The Cardinals’ last two home wins of the season were as thrilling as any they won the entire year. Last Tuesday, they jumped all over Jake Arrieta and held on for an 8-7 win over the Cubs. Then on Saturday, they spotted Milwaukee 6 runs and came racing from behind to win 7-6.
But, in something of a microcosm of the entire season, those flashes of brilliance were swallowed up by the fact they ended losing 5 of the 7 in their do-or-die final home stand. This followed on the heels of a critical 4-5 road trip. The team that arrived in Chicago on September 15 just 3 games out with 16 games to play limped to a 6-10 finish, including losses in 7 of the final 9 games – consigning themselves to a well-earned elimination from playoff contention.
In the middle of the catastrophic finish was a starting rotation that finished the season with 16 consecutive non-quality starts – 5 games longer than any previous such streak in this century. That rotation finished the home stand with an 8.18 ERA, covering only 33 of the 65 innings. Over the last 16 games, St Louis got only 70 innings from the starters (leaving 72 for the bullpen) with a 7.97 ERA. After a great start, the rotation finished September/October with a 4.92 ERA.
The team finished the season’s second half with a 4.06 ERA, which pushed the final season ERA up to 4.01.
Pitching out the string in mostly meaningless games, Brett Cecil did finish his season strong. Pitching 3 times during the home stand, Brett retired all 9 batters he faced – 4 on strikeouts. In 13 innings in September/October Brett finished off with a 2.08 ERA and a .146/.159/.317 batting line against.
John Brebbia finished up a very solid rookie season with another scoreless inning yesterday. He finished the season with a 2.44 overall ERA in 50 appearances. He finished at 1.95 at home.
Not with a Bang but with a Whimper
While the pitching staff scuffled down the stretch, the hitters didn’t exactly cover themselves in glory. Without a baserunner until the sixth inning, the Cards ended their season with 1 run on 3 hits (box score). During the last-ditch home stand, St Louis hit just .197 (44 for 223) and scored just 23 runs (3.29 per game). They thus finished the decisive month of September/October with a .234 team batting average, hitting .211 in their 13 home games that month.
The last-game, Memphis-inspired lineup featured Alex Mejia at shortstop. Alex fell to just 2 for 32 (.063) this month with his 0 for 4 afternoon. Alex’s month included going 0 for 13 at Busch.
Life as a pinch-hitter/spot starter did seem to catch up with Luke Voit as the season progressed. He was also 0 for 4 yesterday, finishing the season’s second half with just a .211 batting average (16 for 76), and a .303 slugging percentage (4 doubles and just 1 second half home run).
He was only 4 for his last 22 (.182) at home.
Impressive earlier in the season, Harrison Bader also finished his rookie season mired in a palpable slump. With a final day 0 for 4, Bader skidded through his last 19 games hitting just .128 (5 for 39) with just 1 extra-base hit. This includes going just 1 for 11 (.091) during that last home stand. Harrison didn’t score a run in any of his last 8 games.
Bader finished September/October with a .219 average (14 for 64).
Harrison finished the season just 4 for his last 31 (.129) in his home ballpark. A .303/.333/.576 hitter in 33 road at bats, Harrison finished his rookie part-season hitting just .192 (10 for 52) at home.
Hitless in 3 at bats yesterday, Magneuris Sierra ended his first partial season in the majors with an 0-for-12 skid. So good was his beginning that he still finished with a .317 batting average.
Baseball season is, of course, over now – at least as far as we are concerned. So we will begin transitioning into a football blog. I will be taking the next few days to assess the season just ended and give my sage advice for the coming offseason. I hope to have that by Friday, but it might take till Saturday.
Randal Grichuk hit the Cardinal’s final home run of the season in the seventh inning yesterday. He had also hit the Cardinal’s first home run in the eighth-inning of the opening game against Chicago.
With the poor home-stand, St Louis finished 44-37 at home. The games at Busch lasted an average of just 3:02.9, and were played in an average temperature of 78.5 degrees. The attendance finished at 3,445,386 – an average of 42,535.6. They won just 12 series at home, losing 11 and splitting 3 others. In 7 opportunities to sweep a team at home, they pulled off the sweep 5 times. They were only faced with being swept at home 3 times, and only 1 team – the Boston Red Sox in the two-game series that turned the season around on May 16 and 17 – managed to finish off the sweep. With last night’s loss, they fell to 5-6 in rubber games at home.
They also finished 30-54 in series where they lost the first game – although 30-27 after that first loss. They finished 6-19-2 in those series. Those games took an average of 3:04.6, were played in average temperatures of 75.5 degrees, and were attended by 3,227,294 fans – and average of 38,420.2. When St Louis lost the first game of a series, and then forced a rubber game, they were only 5-9 in those games.
They also played 22 series against teams that had won its previous series. They finished just 6-12-4 in those series, with a 32-37 won-lost record. Those games averaged 3:02.1 in temperatures of 77.3 degrees. Attending those games were 2,557,292 fans (an average of 37,062.2). St Louis had 5 opportunities to sweep a team that had won its previous series, and did so 3 times. They were also faced with a sweep 4 times by these teams, succumbing 3 times. They finished just 2-7 in rubber games against teams that had won its previous series.
The overall tally reads 83-79, resulting in 22 series wins, 24 series losses and 6 splits. All Cardinal games totaled to 29,743 minutes. If you had watched every minute of every game, you would have spent almost 496 hours – a little more than 20.6 days – watching Cardinal baseball. That averages out 3:03.6 per game. The total attendance of all Cardinal games was 5,982,674 (an average of 36,930.1), and the average temperature ended up at 77.8 degrees.
St Louis finished sweeping 9 series in 14 opportunities, and were swept 6 times in 9 chances. They finished 7-13 in rubber games.