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Preview/Matchup/Game Thread Game # 52 at Cardinals

Roy Oswalt Jason Marquis
5 - 3, 3.36 6 - 4, 5.12

So here's something odd.

Looking at Marquis' ERA and his won-loss record, you immediately think that he's been the recipient of good run support.

And he has been. Although he ranks only fourth on his staff, Marquis ranks sixteenth in the league in run support at 5.54 runs per 9 innings of work.

Fair enough, but it turns out Roy is seventeenth in the league, at 5.52.

So basically, Roy gets equivalent run support to Marquis, has an ERA almost two points better, has an extra start as it happens, and still finds himself behind Marquis in wins.

Now, wins are another one of those stats derided by the sabermetric plutocracy as next to meaningless, and if one of them were reading here, they'd simply say, "proves our point," but as someone who's watched Oswalt over the last five or six games, I'm not sure that this little statistical oddity doesn't illuminate as well as anything else the way that Roy has been out of sorts lately.

He's still hard to hit, always wil be, and his walks or homers aren't up, but it just seems that runners he'd usually leave stranded have been scoring lately.

I dunno, maybe it's a bad tme to bring it up, seeing how he's coming off the 7 innings of one-run ball, but the comparison with Marquis got me thinking . . . .

Marquis Carpenter and Suppan for the Astros vs. Oswalt Pettitte and Buchholz in this three-game, and as Garner or just about anyone else on the Astros would tell you, you're just looking to win two of three.

'Course that might be a bit much to ask here, but I will say that getting swept would be devastating. Houston'd be 9-1/2 back if that little bit of tragedy played itself out, and teams have come back from larger deficits, but usually the teams that found themselves caught weren't the best in the league in pitching, as the Cardinals are.

So you gotta win at least one, and seeing how Carpenter goes tomorrow and Buchholz Wednesday, this I think is the must-win.

I swear I didn't predetermine the data in an effort to make the 'Stros look good, or to make another argument as to how much the Cardionals rely on Pujols offensively.

It just worked out this way:

Average with Runners In Scoring Position
Astro Pos Cardinal Avg
x .324 Brad Ausmus C1 Yadier Molina .281
x .385 Eric Munson C2 Gary Bennett .250
.368 Lance Berkman 1B Albert Pujols .537* x
x .257 Craig Biggio 2B Aaron Miles .238
.197 Adam
SS The Hyperactive
Little Freak
.244 x
.244 Morgan Ensberg 3B Scott Rolen .245
x .364 Chris Burke OF1 SoTaguchi .273
x .343 Willy Taveras OF2 Jim Edmonds .271
x .275 Preston Wilson OF3 Juan Encarnacion .208
.111 Jason Lane OF4 John Rodriguez .444 x
x .429 Eric Bruntlett Util/PH Hector Luna .391
* This is not a misprint