Feldman: Cards success rises and falls with their pitchers' location

Feldman: Cards success rises and falls with their pitchers' location

Credit: Getty Images

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 23: Adam Wainwright #50 of the St. Louis Cardinals in removed from the game by manager Mike Matheny in the ninth inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on April 23, 2013 in Washington, DC. St. Louis won the game 2-0. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

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by Brian Feldman / BaseballStL

KMOV.com

Posted on July 5, 2013 at 6:05 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 9 at 1:10 PM

(BaseballStL) -- Every team can say the same thing, really, so it's not like the Cardinals are any special.  After all, good pitching beats good hitting.  It's been true in baseball for 100 years (minus the steroid era, I suppose) and it will probably be true for 100 more (barring another huge PED scandal).
 
But the Cardinals hopes and dreams this season unquestionably rise and fall with their starting rotation.  When Adam Wainwright, Shelby Miller and company are throwing flames and hitting their spots...seriously, who is going to hit them.
 
When they're not hitting their spots?  Their nasty stuff gets negated tenfold.
 
See, pitching is about location.  Ask anyone who throws 100 miles per hour and they'll say the same thing.  If it's right over the plate it doesn't matter how hard you throw.  You've got to be able to locate.  Why else could Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine have success for so long in baseball?  Same goes for Trevor Hoffman.
 
Pitching is about three things.  Location, location and location.
 
When guys like Miller are at their best, they can paint the corners of the plate - at the knees - with precision.  No one, and I mean no one, can hit that pitch with the stuff these guys present.  Pitchers who don't have great stuff have no margin for error in their location.  They have to be nearly perfect.  They do that and they should be fine.  But if they make a mistake they have very little chance of getting away with it.
 
The Cardinals, meanwhile, boast pitchers with great stuff.  And that allows you a little more margin for error with regards to mistakes.  Are you going to get away with it every time?  No.  Are you even going to get away with it more often than you wouldn't?  Probably not.
 
But there is no doubt pitchers with great stuff - and the Cardinals have many of them - get away with mistakes much more often than pitchers without it.  That's just a fact in baseball.
 
So what does this mean as far as where the Cards are now with regards to how it affects their future this season?  It means they need their starting pitchers to do a better job of hitting their spots.  Too many times recently, they've been missing and getting hit.  Too many times they have started off games without establishing a rhythm.
 
If the starting pitchers start hitting their spots much more often, getting the ball down in the zone, they will get a lot more hitters out.  And by extension they will start having more great outings.
 
That's the key to wins in baseball.  Hit your spots.  Don't try and be a hero by throwing 200 miles per hour.

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