One of the season-long trends the 2016 edition of the Cardinals struggled with was winning the first game of a series. In 52 first games, last year’s team went 23-29 (.442). Thereafter, they were 63-47 (.573). They have started off 2017 falling into the same troubling pattern. They are 5-8 (.385) in the first games of their series so far. After game one, they have played .640 ball (16-9).
When Matt Moore takes the mound for the Giants tonight, he will be only the eighth left-handed pitcher to start against the Cards this season.
In the first 14 games in May, the Cards have scored five runs or more 9 times (64%). They have won 8 of the 9. They have lost 4 of the 5 games when they failed to score at least 5 runs.
For the season, they have scored at least five runs in exactly half of their games, going 15-4 (.789) when they do. They are just 6-13 (.316) when they can’t score at least 5 runs.
Last year’s club managed an 83-32 (.722) record when they scored at least 3 runs. That team won only twice all year when they scored just 2 runs. This year’s team already has 4 wins in games where they’ve scored just 2 runs – including three-straight 2-1 wins against Pittsburgh. They, however, are only 17-12 (.586) when they score three runs or more.
Last year’s team scored the first run of the game only 80 times in 162 games (49%). They won 69 percent of the time when they did (55-25). So far in May, St Louis has scored the first run 9 times in 14 games (64%), going 7-2 (.778) in those games.
Last year, St Louis never held any kind of lead in 42 of their 162 games (25.9%). So far this year there have only been 6 games the Cards have played (15.8%) in which they didn’t lead at some point. This means that St Louis already has 11 come-from-ahead losses. They lost only 34 such games all of last year.
Even though the Cards are 9-5 so far in May, Wednesday’s loss was the second time already this month where they lost a game that they led by 3 runs or more. On May 4, St Louis jumped out to a 3-0 second-inning lead against Milwaukee, only to watch the Brewers come all the back for a 5-4 victory (box score). They have already seen four leads of three runs or more turn into losses. All of last year, they only lost 5 times where they held a lead of at three runs at one time.
On the other hand, last year’s Cards only played 43 games (26.5%) in which they never trailed. This year’s team has done that 6 times in 14 games this month alone (42.9%)
This also means that last year’s team had 43 come-from-behind victories (something this year’s team has managed 8 time so far). In fact, as long as the 2016 Cardinals never trailed by more than two runs they came back to win 59.3% of the time (35-24).
This year’s team has come back to win 5 of the 8 games they’ve played where they’ve trailed by no more than one run, but they are 0-5 when that deficit goes to two runs.
St Louis’ 9 May victories include two when they trailed by 4 runs at one point – back to back rallies against the Miami bullpen, 6-5 on May 9, and 7-5 on May 10. They now have three, 4-run comebacks this season, as they also did it to Toronto (8-4 in 11 innings in the first game of that April 27 doubleheader). For all of its firepower, last year’s club won only 5 games all year where they once trailed by four runs.
Oh, and yesterday we noted umpire Jeff Kellogg’s contributions to the two losses to Boston. We are now 0-2 already this season when Kellogg has the plate. He was also behind the plate for this 9-3 beating we took at the hands of the Yankees on April 16. Last year we were also 0-2 in games when Kellogg had the plate. Going back to 2000, St Louis is 17-18 with Jeff Kellogg behind the plate.
We are also 0-2 when Will Little and Quinn Wolcott have the plate. From April 25, 2014 through August 14, 2015 St Louis won seven straight games when Little called balls and strikes. Since then we have lost four straight games when he’s had the plate. Wolcott has only has the honor of calling Cardinal games since 2015. That year we were 0-2 in games when he had the plate. In the 2 games he called for us in 2016, we were 2-0.
Conversely, St Louis is already 2-0 in games called by Hunter Wendelstedt. Since the beginning of the century, the Cardinal record is 19-16 when Wendelstedt has the plate.