The 2004 Cardinals

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  • #129208
    RatsbuddyRatsbuddy
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    I’ve been looking through some of the stats for Cardinal teams on Baseball Reference. The 2004 team was one of the best, if not the best, St. Louis team ever. They won 105 games. Flopped in the world series, but hey, it happens.

    Looking at some of the pitching stats I wonder how on earth did they ever win 105 games???

    Matt Morris gave up 35 homeruns in 202 innings.
    Jason Marquis game up 26 homeruns in 201 innings.
    Jeff Suppan gave up 25 homeruns in 188 innings.
    Chris Carpenter gave up 24 homeruns in 182 innings.

    All of the starters, except Carpenter, gave up more hits than innings pitched.

    Their ERA’s weren’t very good either for 2004.
    Morris – 4.72 terrible
    Marquis – 3.71 fair
    Williams – 4.18 not very good
    Suppan – 4.16 not very good
    Carpenter – 3.46 decent
    Haren – 4.50 (limited starts)

    Granted they had their version of Murderer’s Row with Pujols, Rolen, and Edmonds all having outstanding years. But how did this team, with very questionable pitching, ever manage to win 105 games?????

    r/Esteemed Rat

    #129212
    Avatar1964cards
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    Esteemed Rat, this is one on my favorite Cardinal teams. They really got on a roll the second half of the season. I thought the acquisition of Womack and his hitting second filled an offensive gap and help propel the offense to the next level. I was convinced they would win the World Series. Unfortunately, they ran into a good and red hot Boston team that would not have it. Ugh, it hurts to think of how things ended for that team!

    You are correct about the Cardinal Offense … it was potent. As a team, they led the league in runs scored, batting average, slugging percent and OPS. They were fourth in OBP. Pretty impressive.

    You are correct about the starting pitching. I would agree that on the surface your question has merit. However, I really believe it was how the staff was used that distorts the view of the starter statistics you cite. Here a few pitching stats and thoughts I considered when reflecting on your question.

    – The top five pitchers in the rotation combined to start 154 of 162 games (95%). Additionally, this group averaged 6.33 innings and allowed just over three runs per start. If you think about it, this team nearly averaged a quality start in at least 95% of the games they played. This reliability of the starters took pressure of the remainder of the pitching staff … the bullpen in particular. It also allowed the Cardinals to lead or stay in ball games into the later innings of games.
    – The bullpen was very good that season. Izzy was very effective as the closer notching 47 saves (his career best single season total). The set up men included Tavarez, King and Kline. All three had very strong seasons in their respective rolls (low WHIPs, low ERAs and low HRs allowed).
    – The pitching staff was middle of the pack in HR allowed. However, they excelled in other areas. They had the lowest WHIP in the NL. They gave up the second fewest hits per nine and the fewest walks per nine. These factors all combined allowed the staff to give up the fewest runs and have the second lowest ERA in the league.

    The 2004 Cardinals also had a pretty good, but not great, defense. The club finished 5th in Fielding Percentage, errors committed and DPs turned.

    #129302
    RatsbuddyRatsbuddy
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    Yes, the bullpen appears to be very good for the 2004 Cardinals. Isringhausen, Tavarez, King, Kline, and Calero all gave up a lot few hits than innings pitched, good Whips.

    Plus the Murderer’s Row that year put up these numbers:
    Pujols – .331/46/123
    Rolen – .314/34/124
    Edmonds – .301/42/111

    Along with:
    Womack – .307
    Renteria – .287 w/37 doubles
    Sanders – .260/22
    Mabry – .296/13
    Taguchi – .291
    Walker – .280/11 after he came over in early August

    So I guess its easy to see how this team won. So-So starting pitching, a pretty good bullpen, and pretty good defense. Along with a ton of offense.

    r/Esteemed Rat

    #129320
    bicyclemikebicyclemike
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    Had these guys done to Boston what the ‘42 club did to the Yankees in the Fall Classic, we would have a legitimate debate on which team was greater.

    That fold up act in the Series though, getting swept, and I am not sure that they ever had a lead in a game, dampened their legacy to the point of where they are the “Gene Mauch” of Cardinal teams – the best team not to win a World Series. (For fans who may not recall Gene Mauch, he used to be called the best manager never to win a pennant).

    When TCN did a feature on the Top 15 Cardinal clubs of all time, I made my list and had this team somewhere around 6 or 7 I believe.

    #129325
    Brian WaltonBrian Walton
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    Our overall site ranking (which was only through the 2007 season) had the 2004 team number five – the best that did not win the World Series.

    The individual rankings were:
    Mileur 12
    Modene 2
    Rains 7
    Walton 6

    (This link to the top 15 is in the left menu bar under TOP ALL-TIME PLAYERS/TEAMS.)

    https://247sports.com/mlb/cardinals/Article/Top-15-St-Louis-Cardinals-Teams-of-All-Time-104487522/

    #129326
    stlcard25stlcard25
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    Yeah, the 2004 and 2005 teams were very disappointing for me as a college age Cards fan. They were both great teams that just fell short at the wrong time. The 2006 team was able to get one back when they probably shouldn’t have, so all was forgiven.

    #129328
    stlcard25stlcard25
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    Had these guys done to Boston what the ‘42 club did to the Yankees in the Fall Classic, we would have a legitimate debate on which team was greater.

    One major advantage that the 1942 team had that the 2004 team did not…they only had to play the World Series and nothing else. Under the 1942 system, it would have been the Cards vs the Yankees in 2004. Under the 2004 system, it would have been the .500 Reds vs Cards and 104 win Dodgers vs 85 win Giants in the NL and 103 win Yankees vs 75-79 Cleveland and 93-59 Boston vs 82-69 St Louis Browns in the AL. The Cards went 15-7 vs Cincinnati that year, and had their worst record against Brooklyn at 13-9. So it’s possible they could have tripped up before the Series if they had to play a full postseason.

    Food for thought, anyway.

    #129329
    Brian WaltonBrian Walton
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    Good point. It is one reason comparing eras is so difficult. Then you have the fact that some were especially prejudiced against war years due to the imbalance of talent, for example.

    #129392
    RatsbuddyRatsbuddy
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    I guess its sort of funny what happened in Game #1 of my 2004 St. Louis Replay against the Brewers. We all pretty much agreed that the 2004 bullpen was really good and the starting pitching wasn’t the bright spot of the team.

    Matt Morris went seven innings, allowed no runs, three hits, no walks, struck out six, and left with a 4-0 lead. But the bullpen of Tavarez, King, and Isringhausen couldn’t hold the lead. Izzy gave up a game tying solo shot in the 9th to Wes Helms to tie the game 4-4.

    Not to worry though as Edmonds walked it off with a two run dinger in the last of the 9th for a 6-4 win.

    r/Esteemed Rat

    #129394
    bicyclemikebicyclemike
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    Whew, glad we got that first one Rats, despite the bullpen’s meltdown.

    #129415
    RatsbuddyRatsbuddy
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    BikeMike,
    Not to worry as the bullpen came through in Game #2. Marquis was excellent through 7 innings and then Kline got the Brewers 1-2-3 in the 8th. Isringhausen gave up an infield single in the 9th to Jenkins, who went to 2nd on Womack’s throwing error. But Overbay lined into a 46 DP to end the game. 2-0 St. Louis your happy final.

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