Pitching and Defense
Without a doubt the Cardinals’ starting pitching was dreadful. There isn’t a lot that a manager can do with that. However, what he does with the relievers can mitigate the outcome of a game even with bad starts from his pitchers. When to go to the pen and which reliever to bring in is one of the biggest responsibilities of a manager.
Wlst -- Wins Lost (At the time the pitcher faced his final batter the pitcher was in position for a win, but the game was blown by the bullpen ) The Cardinals are tied for the second worse.
Losses Saved (At the time of his last batter the pitcher was in position for a loss, but the team came back to tie or take the lead. ) The Cardinals are second worse.
These two stats pretty much tell the story of the season. They can’t hold a lead and they can’t seem to come back after being down a run or more.
But is this all the fault of the pitchers? I don’t think so.
Inherited Runners (Number of runners on base when pitcher entered the game.) We have the third most runners on base when a reliever enters the game.
Games Entered With Bases Empty (Pitcher entered the game with no runners on base) Only one other team has fewer times having their relievers enter the game without it being a high-leverage situation.
IPmult (Games the pitcher pitched in more than one inning ) Rank 32. No other team in baseball has their relievers pitch more than one inning than the Cardinals.
This team has the 10th-highest amount of payroll spent on a pitching staff. The Cardinals WAR with that payroll is 29th. When you wait too long to bring in the reliever and he has to be perfect or you bring him in too early and make him pitch more than one inning bad things will happen. When you turn relievers into starters and starters into relievers as we have done this year, that only complicates things even more.
If you have a great defense that will cover up a lot of pitching inefficiencies. Outs Above Average we rank fourth from the bottom with a -26. Defensive Efficiency (Percentage of balls in play converted into outs) We are dead last.
I wrote a complete breakdown of the Cardinals’ defense here. The bottom line is that with all the Gold Gloves on this team the only way our defense is this bad is either with bad positioning or a complete indifference.