Big games from Matt Carpenter and Matt Holliday backed a dominating performance from Carlos Martinez in a 6-0 Cardinal win (box score). The team’s fourth shut out of the season.
One of the basic problems resolved by Carlos yesterday was not only not walking people, but not walking them with no one out. Previously this month, Carlos had faced 45 batters with no one yet out in the inning and he walked 7 of them. Only three of them scored, but they set up two big innings against him – a 3-run fifth by the Dodgers and the 6-run second inning by Chicago. Even the walks that didn’t come home to roost directly, still set up stressful innings. He gave up three no-out singles yersterday, but made them hit the ball, got a few double plays, no walks, and kept the pitch count and stress level low.
The other big favor he did himself was getting the last out of the inning. In his excellent April, opposing batters hit .206 against Carlos with two outs (7 for 34). For most of the month of May, that third out has been agonizingly illusive. In the Cubs big inning against him, 5 of the 6 runs scored after two were out. For the month, up until yesterday, batters hitting with two outs went 10 for 30 (.333) against Martinez, driving in 8 runs, including 3 game-winning runs. Three other batters walked, bringing the on base percentage against Martinez to .429 with two out.
Yesterday, Alex Presley’s second-inning single was the only two-out noise the Brewers managed in the eight innings Martinez worked. Quite a difference.
As for Trevor Rosenthal, he still can’t seem to make an appearance without granting that two-out walk. Yesterday, it was Kirk Nieuwenhuis. Trevor has now faced 13 batters this month with two outs and walked 4 of them. Add in his 3 hits allowed, and batters enjoy a .538 on base percentage against Rosenthal with two outs in May.
As you look at Matt Carpenter’s numbers, you always wonder if he gets too patient at times. Batting with nobody out in an inning in April, Carpenter hit .226 – less than an ideal figure from your leadoff hitter. He did walk 9 times, so his on base percentage was .400 (which is an excellent number for a leadoff hitter). He didn’t walk in any of his three at bats yesterday with no one out, and only has 3 no-out walks for the month. But his two hits brought his average to .340 and his slugging percentage to .723 with nobody out in May.
Beginning with his third-inning home run against Washington’s Gio Gonzalez last Saturday, Matt Holliday has 8 hits in his last 11 at bats.
His home run (hit with two out in the seventh) was his second in his last 12 plate appearances, his sixth of the month, and his ninth of the year. Three of the six in May, and four of the nine have been hit with 2 outs.
The only time Holliday was retired was the only time he hit with nobody out – he struck out in the first inning with two runners on. Matt is only 5 for 26 this month (.192) when batting with nobody out. In April, Matt hit .353 with nobody out.
Going back to his pinch-single on Sunday, Aledmys Diaz is now three for his last six. All of Aledmys’ plate appearances came with less than two outs. For the season, Aledmys hits .364/.380/.628 when batting with less than two outs. With two out, Diaz is 12 for 51 (.235) with no home runs and 4 runs batted in.
With four more strikeouts yesterday, Brandon Moss has now struck out six straight times and 8 times in his last 11 plate appearances.
Yadier Molina now has one infield hit to show for his last 21 at bats. Beyond that, he is 6 for his last 53 (.113) and has grounded into 4 double plays in his last 10 double play opportunities.
Just when Randal Grichuk seemed on the verge of turning his season around, he’s fallen into a 2-for-22 skid.
Cardinal batters hit .367 (11-for-30) yesterday when there were less than two outs. They were only 1 for 9 once Milwaukee got the second out of an inning.
From the “Just Like Old Times” department, Martinez’ effort gives the Cards 4 quality starts in their last five games – a first for 2016. This happened for the first time last year in the first five games. On their way to 103 quality starts last year, the pitching staff had two streaks of five consecutive quality starts, two streaks of six games, and streaks of seven, eight and thirteen consecutive games with quality starts.