The Cardinal Nation blog

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

TCN Blog 2015 Top Story #4: Historically Great Pitching

In this countdown, I have already written about the 2015 St. Louis Cardinals pitching several times. Among the topics have been Carlos Martinez’ breakout, Jaime Garcia’s comeback, Trevor Rosenthal’s consistency as well as Adam Wainwright’s injury and John Lackey admirably filling the gap.

Still, what has been lacking is a full appreciation of what the entire staff accomplished as they powered the team to 100 regular-season victories.

St. Louis’ team ERA of 2.94 was not only the lowest in all of Major League Baseball this season, it is the best by any team in the game over the last 27 years. It is the lowest by a Cardinals staff since 1969, way back when Bob Gibson was in his prime.

The low run-scoring was helped by the staff limiting the opposition to a .210 batting average with runners in scoring position. It was the team’s lowest such mark since 1974.

The Cards held their opposition to two or fewer runs in 80 of their 162 games (49%), which was 16 more games than the next closest team, San Francisco. St. Louis went 68‐12 in those 80 contests. It was the most two-or-fewer-runs allowed games by a Cardinals staff since 1968, “The Year of the Pitcher,” and the most in the majors since the 1972 Baltimore Orioles of Palmer, Dobson, Cuellar and McNally.

Think about that for a moment. Impressively, these 2015 feats were accomplished essentially without Wainwright, their ace.

Just looking at this season alone, the National League average team ERA was almost an entire run higher, at 3.90.

Here are individual numbers for starters first, followed by the relievers.

Starters

Pitcher Sts QS QS% ERA FIP W-L WL% Team Tm% AvgIP K/9 BB/9 K/BB Spt
Jaime Garcia 20 15 75% 2.43 3.00 10-6 63% 13-7 65% 6.1 6.7 2.1 3.2 3.1
John Lackey 33 26 79% 2.77 3.57 13-10 57% 17-16 52% 6.2 7.2 2.2 3.3 3.8
Lance Lynn 31 19 61% 3.03 3.44 12-11 52% 17-14 55% 5.2 8.6 3.5 2.5 3.1
Carlos Martinez 29 20 69% 3.01 3.21 14-6 70% 22-7 76% 6.0 9.3 3.2 2.9 4.1
Michael Wacha 30 19 63% 3.38 3.87 17-7 71% 21-9 70% 6.0 7.6 2.9 2.6 5.1
Tim Cooney 6 2 33% 3.16 3.58 1-0 100% 2-4 33% 5.1 8.3 2.9 2.9 4.2
Marco Gonzales 1 0 0% 13.50 8.38 0-0 NA 1-0 100% 2.2 3.4 3.4 1.0 8.0
Tyler Lyons 8 2 25% 4.10 4.53 3-1 75% 4-4 50% 5.1 8.9 2.3 4.0 5.8
Adam Wainwright 4 3 75% 1.44 2.13 2-1 67% 3-1 75% 6.0 6.5 1.3 5.0 3.5
Totals 162 106 65% 2.99 3.48* 72-42 58% 100-62 62% 6.0 7.9 4.0

Relievers

Pitcher ERA FIP WAR Sv/Op Sv % Hd FBF/R FBF% IR/S IRS%
Trevor Rosenthal 2.10 2.42 2.0 48/51 94% 0 68/49 72% 14/3 21%
Kevin Siegrist 2.17 2.91 1.4 6/10 60% 28 81/64 79% 24/5 21%
Steve Cishek * 2.31 4.33 -0.1 4/9 44% 10 59/37 63% 17/11 65%
Seth Maness 4.26 3.78 0.3 3/6 50% 21 76/51 67% 59/14 24%
Carlos Villanueva 2.95 3.74 0.2 2/2 100% 1 35/22 63% 6/1 17%
Randy Choate 3.95 3.68 0.1 1/1 100% 9 71/42 59% 57/8 14%
Jonathan Broxton * 2.66 3.56 0.1 0/3 0% 16 66/42 64% 12/6 50%
Matt Belisle 2.67 3.64 0.1 0/1 0% 12 34/19 56% 11/4 36%
Sam Tuivailala 3.07 3.82 0.1 0/0 2 14/9 64% 3/2 67%
Miguel Socolovich 1.82 2.76 0.4 0/0 1 23/18 78% 7/1 14%
Tyler Lyons # 2.95 0/0 1 9/6 67% 6/2 33%
Mitch Harris 3.67 5.39 -0.3 0/0 0 23/15 65% 4/0 0%
Adam Wainwright # 3.00 0/0 0 3/3 100% 0/0
totals 2.82 62/77 81% 88 515/351 68% 211/50 24%
* StL ERA/FIP, full
yr for other stats
# as reliever

Just like following the team’s unprecedented hitting success with runners in scoring position a few years ago, one cannot expect historic results every season. While pitching should again be a strength of the 2016 Cardinals, more offensive help may be needed for the team to have a realistic chance to repeat 100 wins.

Link to The Cardinal Nation Blog’s top 20 stories of the year countdown

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One Response to “TCN Blog 2015 Top Story #4: Historically Great Pitching”

  1. blingboy says:

    First the historic RISP performance, then the historic ERA. What next? Stay tuned. 44 days until pitchers and catchers report. Hopefully, a bunch of guys are busy getting in the best shape of their lives.

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