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

Cardinals and Rockies pitching have similarities

Though it seems an eternity ago, the St. Louis Cardinals’ 2011 regular season began eight weeks and 51 games in the past. The 30-21 club has played very well at times, while at others, their performance was lacking.

This weekend marks the first matchups of the season with the 24-25 Colorado Rockies. Manager Jim Tracy’s team is not having a good homestand, having just been swept by the surprising Arizona Diamondbacks.

Rockies’ ace Ubaldo Jimenez did not appear during that series, but takes the mound Friday night against St. Louis. Like Chris Carpenter in the other dugout, he has struggled in 2011. Ubaldo comes into Friday’s start with a 0-4 record and a 5.44 ERA.

Against St. Louis over his career, the 27-year-old Dominican, the third-place finisher in last year’s National League Cy Young Award voting, is 2-2 with a 2.85 ERA in six starts. Jimenez has fanned 40 Cardinals in 41 innings.

Jimenez’ career numbers vs. Cardinals hitters

Berkman Craig Descalso Greene Holliday Jay Molina Pujols Rasmus Schumaker Theriot
4-13 .308 1-3 .333 0-3 .000 0-1 .000 3-10 .300 1-2 .500 3-10 .300 2-12 .167 4-14 .286 1-17 .059 6-22 .273
2 BB 1K 1 BB 2 K 2 K 1 K 2 K 1 BB 2 K 2 BB 3 K 5 K 3 BB 2 K 3 BB 2 K

As you can see above, even when not slumping, Albert Pujols is among the many not able to consistently solve Ubaldo. Skip Schumaker has been most futile among the Cardinals.

As I was perusing the stats sheets, I noticed similarities between these clubs’ pitching. Both teams’ starters hold their opponents at bay pretty well, with considerably more hay made against their pens.

Needless to say, getting Jimenez into the showers as early as possible should be the name of the game. Of course, the Rockies are thinking the same thing about the Cardinals.

Lowest OBA vs. starters NL rank vs. relievers NL rank
COL 0.233 3 0.249 13
StL 0.248 5 0.256 14

On the St. Louis side, Jake Westbrook gets the start. He is 2-0 with a 1.15 ERA over his career against the Rockies. Here is how the veteran right-hander has fared against Colorado batters in the past.

Westbrook’s career numbers vs. Rockies hitters

Fowler Giambi Gonzalez Helton Herrera Iannetta Lopez Smith Spilborghs Tulowitzki Wigginton
2-4 .500 6-16 .375 0-3 .000 1-7 .143 1-3 .333 0-3 .000 1-7 .143 1-1 1.000 0-3 .000 0-3 .000 4-13 .308
2 K 2 HR 5 BB 3K 1 K 3 K 1 BB 1 K 1 K 1 K 3 K

The sinkerball specialist headlines a St. Louis staff that leads the NL in ground ball to fly ball ratio. In another similarity between the two clubs, Colorado is third among the 16 NL teams.

GB/FB % Staff NL rank
StL 1.81 1
COL 1.60 3

One final thought. Why does Jimenez, the star of a television commercial that draws attention to his unusual first name, wear his full uniform on the team bus?

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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