September 6, 2008

SCOTT WUERZ: These wasted opportunities really sting

SCOTT WUERZ: These wasted opportunities really sting: "It's disturbing that Chris Perez seems to have fallen into the pattern of his predecessors, blowing two save opportunities in a row."

Scott Wuerz seems to echo quite a bit of the frustration around the Cards these days. He's a bit hard on rookie reliever, Chris Perez, but divies up plenty of blame for last night's loss to the Marlins, to the offenses lackluster production.

It may be premature, however, to toss Perez into the perceived lot of save-blowers. First of all, the blown saves have so much more to do with an injury-ridden pitching staff, and we're talking starters and relievers. When you're always an arm short, every move down the line becomes exponentially weaker, and it's really nobody's fault.

Secondly, that lack of offense has plenty to do with the save-less dilemma, and is easily measured as a low bottom line when it comes to runs. The amount of pressure that pitchers face when every single inning is a potential game-ender takes a toll, and creates that many more chances for "mistake pitches." There's no excuse here, of course, as these are professionals, but most pitchers who are able to throw the majority of their innings with even a small lead are going to do much better over the course of a season.

It is tempting, though, to lump anyone who has a bad inning into the pile of save-blowers. This is not, however, something created by the bullpen alone. The Relief Corps is merely the last of the weak links, and there are a few in the Cardinals chain. That's what happens when you're injured a good portion of the time, and the truth be told, this is the situation with all but one major league team every season.

The article is on point, but doesn't back up the home team, which is the bias of this blog. Although every writer has a slant to their articles, you have to admit that Wuerz is one of the most thorough writers when it comes to the St. Louis Cardinals.
photo by Barbara Moore