Doesn’t Anyone Want to Set the Table?

As he has been doing most of the year, Tommy Edman sparked the team from the leadoff spot in the first game of the Met series – albeit with more than a little bit of luck involved.  Met right fielder Michael Conforto lost Edman’s fly in the sun and it fell in for a leadoff triple.

By hit, walk or hit-by-pitch, Tommy has lead off the Cardinal’s first 29 games by getting on base 13 times (a .448 on base percentage).  This ranks the Cards third in the National League in putting their first batter of the game on base.

For their last seven offensive innings on Monday, only once more did the Cards put a leadoff batter on base when Paul DeJong led off the seventh with a single.  This also follows the pattern established through the first 29 games of the season.

In spite of the fact that Edman is having as much success as anyone in leading off games, the Cardinals are second worst in the league in putting their leadoff men on with a disappointing .280 on base percentage.  After the first inning, Cardinal leadoff men are slashing .189/.258/.306.

Speaking after the game (which he helped decide with a three-run homer) Nolan Arenado suggested that the team still has yet to hit its offensive stride.  To that end, may I humbly suggest that putting their leadoff man on base would go a long way toward getting them to that stride?

When St Louis does manage to put a leadoff batter on, he scores 52% of the time.  As the season is developing, it looks like the Cards’ lineup has power potential from every position.  But no one wants to set the table.

May the Force Be With Them

In geekdom, May Fourth is regarded as Star Wars Day based off of one of the worst puns to make it into common circulation in recent memory – “May the Fourth be With You.”

Whether using the light or the dark side, a couple of pitchers marked the day exchanging their wooden bats for light-sabers at the plate.  (OK, in actuality the light saber would slice through the ball.  So, the analogy doesn’t quite hold.)

Anyway, the White Sox Dylan Cease – who, I understand, hadn’t faced live pitching since he was in high school – went three-for-three with an opposite field double that nearly left the park to commemorate his 9-0 conquest in Cincinnati. 

Meanwhile, Atlanta’s Huascar Ynoa allowed only one run (unearned) in seven innings of his 6-1 victory over Washington – a game highlighted by Ynoa’s grand slam home run.  In addition to a 3-1 record and a 2.36 ERA, Huascar now has 2 home runs, 6 runs batted in, a .385 batting average and a .923 slugging percentage.

These are great stories, and pitchers who can rake give their teams such an advantage that it is hard to understand why the powers that be are so intent on taking the bats out of their hands.

By the way, pitchers with hitting ability are more common than you probably think.  This is a theme that I develop further in my DH rant (you’ll find the link below).  It is still, of course, very early, but there are already 7 pitchers with at least 10 at bats who are hitting over .200.

Which leads me right to —

My Designated Hitter Rant

Every year now, baseball purists in the National League are continuously threatened with the permanent infliction of the designated hitter.  Last year, I responded with an extensive rant against the DH.  While trying to update that document, I managed to delete it.  So, I have re-written it here.  The hope is to set forth a reasonable argument for keeping the DH far, far away from National League parks.  I encourage you to read it and pass it along to other like-minded fans of this great old game.

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