While, in many ways, the 2016 season has started below expectations – depending, I suppose, on what your expectations might have been – one area where the team has been doing very well is bouncing back from losses. Before yesterday’s game, St Louis had been 14-7 this season (8-2 in May) in games after a loss. Even though they couldn’t extend that success yesterday, they made a spirited comeback.
Matt Adams has only played in 18 of the 22 games the Cardinals have played after losing their previous game (and started just 10), but throughout the season, so far, no one has responded better. With 3 more hits yesterday, Matt is now hitting .405/.468/.881 with 5 home runs the day after a Cardinal loss. He has 17 hits in 42 at bats. He is 10 for 19 (.526) with 3 doubles and 4 homers this month alone in games after a loss – slugging an acceptable 1.316.
As with most other hitting categories since last year’s All-Star break, Stephen Piscotty’s name has been at the top of the team’s leaderboard. He played 26 games after Cardinal losses last year, hitting .351 with 4 home runs and 16 runs batted in. He had 2 more hits yesterday and is hitting .359 this year (28-for-78) in games after a loss. This total includes a .395 average (17-for-43) this month.
Such losing streaks as the Cardinals have endured this season mostly happened in April, where they opened the season with a 3-game losing streak and later suffered through a 4-game skid. During these struggling times, one of the most absent bats belonged to Randal Grichuk. In games after a loss in April, Randal was just 4 for 38 (.105). He has been at the center of the May rebound in this category. With two more hits – including a home run – yesterday, Randal is 13-for-41 with 2 doubles and 4 home runs this month in games following a loss. His line is .317/.364/.659.
Yadier Molina’s arc has gone the other way. An April hero in games after a loss (he was 11-for-32, a .344 average), Yadi, 0-for-4 yesterday, is only 7 for 39 (.179) this month when the Cards are trying to rebound from a loss.
In a trend that will continue tonight when Mike Leake takes the mound, St Louis has only had three different starting pitchers this month pitch after a loss: Leake (4 starts, 3-0, 2.08 with the team winning all four), Adam Wainwright (4 starts, 2-0, 3.24 with the team winning all four) and Carlos Martinez (3 starts, 0-3, 7.56 ERA). Carlos was 5-2, 3.57 when pitching after a loss last year, and was 2-0, 0.60 in April. Who would have believed in April that in May our rotation would be “Wainwright and Leake then chances are bleak”.
Seung-hwan Oh has now pitched 23 games for us this year. Fourteen of those appearances have come after a Cardinal loss. After serving up the telling home run to Bryant yesterday, he has now allowed six runs in 13.1 innings in those games (4.05 ERA). In his other 9 appearances, he has allowed no runs and 2 hits in 11.1 innings.
Kevin Siegrist has pitched in 12 of the 22 Cardinal games after a loss so far this year. He has now allowed 1 run in 12.1 innings on just 6 hits and 18 strikeouts. He is 3-0, with 1 hold, an 0.73 ERA, a .143 opponent’s batting average and has stranded all 6 runners inherited.
In spite of Martinez’ recent implosions, the Cardinal pitching staff has most closely resembled its 2015 self when trying to bounce back from a loss the day before. They have cobbled together 12 quality starts, have allowed only 2 of 17 inherited runners to score, and a registered a 3.28 ERA in these games. In the other 25 games (which includes the season-opening game), the Cards have managed 9 quality starts, have gone 10-15, and have allowed 11 of 25 inherited runners to score. The team ERA in those games is 5.15.
The Cardinals have surrendered 20 or more runs in each of the last two series. Arizona scored 20 in winning two out of three and the Cubs also took 2 out of 3, scoring 24 runs in the process. The only time that happened to the Cardinals all year last year was in September as they were starting to wear down. The Cubs (again) won two of three in Busch (9-0, 8-5 and 3-4) from September 7 – 9. The Cards then went into Cincinnati where they lost the first three games of a four game series 0-11, 2-4, and 1-5 before winning the last 9-2.
This was also the first time this season that St Louis has lost a series after winning the first game. They are now 5-1 in series where they’ve won the first game. St Louis was 26-3-3 in series last year when they took the opener.
With three more home runs yesterday, St Louis has now played 47 games, taken 1,629 team at bats, and hit 64 home runs. Yesterday afternoon was the 17th time this season they have hit multiple home runs in a game (something they only achieved 36 times all last year), and the eighth time they have hit as many as three in a game. All last year, the team managed 3 or more home runs in a game 8 times.
Home run number 64 of 2015 flew off the bat of Mark Reynolds, a 2-run, ninth-inning drive off of Cub reliever Neil Ramirez. This homer, however, only reduced the final score to 7-4 in a loss to Chicago. That game, by the way, was Jake Arrieta’s ninth win of that season – although in that case, his record was 9-5 and the game was played on July 7th as the Cardinals’ 83rd game of the year. Reynolds’ at bat was the team’s 2,802nd of 2015.