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Milling the Rockies

Posted on May 11, 2013 at 11:01 AM
Filed Under: Colorado Rockies | Heroes and Goats | St. Louis Cardinals
As outstanding as Shelby Miller was last night, it was almost overdue.  We shouldn't have been terribly surprised.

This is a guy that took a no-hitter into the sixth in his very first major league start.  Who almost every start seems to have a stretch of 10, 12, 15 batters retired in a row.  While you hardly expect a guy to throw a perfect game (which is what he did after that leadoff hit), Miller's dominance in the league has been all that we have hoped for during those years when all we got were dispatches from the farm, dreaming about what we'd see out of him in a Cardinal uniform.

What was even more impressive to me was that he threw 113 pitches in his complete game.  While that number isn't by itself remarkable, when you factor in that he was able to strike out 13 in that number, it really is.  Usually a high strikeout total means a high pitch total, though I guess when you are wasting pitches on extra batters, you can be efficient with your totals.

It's telling about this rotation that, while this is obviously the best game thrown this season by a Cardinals starter, you've got some games that are pretty close competition.

Adam Wainwright: 9 innings, 0 runs, 4 hits, 12 K, 0 BB vs. Milwaukee
Jake Westbrook: 9 innings, 0 runs, 5 hits, 3 K, 4 BB vs. Cincinnati
Jaime Garcia: 8 innings, 1 run, 8 hits, 3 K, 1 BB vs. Milwaukee
Lance Lynn: 7 innings, 0 runs, 1 hit, 8 K, 3 BB vs. Philadelphia

There are only 12 pitchers in major league baseball that have thrown a shutout this season.  Three of them reside in the same rotation, while no other team has more than one to its credit.  While we keep thinking that this staff is going to come back to earth, this ride that we are on watching quality pitchers every time out is a whole lot of fun.

Miller was incredibly dominant, getting eight called strikeouts and ringing up the last two batters he faced, showing that he wasn't slowing down much.  You've seen the stats running around--just the fourth time in history that a pitcher has allowed a leadoff hit and then retired 27 in a row (wonder if that counts the infamous Babe Ruth/Ernie Shore game?) and that it's only the 13th time since 1921 that a pitcher has had 13 K, thrown a shutout, and given up at most one hit.  That's some pretty exclusive company to be in.  It's harder to do those than to actually throw a perfect game!

Miller gave a lot of credit to Yadier Molina, which probably shows how he's matured in the last couple of years, but as great as Yadi is (and he did deserve a lot of the glory for that outing), he doesn't throw the ball.  Yadi was catching those relievers when they were getting lit up and I don't think he suddenly became a bad catcher then.  It was smart of Miller not to question what Yadi was putting down, but he still had to execute, and that he most certainly did.

As we've seen, though, a wonderful pitching performance can be wasted if the offense doesn't put some runs on the board.  Thankfully last night there weren't many runs that were necessary.  Carlos Beltran smoked one out of the park, Jon Jay and Pete Kozma singled in runs, and that was about it.  Jon Garland pitched well enough to win on some nights.  Just not last night.

So obviously Miller is our Hero.  Who's the Goat?  Every batter got a hit and obviously there's no bullpen to pick on.  Jay left the most men on (a function of striking out with the bases loaded, in part) but he did drive in a run and scored a run, so it can't be him.  I was going with David Freese again, since he left four on (three were the same that Jay left) without the benefit of the run or RBI to get him off the hook.  Freese did get a single, though, plus a walk.  Being that he had the worst average on the night, we'll go with Matt Carpenter.  1-5 isn't bad, but given the rest of the lineup, he draws the short straw.

All of this was about the only thing that could have driven yesterday afternoon's news off the top of the sports page.  Chris Carpenter threw a 75-pitch bullpen at full strength and felt good.  (Sounds like Sam Carpenter's loss of feeling in his hands catching his dad might be the Cardinals' gain!)  Carpenter, who now sports a full, slightly disturbing head of hair rather than his normal shorn look, will throw two more bullpens before the end of the homestand next Sunday and then they'll evaluate from there.

Now, everyone is trying (and really, failing) to be cautious about this.  Remember, we got a lot of this last year.  Carpenter would feel good, start throwing, but before he could get into the rehab starts, the numbness and such would return.  It's positive that he is throwing at full strength and not having these problems, because I think it was when he ramped it up last year that the issues returned, but until he's back on a mound in some sort of game situation, probably even beyond the extended spring training that he'll likely go to if things progress well this week, I'm going to be pretty leery.  Hopeful, but leery.

Another injured pitcher talked to the media yesterday.  When I heard both Carpenter and Jason Motte were addressing the media, I thought perhaps Motte was donating his beard to Carpenter to help him adjust to bullpen life.  While Carpenter did have more hair on his head than we expected, Motte still has the trademark beard billowing from his face.

You have to feel for Caitlin Motte, who now likely feels like she has two kids at home.  Motte admits to not being able to sit still, but is at peace with not only the surgery, but the attempts to avoid it.  Motte will be in the cast a couple more weeks and won't start the rehab process until the middle of July.

Cardinals will again take on the team from Colorado here in about 2.5 hours.  It doesn't get any easier for the Rockies as they get to face Adam Wainwright this afternoon.

PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS SH SF IBB HBP
Todd Helton 16 16 5 2 0 0 1 0 3 .313 .313 .438 .750 0 0 0 0
Dexter Fowler 10 10 1 0 0 1 1 0 4 .100 .100 .400 .500 0 0 0 0
Yorvit Torrealba 10 10 3 0 0 0 0 0 3 .300 .300 .300 .600 0 0 0 0
Troy Tulowitzki 8 8 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .125 .125 .125 .250 0 0 0 0
Carlos Gonzalez 7 7 3 0 0 0 0 0 2 .429 .429 .429 .857 0 0 0 0
Jon Garland 4 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0
Michael Cuddyer 3 3 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 .667 .667 .667 1.333 0 0 0 0
Jonathan Herrera 3 3 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 .333 .333 1.000 1.333 0 0 0 0
Jorge De La Rosa 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0
Jeff Francis 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
Total 64 63 16 2 1 1 3 0 19 .254 .254 .365 .619 1 0 0 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/11/2013.

Todd Helton and Carlos Gonzalez, as they've done to a lot of pitchers, have had some success against Waino in the past.  Wainwright only faced the Rockies once last year, going six innings and allowing just one run on July 4.

On the other side, Jhoulys Chacin will be tasked with keeping St. Louis from scoring.  Chacin has some similar numbers to Wainwright this year (3-1, 2.56 ERA) and will be pretty unknown to most of the Cardinal hitters.

PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS SH SF IBB HBP
Carlos Beltran 10 8 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 .125 .300 .125 .425 0 0 0 0
Jon Jay 5 5 2 0 0 1 2 0 1 .400 .400 1.000 1.400 0 0 0 0
Yadier Molina 5 5 2 0 0 0 2 0 0 .400 .400 .400 .800 0 0 0 0
Allen Craig 3 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .333 .333 .333 .667 0 0 0 0
Daniel Descalso 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0
Matt Holliday 2 2 1 0 0 1 3 0 1 .500 .500 2.000 2.500 0 0 0 0
Total 27 25 7 0 0 2 7 2 4 .280 .333 .520 .853 0 0 0 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/11/2013.

Beltran's seen him the most, but struggled the most. Could this be a day where Allen Craig moves to the outfield and Matt Adams gets into the lineup? Whatever the case, hopefully whatever mojo Shelby had last night is still lingering!


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Heroes
Carlos Beltran (6)
Yadier Molina (5)
Matt Holliday (4)
Jon Jay (4)
Matt Carpenter (3)
Daniel Descalso (3)
Jaime Garcia (3)
Pete Kozma (3)
Shelby Miller (3)
Adam Wainwright (3)
Allen Craig (2)
Lance Lynn (2)
Tyler Lyons (2)
Edward Mujica (2)
Jake Westbrook (2)
David Freese (1)
Joe Kelly (1)
Seth Maness (1)
Trevor Rosenthal (1)
Michael Wacha (1)
Ty Wigginton (1)

2012 Top Hero: Matt Holliday (17)
2011 Top Hero: Lance Berkman (24)
2010 Top Heroes: Matt Holliday and Albert Pujols (24)
2009 Top Hero: Albert Pujols (28)
2008 Top Hero: Albert Pujols (25)

Goats
Jon Jay (6)
David Freese (5)
Mitchell Boggs (4)
Joe Kelly (4)
Pete Kozma (4)
Matt Carpenter (3)
Allen Craig (3)
Daniel Descalso (3)
Jaime Garcia (3)
Yadier Molina (3)
Matt Adams (2)
Carlos Beltran (2)
Matt Carpenter (2)
Matt Holliday (2)
Lance Lynn (2)
Seth Maness (1)
Shane Robinson (1)
Fernando Salas (1)
Adam Wainwright (1)
Jake Westbrook (1)

2012 Top Goat: Rafael Furcal (11)
2011 Top Goat: Ryan Theriot (12)
2010 Top Goat: Brendan Ryan (14)
2009 Top Goats: Rick Ankiel and Todd Wellemeyer (13)
2008 Top Goat: Troy Glaus (13)

Cardinal Nation Approval Ratings (March 2013)
Yadier Molina 96.2% (up 8.8%)
Chris Carpenter 89.8% (down 0.3%)
Derrick Goold 89.1% (up 6.3%)
Matt Holliday 88.4% (up 0.9%)
Allen Craig 88.3%
Adam Wainwright 88.2% (down 3.7%)
Jose Oquendo 87.1% (up 2.4%)
Jason Motte 86.9%
John Mozeliak 86.5% (up 1.1%)
United Cardinal Bloggers 85.2% (up 6.3%)
Bill DeWitt 85.1% (up 5.3%)
Mike Shannon 85.1% (down 0.2%)
John Rooney 84.5% (up 3.0%)
Mike Matheny 84.4% (up 3.3%)
David Freese 82.9% (down 2.6%)
Jon Jay 81.8% (up 10.7%)
Lance Berkman 80.6% (down 8.0%)
Jenifer Langosch 79.5%
Lance Lynn 79.5%
Dan McLaughlin 76.0% (up 8.0%)
Jim Hayes 73.0% (up 1.1%)
Ricky Horton 65.5% (down 2.0%)
Jaime Garcia 64.1%
Albert Pujols 59.2% (up 4.3%)
Ballpark Village 58.3%
Joe Strauss 54.3% (down 13.4%)

2012
Tony La Russa 88.2% (up 17.4%)
Mark McGwire 82.6% (up 20.1%)
Skip Schumaker 73.3% (up 9.2%)
B.J. Rains 69.5% (down 0.9%)
Kyle Lohse 68.9% (up 13.8%)
Al Hrabosky 66.4% (up 3.2%)
Colby Rasmus 46.5% (down 35.3%)

2011
Dave Duncan 87.9% (up 0.9%)
Matthew Leach 85.5%
Pop Warner 76.7%
Ryan Franklin 72.8% (up 3.1%)
John Vuch 68.9%
Jeff Luhnow 66.4%
Dan Lozano 58.7%

2009
Rick Ankiel 83.9%
Chris Duncan 69.1%


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