Resting Martinez and Other Observations

Scanning through the numbers from the first 32 games, and noticing quite a few pitchers (Martinez, Garcia, Siegrist, Oh) who seem to profit notably from extra rest.

Carlos Martinez was much better on five days last year.  In eleven starts on 5-days’ rest, Carlos threw 9 quality starts, won 6 while losing only 2 with a 1.82 ERA. In 15 starts on 4-days, Carlos contributed 9 more quality starts.  His record: 8-2 (with 3 lost wins) but the ERA just 4.01.  Last year, Martinez received 6.29 support runs per game on four days, but only 2.80 on five.

It’s very few starts, but the same pattern seems to be developing.  Two starts on 5-days has yielded 2 quality starts, a 2-0 record and a 1.80 ERA.  His ground ball ratio is 65.1%.  Three starts on four days have brought 1 quality start, a 1-2 record, a 3.18 ERA and 43.8% ground balls.  The only notable early difference is run support.  12.00 runs per game on five days, 2.12 on four.  Martinez already has 20 support runs in his first two starts on five days.  In his eleven such starts last year, he was granted a total of 23 support runs.

Last year Jaime Garcia also pitched substantially better on five days of rest (instead of four).  The 10 times he pitched with 5-days of rest, he contributed 8 quality starts, throwing 66.2 innings.  His record was 7-2 (with one other lead blown by the bullpen) and his ERA 1.22 with an opponents’ slash line of .190/.233/.248.  He got ground balls out of 64.7% of the batters who made contact against him.  On four days, his numbers were ok.  Four quality starts of 8, 3-2 record (also with a lead coughed up by the pen), a 3.78 ERA and a .270/.310/.344 line, with 59% of the batters hitting the ball on the ground against him.

Again, it’s very early this year, but that trend is developing again.  It’s only 3 starts on four days and two starts on five days, but the results are 1-2, 2.95 and 1-0, 1.93 respectively.  His ground ball percentage is 72.7% on five days and 57.4% on four.

Kevin Siegrist made 58 appearances out of the pen last year with at least one day of rest.  Over those 57.2 innings, he allowed just 39 hits and recorded a 1.56 ERA.  So far this year, his ERA is 1.04 when pitching with at least one day off.  Four times this year, Kevin has pitched on consecutive days.  The results, 3.1 innings, 3 runs, 5 hits (including a home run) and an 8.10 ERA.  Last year the drop off wasn’t quite as severe, but still notable.  With no rest in between appearances, Kevin pitched 17 innings over 22 games with a 4.50 ERA.

It’s still a little early to form any real opinions about Korean import Seung-hwan Oh, but the very early data suggests he’s another reliever who profits from a few days off in between appearances.  So far, he’s only pitched 3 times on consecutive days, allowing 2 runs in those 3 innings with 1 strikeout.  Five times he’s gotten one day off.  In those appearances he has provided 4.2 innings.  He has allowed 5 hits in those innings, but has struck out 6 and allowed just 1 run.  In his 7 appearances on 2-days’ rest, Oh has been quite dominant – 0 runs, 2 hits and 11 strike outs over 7.2 innings.

Thirty-two games into the season and Trevor Rosenthal has only had the opportunity to save 6 games.  At that pace, he would only get 30 chances all season.  Nine of St Louis’ first 16 wins have been by more than five runs and two have been won on the last swing of the bat.

Last year, Rosenthal threw 50.2 innings as a closer and 18 innings in non-closing situations.  He struck out 66 batters in his closing innings and only 17 when not closing.  This year, so far, Trevor has 13 strike outs in the 6.1 innings he’s been used as a closer, and 5 in his 3.2 non-closing innings.  He has given up a couple of runs, but still has a 0.00 ERA as a closer as both runs against him were unearned.

Rosenthal still has not pitched on consecutive days this season.

Some Random Observations on Diaz and Others

Aledmys Diaz, with his infield hit in the seventh was his team-leading sixth of the season.  Stephen Piscotty is second with five.

That same at bat – with Randal Grichuk at first and one out – was the 17th this season that Aledmys was up in a double-play situation.  Diaz is one of three Cardinal hitters with more than 10 double-play opportunities that still hasn’t yet grounded into one.  Brandon Moss (16 opportunities) and Jeremy hazelbaker (13 opps) are the other two.

Diaz was thrown a first-pitch strike in three of his four plate appearances.  Of his first 94 big league plate appearances, Aledmys has seen a first-pitch strike in 64 of them – a team-leading 68.1% of the time.

In his four plate appearances, Aledmys swung the bat just once each time up, putting the ball in play all four times.  For the season. Aledmys has only missed on 18.7% of his swings – quite low considering the way the ball jump off his bat.  Additionally, he has fouled the ball off with only 28% of his swings (the lowest rate among starters) and puts the ball in play, now, 53.3% of the times he swings – the highest of all regulars.

Brandon Moss struck out three times last night, twice looking.  He has now taken a called strike three 8 times this season – tying him with Grichuk for the team lead.

Oh, Brandon did some swinging, too, hacking at 8 of the 14 pitches thrown him.  He missed 5 of his 8 swings, and has now missed on 58 of his 170 swing for the season (34.1%).  He is far and away the team leader, with Grichuk a semi-distant second at 28.5%.

Only one of his swings put the ball in play last night.  For the season, he is tied with Matt Adams for the team low as only 30.6% of their swings put the ball in play.

Pirate pitchers threw first-pitch strikes to 27 of the 37 Cardinal batsmen (73%).  For the season, the Cardinals are only seeing first-pitch strikes in 60.7% of their plate appearances (716 of 1179).  On 17 of those occasions, the Cardinal batter swung at the first pitch (45.9%).  For the season, the Cards are only chasing the first pitch 31.8% of the time.

For the season, Cardinal hitters are only swinging at 46.5% of the pitches thrown them and putting the ball in play on 39% of those swings.  Last night, they offered at 53.1% of Pittsburgh’s pitches (69 of 130) and only put the ball in play with 31.9% (22) of those swings.

Again, for the season, 37.1% of the pitches thrown to Cardinal hitters are called balls.  When they take pitches, only 30.6% of them are called strikes.  Last night, Pirate pitchers missed the strike zone with only 35 pitches (26.9%) and 42.6% of the pitches that Cardinal hitters took were called strikes.

Last season, Tyler Lyons was among the pitchers having the most difficult time keeping the ball on the ground.  Among pitchers who worked more than 50 innings for us, only Kevin Siegrist saw fewer ground balls (33%) than Lyons (41.9%) – a contributing factor to the number of home runs he allowed.  Last night, five of the eight batters who put the ball in play against Tyler got the ball in the air – one of them a home run.  For the season, Lyons’ ground ball percentage is just 35%.

Inherit the Wind Entry 5: Skeleton Crew for the Crowd Scenes

Thursday May 5, 2016

One of the challenges of an ambitious project like this on a community theatre level is balancing everyone’s schedule.  With a cast this large. not everyone is going to be able to be at every rehearsal.  Tonight we have sort of a skeleton crew as we work through the crowd scenes.

That means Darrious to the rescue.  Darrious Varner, our AD pictured below, reads for all of the absent players – the Reverend Brown, Meeker, Cates, Rachel (for awhile) and a few others.

One of Assistant Director Darrious Varner's several characters exchanges information with Judge Tom
One of Assistant Director Darrious Varner’s several characters exchanges information with Judge Tom

The crowd scenes have been an early focus.  Every time I drop in on rehearsal, we are working the crowd.  This would seem to be surprising, but with this show the town is pretty much on stage for all the important moments of the show.  Here is Mark helping us grasp the dynamics of the court room scenes:

Director Mark Neels explains the dynamics of the scene to the twons folks (not seen).
Director Mark Neels explains the dynamics of the scene to the crowd (not seen).

This is a semi-tedious process.  Where we are right now is a group of relative strangers trying to become a town and keeping a current of real life going on through the play.  So what happens is we rehearse a scene a couple of times and get the energy level up to where it needs to be.  Then we go home and kind of forget, so when we get back together – well, it’s a little like starting over.

As the rehearsal process goes on, this will lessen and we’ll stay more and more in the moment.  And Mark won’t have to work quite so hard.

Henry Drummond (Jim Danic) selects a jury member.  He'll do.
Henry Drummond (Jim Danic) selects a jury member. He’ll do.

The court scenes, I think, will be harder to get on top of that the town scenes.  Outside of the court, the crowd is pretty much the driving force of the scene and our responses are a little easier to connect to.

But in the court room, we are subordinate to the lawyers and witnesses.  Ir’s a delicate balance.  We have to keep that undercurrent of life going on, but we can’t overwhelm the center stage drama – and we can’t step on any of the moments.

Still, well on track for our opening in June.

Judge Tom Day prepares for the trial of the century.  The ping-pong paddle is the rehearsal version of his gavel.
Judge Tom Day prepares for the trial of the century. The ping-pong paddle is the rehearsal version of his gavel.

Lineup Data: Through 29 Games

With the Cardinals closing out the Philadelphia series with a 4-0 victory, and while awaiting the first visit of the Pittsburgh team to our fair community, let’s spend the morning sifting through the lineup data collected so far.

Carlos Martinez makes his sixth start of the season tonight.  The Cards are 4-1 when he starts.  In his 29 starts last year, they went 22-7.

With the left-handed Liriano pitching tonight, Jeremy Hazelbaker probably will not be in the starting lineup.  The Cards are, however, 8-5 when he starts, scoring 6.31 runs per game.  No other Cardinal (with at least ten starts) has seen the team win over 60% of the time his name appears in the lineup.  Hazelbaker has not started a game against a left-handed pitcher all season.

Brandon Moss also has a .600 winning percentage (9 wins in 15 starts) when he starts against right-handed pitchers.  He is 0-2 when in the lineup against lefties.  Last year, Brandon started 8 games against lefties.  St. Louis won 5 of the 8, while losing 14 of the 27 he started against right-handers.

Matt Holliday has the worst current winning percentage as a starter (at least ten starts).  St Louis has lost 14 of the 24 games Matt has started (.417).  St Louis has won all five games when Holliday has not appeared in the starting lineup.  Last year, Matt was only healthy enough to start 68 games.  The Cards won 44 of them (.647).

By Position in Lineup

Stephen Piscotty has hit second in the lineup 19 times so far.  St Louis is 10-9 in those games.  Piscotty spent 30 games in the second slot last year, with a 15-15 record.  Hazelbaker has the second most starts in the two-slot.  St Louis is 5-3, scoring 7.50 runs per game when Jeremy bats second.

Nobody has occupied the cleanup spot in the lineup more than ten times in the team’s first 29 games.  That player is Brandon Moss.  St Louis is 5-5 in those starts, scoring 6.10 runs per game.  Brandon batted cleanup just once for the Cardinals last year – and they were shut out in that game.  Two other players have hit cleanup eight times each – Randal Grichuk (5-3, 6.25 runs per game) and Matt Adams (3-5, 2.88 rpg).  Grichuk only hit cleanup five times all last year.  Adams, however, was the Cardinal cleanup hitter 30 times in 2015, with the team winning 20 of those games.

Batting fifth has mostly been either Yadier Molina (12 times) or Grichuk (11 times).  With Yadi in the 5-slot, St Louis is 5-7 scoring 4.50 rpg.  Molina hit fifth more than anyone else last year, although he claimed that spot in the lineup just 49 times.  The team was 28-21 with Yadi batting fifth, scoring 3.89 rpg.  With Grichuk batting fifth, the record is 6-5, 6.45 rpg.  Grichuk made 19 starts in 2015 as the #5 hitter in the lineup, leading the team to a 11-8 record in spite of the fact that St Louis scored only 2.84 runs per game in those games.

Molina has spent most of the season batting sixth, leading the team to a 9-6 record and 6.67 runs per game.  St Louis is 6-8 with someone else bats sixth.  Last year, St Louis was 34-14 (.708) when Yadi batted sixth.

Kolten Wong has had the most opportunity in the 7-slot in the lineup, making 14 starts there.  The results have been 8-6 with 5.36 runs per game.  St Louis went 17-10 last year in the 27 games that Wong batted seventh.  Jedd Gyorko has made the second most starts batting seventh.  St Louis has won only 3 of his 9 starts, although they have averaged 5.78 runs in those games.

Aledmys Diaz has occupied the eighth spot in the lineup 17 times so far this season.  The Cards have won 9 of the games, scoring 6.53 runs per game.  St Louis is 6-6 with anyone else batting eighth.

Piscotty and Holliday Come Through in Ninth for 5-4 Win

It was hero time last night for Stephen Piscotty and Matt Holiday, as the Cardinals – after trailing almost the final game – won in walk off style 5-4 against Philadelphia

When Stephen Piscotty bounced out in the first inning last night, it was his only plate appearance of thegame where his team wasn’t trailing in the game.  By the time he came back to the plate to lead off the fourth, St Louis was already trailing 3-0.  Stephen went on to collect three hits in four at bats while his team was trailing.  All three of those hits (and both of his RBIs) came in the three at bats when St Louis trailed by only one or two.  This included the game-tying single in the ninth.

For the season, Piscotty is a .293 hitter (12-for-41) when the Cards trail in the game.  If the deficit is more than two runs, Piscotty is just 2 for 17 (.118).  If the deficit is one or two runs, Stephen has 10 hits in 24 at bats (.417) including a home run and 4 RBIs.

Since the Cardinals never led in last night’s game until the last pitch, Yadier Molina had no at bats with his team in the lead.  He went 0-for-3 with a walk.  For the season, Yadi hits.263 (10-for-38) when his team trails, .190 (4-for-21) when his team is even, and .459 (17-for-37) with the Cardinals ahead.  Eight of his ten RBIs have come while already ahead.

Matt Bowman won’t appear in the headlines, but his two solid innings that held the game close at 4-3 were critical to the comeback.  Bowman, now, has only pitched 12 innings this season – so the sample size is small – but six of those innings have been while the Cards have trailed in games.  Matt has walked a couple batters in those innings, but has given no runs and only one hit while holding the deficit right where it was.

In a lot of ways – from a pitching standpoint – this game was the season so far in a microcosm.  For the season, now, the Cardinal pitching staff holds a 5.01 ERA when the game is tied, and a 4.11 ERA when the team takes the lead.  But once the Cardinals have fallen behind, the Cardinal pitching staff carries a 2.93 ERA and a .223 opponent’s batting average.  Last night the bullpen gave us four scoreless innings waiting for the eventual St Louis comeback.

Wacha Excellent in 1-0 Loss to Philly

Although Cardinal starter Michael Wacha was very, very good last night, the 1-0 loss was the fourth loss in the first five games of the home stand, and the fifth in the last six games.

The team batting totals over the last six games are a little deceptive.  St Louis has scored just 16 runs (2.67 per game) and is batting just .221.  The reality of the situation is significantly different.  It’s considerably worse.  Poor as these numbers are, they are substantially inflated by the 10-run outburst Monday night.  Remove that game from the totals, and St Louis is hitting just .186 (30-for-161) in the “other” five games, with only 2 home runs (they hit five on Monday), 6 runs scored and 54 strikeouts.  They have now been shut out twice in those other games.

Zero-for-three last night, St. Louis is just 5 for its last 26 (.139) with runners in scoring position.  They were also 0-for-7 with runners on base, and are just 12 for their last 74 (.162) with any runners on base.

In a bit of a departure, most of the recent offensive struggles have come against right-handed pitchers (Rubby De La Rosa, Joe Ross, Max Scherzer, Aaron Nola).  Over the last six games, they are hitting .308 (8-for-26) with a .615 slugging percentage against the lefty relievers they’ve faced.  Over that same span, they are hitting .208 (36-for-173) against right handed pitching.

Matt Carpenter led off the game with a double.  This would be the only time in the game that the Cardinals would put a lead-off man on.  That being said, production leading off an inning is on the rise this year.  In 2015, Cardinal leadoff hitters carried an uninspiring .318 on base percentage, scoring 44% of the times that they reached.  So far this year, that on base figure is .377, with the runner scoring 50% of the time.

Howard’s home run last night off Michael Wacha was the ninth served up by Cardinal pitching over the last six games.  During this span, the St Louis starters have held opposing hitters to a .209 batting average (31-for-148), but 14 of those hits have been for extra bases, including 8 of the home runs allowed by the staff.  The opposing slugging percentage against the last six Cardinal starters is .412, and their ERA – despite the low batting average – is 4.39.

This has, in fact, been the recurring image from the recent losses to Arizona, Washington and Philadelphia.  A very credible performance by a Cardinal starter that is decided by a game-changing homer.

Matt Holiday

Matt Holliday’s last walk came in the sixth inning of the April 23rd game in San Diego, 32 plate appearances ago.

Matt Adams

Matt Adams saw 18 pitches during his 4 plate appearances.  But grinding out at bats is still not Matt’s strong suit, as he went 0-for-4 in those appearances.  While Adams is 4 for his last 5 when he hits the first pitch, he is now just 2 for his last 14 (.143) if the at bat extends to a second pitch.

Aledmys Diaz

One of the significant features of this recent downturn is the first protracted slump by Aledmys Diaz.  Off to a record-setting hot start, Diaz was 0-for-3 yesterday with 2 strikeouts.  He now has just 2 hits in his last 18 at bats (.111).  One of the defining traits of major league hitters is the ability to work their way out of slumps.  The next several games will be very revealing about Aledmys.

Michael Wacha

Michael Wacha has now been twice victimized by lack of any run support during the downturn, which started when he was shut out by De La Rosa in Arizona, 3-0.  Over his last two starts, Wacha has given the Cardinals 15 innings allowing just 4 runs on 10 hits (a 2.40 ERA), while striking out 17.  But, eight of the 10 hits allowed have been for extra bases, including three home runs, which have accounted for all the runs against him.

The most significant damage done against Wacha have come of the bats of the left-handers he’s faced in those starts.  Last night, lefties were only 3-for-12 (.250) against him, but that included Ceasar Hernandez’ double as well as the Howard home run.  Over his last two stars, left-handed hitters haven’t hit much against him (.238 on 5-of-21 hitting), but four of the five hits have been for extra-bases, including the game winning home runs by Howard and Chris Hermann.

Right-handers, by contrast, were 2-for-15 last night against Wacha (.133) and just 5-for-31 (.161) over his last 15 innings.

Seven of the eight extra-base hits he’s surrendered have come with the bases empty.  Over his last two starts, once a runner reaches base, the next batters are just 1-for-11 (.091) against Wacha, including 0-for-6 last night.  That lone hit, of course, was the Hermann home run.

Batters who hit Wacha’s first or second pitch went 4 for 12 (.333) with two doubles and the home run.  Batters that didn’t get him early, pretty much didn’t get him.  Everyone else went 1 for 15 (.067).  In Wacha’s starts against Arizona and Philadelphia, batters who reached him early were 5 for 14 (.357) with a .786 slugging percentage.  Thereafter, Michael allowed just 5 hits to the other 38 batters (.132).

Wainwright’s Homer Ignites Late Inning Explosion in 10-3 Win

When Aledmys Diaz popped out and Kolten Wong struck out after the Cards had put the first two batters on in the fourth, the air went visibly out of the home crowd.  With St Louis already trailing 3-0, all Philadelphia’s Jeremy Hellickson had to do now was to retire the pitcher and another promising scoring chance would go by the boards.

Five pitches later, the game was tied as that pitcher – Adam Wainwright – drove a massive home run into Big Mac Land.  The rest of the offense then awoke and provided another late inning run fest, sending St Louis on to a 10-3 win.

While admitting that the offense has been less than consistent, this late inning frenzy is quickly becoming a kind of trademark of this year’s team.  While Wainwright’s home run tied the game in the fourth inning, the Cardinals still ended the fifth with just 4 hits (in 19 at bats) and 5 strikeouts.  Between the sixth and eighth innings (St Louis did not bat in the ninth), the club hit .526 (10-for-19), hit 4 home runs and a double, scored 7 runs and slugged 1.211.

For the season, now, St Louis is hitting .255 (128-for-502) with 14 home runs across the first five innings of their games.  From the sixth inning through the ninth, this team carries a .302 batting average (123-for-407), has hit 26 home runs and is slugging – as a team – .575. All of last year, St Louis managed only 60 home runs after the fifth inning.  Nearly half of the runs the team has scored this year (76 of the 153) have come after the fifth inning.  Last year, the Cards scored only 42.5% of their runs (275 of 647) after the fifth.

Yes, a fair amount of the carnage has come against bottom of the bullpen relievers in blow-out games.  Last night, Philly lefty Brett Oberholtzer sort of took one for the team.  But most of these games have been pretty tight into the sixth or seventh inning before the Cards broke the games open.

Among the late inning heroes this year is Yadier Molina.  With his seventh inning single, Yadi is now hitting .484 (15-for-31) after the sixth inning.  Last year, Yadi was a .248 hitter (38-for-153) from the seventh inning on.

With two extra-base hits last night, and extra-base hits in three consecutive plate appearances, Adam Wainwright now carries an .818 slugging percentage for the season.

With five more home runs last night, St Louis is at 40 for the season through their first 26 games and 915 at bats.  Jhonny Peralta hit the Cardinals 40th home run of the year last year, a 2-run drive against the Dodgers’ Brett Anderson.  The homer gave St Louis an early 2-0 lead in a game they eventually won 3-1.  On May 31st.  In the Cardinals’ 50th game of the year.  Peralta’s at bat was the 1,704th of the year.

Of the 26 games played so far, St Louis has now hit multiple home runs in 11 of them.  They managed only 36 multiple home run games all last year, with number eleven coming when Jhonny Peralta and Peter Bourjos both homered during a 4-3 loss in Colorado on June 9th, in St Louis’ 59th game.

Cards Loss is Ninth in Last Fifteen Games

As the season spins forward, it’s starting to look like the fifth inning of the April 16 game against Cincinnati might turn out to be the first major turning point of the season.  At that point, the Cards had won six of seven games, scoring in double figures in four of them, including hitting six home runs against Cincinnati the game before.  They had now pulled to within 2 games of the Cubs. When a 4-run second inning gave them a 4-0 lead over the Reds in this game, every aspect of the team seemed ready to come together.

For three innings, Cardinal starter Adam Wainwright seemed like he had regained his balance.  He had retired the first 8 batters he’d faced, and after yielding a couple 2-out singles, he closed the door getting Eugenio Sanchez to pop out ending the third.

But the Reds would get up off the deck, scoring 2 in the fourth to get back into it, and tying the contest with a momentum-switching two-run, fifth-inning rally that consisted of doubles by pitcher Brandon Finnegan, Zach Cozart and Brandon Phillips.

St Louis would keep scoring, but the Reds offense punched a hole in the game with a 4-run sixth and held on to win 9-8.

Since that game, the Cards have lost 9 of their last 15, falling a game under .500 at 12-13, and dropping to six games behind the Cubs.

As disappointing as any aspect of this slump is most of this has happened at home, where they have now lost 6 of their last 8.  They have only had two quality starts in their last eight home games.

Although the numbers suggest the pitching has been more to blame, the truth is that letdowns have occurred in both units.  While the offense has hit 18 home runs over the last 15 games and scored a very respectable 4.67 runs per game, this offense has already gone through several feast or famine cycles and has been disappointingly absent during the current four game losing streak – during which they have barely avoided being shut out three times.  They were 0-for-8 last night with runners on base.

Felipe Rivero came out of the bullpen to pitch the eighth for Washington.  The lefty’s perfect inning drops the Cards to just .227 (22-for-97) against left-handed pitching over these 15 games.  It seems like struggles against left-handed is always a part of the mix anytime the Cardinals struggle.

The last 8 home games have been characterized by a general offensive brown-out.  St Louis is hitting just .232 and scoring three runs a game lately at home.

For their part, the pitching staff has contributed just 6 quality starts and a 4.30 ERA since that turning point loss.  With the three home runs allowed last night, the Cardinal pitchers have now surrendered 18 home runs over their last 132 innings.

Matt Carpenter

All four of Matt Carpenter’s plate appearances last night came with the bases empty.  Over his last 65 plate appearances, Carpenter – with his two hits last night – is now hitting .290 (9-for-31) with the bases empty, with 8 walks and a .436 on base percentage.  With any runners on base, Matt is just 4 for 23 (.174) with a .231 on base percentage.

Carpenter has also lately been reviving his reputation as the team’s best two strike hitter.  He singled once in three at bats last night with two strikes and is 8 for his last 27 (.296) with two strikes.

Stephen Piscotty

Stephen Piscotty has shared much of the frustration the Cards have had recently in their home park.  His 0-for-4 last night makes him 5 for his last 26 (.192) over the last 8 home games.

Randal Grichuk

Since that Cincinnati game, every bat in the line-up has shown at least some spark, except for Randal Grichuk.  His has been the most trying first month.  Going 0-for-4 again last night, Randal has 7 hits in his last 49 at bats (.143), while his season average has declined to .179.

Grichuk’s ground out that ended the game was St Louis’ lone at bat with a runner in scoring position last night.  Randal is now 3 for his last 15 (.200) with runners in scoring position.

And just one for his last 23 at home (.043).

Aledmys Diaz

Aledmys Diaz is on his first little skid of the season, and most of it has happened at home.  Over the last eight home games, Aledmys is hitting .238 (5-for-21) with no runs batted in.

Carlos Martinez

Martinez entered the game holding the last 22 batters to face him with a runner on base to 0-for-21, with one walk.  That streak reached 0-for-22 when den Dekker grounded out to end the third.  It would be den Dekker who finally broke the streak with his RBI single in the sixth.

When Max Scherzer bounced am 0-2 pitch up the middle for a third-inning single, it broke Martinez’ other streak.  Since the fifth-inning of his second start of the season, batters with two strikes on them had gone 0-for-30 against Carlos.

Tyler Lyons

Tyler Lyons is, of course, out of options.  After bouncing back and forth between AAA and the big club, he has shown flashes of being a reliable major league pitcher.  He has also struggled keeping the ball in the park.  Heisey’s home run in the ninth was the third he’s allowed to the last eleven batters he’s faced.

Lyons is also fading against right-handed batters.  The home run was one of two hits by right-handed batters in five at bats against Tyler.  After games of April 15, right handers were hitting .100 (1-for-10) against Tyler.  Since then, they are hitting .471 (8-for-17) with 2 home runs and a .941 slugging percentage.

Inherit the Wind Entry 4: A Riot Is An Ugly Thing

The Sinners Have No Chance at Reverand Browns Revival Meeting
The Sinners Have No Chance at Reverend Browns Revival Meeting.  (All of the grey and white boxes in the foreground will soon be painted over in black.

Saturday, April 30 2016

The story is rapidly starting to come together.  Today, we focused on the revival meeting.  Once it fleshes out and the energy starts to rise, it becomes apparent how pivotal this scene (and all the crowd scenes, but this one in particular) is to the show.  In the broadest sense, the play is less about the lawyers and the particular case and more precisely about the town.  Truly, they are the protagonists in the sense that they are the ones who change.

 

In less than an hour this morning, this scene went from a fairly flat recitation of lines into an exciting little scene.  Even in the early rehearsals, Mark is working on the dynamics of the show.  I know that this sounds like it should be obvious, but I promise you I have been to many productions in the area (even professional productions) that have no dynamic levels at all.  The scenes play out in a kind of artistic monotone, ending at the same level they begin.

So, here is this compelling little revival meeting that closes Act I.  Reverend Brown (played by Steve Garrett) has gathered the town to remind them of the importance of the conflict that is about to begin.  He walks them through the days of creation, with the undercurrent of energy rising.  Almost imperceptibly the otherwise normal, civilized town – responding to a threat that they don’t fully understand – grows into what Mark and Darrious call the Frankenstein mob.  At it’s peak, the over-stimulated crowd is at the point of taking the law into its own hands.  Brady intervenes, the momentum breaks, and the scene ends a page or so later with a very quiet exchange between Brady and Drummond.

What we worked on here were mostly small things, but they added a lot of life to the scene and gave it a dramatic shape.  For being still very early in the process, things are progressing nicely.

Adams’ Home Run Too Little Too Late

A home run by Matt Adams with Matt Holliday aboard in the eighth inning gave the Cardinals hope.  And when Kolten Wong walked leading off the ninth, there was even more hope.  But a double play grounder off the bat of Brandon Moss dampened the spirit, and ST Louis went down to a 5-4 loss.  They have now lost four of the five one-run games they gave played.

Even with the loss, though, Adams finished the game with two hits, pushing his early season average to .238.  Signs of improvement for him.  Not so much for the struggling Randal Grichuck, 0-for-4.

Adams’ eighth-inning home run that made things interesting came on the fifth pitch of that at bat (a 3-1 pitch).  Three of his four plate appearances extended past three pitches, and this was his only hit.  His first-inning RBI came off the first pitch of that at bat.

Like most hitters, Adams prospers when he hits the ball early in the at bat.  His first-pitch single leaves him at .462 (6-for-13) in at bats of three pitches or less.  Unfortunately for Matt, 68.9% of his plate appearances (31 of the 45) last more than three pitches – the highest such ratio on the team.  Matt Carpenter is second, seeing 4 or more pitches 61.9% of the time.  Once the at bat gets to four pitches, Adams’ production falls to a .138 average (4-of-29).

With a runner at second and two out in the third, Randal Grichuck grounded out on the first pitch thrown to him.  It was the only time Randal hit the first pitch thrown to him, and one of the rare times he hasn’t hit safely on the first pitch.  He is hitting .462 (6-for-13) with a home run and 5 RBIs when hitting the first pitch.  But when he doesn’t hit that first pitch, his average falls to .133 (8-for-60).