“Pitchers control where the ball is hit and who catches it. It has nothing to do with luck.” – Harold Reynolds on MLB Tonight
Luck and the trade deadline that came and went are my topics of choice today and I’m feeling lucky so let’s start there. Is there luck involved in baseball and if so how much? Is it measurable?
This is a topic that I had a brief discussion about during Sunday’s game. Darwin Barney had hit a full swing squib that was just out of range of pitcher Joe Kelly and then a couple innings later Starlin Castro hit a full swing opposite field back spinning ball that found its way to right field just barely out of reach of the fielders off ground ball maestro Seth Maness. Both plays resulted in runs scored. Could it have been prevented? Would Allen Craig have made the play on Castro’s ball? Would Matt Adams have made the play had there not been a runner on 1st he was holding on?
My point in quickly hitting this topic is I’m a believer in the fact that teams in fact do run into the occasional bad luck and can also benefit from good luck. I touched on it when I wrote about Lance Lynn that not all fielders are equal. Yasiel Puig has more range than Carlos Beltran. Mike Trout will get to more balls than Matt Holliday. Pitchers can only control so much. Heck, fielders can only play within their ability. While players do control some they certainly can’t control everything that transpires on the field. I would think that most people view good and bad luck as something that just happens and chalk it up to common sense but when it comes to baseball it doesn’t always exist to everyone. More of a curiosity topic I guess. Maybe I’ll try and dig up some material written by people who have studied the subject and see if there is a trend but for now, moving on…
So the trade deadline came and went without the Cardinals making much of splash. The Cardinals were linked to a number of players including Cliff Lee, Jake Peavy, Alexei Ramirez and Erick Aybar. Logical considering the issues finding a constant 5th man in the rotation and the offensive woes (he’s been awful and I mean awful at the plate but has played very good defense) of Pete Kozma. On a side note maybe the Cardinals knew Joe Kelly was going to be awesome and didn’t need to make a deal? Doubt it but he’s been a breath of fresh air for sure.
JD hit this topic a couple weeks ago but I wanted to talk quickly about it some myself. If I’m a GM which I’m obviously not but if I was my two goals for each season would be to make the playoffs and to have the team in the best position possible going forward. So, are the Cardinals currently in a good position to make the playoffs? Yes. Are they in a good position going forward? Yes, they have a lot of young, cost controlled talent that should contribute at a high level for years to come. I always hear the term built for the postseason but I have no clue what that means. The playoffs are a roll of the dice. Any playoff team can beat any other playoff team in any given series. Ask the 2006, 2011 and 2012 Cardinals. Sure, having excellent starting pitching is a great weapon but certainly doesn’t guarantee anything. Maybe a little LUCK is involved in the playoffs?
Alright that’s enough for this week. The Cardinals kick off a big 3 game set against the Pirates tonight with Adam Wainwright squaring off against Charlie Morton. Hopefully yesterday’s off day helped recharge some tired batteries and things get off to a fast start tonight. Until next week.