Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Siegrist's ERA Could Be All-Time Low; the 0's Have It. Siegrist's ERA Was 0.64 and Batting Average against at .099; BASEBALL INSIDERS

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Siegrist's ERA Could Be All-Time Low; the 0's Have It. Siegrist's ERA Was 0.64 and Batting Average against at .099; BASEBALL INSIDERS

Article excerpt

When your earned run average and opponents' batting average against both start with zero, you know your season has been a success.

So it was for Cardinals lefthanded rookie Kevin Siegrist before the Cardinals played the Pittsburgh Pirates this weekend. His earned run average was 0.64 and opponents had been hitting only .099 against him.

No Cardinals pitcher who has appeared in 30 or more games for a season Siegrist had 30 as of Thursday has ever had a lower ERA for a season.

Hall of Famer Bob Gibson famously had a 1.12 ERA in 1968. Siegrist, in much more limited duty, was nearly half a run a game lower than that although there has been no outcry to lower the height of the mound next season because of Siegrist.

The next lowest ERA in Cardinals history for 30 or more games belongs to lefthander Tony Fossas, who was at 1.47 in 1995, and lefthander Joe Hoerner, at the same figure in 1968. Although Siegrist was more like Hoerner than Fossas because he also has faced and succeeded against righthanded hitters, while Fossas was more of a Randy Choate-type specialist.

The next closest was the 1.54 compiled by Hall of Fame reliever Bruce Sutter in 1984, his final season with the Cardinals, and think of how low it might have been if Sutter hadn't memorably served up two home runs, good for three runs, to Ryne Sandberg in the same game in Chicago that June.

Siegrist had held lefthanded hitters to an .087 average on four for 46 and righthanded hitters to .111 on five for 45 in his first 30 outings. He had fanned 40 and allowed nine hits in 28 innings.

He traced that success to his minor-league career, mostly as a starter, where he had to use both sides of the plate and started featuring a changeup against righthanded hitters.

His numbers are ridiculous and Siegrist admitted "whenever somebody brings it up to me, I know some (of them). But I try not to look too much into that stuff. My success is second to helping the team."

Choate said that Siegrist's statistics rivaled those of hard- throwing lefthander Aroldis Chapman's numbers of last year when the Cincinnati closer held opponents to a .141 average to go with a 1.51 ERA, giving up 35 hits in 71 2/3 innings and striking out 122.

"I know that's a lofty comparison," said Choate. "But it's not just (facing) lefthanders, it's lefthanders and righthanders. He's been dominant against both."

PLAYOFF PICTURE

There never has been a three-team tie for a division title and the Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates and Reds haven't been tied for first place at the same at any time this year in the National League Central Division. But it could happen and the tiebreaking procedure is an interesting one.

If the three teams finished in a tie for first place and all were going to be playoff teams anyway that second part appears very likely the team with the best record in head-to-head-to-head meetings among the three would have a choice of whether to play a tiebreaker game for the division title or settle for the second wild- card berth and not have to play an extra game. …

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