As I said at the end of my previous post, I am very excited about the upcoming Cardinals-Mets series. It’s a 3 game series beginning tonight and all should be great to watch.
They are the two best teams in the National League, with essentially the same record. The Cardinals 24 games to the Mets 23, but we’ve also played one more. Both teams have lost 14 games. But, that’s where the similiarities end. We are beating them in many pitching (more wins, better E.R.A., less home runs given up, less walks, less total earned runs given up, more saves) and hitting (more runs, more RBIs, more walks, less strikeouts, better on base percentage and better batting average) categories.
With all of these stats though, the one that interests me the most is strikeouts. The Mets pitching staff is leading ALL of Major League baseball in strikeouts with 314. The St. Louis Cardinals lineup has had the fourth fewest strikeouts in the Major League and the fewest in the National League with 197. So you have some of the best strikeout pitchers in baseball facing David Eckstein and Albert Pujols, some of the hardest guys to strike out in all of the Majors. The good news here is that we won’t have to face Pedro, the current strikeout leader, because he just pitched last for the Mets.
I’m not too worried about Wednesday’s or Thursday’s games because I am confident that the Cardinal lineup can crush most National League pitching. But, we have this thing that we can’t seem to hit really good pitchers. Even though we have one of the best lineups and the last few years have been top 5 in pretty much all offensive categories, we are unable to hit guys like Greg Maddux. The lack of hitting is why we lost in 2004 to the Sox and why we lost in 2005 to the Astros. We would get it done against Pettitte, but would be completely be shut down by Oswalt. Oswalt held the Cards to 2 runs in 2 NLCS starts. We absolutely freeze against great pitching a lot of the time.
We were 5-2 against the Mets last year and my guess is that we will at least take 2 of 3 in this series because their other starters aren’t anything special. If we beat Glavine tonight, then I think we definitely have a chance for the sweep.
None of the Cardinals pitchers (with the exception of Carp) will compete to be the best pitcher in baseball and we’ll likely not have that strong of a 1-2 punch that some other teams seem to have. But, as I’ve said before I do believe that we have one of the deepest rotations in the game. When you look at what kind of numbers Ponson puts up as our number 5 guy, I think that we always have the chance to beat just about anybody.
One thing we do have going our way tonight is the momentum that Suppan is carrying into this game. He has won his last four starts, giving up just 7 earned runs in those games, with a 2.40 ERA. Additionally, Pujols and Rolen have hit Glavine well in the past hitting .529 and and .360 respectively against him lifetime.
As I said earlier, there should be no doubt that this series will be a fun one to watch, especially this first game. It will certainly be a test for both teams, to see how they fare playing another 1st place team.
And I can’t wait to watch.
5th straight for Soup,
P.S. Any other responses from Mets fans?