At the Cardinals game last night (eww) I was surprised to hear continued criticism, from the people in the stands, leveled at Troy Glaus. Wait–given the game, it’s prohbably best to say that I was surprised to hear criticism leveled specifically at Troy Glaus. After all, his OPS is a typically Glaus-ian .854, he’s playing defense that exceeded my wildest expectations, and ever since his slugging percentage hit its nadir of .380 at the end of May he’s put up numbers that almost resemble his long-lost Anaheim past.
But then I thought about it. I’ve had to miss a few games, lately, on TV, and I find myself unable to recall the last time he did something truly impressive while I was watching. If I were to guess–and I haven’t looked at the numbers–I would say, without hesitation, that Glaus is the streakiest hitter on the team.
Which got me thinking: there’s a non-zero chance that some of these hecklers might have been particularly busy during, say, his three best weeks. They might have missed his final, cathartic break-out against the Cubs, or that first week where it looked like the Cardinals had finally found the slugger they were promised. To these people, Troy Glaus might as well be Cesar Izturis. I decided to take a look at Glaus’s best and worst weeks, to see if there was any truth to this thought–to see if the people who spent the week of July 6 at the Magic Kingdom, or were between cable and satellite in mid-May, are justified in their Troy Glaus ambivalence.
Because this is an arbitrary idea I’m taking an arbitrary measure. We’re going to find Glaus’s five best calendar weeks–one a month, or so, for our hypothetical unlucky soul to miss–and tally up what he’s done over the rest of the season. Here, first, are Glaus’s finest hours.
May 12-18: It’s May 12. A 2-4 afternoon against Milwaukee has brought our much vaunted Hombre-Protector’s slugging percentage all the way to .360. He’s got one home run in 38 games, and his thirteen doubles aren’t exactly keeping the St. Louis natives from their restlessness. Scott Rolen, only recently activated from the disabled list, already has two home runs and is working, to this point, on a .966 OPS. Into this milieu comes Glaus’s first hot streak of the season. On the 12th he has a good game that leads to an ignominious factoid; after going 0-1 with three walks his on-base percentage finally meets his slugging percentage–his .230/.357/.357 line sends him smack into the Camera-Eye Line, if you will, or within the Reggie Willits Triangle. No place for a hulking slugger to be, to say the least. The Cardinals split the next six games, but Glaus stops striking out–just three in 33 plate appearances–and starts lacing base hits. The run brings his average up to .270, and his slugging percentage–finally–safely over the Butler Point. (I have a ton of these.)
June 2-8: This is the back stretch of the run that saw Glaus triple his home run output over a little more than a week. On Saturday and Sunday Glaus had gone 4-6 with two homers to help the Cardinals split a set with Pittsburgh. As every would-be wag in the stadium noted, he had–with two swings–doubled his home run count for the season. Let’s see Scott Rolen do that. By June 9 Glaus, who hit only .231 in this week, would recast his batting line completely in the image of a more stereotypical slugger. .269/.376/.420, which might as well be on the back of a Craig Biggio card, became .265/.371/.443, and four home runs became seven.
July 7-13: Sunday’s game was a 7-1 drubbing at the hands of the Cubs, in which Sean Marshall–Sean Marshall!–and three non-Wood relievers held the Cardinals to seven hits and one run (Ludwick’s seventeenth homer.) Glaus, still mired in his absurd Cubs slump, goes 0-4 with a strikeout. After the day’s game his OPS stands at .816. It’s fitting that Glaus’s first huge week in a year that began so terribly starts on an off day; the Cardinals spend Monday traveling to Philadelphia. On Tuesday the Cardinals bounce back with a 2-0 shutout led by Joel Pineiro–Joel Pineiro!–and solo shots from Ludwick and Ankiel, but Glaus goes 0-4 again. His OPS is .806. Over the next two losses to the Phils Glaus goes 2-7 with a double, mostly holding steady, and then he goes on what might be the most impressive tear of the season. His three singles on the 11th are followed by a 4-4 night on the 12th and his fourteenth home run (in that horrifying 12-11 loss to Pittsburgh.) On Sunday he helps to exact the Cardinals’ revenge, propelling their 11-6 win over the Pirates with two doubles and a home run. All told he responds to his continued Cubs slump by going 12-24 with five extra base hits and just two strikeouts. From .806 on Wednesday his OPS lands at .863, and it wasn’t done going up just yet. Because next week, after a pause for the all-star break, Glaus gets even hotter.
July 14-20: During the all-star break, having been denied selection by cruel, cruel fate, Glaus trains in an underground bunker of his own design. Standing at a plate covered in railroad spikes he swings a bat made of lead at baseballs painstakingly crafted from pure plutonium. Behind home plate, caught unawares, lies a pile of adorable kittens; at the pitching machine, the most evil person in the world, mustache a-twirling. Glaus comes through this training with a pile of healthy young kittens to take care of and a renewed determination to quench villainy with the suffocating plate coverage of his hand-wrought bat, now named “Destroyer of Worlds.” On his first day back, July 17, Glaus hits two home runs to back Kyle Lohse’s twelfth win. He follows that up with two doubles and another home run before the week draws to a close. On the next Monday his OPS hits its year-to-date high; two more doubles in a loss to the Brewers bring it all the way to .904.
August 11-17: No, I didn’t remember this happening, either. Glaus wasn’t dominant during this stretch, which covered the series wins against Florida and Cincinnati, but if he were batting in the #1 or #8/9 hole and about a foot shorter some announcer somewhere would have christened him The Pesky Troy Glaus. During this stretch he just stopped striking out again and managed a 4-4 day. The end result was a .409/.500/.500 line, which is what you get when you stack two Reggie Willitses on top of each other.
Here are his lines from those weeks, from the unspeakably brilliant Baseball-Reference Gamelogs:
G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS +---+---+---+---+---+--+--+--+---+---+---+-----+-----+-----+-----+ 5/12 7 33 27 4 11 1 1 1 7 6 3 .407 .515 .630 1.145+ 6/2 7 30 26 5 6 1 0 3 4 4 4 .231 .333 .615 .948+ 7/7 6 29 24 7 12 3 0 2 5 5 2 .500 .586 .875 1.461+ 7/14 4 17 16 6 7 2 0 3 5 1 3 .438 .471 1.125 1.596+ 8/11 6 26 22 2 9 2 0 0 2 4 3 .409 .500 .500 1.000+ -----------------------------------------------------------------------+ TOTAL 30 135 115 24 45 9 1 9 23 20 15 .391 .481 .722 1.203
Thanks, again, to B-R, we can figure out what he did in the other games as well. Here’s what we were looking for: what is Troy Glaus doing when he’s not being Troy Glaus!!?
G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS ISO K% +---+---+---+---+---+--+--+--+---+---+---+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+ GLAUS 30 135 115 24 45 9 1 9 23 20 15 .391 .481 .722 1.203+ 331 13 GLOSS 99 410 352 36 83 22 0 12 61 53 73 .236 .339 .401 .740+ 165 21
Less of everything except strikeouts, it seems, and definitely the kind of line that will leave your average… I don’t know, deep sea fisher or astronaut unable to see the whole picture when he’s in radio silence. It’s not exactly shocking to learn that Glaus doesn’t light the world on fire without his five best weeks. What will be truly interesting is to see if the other big Cardinals bats follow suit. Next up–hopefully tomorrow, but let’s be honest about my updating skills–is a look at how Pujols, Ankiel, Ludwick, and some as-yet-undecided Control Bat hold up under the same pseudo-analysis.