To say this was not the White Sox’ finest hour would be a significant understatement. The final score (14-2 Cardinals) was indicative enough (box score). Worse was the fact that much of the damage came at their own hands. With 8 walks and an error added to the 16 Cardinal hits, St Louis didn’t lack for scoring opportunities. Five of the Cardinal runs – including 4 of the 7 they scored in the decisive sixth – reached base with walks. St Louis scored runs on a passed ball, a wild pitch, and a bases loaded walk.
In truth, the route could have been even worse, as the Cardinals – very torrid recently with runners in scoring position – were only 4 for 17 in those circumstances.
And, of course, when the young White Sox’ pitchers did throw the ball over the plate, the Cards hit it with authority – their hits including 3 doubles and 2 home runs. As a result of the outburst, the Cards are now hitting .291 as a team this month, scoring 59 runs in the 9 games so far.
It has been their most sustained offensive show since April.
In this one, everyone in the lineup made a contribution.
After spending almost all of the season’s first half hitting below .200, Kolten Wong is suddenly a man on fire. He has hit safely in all of his last 5 starts, getting multiple hits in the last 4. After his 4-for-5 effort last night (which included a double and a home run) Wong is hitting .579 (11-for-19) in those last 5 starts, with a .947 slugging percentage.
Slumping a bit when the calendar turned to July, Jose Martinez (3-for-4 last night) now has consecutive 3-hit games. These have pushed his July average back up to .321 (9 for 28).
Jose was 1-for-2 with runners in scoring position last night – his single driving home Matt Carpenter in the third. Martinez leads all Cardinal regulars in batting average with runners in scoring position at .322 (28 for 87).
Matt Carpenter pushed his average into the rarefied air of the .260s with two more hits last night. Even so, he is still missing opportunities with runners in scoring position.
He ended the fourth by striking out with Wong at second base (the lead was only 3-2 at that point). In the sixth he walked with runners at first and second and no one out – a walk that helped set the stage for the 7-run inning.
Carpenter is now 13 for 55 (.236) on the season with runners in scoring position – although he now has 20 walks and a .429 no base percentage in those situations.
With 2 hits last night, Paul DeJong now has a small six-game hitting streak, going back to the last two games before his injury. It hasn’t been a terribly loud hitting streak, but he is hitting .292 (7 for 24). Last night was the only multi-hit game in the streak.
DeJong also had RISP chances, but went 0-for-2. For the season, DeJong is hitting just .238 (10 for 42) when he’s had RBI opportunities.
Good News From the Rotation
While the 14 runs and 16 hits grabbed the attention, there has also been an encouraging trend in the rotation. After a struggling June which saw the rotation endure an eight-start stretch without a quality start, Miles Mikolas’ 6 efficient innings last night provided the Cards with their sixth quality start in the last eight outings. Over the last 8 games, the rotation has provided a 3.23 combined ERA.
Mikolas now has 13 quality starts in his last 16 games. He is 9-3 with a 2.26 ERA over those games.
Still not entrusted with important moments, Brett Cecil entered in the seventh with a 9-run lead. He threw another fine inning. He has now not allowed an earned run over his last 9 games (9.1 innings). He has allowed just one extra-base hit (a double) to the last 38 batters he’s faced.
Greg Holland and John Brebbia
In a footnote to the game, both Greg Holland and John Brebbia threw scoreless innings. For both it broke a string of three consecutive games in which they had allowed runs – they were jointly responsible for 5 of the 13 runs San Francisco scored in the last game of that series.
For both, it must have been a relief.