After losing 16 of their first 23 one-run games, the Cards continued a remarkable reversal in this trend as they outlasted Milwaukee 2-1 in ten innings (box score) last night. They have thus begun their penultimate road trip of the season with consecutive one-run wins against the Brewers. They are 7-2 this month, and have now won 13 of their last 16 one-run games.
Siegrist has been right in the middle of the activity all year when the Cards have been involved in one-run games. Kevin has pitched in 24 of the 39, posting an 0.82 ERA over 22 innings in which he has allowed 9 singles, 2 doubles and 1 home run. He has held batters to a .164 batting average and a .233 slugging percentage.
Over the course of his career, Siegrist has found his way into 92 games that were ultimately decided by one run. He has a 2.41 ERA and a .208 opponent’s batting average in 78.1 innings pitched in those games.
Seung-hwan Oh was touched for a couple of soft hits, but pitched out of trouble to force extra-innings. Oh is working on a 14.1 inning scoreless streak covering his last 12 appearances. He has allowed 8 hits (all singles) and 2 walks in those innings.
Oh has contributed substantially to the rebound in one-run games. He has pitched in 13 of the last 16, winning 2 (including last night’s game), losing none, and saving 8 of 9 with a 0.61 ERA in 14.2 innings.
Zach Duke came to the rescue of the struggling Matt Bowman after Matt had loaded the bases in the bottom of the tenth. This is more than a little scary, as Duke has issued 7 walks and hit a batter in his first 12 Cardinal innings, but he nailed down the save. His control problems aside, Duke has stranded 11 of the 14 batters he’s inherited (including all three last night) and allowed just 1 run of his own (0.73 ERA).
Duke has been involved in 6 one-run games since joining the Cards. He lost one of them (on that bases loaded walk against Chicago), but has allowed only that 1 run in his 5 innings in these games. Last night’s save was his first as a Cardinal.
The Cardinal pitching staff has responded to the challenge of the last 16 one-run games with a 2.90 ERA and a .232 batting average against.
They came to the rescue last night, and have had to with some frequency lately. The sometimes high-flying Cardinal offense has stubbed its collective toe over the last two series as they have run into the feared pitching staffs in Oakland and Milwaukee. They have scored just 17 runs over these last 5 games (3.4 per) and are hitting .228 in those games. They have drawn 10 walks and struck out 54 times in that span.
This doesn’t apply to Yadier Molina, who just keeps hitting. With a single and a double last night, Yadi has hit in 6 of his last 7 games (with multiple hits in 3 of the 6). Yadi is 11 for his last 29 (.379).
Since the All-Star Break, Molina has been hitting .345 (49 of 142).
The last 16 one-run games haven’t been distinguished by a lot of offense – they rarely are – but Molina is one who has been a consistent presence. He has played in 15 of them, hitting .300 (18 for 60) and driving in three runs – one of them a game-winner (his walk off hit by pitch against Cincinnati on August 8) and another was a late-inning game-changer (his game-tying, ninth-inning double against the Mets and Jeurys Familia on July 27).
Stephen Piscotty has been particularly stung by the As’ and Brewers’ pitching staffs. He is now 3 for 19 (.158) with 10 strikeouts in the last 5 games after striking out all four times up last night. Piscotty has struggled more in the second half than expected with a .238 average, but he does have 9 home runs and 25 RBIs since the Break.
Piscotty’s struggles have been amplified in the recent one-run games. He has played in all of the last 16, hitting just .145 (9 for 62) in those games. Stephen hit .329/.375/.534 in the one-run games he played in last year.
Tommy Pham was 0 for 4 and stretched his hitless streak to 14 at bats. He has struck out in 12 of them (three times last night). He has also seen a first-pitch strike in 12 of the 17 plate appearances covered by this streak. Of the last 81 pitches thrown to him, Tommy has swung at just 28 (35%) and has missed on that swing 15 times (54%). Of these last 12 strikeouts, Pham has been caught looking 5 times.
Since the All-Star Break, Pham has struck out 43 times in 96 at bats and is hitting .229 (with 22 hits). He does have 6 home runs among those hits. Pham has played in 14 of the last 16 one-run games with marginal success. He carries a .200 average (8 for 40) with 0 runs batted in and 18 strikeouts. In 42 career one-run games (of which he’s started 26), Pham is a .237 career hitter, but a .447 career slugger as he has hit 5 home runs in those games.
The team-wide season-long batting average in one-run games is .228, while they score an average of 3.87 runs per game in these contests.
After amassing just 7 hits in 10 innings last night, the Cardinal’s team batting average has faded to .249 in the second half.
Last night’s win gives St Louis the series victory, regardless of what happens tonight. They have now won 20 series, lost 18, and split 5. After struggling to win the opening game of a series for much of the year, the Cardinals have suddenly gotten fairly proficient at it. They have opened 10 of their last 13 series with wins, which makes the fact that they’ve only won 6 of those series all the more disappointing. For the season, the Cardinals are 15-4-1 in series when they win the first game. The record in the games of those series is 44-17.