Sunday, October 16, 2011

Magic Number: 5

The Cardinals' magic number this season is 5, as that is the number of wins remaining to take home the 11th World Series championship.

They have a chance to win their 18th NL pennant this evening in Milwaukee, where they have won 5 of their last seven at Miller Park.

Bernie notes:
The Cardinals were, and are, the top-hitting road team in the majors this season. They rank first in MLB in runs per road game (5.14), road batting average (.277), road on-base percentage (.341) and extra-base hits. They rank second in road slugging percentage (.443) and fourth in homers per road game (1.15.)

Moreover, the Cardinals have a respectable starting-pitching ERA of 3.98 on the road, which puts them sixth in the NL.

The Cardinals became a more formidable road unit after GM John Mozeliak acquired significant bullpen help in the trade that sent outfielder Colby Rasmus to Toronto. Relievers Octavio Dotel and Marc Rzepczynski came to St. Louis as part of the deal, and Mozeliak later signed free-agent reliever Arthur Rhodes.

Mozeliak's in-season bullpen makeover was extreme.

When the Cardinals opened the season, the bullpen had five righthanders: Ryan Franklin, Jason Motte, Mitchell Boggs, Bryan Augenstein and Miguel Batista.

Today their six-man righthanded relief group consists of Motte, Boggs, Kyle McClellan, Dotel, Fernando Salas and Lance Lynn.

The early-season lefthanded relievers were Trever Miller and Brian Tallet; both were shipped off in the Rasmus deal and replaced by Rzepczynski and Rhodes.[...]

The restructured bullpen has made a tremendous difference in the Cardinals' road form. Before the Rasmus trade, the Cardinals' bullpen had a 4.73 road ERA and allowed an average of 1.58 runners per inning. After the trade and the Rhodes signing the bullpen's road ERA is 2.41. And there's been an enhanced strikeout rate and fewer runners allowed per inning (1.26.)
What a difference a trade makes.

Joe Strauss takes a look at Edwin Jackson's past performance this season against the Milwaukee Brewers.
ackson has seen the Brewers four times since the Cardinals acquired him from the Chicago White Sox on July 27. Since surrendering 14 hits and 10 runs in a take-one-for-the team setting Aug. 3, Jackson has allowed the Brewers five earned runs in 21 1/3 innings. The Cardinals have won his last seven appearances, including a ninth-inning cameo against the Houston Astros on Sept. 27 and two postseason starts. Jackson stopped short of saying familiarity with the Brewers works in his favor.

"There's neither an advantage for a pitcher or the hitters," he said. "There's no secret what I have. There's no secret what they can do. It's just a matter of execution. I'm not going to change up my game plan. I'm going to go out and attack the strike zone and take my chances with them putting the ball in play."
Skip Schumaker plans to be available for the World Series.

As for the ratings? St. Louis wins them in a knockout.
St. Louis beat Milwaukee in NLCS television ratings for the fourth consecutive time, with Game 5 on Friday being seen in 28.9 percent of area homes with a TV according to The Nielsen Co. The Milwaukee rating was 21.4. The overall number for the series now stands at 29.4 in St. Louis and 24.5 in Milwaukee.
Chris Narveson has praise for the Cardinals.

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