Matt Morris 4/11/2001 5/17/2001 8 6 1 8 1 1 59 43 11 10 13 47 3 1.53
Chris Carpenter 5/25/2009 6/25/2009 7 3 2 7 1 0 50.2 29 13 13 5 35 3 2.31
Jason Marquis 4/11/2004 5/14/2004 7 2 2 7 0 0 47 42 15 14 18 23 3 2.68
Matt Morris 4/5/2003 5/9/2003 7 4 2 7 2 0 52.2 40 13 12 15 45 6 2.05
Darryl Kile 6/18/2001 7/22/2001 7 3 1 7 0 0 48.1 46 14 13 9 42 4 2.42
Rick Ankiel 8/23/2000 9/27/2000 7 4 0 7 0 0 45.2 31 13 10 16 54 4 1.97
Andy Benes 6/12/2000 7/18/2000 7 5 1 7 1 0 47 44 17 16 20 50 5 3.06
Andy Benes 4/18/2000 5/21/2000 7 4 1 7 0 0 45.2 44 19 19 11 41 6 3.74
Chris Carpenter 7/5/2009 8/1/2009 * 6 5 0 6 1 0 45 44 8 8 8 30 2 1.60
Braden Looper 7/28/2008 8/24/2008 6 3 2 6 0 0 42 30 12 11 8 23 4 2.36
Todd Wellemeyer 5/9/2008 6/5/2008 6 4 0 6 0 0 38 30 9 7 9 22 2 1.66
Adam Wainwright 7/31/2007 8/26/2007 6 3 1 6 1 0 42 39 10 10 11 35 2 2.14
Mark Mulder 8/17/2005 9/17/2005 6 3 1 6 2 1 48 37 8 7 9 24 1 1.31
Chris Carpenter 5/9/2004 6/7/2004 6 5 0 6 0 0 44.2 34 11 11 5 32 6 2.22
Woody Williams 8/31/2001 10/5/2001 6 5 0 6 3 1 48 20 7 5 11 35 3 0.94
Dustin Hermanson 7/25/2001 8/21/2001 6 5 1 6 0 0 38.2 36 17 12 17 27 5 2.79
Bud Smith 7/16/2001 8/13/2001 6 2 1 6 0 0 39 34 12 12 10 25 5 2.77
Dustin Hermanson 4/22/2001 5/20/2001 6 4 0 6 0 0 40 35 11 10 10 21 6 2.25
* current streak

Thanks to Tom Orf for the above table.

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