Big League Stew

10 numbers for the NLCS: Cardinals vs. Brewers

Alex Remington
Big League Stew

View photo

.

NLCScardsbrew

As the postseason continues, Big League Stew's Alex Remington will take a look at the statistics that might make a difference in each series.

.744 The total NLDS OPS of the Cardinals' Big Three, Albert Pujols, Lance Berkman, and Matt Holliday, with one homer, four doubles, and five RBI. Of the three, Pujols had some success, hitting .350, but with no homers and only one RBI. The vaunted Cardinal offense didn't do a great deal against Philadelphia's pitching, as the Redbirds actually got outscored 21-19 in their victory in five games. Instead, Cardinal pitching did yeoman's work keeping the Phillies off the board, holding the Phillies to a combined 10 runs scored from Games Two through Five. {YSP:MORE}

* * *

48 The combined number of runs scored in the five games of the Brewers-Diamondbacks Series, most of any of the divisional series. As a matter of fact, in every single series, the team that emerged victorious managed to win despite having been outscored: the Rays outscored the Rangers 21-16, the Yankees outscored the Tigers 28-17, the Phillies outscored the Cardinals 21-19, and the Diamondbacks outscored the Brewers 25-23. That shows the importance of a little Tony Clutch hitting, and it shows that nailbiters count as much as blowouts, but it also hints that the Brewer pitching staff is going to have to do a much better job of keeping runs off the board against the NL's best offense, or even Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder will have trouble keeping pace.
{YSP:MORE}

* * *

1.400 The identical NLDS OPS of Skip Schumaker and Ryan Theriot, both of whom went six-for-10 with two doubles, after combining for a .673 OPS in the regular season. Theriot and Schumaker are the very definition of "pesky," and the latest example of Tony La Russa getting an outsized performance from someone otherwise unremarkable, which was all the more important considering the struggles of Holliday, Berkman, and Pujols to power the offense by themselves. Don't expect Schu-riot to repeat their spectacular offense against the Brewer pitching staff, though. Even Cinderella had to turn back into a scullery maid at midnight and Schumaker's expected to be out with an oblique injury.

* * *

6.75 The ERA of the Brewers' starting rotation against the Diamondbacks, and that actually understates how ineffective everyone other than Yovani Gallardo truly was. In Games Two, Three, and Four, the Brewers Zack Greinke, Shaun Marcum, and Randy Wolf allow 18 earned runs in 13 innings, good for a 12.79 ERA. The Brewers can't afford to have their starters do that again.

* * *

.614 The collective OPS of every Cardinal hitter other than Schumaker and Theriot, including the aforementioned Big Three, and if it weren't for Rafael Furcal's two triples, it would have been under .600. The Cardinals had the best offense in the National League in the regular season, but no one would mistake them for the Yankees. Like the Brewers, they have a top-heavy offense, but they also have a lot of guys you can pitch to. Strangely, in the NLDS, two of the guys who normally struggle were offensive stars, while two of the guys who normally power the offense had trouble. On offense, though, they generally are never able to get all their pistons firing at once.

* * *

1.460 Ryan Braun's OPS in the NLDS. The Hebrew Hammer is making a strong case to be considered the best hitter on either team: he had the highest regular-season OPS, 13 points better than Prince Fielder and 35 points better than anyone on the Cardinals, and other than Carlos Gomez's two-for-three off the bench, Braun also had the highest NLDS OPS on either team. And he simply stomped the Diamondbacks, going nine-for-18 with three walks, four doubles, a homer, and four RBIs. He did almost all of his hitting in the Brewers' three victories, as he went eight-for-11 with all of his extra-base hits. If the Cardinals can contain him, they'll have a much easier time beating the Brewers. But they will find it awfully hard to silence him for an entire series.

* * *

3.95 The Cardinals' bullpen ERA in the NLDS. That's misleading, though, because the Cardinals got a collective 2.13 ERA in 13 innings from Mitchell Boggs, Octavio Dotel, Jason Motte, Arthur Rhodes, and Fernando Salas, marred only by Marc "Scrabble" Rzepczynski being charged with three runs without recording an out in Game One against the Phillies. Other than that, the Phillie Cardinal and Brewer pens had nearly identical performances, as the Brewers had a 2.08 bullpen ERA in their series — something they especially needed considering their starters' struggles.

* * *

3.45 Chris Carpenter's regular-season ERA in 2011, 0.23 runs worse than his 2010 ERA and 1.21 runs worse than his 2009 ERA, the season when he led the league in ERA and finished second in the Cy Young race. Despite his stunning Game Five shutout to the contrary, the 36-year old Carpenter has been showing signs this season that he's no longer the pitcher he once was — including his feeble performance in Game Two, allowing four earned runs in three innings, prompting Tony La Russa to pinch hit for him in the fourth inning. Carpenter is the ace of the Cardinal staff, and they'll need him to keep defying his age for another two weeks if they want to win their last game of the season.

* * *

10.0 The number of strikeouts per nine innings by the Brewer pitching staff. The starters struggled to keep runs off the board, but they managed to get a fair number of swings and misses, and the relievers outside of Chris Narveson were nearly untouchable. As I mentioned in the NLDS preview, the Cardinals are the only team in the playoffs without a single hitter in their lineup who struck out 100 times in the regular season. So the Brewers will have their work cut out for them. But if their pitchers can keep on getting whiffs, that will make everything else a whole lot easier.

* * *

.056 Rickie Weeks's postseason batting average, after an unsightly one-for-18 in the NLDS. Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder straight crushed the ball, but other Brewers had a tougher time, including Nyjer Morgan until the final at-bat of the series (.528 OPS), Weeks (.357 OPS), Corey Hart, (.608 OPS), and catcher Jonathan Lucroy (.400 OPS). As Rob Neyer writes, the oft-injured Weeks is playing on a bum ankle, and that certainly won't help. The Brewers are sometimes stereotyped as Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, and some other guys, and their offense's performance in the NLDS did little to dispel that. Some other guys will have to step up against the Cardinals, or they may have trouble scoring enough runs to advance.


View Comments