The games were not quite identical. In the Tuesday game, the Cardinal scoring happened in the first four batters of the game. In the Sunday game, the runs against the Cardinals all came late at the expense of the bullpen after a clean outing by the starter (Jack Flaherty). In the Tuesday game, the scoring against the Cards came against the starter before a clean effort by the bullpen. In the Sunday game, St Louis wasted multiple opportunities with runners on base. On Tuesday, the Cards only had 1 at bat with a runner in scoring position. In the Saturday game, the winning run was walked home. In the Tuesday game no Cardinal pitcher permitted a walk.
All that being said, the similarities between the two games are notable. Early 3-0 Cardinal lead? Check. Almost no hits from St Louis? Check (after getting 3 hits on Sunday, they managed just 4 on Tuesday). Encouraging performance from the starting pitcher wasted? Check (Flaherty gave no runs on 3 hits through 6 innings, striking out 7; Adam Wainwright did serve up 4 runs in his 6 innings, but also walked none and struck out 10). Kolten Wong striking out on three pitches for the final out? Check. Final score: Cardinals 3, Bad guys 4? Check. (Sunday box score) (Tuesday box score).
One run games are one of my “character” markers – one of those numbers that speaks directly to the team’s ability to win the tough games. As with my other character markers (games after a loss and games against winning teams) this number also suggests a team-wide lack of character. The Cards – losers now of 17 of their last 23, are 5-10 in one run games – having lost their last seven such contests.
In the seven one run losses this month, St Louis has scored just 18 runs (2.57 per game), hitting .188 and slugging just .274. In those games, they have had 78 base runners. They are also 11-0 in stolen bases in those contests. But they have been consistently unable to produce that hit that will turn the game.
Tonight’s game will mark the statistical one-third point of the season. The Cards are, in a sense, lucky to be only 4 games behind in the division. They could easily be buried. The rest of this division has left the door open a crack, but at some point St Louis will have to do better than losing two of three games to take advantage.
Perhaps the only glimmer of good news from Tuesday’s loss is the continuing resurgence of Paul Goldschmidt. The off-season’s big “get,” Paul hasn’t actually been the impact bat yet the Cards had hoped for. But he began to turn it around against Atlanta, and added 2 hits – including a home run – last night against Philadelphia.
Paul now has multiple hits in 3 of his last 4 games, hitting .467 (7 for 15) in those games.
In the only lineup change that manager Mike Shildt has made during the Cardinal’s 23-game collapse, four games ago he installed Dexter Fowler as the leadoff batter. In what can only be described as a microcosm of the way the month has gone, Fowler – whose on base percentage has been over .400 for most of the year – has responded to the change with an 0-for-14 slump with no walks. He has 3 hit-by-pitches during his stay at the top of the order, bringing his OBP for those games to .176 (with 7 strikeouts).
Fowler falls to .180 for the month (11 for 61), although his 13 walks do have his OBP for May at .359.
Dexter has played – and started – 6 of the 7 one run games played by the Cards this month. He is 2 for 21 (.095) in those games. For the season, in the 15 one run games the Cards have played, Dexter is hitting .162 (6 for 37) with 1 run batted in.
Matt Carpenter has also shown signs of life lately. Not last night, though. His 0-for-4 keeps him at .236 for the month (21 for 89).
Carpenter has also struggled in the one runs contests St Louis has played. This month, he is just 4 for 26 (.154) in the seven one run games. For the season, he is hitting .186 (11 for 59) in the Cardinals’ 15 one run games, with 1 home run and 3 runs batted in.
Still no turning of the page for Paul DeJong. Hitless in 3 at bats last night, Paul is hitless over his last 6 games, and hitless in his last 21 at bats. One of the heroes of April, DeJong is hitting .215 in May (17 for 79).
Like his double-play partner, Kolten Wong’s bat has all but disappeared. Hitless in 3 at bats, Kolten has gone 4 games without a hit, and is hitless over his last 16 at bats. Wong is now down to .165 for the month, and .222 for the year.
Kolten is 2 for 22 (.091) this month in the seven one run Cardinal games
For the season, Yadier Molina holds the lowest batting average of any of the Cardinal regulars in one run games. After his 0-for-2 last night, Molina is hitting .148 (8 for 54) in St Louis’ one run games with 3 runs batted in. He is 3 for 22 (.136) in the seven played this month.
Starter Adam Wainwright made a lot of good pitches last night. He worked his way (as mentioned earlier) through 6 innings striking out 10 and walking none. At the end of the day, though, he made just enough mistakes – allowing 4 runs on 8 hits including a home run – to cost him the game.
Suddenly, that has become a recurring theme for Adam. Earlier this season, he and Miles Mikolas were the two pitchers holding the rotation together. Over his last three starts, Waino holds a 7.20 ERA and a .322 batting average against.
In the now-dismal month of May, Adam has made 5 starts. He is 1-3 with a 6.33 ERA and a .284 batting average against.
Of Adam’s 11 starts this season, 5 have ended up as one run decisions. The Cards are 2-3 in those games. Adam, himself, is 1-2 in those one run games, with a 4.78 ERA and a .295 batting average against. He has also struck out 29 batters in those 26.1 innings.
Giovanny Gallegos surrendered a damaging two-run home run on Friday, but has been pitching better recently. He threw two scoreless innings last night. That home run accounted for the only runs Gallegos has allowed over his last 7 games. The last 27 batters to face him have only 3 hits and 1 walk – a .115 average and a .231 on base percentage. Giovanny has thrown 72% of his last 120 pitches for strikes.