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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

 

Where's the LOB?

Rolling around Cards Blog-land, I ran across a comment somewhere about the Cards' LOB numbers, a question I've caught myself wondering about too. I combed the web for a stat regarding team LOB numbers and couldn't find one. That's not to say some site out there doesn't have it, of course. But I digress... I then looked for other stats that might lend some insight into the matter. A couple things come to mind. Runners in scoring position was my central point of analysis, because in light of being able to find a stat for LOB, I felt that this would give us some measure of how effective the Cards are at capitalizing on these scoring chances. On with the analysis. I find the slugging to be rather telling, because we've been so focused on "small ball" these past two months. I went into this expecting to find less in the way of BA and SLG, but these would indicate that the Cards are indeed getting some important hits. Of course, these numbers are for the entire season and not over a particular period of time. Okay, so since the comment was made just recently and I was thinking the same thing last night, let's look at August, a month with a lot of replacements players filling in and some games with the star power back in the lineup too. It was also a month with some wild wins, most notably this Sunday versus the Nationals. In August (not counting tonight), the Cards lead the league with 136 runs scored. RISP numbers for August. My point here is twofold. First, the Cards are, statistically, doing just fine in scoring situations, almost consistently leading the NL, so the LOB concerns look to be unfounded. Second, I think perceptions are to blame for the head-scratching over LOB numbers. Why? Where are we getting these perceptions? Albert Pujols hasn't been having a lot of highlight reel baseball hero moments lately, numbers are down a bit and hasn't been knocking in dramatic home runs. Of course, a "slump" for Pujols is a career year for anyone else, but again perceptions are relative now aren't they? No doubt he's putting a lot of pressure on himself to carry the team and gripping the bat a little tighter. The first inning argument at RFK Sunday, to me, is indicative of the stress. In fact, the team as a whole is not having lots of storybook wins, walk off home runs and what have you. The runs we're scoring, while effective, just haven't been all that memorable, the price of small ball.
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