Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Former Lefthander Mulder Says Cards' Low ERA Is 'Crazy'

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Former Lefthander Mulder Says Cards' Low ERA Is 'Crazy'

Article excerpt

Former Cardinals lefthander Mark Mulder, making his first visit to the Cardinals' clubhouse at Busch Stadium in several years, said the Cardinals' team earned run average of 2.21 entering Monday's game was "crazy. Seriously, it's crazy."

An analyst for ESPN, which did Monday's game with the Chicago Cubs on a national basis, Mulder said, "It's amazing to me how good pitching has gotten. And I think some of it has to do with the hitters, too. Nobody cares if they strike out.

"There's no 'put the ball in play with two strikes and make things happen.' Plus, the (lack of) steroids has changed a lot of things."

Mulder, still only 37, last pitched for the Cardinals in 2008 but had to quit because of arm issues, although he tried a comeback in the winter of 2014 only to suffer a torn Achilles tendon.

He said that in talking to some friends of his who are still pitching, his findings were that if the pitcher is behind in the count, he throws a fastball away because very few hitters seem to have any power that way.

"The fastball level of command today is incredible," Mulder said.

"It's a different game. You (only) have two, three guys who can take you deep, as opposed to six or seven or eight. Sometimes, there may be only one guy who can hit an opposite-field home against you. So why wouldn't just you stay away (with a pitch) because most guys don't try to hit the ball the other way? If you just stay away, what are they going to do? Flare in some singles? There's not going to be eight in a row."

MOLINA GETS TIME OFF

Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, two for his last 20 and three for his last 30, didn't start Monday after catching all 35 innings in three games for a staff that allowed just four runs over the weekend.

Manager Mike Matheny said he always involves Molina in the decision process and that Molina had lobbied to play Monday. But Matheny won out.

"It's one of those good opportunities for people to realize how much he does behind the scenes outside the offensive statistics. He did a great job of really keeping that staff together," said Matheny.

"There were so many times when he might have had an at-bat that might not have gone his way. …

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