Of course, from the moment Starlin Castro jumped an errant slider for his fifth-inning home run, Jack Flaherty was doomed to be the losing pitcher in the contest. With Jordan Yamamoto starting for Miami that evening, it was understood that all the Marlins would need would be any kind of run and they would be in great shape.
For Jack, though, his effort in the 6-0 loss (box score) is a kind of microcosm of his season. Jack ended up pitching 7 innings allowing just 4 hits while striking out 8. For six innings, he and Yamamoto were matching up in a classic pitchers’ duel. Through six, Miami had 1 run on 2 hits, and St Louis had no runs on 1 hit – Flaherty had provided a double for his team’s only hit.
With the one-two punch of his fastball and slider keeping the Marlins under wraps, Jack had retired the first 8 batters in the game that he had gotten ahead of in the count – striking out 5 of them.
But the game spun away from him in the seventh, when he had a couple of fish backed up in the count, but couldn’t put them away.
Garrett Cooper opened the inning falling behind 1-2 in the count. Flaherty’s next fastball wasn’t a terrible pitch, but it didn’t quite jam him, and Cooper laced it into left-center for a double.
Flaherty promptly jumped ahead of the next batter – Brian Anderson – 0-2. But he hung the 0-2 slider, and suddenly it was a 3-0 Marlin lead.
On other days this kind of performance (3 runs in 7 innings) will usually gain you a victory. These days in St Louis, though, the offense – such as it is – doesn’t afford much latitude. In spite of the fact that the team is 9-7 this month, they are hitting a distressing .218 and scoring just 3.75 runs per game. According to baseball reference, the team’s .656 OPS so far this month ranks them as the third worst in baseball – ahead of only Kansas City and Baltimore, while their batting average is better than only Cincinnati’s (.216).
These days, if you are a starting pitcher in St Louis, it is risky business to fall behind.
Jack – who has lost 3 of his last 4 decisions – has served up 8 home runs over his last 21 innings.
Although the run didn’t score while he was on the mound, Tyler Webb did serve up the double to left-hander JT Riddle that set Miami’s three-run eighth into motion. Tyler has now given runs in 3 of his last 6 games. Over the 4 innings he has pitched in those games, the 20 batters to face him are hitting .400/.444/.667. Tyler’s ERA for the month of June has risen to 4.26 over 6.1 innings.
One of the team’s great assets in April and May, John Brebbia is scuffling through June. Most of the real damage done in that eighth inning occurred with John on the mound (he allowed the inherited runner to score, and then added two more of his own runs in just two-thirds of an inning).
John has pitched 8 times this month, and given up runs in 4 of those games. In 7 June innings, John has been banged for 9 runs (8 earned) on 9 hits and 3 walks. It all equates to a 10.29 ERA and a .300/.364/.500 batting line.
Offense Dominated Again
Jordan Yamamoto must be thinking the majors are a piece of cake. He has pitched only two games in the “show” and – not only has he not allowed a run in 14 innings – he has barely been threatened. In those innings, he has given just 5 hits and 4 walks – a 0.643 WHIP.
Of course, both of those starts have come against the offensively challenged Cardinals. His next start, I believe, should be in Philadelphia. He may find out then that it won’t always be this easy.
As for the Cardinals, in an ironic counterpoint to the big hits Flaherty (and Brebbia, for that matter) gave up when they had two strikes on Miami’s hitters, the Cardinal batters couldn’t even taste success when they had the advantage. St Louis was 0-for-7 against Yamamoto when they were ahead in the count.
The list of struggling Cardinal hitters remains pretty lengthy.
Hitless again in 3 at bats last night, Matt Carpenter still looks like he’s getting closer. He is still hitting just .245 for the month of June.
Among the casualties last night was Paul DeJong’s seven-game hitting streak. During the streak, DeJong hit .367 (11 for 30) and slugged .700.
Paul Goldschmidt endured another 0-for-4 at the plate. He has 1 hit over his last 6 games (20 at bats). For the month of June, Paul’s average has slipped to .179 (10 for 56).
After a torrid start to the month, Marcell Ozuna is also starting to fade. Hitless in 4 at bats last night, Marcell is just 3 for his last 17 (.176) with no extra-base hits. Marcell’s last extra-base hit was the ninth-inning home run he hit against Miami’s Adam Conley in the blow-out win back on June 11 (23 at bats ago).
Yadier Molina was 0-for-3 last night. Over his last 7 games, Yadi is just 4 for 26, with 3 singles and a double. He has drawn 1 walk, driven in 1 run, and struck out 7 times over that span, giving him a batting line of .154/.185/.192.
Yadi was behind in the count for all 3 plate appearances last night. Since his return from injury, Yadi has found himself behind in the count on 46.9% of his plate appearances.
Harrison Bader’s hitless streak reached 5 games and 16 at bats after his 0-for-3 last night. Bader is 9 for 50 (.180) for the month of June.
Bader had one of the at bats against Yamamoto where he was ahead in the count. In the fifth inning he came up with a runner at first and two outs – the game was still 1-0 at that point. After taking a ball, Harrison jumped on a fastball down and in and bounced to third.
All season, Bader has been unable to take advantage of being ahead in the count. He is 2 for 12 this month when ahead in the count (.167) – both singles. For the season, he is 9 for 42 (.214) when he has the advantage at the plate. The hits are 7 singles (2 of them of the infield variety), 1 double, and 1 home run – a .310 slugging percentage.
If you don’t make hay when you’re ahead in the count, you will struggle to sustain a decent batting average – one reason Harrison’s has fallen to .220.
Here’s how the recent games have gone. Last night’s game broke a streak of 5 straight games in which St Louis held the lead at some point. It was also the sixth of the last seven games that the Cards had trailed in at some point.