Categorized | Cardinals, Royals

I-70 Series By The (Jersey) Numbers

The second part of the I-70 Series for 2011 will take place in St. Louis this weekend. The story of two franchises that are both ultimately headed towards winning ways at the same time for the first time in years can be told in many different ways. Series breakdowns and predictions will be made. Here at I-70 Baseball, we plan to weigh the teams against each other in a whole new way.

Thirteen active players on each of the two rosters share a jersey number. As we take a look at the thirteen players for each team, we will decide which player holds an advantage over the other and ultimately come out with our prediction for the winning team based off this obviously scientific formula.

Alex Gordon, LF, KC Royals
Gordon is the man set to dominate in 2011, by his own words. He has not exactly let the fans down at this point. A strong batting average, decent home run total, driving runs in at a career best pace and above average fielding have many Royals fans screaming for Gordon in the mid-summer classic.
Yadier Molina, C, St. Louis Cardinals
Molina is one of the core members of this franchise. Known primarily for his gold glove caliber defense, Yadi has shown that he has an above .300 quality batting average and should be feared at the plate as well as behind it.
Decision
This may be one of the hardest numbers to decide and the two teams have cornerstone players wearing the number 4. The idea here may be to go with the player with the best overall body of work and for that, Molina takes the number 4.
Mitch Maier, OF, KC Royals
Maier is a backup outfielder that has seen very little playing time for the Kansas City Royals this season. A strong batting average based on a small sample size, Maier brings little to this argument.
Lance Berkman, OF, St. Louis Cardinals
One of the most feared free agent signings in recent memory, Berkman has found a rebirth and youthfulness that many had written off for better times. Berkman has become a core part of the offense and continues to shine.
Decision
No brainer on this one, a bench player up against a key component. Give number 12 to the Cardinals as well.
Matt Treanor, C, KC Royals
Treanor was picked up late in the offseason to provide exactly what he has become – a defensive, veteran catcher who had a strong handle on the pitching staff. With a young staff, the Royals needed this type of guidance, and they received just that.
Jon Jay, OF, St. Louis Cardinals
Jay was the reason the franchise felt Ryan Ludwick was expendable in 2010. By 2011, Jay was the reason the Cardinals signed Lance Berkman. A strong outfielder that plays well when not overexposed, Jon Jay is a key contributor when used properly.
Decision
A battle between players that are not used everyday makes decisions hard. However, Jay has become a central part of both the Cardinals offense and defense. Number 15 is in the Cards.
Jeff Francis, SP, KC Royals
Francis has many Royals fans wondering why he is in the rotation. He has surrendered a league worst 104 hits and boasts a 3-6 record.
Kyle Lohse, SP, St. Louis Cardinals
For a team without its ace pitcher, Lohse has been one of the reasons the Cardinals find themselves still in contention on some level. A 7-3 record and a sub 3 earned run average will help any team.
Decision
I was one of the biggest Lohse detractors the last few years but I will eat my crow, and award the Cardinals the number 26 in this contest.
Brayan Pena, C, KC Royals
Pena has been, at times, a bright spot and, at others, a failure. All in all, he has handled the pitching staff well and posted a respectable offensive number for a catcher regarded for his defense.
Tyler Greene, IF, St. Louis Cardinals
Greene has been one of those conundrums for the Cardinals. A player that has always performed will in the minors just can’t seem to get it together in the big leagues.
Decision
The Royals get a runaway for the number 27. Greene shows no reason to be taking a roster spot as he is the same player as Ryan Theriot, without the bat.
Eric Hosmer, 1B, KC Royals
Hosmer represents the future of the franchise for the Royals and has given fans and the team no reason to doubt the future isn’t bright. Hosmer has shown that he is level headed, strong willed, and shows flashes of excellence at the plate and in the field.
Jake Westbrook, SP, St. Louis Cardinals
Westbrook was the center piece of the Ludwick deal last season and has had moments where he has proven why. Other times he has made fans wonder. Ups and downs abound despite the fact that he came to the team as a pitcher that was supposed to be consistent in his position.
Decision
The Royals fans would kill me if I did not award number 35 to the Royals franchise. Hosmer has a bright future and Westbrook needs to perform at the level the Cardinals acquired him for.
Blake Wood, RP, KC Royals
The middle relief pitcher has often been a bright spot for the Royals this season appearing in 23 games already this season. 24 strikeouts to 10 walks (1 intentional) has proven him a stingy pitcher with good stuff.
Mark Hamilton, 1B, St. Louis Cardinals
Hamilton represents what the Cardinals minor league system is capable of. A player who is honestly “blocked” in the depth chart, he has serviced well as back up but found most of his time come in pinch hitting or work in lopsided games.
Decision
The jury is still out on Hamilton who is not getting enough playing time to make an accurate decision on him. Wood, however is pitching well enough to bring the number 38 home to Kansas City.
Aaron Crow, RP, KC Royals
Crow is yet another part of the youth movement of the Royals franchise. Much like Hosmer, Crow is proving why everyone is getting excited. The Royals are showing confidence in the young man and rightfully so, he will be closing games before long.
Trever Miller, RP, St. Louis Cardinals
Miller has been another part of the conundrum for Cardinal fans. A pitcher that has dominated in the past suddenly cannot find his way in 2011. Miller is aging and it is starting to show.
Decision
Another young arm brings home a number to the west side of the state as Aaron Crow takes the number 43 in our run down.
Luke Hochevar, SP, KC Royals
Hochevar leads the Royals in starts and has not performed completely horribly in them, just mildly so. Still, he is eating innings and pitching well enough to keep the Royals happy with his performance, even if the fans are not.
Miguel Batista, RP, St. Louis Cardinals
A Non-Roster Invitee,
he has pitched horribly.
He is known for poetry,
fans pray for free agency.
Decision
Did anyone think that Hochevar could win a comparison against another pitcher? Neither did I. Of course, calling Batista a pitcher at this point is a bit of a stretch. Number 44 goes to the Royals.
Louis Coleman, RP, KC Royals
Another part of that strong middle relief corp for the Royals, Coleman has nailed down a few innings that he has been entrusted with, including the ninth inning a few times.
Kyle McClellan, SP, St. Louis Cardinals
McClellan, much like Lohse, deserves a lot of the credit for what the pitching staff has done. Though he had a rough start coming off the disabled list, he has been more than adequate on the mound in his starts.
Decision
Kyle McClellan has done nothing more than perform anywhere the team has asked him to, and done so at an above average level each time. Give the number 46 to the team under the arch.
Tim Collins, RP, KC Royals
Collins, while not as great as Coleman or Crow, has shown that the youth movement in the bullpen is worth while. At time erratic, he has managed to stay on top of his game and help the team out of many jams.
Skip Schumaker, 2B, St. Louis Cardinals
Skip has spent a good portion of the season on the disabled list. On top of which, it appears the franchise no longer looks at him as an every day option at second base. A solid teammate, he is playing out of his position and it has not gotten any better.
Decision
Based largely on the inadequacies of Skip Schumaker, the number 55 is heading west to Kauffman Stadium with young Mr. Collins.
Greg Holland, RP, KC Royals
The youth movement in the bullpen continues with Holland, who has seen limited time but has impressed with the time he has gotten.
Brian Tallet, RP, St. Louis Cardinals
Another player that has seen limited time do to being injured, Tallet has done nothing to prove why he should be trusted in tight ball games.
Decision
Two players with small sample sizes, but one has dominated in the short amount of time that he has had. Holland takes the number 56.
Felipe Paulino, SP, KC Royals
Paulino has made appearances in four games so far this year, three of them starts, and has no record to show for any of it. He has pitched well and shown solid command, it will take time to determine what his future is in Kansas City.
Fernando Salas, RP, St. Louis Cardinals
Salas has proven that the Cardinals have a youth movement of their own going on. The young man has inherited the closer role from Ryan Franklin and done so in stunning fashion.
Decision
One of the brightest spots out of the Cardinals bullpen, Salas takes the number 59 back to the east side of the state.

Totaling up the numbers sees the Royals take home seven numbers and the Cardinals only taking home six. The numbers here show the Royals winning the series.

And numbers don’t lie.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball as well as the Assignment Editor for BaseballDigest.com.
He is the host of I-70 Radio, hosted every week on BlogTalkRadio.com.
Follow him on Twitter here.

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