Have we seen any game management improvement from Cardinals manager Oli Marmol?

The numbers show that we might be seeing improvement in a few areas.
St. Louis Cardinals v San Diego Padres
St. Louis Cardinals v San Diego Padres / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages
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What makes baseball fans the most passionate in all of sports is partly because most played as kids. It started as just kids in the neighborhood getting together, then Little League. Some made the high school team, and some even played college ball. Almost everyone, at one time, went to a game with our dads or moms and cheered for the players we wanted to be. 

Today you can turn on the TV and see every game. Satellite radio features several games being played by teams not named Cardinals. If you want to know what the infield fly rule is, Google it and you will find over 100,000 results. We have all become experts in all things related to baseball. 

It’s easy to see that the St. Louis Cardinals were bad last year. This year is just as frustrating for the fans. Some think the manager should be fired after every loss because everyone is an expert now. We know when pitchers should face the next batter or be removed from the game. We have our ideas on how the lineup should be or when players should be pinch-hit for and other strategies the manager comes up with.

Fans’ passion can sometimes cloud their judgment with emotions, causing them to overlook facts. I can be guilty of that too, so I spend a lot of time looking for trends and doing deeper dives into the data. 

After last season, there were many articles written about the performance of the team and even more about the manager Oliver Marmol. With this season more than one-third complete, have we seen any improvement?

 The record is slightly better. After 61 games the Cardinals have won four more games. Last year they were 8 games out of first place and this year they are 6.5. 

There were several things I looked at last year to compare Marmol’s performance to the rest of the league. At the end of last season, I took a dive into things managers have some control over. The criteria I used were simple. Since context matters, it wouldn’t be fair to compare the number of stolen bases of a Whitey team to this one. But we could compare this team, this year, to the other 31 teams. We can’t use something like home runs because that isn’t something a manager can call for. He can, however, call for the batter to bunt or hit a sacrifice fly. A manager decides when to change pitchers in a game. Do you let the runner steal a base to get into scoring position?