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Where would the Cardinals be without Lohse and Westbrook?

Where are all the fans who during the off-season wanted the St. Louis Cardinals to dump one or both of Kyle Lohse and Jake Westbrook, even if it meant eating $10 million or more of salary?

Following is a look at what the two have done through April 22, as they have the lowest ERAs among the five starters.

Sure, the season is early, but with Lance Lynn needed in the rotation for Chris Carpenter, where might the Cardinals have been without the aforementioned veteran arms? Both are in the final year of their respective contracts.

St. Louis Cardinals, starting pitchers through 2012 game 16

Pitcher Starts QS ERA P W-L Tm W-L Avg IP K/9 IP Run spt
Garcia 3 2 3.06 2-0 2-1 5.2 5.1 8.3
Lohse 4 4 0.99 3-0 4-0 6.2 5.3 3.5
Lynn 3 2 1.42 3-0 3-0 6.1 8.1 6
Wainwright 3 0 9.88 0-3 0-3 4.1 9.2 2.7
Westbrook 3 3 1.31 2-1 2-1 6.2 4.4 5.7
Starters 16 11 2.75 10-4 11-5 6.1 6.1 5.1
98.1 IP 67 Ks

The Cardinals starters aggregate ERA of 2.75 is third in the National League, after Washington and Philadelphia. Atlanta, with eight wins from starters, is second to St. Louis’ 10.

Several other observations:

While there is no doubt that Adam Wainwright has struggled, his teammates could help remove pressure with some offensive support. Lohse has excelled despite little run backing while Jaime Garcia has been the beneficiary of much support. Of course, as in the case of all of this data, it tends to balance out over time.

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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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21 Responses to “Where would the Cardinals be without Lohse and Westbrook?”

  1. crdswmn says:

    Yep, I was on that bandwagon. Not going to deny it.

    I don’t mind looking like a chump though, as long as they keep it up.

  2. blingboy says:

    I got beat up a little over the winter for being in their corner. I hope they keep it up.

    1. Rafael Furcal (S) SS
    2. Skip Schumaker (L) CF
    3. Matt Holliday (R) LF
    4. Carlos Beltran (S) RF
    5. David Freese (R) 3B
    6. Yadier Molina (R) C
    7. Matt Carpenter (L) 1B
    8. Tyler Greene (R) 2B
    9. Jaime Garcia (L) P

    Maybe the Cubs will cure Holliday.

    • Brian Walton says:

      Of course, they won’t sustain over a full season at this level, but it doesn’t change what has been accomplished to date.

      • friendmouse says:

        Regardless, I have always been (since their inceptions as Cardinals) a backer and fan of both Westbrook and Lohse. Even if they do “flame out” later in the season, I still like these two.
        P.S. Likewise for Skip Schumaker…BIG fan of a big-time ballplayer! I’m so glad he’s back, and starting tonight’s game. Ms. Green, what would it take from Skip to make you change you opinion? Your opinions of Mr. Westbrook and Mr. Lohse were seemingly wrong…I suspect the same trend to continue with Mr. Schumaker. Save face while you can! I’ll forgive if you repent! πŸ™‚

        • crdswmn says:

          I admitted to being on the bandwagon to trade either Lohse or Westbrook (I actually preferred trading Westbrook). This was based on past performance. Both have performed well thus far and that must be acknowledged. Doesn’t mean they will continue to perform at this level. More likely the performance will recede somewhat because essentially they are both average pitchers. Given what we have in the minors, I don’t see any reason to re-sign either one of them though.

          I don’t dislike Skip. But Skip has very limited defensive skills and that is never going to change. He is persistently placed in situations where he simply cannot perform to a level that is required. His skills are that of a 4th or 5th outfielder. He works as a late inning replacement in a corner OF spot. He has bench player skills, nothing more. He doesn’t have the speed or agility to play CF adequately, and his skills at second base are even worse. He is a hitting for average singles hitter, which tends to make people think he is a better hitter than he really is. He is not a bad hitter by any means, but he isn’t so good that his poor defensive skills would justify making him an everyday player. This is my opinion, and I realize it is not popular but there it is. I am not alone in this opinion, though I may be among most on this forum. That is fine. My opinion will not change. But like I have said before, what I think is not worth spit to anyone but me.

          • friendmouse says:

            Thanks for your response…you do make some valid points. But it just boils down to the ol’ “agree to disagree” dilemma, which really isn’t much of a dilemma at all, in the scheme of things. Were one to OBJECTIVELY boil this all down, from a totally dis-interested, 3rd-party perspective, I perhaps do give more credit to Skip than he deserves and you give Skip less credit than he deserves. And flip it for T-Greene, although I’ll admit it is near to impossible for me to be objective concerning these two. The old “Eyes of the beholder” syndrome. I cannot see that TG has ever done much, if anything of worth, in helping the Cardinals win ballgames. Oh, sure, he has some rbi’s and runs scored that have meant the difference a time or two in our losing or winning a particular game on a particular day. But using those same subjective measures, Schumaker has done exponentially more. Granted, Skip has had more opportunities than has Tyler, but on balance, when you look at their collective opportunities, I submit that Schumaker has made the most of his opportunities, and Greene has made the least of his opportunities. That, in my mind, is the reality, and the difference between these two…one who performs to (or past) his potential versus one who does not. And Greene’s potential, according to most pundits, is far greater than is Schumakers.
            Enough (probably too much) said on this topic of who’s better…Skip or Tyler. I choose Skip; you choose Tyler. And may the best man win…so that the Cardinals continue to win!!

  3. Nutlaw says:

    I’m good with Lohse, though opposing batters are hitting a .203 BABIP against him, so some of that is luck. However, his ground ball rate is slightly better than his career norm and he has 16 strikeouts to 2 walks. As with any fly ball pitcher, he looks great until some of those fly balls sail over the fences.

    I wanted Westbrook in the bullpen in favor of Oswalt this off-season and I still want him there. He has a .219 BABIP against him, so he’s been equally as lucky as Lohse. Unlike Lohse, he has only 10 Ks to 7 BBs. He has been doing quite well at keeping the ball on the ground, so I won’t be too harsh on him.

  4. Nutlaw says:

    Wainwright has given up 5 HRs on the season. That comes out to 21.7% of his flyballs sailing over the fence. His career rate is 6%. He’s just been unlucky.

    Lynn has been legitimately good, but his .182 BABIP won’t last either. Not having Theriot bumbling around the middle infield helps, but not that much.

    • JumboShrimp says:

      Nutlaw, you run a risk of concluding your own assumption as regards Wainwrights gopher balls. You assume HR flies have to be consistent through a career, thus an uptick is merely a bad luck illusion. It seems more likely some loss of pitch quality contributes to what you now call bad luck. He has lost a bit and some batters are taking advantage.

      • Nutlaw says:

        Sure, it’s possible that it’s not all bad luck. Pitchers tend not to be able to control whether or not a ball is hit as a home run, however, only whether or not it is a fly ball. I’m not worried.

        • blingboy says:

          How far a fly ball goes seems like it depends on if its hit on the sweet spot rather than out towards the end or in towards the label. That would have to do with the pitchers ability to keep the hitters’s timing off a bit as well as with movement and location. And a ground ball hit on the sweet spot would be hit harder and have a better chance of going through. Liners hit harder have a better chance of falling in. So I tend to think that pitchers make their own luck. Not the current common wisdom, I know.

  5. JumboShrimp says:

    Lohse has been great for the Cards. He was nifty in 2008 and rewarded with a 4 year deal. The first two years were badly undercut by being hit by a pitch that required an operation. He bounced back with a strong 2011 and is off to the races again. Lohse is a pitcher’s pitcher. He takes the ball, collects 200 innings. Unless injured, as in 2009/10, Lohse has pitched very well for the Birds.
    I never wanted Westbrook as an $8.5MM middle reliever. We are paying these guys too much anyway, without adding Oswalt.

  6. blingboy says:

    Can’t believe Garcia got charged with a wild pitch on that ball that got through Yadi. Helps to be a gold glove I guess.

    Got the “Freese Game” DVD from the contest. I’m thinking its a good excuse to update the big screen and fit out a surround sound system which I’ve been wanting to do for some time. The big unit thinks its an insane waste of money and I should put “grow up” on my bucket list.

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