During the three games against the Cubs that closed out the last home stand and the first game in San Diego, the roller-coaster offense managed a total of 7 runs. They have scored at least 7 runs in each of the five games since. The season is 21 games old, and the Cardinals are still averaging 6.52 runs per game and slugging .504 as a team.
In winning four of these last five games, the rebounding Cardinal offense has hit .344 (66 hits in their last 192 at bats). Twenty-four of the hits have been for extra bases, including 10 home runs. In averaging 9 runs a game during this recent spree, the team has managed a .604 slugging percentage.
Along the way, they have beaten right-handed pitchers like so many drums. After Corbin left last night, the Redbirds feasted on Arizona’s right handed bullpen to the tune of 6-for-14 (.429). Over the last five games and 141 at bats, St Louis bats have slashed .376/.433/.695 against right-handers.
While going 7 for 18 (.389) with runners in scoring position last night, the Cardinals’ average in that situation actually went down. Over the last five games, St Louis is hitting an even .400 (22-for-55) with a .673 slugging percentage with RISP.
The recent hitting spree has even extended to two-strike counts. St Louis went 6-for-17 (.438) with four walks last night with two strikes on them. The last 95 Cardinal batters who have hit with two strikes on them are batting .376 (32-for-85) with 9 walks. The same holds true when there are two outs, the offense was also 6-for-14 with two outs last night, driving in 5 two-out runs. Over the last five games, they have hit .368 (25-for-68) with two outs. When the pitcher can’t get either the third strike or the third out, he’ll be in for a very long, short night.
Additionally, the late-inning thumping is starting to develop as a definite pattern. Through five innings last night, the Cards had 2 runs on 3 hits. Over the last four innings, they hit .478 and scored 9 runs. Over the last five games, St Louis has scored a total of 6 runs while hitting just .227 in the first four innings of those games. From the fifth innings on, the offense has kicked in 39 runs and hit .419. All of their last ten home runs have come after the fourth inning.
Mr. Piscotty is heating up nicely in the midst of this resurgence. After a 4-for-5 night, Piscotty has 11 hits in his last 24 at bats (.458) with 2 home runs and 7 RBIs (this is just the last 5 games) and a .792 slugging percentage.
Stephen’s only at bat against a right-hander last night was his RBI single against Delgado in the ninth. The right-handed Piscotty is now 8 for his last 19 (.421) against right-handed pitchers.
Stephen took the first pitch in five of his six plate appearances last night, three of them balls and two others called strikes. As Piscotty dials in, his selectivity improves. He went 4-for-5 in the at bats where he took the first pitch. He is 8 for his last 16 with three extra-base hits when laying off the first pitch thrown to him. He was also 2-for-3 last night and 4-for-12 over the last five games when hitting with two-strikes on him.
At the very top of this over-achieving offense is rookie shortstop and eighth-place hitter Aledmys Diaz. With two more hits last night, including the home run that switched the momentum of the game, Diaz is now hitting .591 (13-for-22) over the last five games, with 2 home runs and 5 RBIs of his own. He has 21 total bases in his last 22 at bats (.955 slugging pct.).
Diaz is another right-handed batter who is currently savaging right-handed pitching. One-for-two against righties last night, Diaz is 11 for his last 17 (.647) against them with a .941 slugging percentage.
Aledmys’ seventh inning single came on a 2-2 pitch. Diaz has five hits in his last seven at bats with two strikes on him.
These waves of offense have mostly carried a pitching staff that still hasn’t completely righted itself. The last time through the rotation, only two starters have managed quality starts, and the team ERA sits at an unimpressive 4.30. This number includes a 5.52 ERA from the bullpen – most of this damage coming in the sixth inning of Monday’s game in Arizona.
One area where the pitchers have done well over these last five games is getting outs when there are runners in scoring position. The Diamondbacks were only 1-for-8 last night, and over the five games opposing batters are just .204 hitters (10-for-49) in RISP situations.
Of the 22 batters Adam Wainwright faced last night, only two swung at his first pitch. For the evening, only four of the 37 Diamondback hitters offered at the first pitch.
A bright spot all season, Oh has been one of a handful of relievers who have held solid during these last few choppy games. Oh extinguished a two-on, one-out sixth inning mess and went on to retire all four batters he faced. Seung-hwan has pitched in three of the last five games, retiring all eleven batters to face him – striking out six of the eleven.
Jonathan allowed a single to the left-hander Lamb, but retired all four of the right-handers to appear against him. Over these last five games, righties are 0-for-11 with 4 strikeouts against him.