While the Giants chill in Ohio for another day waiting to figure out where they’ll go, we as a nation of sports fans have been blessed with two more Game 5’s to soak in and enjoy. The good thing about there not being four games on today is I actually got some exercise in so my legs don’t feel like they did absolutely nothing like they have been the last two days. While I’m sure people within the Giants fanbase are discussing who’d they’d rather see the Giants face off against, I warn you that the answer may not be as obvious as you may think. Or maybe it is. Maybe the numbers Nationals and Cardinals have put out is a reflection of how poorly/well they match up. Maybe it’s a sign of something more. Maybe you should start watching the game more and get your nose out of the spreadsheet, you nerd blogger Stuart Jones.
The Bat Leading the Charge:
Sure, David Freese is doing well again in the postseason (.353/.400/529 in 17 BA), but Allen Craig is the shining star you may not know enough about (.421/.500/.737 in 19 AB). With a crowded OF, Craig has been playing some 1B and although he does not have the prototypical build of a 1B (6’2″ 210 lb of Cardinal), he has the numbers to justify his being there (see: 22 HR in the regular season).
Like David Freese, popular baseball player Ryan Zimmerman is batting at an above average level (.375/.353/563 in 16 AB) but middle infielder teammate Ian Desmond has been more consistent in getting on base against the Red Birds (.467/.467/.533 in 15 AB).
Letting Their Arms do the Talking:
Washington, known for their great NL East run and superb pitching have been rather lackluster this series from the mound, posting an even worse ERA than the Giants (5.40 to 4.11), and have a higher OBP against (.301 to .365), and SLG% (.361 to .450) than the Cardinals overall. Yes, the Cardinals have a lower SLG% against than the Nationals have OBP against, and even though the Cardinals have played one more game than the Nationals, they have only faced 3 more batters than them (61-58). The Cardinals lead the remaining three NL teams in K/9 (STL 8.59, WSH 8.49, SF 8.41), but the Giants lead in K/BB (SF 2.87, STL 2.63, WSH 1.57).
Blowouts and One-Run Games:
As their series stands two-a-piece, the Nationals have won both of their games by one-run (3-2 and 2-1), while the Cardinals just sat on a light pole and pooped on the Nationals sitting on the ground picking their nose in their two wins (12-4, 8-0). Understandably, this would lead to the Cardinals having better hitting stats than not just the Nationals, but everyone participating in the NLDS. Their R (29), HR (6), OBP (.337), SLG (.422) lead all NLDS contenders, although STL’s Wild Card game is also included in those stats. Only the Reds (.261) had a better team batting average than the Cardinals (.242, WSH .215, SF .194).
So in Conclusion:
If you’re watching the game tonight (5:30PM PST on TBS) and cheering for one team or the other, know why you’re doing it. If you’re doing it because the Cardinals are the lower seed and you don’t want to face “the better team,” well, you might not be doing it right. If it’s because the Giants would get home field advantage and you have some sweet tickets to those games and you love Game 1’s, then OK, I get it. If you’re rooting for the Nationals because they’re cold right now which means they will stay cold, well, you might not be doing it right again since such small sample sizes aren’t necessarily predictive of how someone(s) will do in the future. My suggestion: watch the game, get familiar with the players, and be glad the Giants are still in it.