Carlos Martinez shut out Kansas City for 6 innings last night, but was saddled with his third straight no decision as the tail spinning Cardinal batsmen could never get him a lead. It was Martinez’ third straight no decision, despite the fact that Carlos has only allowed 1 run in the 20 innings he’s pitched in those games. It took 12 innings, but the Royals eventually prevailed 3-2 (box score).
This is a continuation of the team batting slump that dates back to the beginning of the Houston series that started the home stand before this. The Cards did finish with 10 hits last night, but it took them 12 innings and 46 at bats. St Louis has lost 9 of 14 games since the beginning of the Houston series. They are hitting .228 as a team and scoring 3.86 runs per game. With one day left in June, the team batting average is down to .246 for the month.
Perhaps the nicest single moment of the evening was the game-tying home run that Stephen Piscotty struck in the bottom of the tenth. Piscotty is hitting .331 this season when he’s up with the Cardinals either trailing by a run, tied, or ahead by no more than two runs. His 58 hits in 175 at bats includes 15 doubles, a triple, and 8 of his 9 home runs. He has 34 of his 40 RBIs in these critical moments of the game and is slugging .566 with the game thus on the line.
Over these 14 games, St Louis has collected 19 home runs, but Piscotty’s was only the fifth hit while the Cards trailed in the game.
Matt Holliday has hit some home runs since the beginning of the previous home stand (4 to be exact), but now has just 10 hits in his last 49 at bats (.204). He staggers into the last day of June with a .235 average for the month, although with a .481 slugging percentage. Matt does have 6 home runs and 16 runs batted in this month.
His bat has been most missed in just the kind of game played last night where neither team ever trailed by more than one run. Over the last 14 games, when the game score has been a one-run lead either way, Matt is only 4 for 36 (.111) – although 3 of those hits have left the yard. This has been the pattern all season. Through his 0-for-3 last night, Holliday is hitting .204 while the game is within a run either way. But he has hit 8 home runs and driven in 32 runs in those at bats.
Hitless last night, Tommy Pham is down to .190 (4 for 21) since his return from the DL.
When Tommy struck out leading off the twelfth inning with his team down 3-2, it dropped Pham to 0 for 9 on the season when he bats with the Cards behind. He is 4 for 12 (.333) when he bats either ahead or tied in the game.
Matt Adams had a particularly tough evening, going 0 for 6 with 3 strikeouts. His is another bat that we haven’t heard much from since the start of the Houston series. Hampered by back spasms, Matt has only played in 9 of the last 14 games, starting 6. He has 4 hits, 1 walk and 9 strikeouts in his last 27 at bats (.148 batting average and .172 on base percentage). One of those hits did leave the park, but Matt has only driven in 2 runs in the team’s last 14 games.
Adams also had opportunities to help bring the Cards from behind. He struck out in the eighth inning with the tying run on first and one out. He ended the game with a twelfth inning fly-out with the Cards trailing 3-2. This month Matt has come to the plate 19 times with his team behind. He has 2 singles (1 of the infield variety) and 4 strike outs. His batting line this month with the Cards trailing is .105/.105/.105.
Greg Garcia’s remarkable early season start has started to slow. Zero for five last night, Greg is just 1 for his last 11. He is 5 for 27 (.185) for the month of June.
The improved Cardinal pitching this month has given the struggling hitters a better chance to get the team back into the game than they’ve had in previous months. In April, 21.9% of Cardinal plate appearances came with the team trailing by more than one run. In May that happened 28.6% of the time. In June, the Cards have trailed by more than one run just 15.8% of the time.
Carlos Martinez wrapped up as good a month as a pitcher has had around here for a long time last night. With 6 more scoreless innings, Carlos finished giving us 34.1 innings through 5 June starts, allowing just 5 runs on 26 hits – and just 1 home run. His ERA for the month was 1.31 and was accompanied by a .208 batting average against. He won only 2 (losing none), but that number could have been so much better.
In those 34.1 innings, Martinez only pitched with a lead in 10 of them. He also trailed for only 3.2 innings. Of the 137 batters he faced in June, Carlos faced an astonishing 62% of them with the score tied. For the season, an embarrassing 45% of the batters that face him have done so with the score tied.
Fortunately, tied ballgames are when Carlos does his best work. In 41.2 tied-score innings this season, Martinez has a 2.16 ERA and a .216 batting average against. Of the 174 batters that Martinez has faced with the score tied this season, Jarrod Dyson’s fourth inning double was only the third extra-base hit he’s surrendered, and only Adrian Gonzalez has hit a home run this season against Martinez with the score tied.
In 20.2 innings in June with the score tied, Martinez’ ERA was an eye-catching 0.44. For the entire month, the only lead he surrendered in a tied ballgame came in Seattle on a grounder to third by Dae-ho Lee.
He did surrender a lead against San Francisco on June 5 – a home run by Jarrett Parker momentarily flipped a 1-0 Cardinal lead into a 2-1 Giant lead in a game St Louis (and Martinez) went on to win 6-3. Since he had a lead so rarely this month, it’s understandable that he might occasionally forget what to do with one.
Kevin Siegrist walked a batter but gave no hits in a scoreless seventh. Opposing batsmen are just 4 for 27 (.148) against Kevin when he pitches in a tied game.
Tyler Lyons only faced one batter, but got a fly-out to end the eighth. Lyons hasn’t pitched a lot in June (6 games and 10 innings with one game to go), but he has been encouragingly effective when called on. He has allowed only 2 runs this month (1.80 ERA) on just 3 hits (.097 average against).
Tyler stranded both of the runners he inherited from Jonathan Broxton last night. So far this season, Tyler has stranded 11 of 12 inherited runners.
Matthew Bowman pitched a hitless, scoreless ninth with a one-run deficit. For the month, opposing batters are 1 for 13 against Matt when he pitches with the Cardinals trailing in the game.
Seung-hwan Oh has only walked 3 batters (1 intentionally) in 12.1 innings this month. All three have been in the 2 innings he’s pitched since becoming the presumptive closer.
There was no opportunity to demonstrate this last night, but all month the Cardinals have had the most inexplicable problem holding leads. For the month, Cardinal pitchers have pitched with a lead for 78.1 innings, during which they have sustained a 5.17 ERA and a .297 batting average against. In 139 innings while the game is tied or St Louis trails, the pitching staff holds it together to the tune of a 2.59 ERA and a .218 average against. Some of this damage gas come when St Louis has had a substantial lead, but the numbers are worse when the game is close. With one game left in June, St Louis has pitched with a lead of no more than three runs for 56 innings this month with an ERA of 5.79 and a batting line against of .316/.370/.483.