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

Cardinals First-Half Pitching Compares Well

The mathematician in me has a hard time calling the segment of the major league season that just completed “the first half.” After all, the St. Louis Cardinals have already played 96 of their 162 regular season games or 59.3 percent of all games and would be at 97/59.9 percent except for a rainout.

With different lengths to each year’s “first half,” it is a worthless effort to compare first halves using any counting stats, such as hits, home runs, wins or strikeouts. However, rate stats can offer valid comparisons. (Thanks to researcher Tom Orf, I have first half data for the last 101 years, all the way back to 1914. Though in reality, before the All-Star Game was created in 1933, the delineation of halves may be up for debate.)

Here, we look at the 2014 Cardinals’ exceptional pitching staff. Compared to prior years, their team ERA of 3.42 is good but not great, ranking them in the 20s of 101.

Where the Cardinals pitching really stands out is their opponent batting average of .241 and the related on-base percentage of .307. That ranks seventh- and 11th-best, respectively, since 1914. The .241 batting average posted is lowest by a Cardinals pitching staff since 1966, almost 40 years.

Their opponent slugging percentage is least impressive of these slash stats, but still just missed the top quartile at 28th. Putting it all together in OPS, on-base plus slugging, the 2014 Cardinals staff ranks in the top 20 over the last 101 years.

The main question in my mind is whether it can be sustained for the remainder of the year given the injuries and workload some of pitchers have taken on.

Rank Year BA
Rank Year OBP
Rank Year SLG
1986 0.228 1918 0.285 24 2014 0.372
1918 0.228 1966 0.292
1978 0.239 1916 0.294
1916 0.239 1978 0.295 Rank Year OPS
1917 0.241 1968 0.299 22 2014 0.690
1914 0.245 1917 0.301
1990 0.246 1986 0.304
1966 0.247 1964 0.308
1973 0.248 1919 0.310
1968 0.248 1965 0.311
1984 0.249 1988 0.314
1965 0.250 1990 0.315
13 2014 0.252 1992 0.315
1914 0.317
1972 0.317
16 2014 0.318

Next time, we will take a quick look at the hitters.

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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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2 Responses to “Cardinals First-Half Pitching Compares Well”

  1. Bw52 says:

    Rough night for Cards oitchers at ALL_STAR game.Trout`s ball in the 1st could have been caught if Puig played it better.Still AW wasn`t fooling a lot of the hitters early.Neshek rough game too .AT least no Cards where drilled like Atlee Hammaker of SF years ago.

  2. […] the prior installment, we looked at how successful St. Louis Cardinals pitching had been during the first half of the […]

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