Monday, May 30, 2005
Still selling juice
Ah, a trip to Coors Field, Rocky Mountain getaway, cool, dry mountain air, and a chance to pad those stats. However, even though the last two games of the month are in Denver, the Cards' stats don't need padded all that much; they're pretty darn good. Team batting stats for May 2005: .280/.347/.448/.795 That's good enough for 5th in the majors for team batting and 3rd in the NL. The Cards' OPS is 8th in the bigs and 3rd in the NL. Of note, the Pirates and the Phils are the two NL teams ahead of us in those categories. Also for May, the Cards have 151 runs (2nd in the majors, 1st in the NL), 33 dingers (6th in majors, 2nd in the NL), and 420 total bases (3rd in the majors, 2nd in the NL). How's this compare with April? It's vastly better. Take a look: .252/.326/.418/.744 and we only put up 105 runs (16th in the majors). Our team BA for April was good enough only for the 20th rank in MLB. Point numero dos The most recent issue of Sports Illustrated has an article about hitting being down this year as potentially a result of the new drug testing policy. So, I started thinking. If this is true, the Cards big hitters aren't juicers (I don't know that for sure, but it's a safe assumption, of course, I didn't think Big Mac was doing anything but creatine either...). Juice didn't just make a difference in the paychecks of players, it continues to be a cash cow for baseball writers. I guess having the BBWA card doesn't exempt one from the predominating journalistic moores. The Cards team hitting line for 2004 was .278/.344/.460/.804, that's the total. Now May and April were pretty disparate months for the Cards in 04. Take a look. April '04: .284/.345/.515/.861 - 130 runs, 40 HRs May '04: .257/.317/.397/.715 - 119 runs, 28 HRs That's a huge difference, 118 points for slugging between the two months. So, for the Cards, through 27 games in May '04 through 27 games in May '05, hitting stats are up. The Rolen-less Birds have 33 HRs compared to 28, are slugging .448 versus .397, and 151 runs compared to 119. Overall, however, through April and May of '04 compared to April and May of '05, team batting numbers are down. The Cards had 68 HRs through the first two months of the season last year compared to 57 this year, and were slugging .456 at this time in '04 compared to .448 so far this season. My point, sensationalizing the steroids story is getting a little old. Sure the Birds' numbers are down a bit, but there are other factors at play here. For instance, the weather this spring was a lot colder than in '04. The Cards have lost Rolen, whom with Edmonds was two months into a career year in 2004, and niether of whom I would think are juicers. There's also the question do 11 less HRs and 8 points less in slugging make a huge difference? Obviously they make some, but the Cards' record is far better on May 30, 2005 than it was on May 30, 2004.