The 2018 St. Louis Cardinals struck out far too frequently in games 1-3.
Here’s the skinny on this one: the St. Louis Cardinals need to hit like they did in their winning contests and less like they did in their losing contests. How’s that for some “duh” writing?
But when you get right down to it, that’s what is needed. Here’s a breakdown of the winning games vs. losing games as they relate to hit counts:
Winning games- April 1 (nine hits), April 2 (13 hits), and April 4 (nine hits).
Losing games- March 29 (six hits), March 31 (seven hits), and April 3 (10 hits).
While there isn’t a real pattern here, we can see that the St. Louis Cardinals hit a total of 31 hits in winning contests and only 23 hits in losing competitions. But wait, it gets worse still…
In winning competitions (a quick reminder of the small sample size), the St. Louis Cardinals struck out a total of 25 times. These broke down to eight Ks on 4/1, eight Ks on 4/2, and nine Ks on 4/4. On the flip side, in losing competitions the Cardinals K’d a total of 34 times. 34 times in six games!
Before moving on, let’s look at those numbers one more time. In winning contests, the St. Louis Cardinals out-hit their losing competitions by a margin of 31-to-23 or a difference of eight additional hits. Furthermore, the Cards struck out at a rate of 25-to-34 (winning-to-losing) or a difference of nine additional strikeouts in lost competitions.
One quick aside: the St. Louis Cardinals walked at a shockingly-low rate in the first six games of 2018. The team walked only 17 times in the six contests. If you are keeping score at home, this means that the Cardinals K-to-walk ratio is 59:17. The team struck out 42 additional times to their number of walks!
Lastly, related to offense, the Cardinals left a horrific 73 runners on base during the first six contests. These broke down as 35 LOB in winning contests and 38 LOB in losing contests. Look at that again: 35 LOB in winning contests and 38 LOB in losing contests. Notice that the disparity is not so great as were the comparisons above.
What does this tell you? To me it says that the Cardinals have a problem with the offense on two fronts– striking out and gathering hits with runners on base/scoring the ducks on the pond.
I recommend that the Cardinals finally fess-up to the fact that their offense has been miserable over the past few seasons and that John Mabry should be exiting (and should have exited alongside Derek Lilliquist).
Let me add this before moving on: I do not believe this will be a pandemic the entire season. The individual parts of the 2018 team will get it together and certainly have the opportunity to rake.