It’s August 25, 2012. On this day in 1944, the Allies liberated Paris, in 1950, President Harry Truman ordered the US Army to seize the railroads to avoid a strike, and in 1998 a survey was released that said 1/3 of Americans used the internet. In baseball history, Logan Morrison and Justin Upton were born in 1987, and in 2010 Felix Hernandez recorded his 1000th career strikeout. But for Cardinals’ fans, August 25 has a very special significance. August 25, 2011 marked the turning point in the Cardinals’ historic run to an 11th World Championship. 10 1/2 games back of the NL Wild Card on that day, the Redbirds went 23-9 in their remaining 32 games, and well, you know the rest.
It is now a year later, and on this day the Cardinals are currently 69-56, 6 games behind the Reds in the NL Central, and in possession of the 2nd Wild Card spot. The Cardinals are 1.5 games behind the Atlanta Braves for the first Wild Card spot. That is 9 games ahead of where the Cardinals were on this day in 2011. It’s not first place in the division (not yet anyway), but it’s not a bad place to be, all things considered. In fact, let’s compare how this team is playing now with how the 2011 team was playing on this particular day, shall we?
On August 25, 2011, the Cardinals played the Pittsburgh Pirates at Busch Stadium. Edwin Jackson (10-9) was on the mound for the Redbirds and Charlie Morton (9-7) was pitching for the Pirates. The Cardinals won that game 8-4 and ended the night with a record of 68-63, only 5 games over .500. The 2012 Cardinals are 69-56, 13 games over .500 . Our starting pitching staff consisted of the aforementioned Edwin Jackson, Kyle Lohse (11-8), Jaime Garcia (10-7), Jake Westbrook (10-7), and Chris Carpenter (8-9). The 2012 pitching staff are Adam Wainwright (12-10), Kyle Lohse (13-2), Jake Westbrook (13-9), Lance Lynn (13-5) and Jaime Garcia (3-4). Garcia, of course, is newly returned to the rotation after a more than 2 month hiatus due to injury. On August 25, 2011 the Cardinals’ pitching ERA was 3.89. The 2012 pitching ERA is 3.65
Now let’s compare the numbers of some of the Cardinals’ hitters from 2011 to 2012. (Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com)
Matt Holliday .307/.404/.546 16 HR 67 RBI .302/.379/.516 23 HR 85 RBI
Allen Craig .326/.382/.536 6 HR 27 RBI (153 PA) .318/.379/.582 18 HR 68 RBI (356 PA)
Yadier Molina .289/.329/.446 11 HR 48 RBI .328/.379/.518 17 HR 61 RBI
David Freese .306/.352/.440 8 HR 42 RBI (273 PA) .299/.370/.477 17 HR 71 RBI (465 PA)
In 2011, the Cardinals had Albert Pujols, who on 8/25/2011 was hitting .290/.360/.540 with 31 HR and 78 RBI.
In 2012, the Cardinals have Carlos Beltran, who is hitting .276/.348/.524 with 28 HR and 85 RBI.
While many Cardinals fans (and some baseball writers) are beating the drum of What’s the Matter with the 2012 Cardinals, those 2012 Cardinals are quietly putting up better numbers right now than the 2011 World Champion Cardinals put up this time last year. I am not an expert in Sabermetrics by a long shot, but I bet those who are will tell you that statistically there is not a blooming thing wrong with the 2012 Cardinals. This team may not be in first place in the standings, but when all is said and done, as last year taught us, when the postseason comes the standings don’t mean a hill of beans on a Sunday.
So quit yer whining. And Happy Anniversary.