(BaseballStL) -- The St. Louis Cardinals’ defense appears to be better this year than last, but manager Mike Matheny is reluctant to give all the credit to Sabermetrics-inspired shifts the team has used this season.
He said the coaching staff does a good job of pre-game discussions about hitters and how they are going to be defended in certain situations. While the Cardinals may have used shifts more this year, Matheny said it’s only one component to the defense. And, although helpful, Sabermetrics don’t yet tell them things like where the defensive players started from when they made a play, the route they took, where they went, etc.
He said the Birds still use a lot of traditional methods to defend hitters, including spray charts, pitcher match-ups, and history. He also said that moving players defensively has been going on forever. When those subtle positioning moves become a shift has never clearly been defined.
Overall, he is pleased with the teams’ defensive performance. “We see good defensive ability (with current Cardinal starters).” The Cardinals are second in the National League in defense with just 46 errors for a .987 fielding percentage. Matt Carpenter and Jhonny Peralta lead the team in errors with 8 each, but, according to Sabermetrics, have saved nearly as many runs above average for that position.
The Redbirds will need every bit of that defense to keep the Dodgers close because starter Zack Greinke is one of the most effective pitchers in the league. Greinke averages more than a strikeout an inning and whiffs nearly six batters for every one he walks.
In his career, Greinke is 9-3 against the Birds and allowed just one run in seven innings against them on June 28 in LA.
He will be a test for the locked-in Matt Holliday who hit his second homer in the last four games Friday night and leads all active players with 22 homers against the Dodgers. Holliday is second in the NL with a .360 average with men in scoring position.
•Kolten Wong is hitting .344 since coming off the disabled list nine games ago.
•Jhonny Peralta is also hot, hitting .423 over the last seven games.
•Holliday has 48 RBIs and 13 game-winning RBIs, including last night, when he scored his 1,000th run and hit his 400th double.
George Kottaras is 0-10 and 0-2 for the Cardinals.
Matt Carpenter is 0-7 and just 2-15 going back to the Pittsburgh series
Matt Adams has three hits in his last 19 at bats.