With Jedd Gyorko, Greg Garcia and Eric Fryer all starting, yesterday’s lineup looked like it was getaway day. Continuing an early-season meme, the Cardinals’ bench players led the way.
Eric Fryer – thrust into the backup catcher role by Brayan Pena’s injury – put together a 3-for-3 afternoon and has started his Cardinal career with six hits in six at bats.
His second inning double that gave the Cardinals a short-lived 2-1 lead came on a 2-2 pitch. He is now 3-for-3 in the early going with two strikes on him. Fryer was also 2-for-2 yesterday and is 3-for-3 on the year with 2 outs.
Greg Garcia had the “other” pinch home run the night the Cardinals became the first team ever to hit three pinch hit home runs. While there has been substantial attention paid to Jeremy Hazelbaker and Aledmys Diaz (who have pushed their way into the starting lineup), Garcia has quietly been a part of the recent Red Surge. He has 5 hits in his last 8 at bats, including that home run.
All three of Matt Adams at bats yesterday came with the bases empty. With his 0 for 3, Adams is now hitless in 7 at bats this season with the bases empty. He is four for 12 with at least one runner on base.
Matt also lined out to right on a 1-2 pitch in the fourth. Adams, now 0 for 12, is still looking for his first 2-strike hit this season.
Three pitches continues to be the dividing line in Adams’ at bats. Hitless in 2 four-pitch at bats yesterday, Adams is now 0 for 13 this season in all plate appearances that have lasted more than three pitches.
Stephen Piscotty’s 0-for-4 day included three at bats with no one on base and one with one runner on. Over the last 9 games, Stephen is 5 for 27 with less than 2 runners on base (.185). He is 4 for 7 including a home run with 2 runners on base.
Stephen, of course, had the big series in Atlanta (5 for 13 with a home run and 4 RBIs). He hasn’t quite found the range during the home stand. Playing in 5 of the 6 games so far, Stephen is 4 for 21 (.190) although he did hit a three-run homer against Cincinnati on Saturday that briefly gave the Cardinals a 4-0 lead.
He was also 0-for-2 hitting with 2-strikes on him yesterday. Stephen is 1 for his last 15 (.067) once he gets two strikes on him.
Michael Wacha added a second consecutive quality start since he struggled at Pittsburgh. In beating Milwaukee and taking a no decision against Cincinnati, Wacha has been touched for one earned run over 12 innings (0.75 ERA). Even with Adam Wainwright and Mike Leake still struggling, the Cardinals’ team ERA is still 3.56 since leaving Pittsburgh.
Jay Bruce’s infield single was the only hit that Wacha allowed to a left-handed batter yesterday. Over his starts against the Brewers and Reds, lefties have managed 2 hits (both singles) in 12 at bats (.167). Overall, Cincy’s left-handed batters went 1 for 9 against Cardinal pitching yesterday. Since the Pittsburgh series, left-handers are hitting just .207 (24/116) against the Cardinal pitching staff.
Wacha has also excelled with two outs over his last two starts. Cincinnati was 1 for 7 with two outs yesterday and over the two starts opposing hitters are 2 for 13 once Wacha gets two outs.
Kevin Siegrist retired all three right-handed batters that faced him yesterday. Always a difficult at bat for righties, Kevin has held the 14 right-handers he’s faced so far this year to 0 for 14 with 8 strikeouts.
Siegrist has also been death to hitters once he gets them in 2-strike counts, which he did to all four batters he faced yesterday (and to 14 of the 19 he’s faced so far this year). They went 0-for-4 yesterday and are 0-for-13 so far this season (with 9 of them striking out).
Trevor Rosenthal is also unsolved when he gets two strikes on a batter this year. They are 0 for 12 with 11 strikeouts after he struck out two more in yesterday’s game.
With two more home runs yesterday, the Cardinals now sit at 21 through 12 games and 427 at bats. Home run #21 in 2015 came in the third inning of the Cardinals’ 29th game – an 8-5 win in Pittsburgh on May 8. Matt Holiday broke a 1-1 tie with a 3-run drive against Francisco Liriano. It was the Cardinals’ 982nd at bat of the season. Over the 9 games since they left Pittsburgh, the Cardinals are scoring 8.67 runs per game, with a team-wide slash line of .310/.391/.583. They have 13 in the first 6 games of this home stand after hitting 6 in three games in Atlanta.
In losing 3 games in Pittsburgh, the Cardinals were just 3 for 24 (.125) – all singles – with runners in scoring position. Since then (and in spite of the fact that they were 0 for 5 in RISP situations last night), the Cardinals have 38 hits (18 for extra-bases) in 99 at bats with runners in scoring position, Over the last 9 games, the Cardinals RISP slash line is a jaw-dropping .384/.436/.758.