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Carpenter’s support ranks among MLB’s worst

Lost in the rubble of Tuesday night’s bullpen failure by the St. Louis Cardinals, as represented by blown save in the ninth and a walkoff home run served up in the 11th, was the fact that it was another contest in which the offense did not put enough distance between themselves and their opposition to allow any margin for error.

I have become very weary of those citing the fact that the Cardinals lead the National League in total runs scored this season. The standings are based on individual games, not accumulated year-long stats. The fact is that the Cardinals were built to outscore their opposition, yet are consistently lacking the timely hit, not scoring enough runs when they are needed most.

Further, with 11 walkoff losses and counting this season, the bullpen has too often failed in situations with the game on the line. Across Major League Baseball, only the Washington Nationals, with 23 blown saves, have more than the Cardinals’ 21.

Exhibit A is offered on behalf of Tuesday’s starting pitcher Chris Carpenter.

There is no doubt that Carpenter contributed to his own downfall. In the third inning, he walked the opposing pitcher and yielded an infield single to the leadoff man, but could have escaped the jam had second baseman Skip Schumaker cleanly handled a double-play opportunity. Instead, a three-run home run by Neil Walker ensued.

Carpenter went on to fan a Cardinals staff season-best 10 batters, perhaps knowing that a K is the best approach to keep the ball away both from opposing bats and his fielders.

Carp did not allow any further damage after the home run, going seven full innings and leaving the tie game at 3-3.

By now, he has to be very used to not being given any room to breathe. Carpenter receives the lowest offensive run support of any Cardinals pitcher at just 4.0 runs per start this season.

Despite him receiving a “no-decision” on Tuesday, in stat terms, it was a quality start. The term is defined by a pitcher going at least six innings while allowing three or fewer runs.

That is also familiar territory for Carpenter.

Tuesday marked his 15th quality start since the beginning of last season in which Carpenter received a no-decision. That is tied for fourth-most in all of Major League Baseball.

In other words, in the view of most, Carpenter pitched well enough to win 15 more games this year and last but either did not receive enough run support, suffered a bullpen failure behind him, or both.

Here is the list of the 14 MLB pitchers with at least 12 such disappointments during this time.

No-decision quality starts, MLB, beginning of 2010 season through August 16, 2011

T1 Brett Myers 2.76 17 0 111 103 34 6 40 83 1.29
T1 Dan Haren 1.94 17 0 120 95 26 6 30 107 1.04

3 Shaun Marcum 2.56 16 0 105 86 30 9 23 78 1.03

T4 Chris Carpenter 2.66 15 0 105 95 31 8 28 90 1.17
T4 Matt Cain 2.93 15 0 98.1 71 32 9 24 83 0.97

T6 Jason Vargas 2.00 14 0 94.2 85 21 4 20 58 1.11
T6 Ian Kennedy 1.88 14 0 96 64 20 9 33 80 1.01

T8 Justin Masterson 2.06 13 0 91.2 76 21 1 20 73 1.05
T8 Jered Weaver 1.51 13 0 95.2 68 16 7 20 88 0.92
T8 Wandy Rodriguez 2.01 13 0 89.2 77 20 7 23 83 1.12
T8 Josh Johnson 1.77 13 0 86.1 62 17 5 19 83 0.94

T12 Tim Hudson 2.48 12 0 80 69 22 8 23 45 1.15
T12 Livan Hernandez 2.41 12 0 78.1 77 21 5 20 39 1.24
T12 Felix Hernandez 1.95 12 0 87.2 64 19 4 22 85 0.98

Thanks to researcher Tom Orf for supplying the above table.

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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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13 Responses to “Carpenter’s support ranks among MLB’s worst”

    • Brian Walton says:

      Thank you very much. Nice work.

      P.S. Great minds think alike. I had a similar poll included in this post initially, but pulled it down for now. I will bring it back in a few days.

    • friendmouse says:

      Nice blog, woman. 🙂

      Another stat I’m curious about (well, more than one actually) is how many walk-off’s have WE had this year? Fewer than 11 I’m sure. Then the other thing is…how do we rate compared to the other NL teams in allowing walk-off and delivering the winning walk-off? Again, I expect we’re near the “bad” end of each spectrum.

      And what is up with our lefty specialists this year? We thought Tallet was bad (he was); we thought T.Miller was bad (he was); but what about ol’ man Rhodes? I thought he came with a near-pristine reputation going against southpaws. Well, the walk-off last night was off the bat of a lefty. I know…it’s easy to be a “Monday Morning Quarterback,” but perhaps TLR & DD need to do some serious pondering of the existing paradigm, and contemplate shifting it. We miss L.Lynn, but K-Mac & M-zep should be our go-to guys instead of A-Rhodes, imo. That would be another nice stat to have…how many times have we brought in a lefty reliever to face a lefty batter, and the result was…not an out? For cryin’ out loud, that’s the whole purpose, and if they cannot do that, then forget about even trying it. These so-called lefty specialists (I know…LOOGY is the fitting moniker, but still don’t like it much) absolutely should have an “OUT” ratio of AT LEAST 4:1….for every 5 lefties faced, 4 of them should make outs. Actually, it should be more like 7:1, but I’m a bit of a softy. My cynical self today says our ratio on the year is probably about 2.5 : 1.

      The sad truth about last night’s game is that it was not a fluke…we got beat by a better team, plain and simple. When you combine all the elements of fielding, throwing, hitting, running, and pitching, the Pittsburg Pirates are better than the St. Louis Cardinals. We should be better than we are; they should not. They are realizing their full potential; we are not. Kudos to them; shame on us.

    • Kansasbirdman says:

      Good, but unfortunately. For us fans, sad, article. I read your poll to mean losses period, and I voted for pitching, our bullpen has been suspect (mostly in the beginning) and our starting pitching has been hit and miss, although it seems like pitchers are getting left in too long like rhodes last night so that coukd be managerial (I know, jones had been like 0 for 9 against rhodes but still, he is a loogy now). If we are going to make it deep in the postseason we need more multi ace-type starting pitching ala the phillies, giants, and now brewers. We have the bats. Good starting pitching would save even a mediocre pen.

  1. Brian Walton says:

    Wednesday lineup: Furcal 6, Craig 9, Pujols 3, Holliday 7, Freese 5, Molina 2, Theriot 4, Jay 8, Lohse 1.

  2. Bw52 says:

    Way to go Craig.Good start .Keep going gang.

  3. Bw52 says:

    Damned Double plays.

  4. JumboShrimp says:

    Allen Craig can make a difference, when on his game. He missed two weeks on the DL injuring himself on a needless steal attempt. Then he broke a kneecap and has lost a couple of months. This has had a considerable impact, not for the good.
    Its great that he is back and had a breakout game. We will need more from him.

  5. Bw52 says:

    Jumbo-I think Craig will be a regular next season at RF.He might not hit 20 plus HRs but he seems like a 15 HR 75 RBI man.Maybe more.Juan Encarnacion numbers at a cheaper rate.

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