The Double Play Blues, Part 2

May 26, 2011 at 7:30 am
click to enlarge A twin killing! Get it? Okay, fine, they're just brothers, not twins. Man, tough room.
A twin killing! Get it? Okay, fine, they're just brothers, not twins. Man, tough room.
You all may remember (or you may not; I don't honestly know how much attention anyone pays to me), that just a few weeks back I wrote about the astonishingly high number of double plays the Cardinals have hit into on the year. At the time, the team was at 42 twin killings on the season through just 31 games. That is, to put it lightly, a rather appalling number. 

Well, I have some good news, and I have some bad news. Which would you like first? The good news? Okay. 

Here's the good news: the Cardinals have slowed their historic pace of getting doubled up. (Eww.) The bad news: the pace has slowed, but it still qualifies as historic. 

Since the May 5, when I wrote the previous column, the Cardinals have played twenty more games, and grounded into twenty more double plays. So 62 in 51 games. Extrapolated out, that's still a pace that would net 197 double plays for the year, well above the National League and Major League records of 166 and 174, respectively. 

On the other hand, it is somewhat important to note that the Cardinals have not grounded into double plays at a record-breaking pace over the last twenty games. Hell, a paltry 162 double plays won't get you any kind of spot in the record books at all. Unfortunately, if they continue on at the exact same pace as the last twenty games, they will, in fact, break the National League record. But not the MLB record!, he shouted, thrusting his finger into the air. Hooray for small victories, I suppose. 

A few more random facts about this season of wholesaling outs: 

  • The Cards lead all of baseball with their 62 GIDPs; second are Texas and the Yankees, both with 50. The nearest National League team is Pittsburgh, with 43. 
  • Arizona has the fewest, with just 21. That's right, the Cardinals have hit into almost three times as many double plays as the Diamondbacks
  • You want an even better idea of how large that discrepancy is? Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina, the two 'leaders' in the category, have 23 double plays between them, 2 more than the DBacks. 
  • Albert leads the Cardinals and all of baseball with 14; Yadi has hit into 9. Ryan Theriot has hit into 6, followed by Colby Rasmus and Jon Jay, tied at 5 apiece. 
  • Every Cardinal position player who has appeared in a big league game this year has hit into at least one, with the exceptions of Pete Kozma (9 plate appearances), and Tony Cruz. (5 plate appearances) 
  • Oddly enough, three of the five lowest GIDP totals on the season belong to NL Central teams. Cincinnati, Houston, and Milwaukee rank #26, 27, and 28, respectively. Houston doesn't surprise me, considering their offense is bad enough they rarely have runners on base to put the double play in order, but I'm a little surprised the other two are so low. 
I still think, on the whole, this ridiculous number of double plays could be taken as a positive as much as a negative. After all, the Cardinals do lead MLB in a bunch of the good offensive categories as well, and all those baserunners do make it more likely you're going to see a couple double plays on any given night. It's kind of tough to remember it's a positive, though, when you can hear the numbers 6, 4, and 3 in your dreams at night.