Vote for Pedro (Strop) to not pitch much vs. the Cardinals at Busch
Before I get too deep into this, please know that I am a big fan of Pedro Strop and he has been a very reliable piece in the bullpen over the past 3.5 seasons. I also think he will be a valuable piece going forward, but his latest meltdown against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium on Opening Night sadly isn’t an aberration.
If we look at teams that Strop has faced for 20+ innings of his career we are left with 4 teams and unsurprisingly, those 4 teams are all of the NL Central Teams (Pirates-29.2 IP, Reds, 28.1 IP, Brewers-26 IP, and Cardinals 23.2 IP). The team he has struggled the most against is the St. Louis Cardinals.
Strop’s ERA against these top 4 teams are as follows:
Strop also has a higher WHIP (1.324, next highest vs. Brewers, 0.962), more walks (13, next highest vs. Reds, 11 BB), more HBP (5, next highest vs. Pirates, 2 HBP), a higher OPS against (.683, next highest vs. Brewers, .553 OPS) while facing the Cards. These counting numbers though only tell one side of the story, what is really surprising is just how bad he has been at Busch Stadium.
In 14 games (9.2 innings) at Busch Stadium he has a 8.38 ERA with 9 runs given up (all earned) on 10 hits, 10 walks (4 HBP) and 1 HR. That is a 2.069 WHIP and the Cards are teeing off on him to the tune of an .830 OPS. Before you say, well maybe he is just better at home than he is on the road; his career home vs. away numbers are actually skewed towards being better on the the road (see chart).
To his credit Strop has denied there being anything to his struggles in Busch Stadium and won’t make excuses, which is what I like to see as a fan of his and of this team, but he has really been struggling against the Cardinals as a whole and when he isn’t in Wrigley against them, things go that much worse.
Like I said above, this is in no way an indictment on Strop and what he can bring to the table out of the pen and truly the sample size is small enough that a few good outings here or there can really change things, but as of now he really is a different pitcher in and against the Cardinals.