Get it? It's Big O for a big Offense. (This was actually my second choice of pictures in the big O category; I'm pretty sure the other would have violated the RFT's rules about decency.)
So the Cardinals
actually managed to finish off the sweep of the Houston Astros
yesterday. I have to admit, I'm a little surprised they pulled it off.
Not because the Astros are a particularly tough test; they are far and away the worst team in baseball, and the fact Jeff Luhnow has decided to go whole hog on the rebuild instead of pretending to still try and contend has only served to knock them even further down the ladder. (For now, anyway; I think Houston is going about their rebuilding process the right way in the long run.) Considering the respective quality levels of the two clubs involved, the Redbirds should have had absolutely no trouble at all sweeping the 'Stros right out of the park.
But, let's face it: letdowns have been the M.O. of this team all year. Every time it looks like they're ready to turn a corner, here comes a disappointment, whether it's a quiet offensive night facing a mediocre starter or a bullpen implosion. The Cards have made it a habit in 2012 to come up short in new and interesting ways at exactly the worst moments.
Not yesterday, though. Jake Westbrook
got knocked around, which we all really should have expected considering I penned a column yesterday morning celebrating him
. The offense, though...oh, the offense. It picked up Jake, picked up the fans, the shaky bullpen, hell, the city itself and carried us all to victory.
So let's take a minute and look at just how good this offense is, shall we?
The Cardinals have scored 610 runs this season. That is the most in the National League
, by a big margin, and third most in the majors. More runs than the Yankees with their payroll, or the Detroit Tigers
with their Miguel Cabrera/Prince Fielder
combo of doom in the middle of the lineup. Only the Texas Rangers
and Boston Red Sox
have scored more than the Cardinals.
The Cardinals have:
- Seven regular players posting an OPS+ of 120 or better. (That's not including Lance Berkman and his 135 in just 90 plate appearances.)
- Six players (Allen Craig, Yadier Molina, Matt Holliday, Jon Jay, Matt Carpenter, and Skip Schumaker), with on-base percentages better than .370.
- Five players with at least 60 RBI.
- Five players with 15 or more home runs.
The Cardinals offense is:
- Third in MLB in runs scored behind Boston and Texas.
- Third in team OPS.
- Second in batting average.
- First in on-base percentage. (Tied with Texas at .341.)
- Sixth in slugging percentage.
- Fifth in bases on balls.
- Third in total RBI.
The Cards are just middle of the pack in total home runs, ranking 14th in MLB, but more than make up for it in literally every other way.Last year's Cardinal offense, an historically great unit itself, had a .766 team OPS, tops in the National League and fifth best in baseball. In 162 games the 2011 Cardinals scored 742 runs.
This year, the Cards have a .772 team OPS and have scored 610 runs through 124 games. That puts them on a pace to score 797 runs.
Last season the Cardinals had the best offense in the National League by a wide margin. They lost one of the best hitters in all of baseball
over the offseason. This year's offense is on pace to lap the 2011 version. It doesn't quite add up, does it? Not that I'm complaining.