A strange thing happened in the seventh inning of the Sunday night game. The Cardinals didn’t score. That same strange thing happened in both the eighth and ninth innings. Inexplicably, the Cards didn’t come from behind to win their fourth straight game – and the third in a row on a walk-off.
Of course, in baseball you don’t win them all – even if sometimes you start to feel invincible. Certainly losses have been few and far between for this franchise lately. The loss on Sunday night was only their fifth in the previous 23 games – a great roll that has carried this team to a three-game lead in its division.
But while the occasional loss will happen, I am always very interested to see how the team responds to the loss. How difficult is it to saddle this team with consecutive losses? How well can they stay out of losing streaks?
In fact, the record after a loss this year tells the Cardinal story in microcosm. They hit the All-Star Break just 22-21 after having lost the game before. They began the second half 5-2 after a loss. That carried them to the California trip in early August – a troubling swing through Oakland and Los Angeles which saw our heroes lose all five games – the last four after having lost the previous game.
And then they flipped the switch. With yesterday’s 3-1 victory (box score), St Louis has won their last 6 games in a row after a previous loss – and are now 11-6 in the second half in those games.
As has been the case 150 times since 2007, it was Adam Wainwright playing stopper. He was in vintage form, muffling the Giants on 4 hits over 7 shutout innings. Over his career, Waino is 76-42 with a 3.55 ERA when pitching after a loss. Those wins are 26 more than the second place pitcher this century – that would be Chris Carpenter, who was 50-26 as a Cardinal after a loss.
Of the 150 Wainwright starts, St Louis has wins in 98 of them – a .653 winning percentage. Carpenter (again, second on this list) made 131 starts after a Cardinal loss, with the team going 71-40 (.640) in those games. For the century, St Louis is a .575 team (842-623) after enduring a loss the game before.
Regarding the season as a whole, 2019 hasn’t been Adam’s most consistent season, but it is trending upward as October looms. Over his last 5 starts, Adam is 3-1 with a 3.49 ERA. In the second half, Waino has pitched 4 games after a St Louis loss. He is 2-1 in those games with a 2.55.
It is just almost never easy for Andrew Miller. After being the only pitcher in the pen not used at all in the double, double-headers, Miller entered with one out in the eighth inning against San Fran, holding a 3-1 lead. He faced two batters, walking the first and striking out the second.
In 16.2 innings since the All-Star Break, Andrew has walked 13 batters and served up 4 home runs. In spite of ranking eleventh on the team in innings pitched in the second half, his walks are the third most on the staff, and his home runs allowed are fifth. By comparison, Jack Flaherty has pitched 55.1 second half innings, allowing just 15 walks and 3 home runs.
Nonetheless, Andrew has given just 9 total hits in those 16.2 innings while striking out 17 with a 3.24 ERA.
In spite of pitching for a third day in a row, Carlos Martinez continues to solidify into the closer’s role. Yesterday afternoon was Carlos’ sixth consecutive scoreless outing, covering 6.1 innings. He has allowed one hit in those innings. His swing-and-miss percentage is 39% during this run in which he has struck out 10 and gotten 78% groundballs from those batters who have put the ball in play.
Martinez has been a big part of the winning streak. He has pitched in 10 of the 24 games, saving 6 (in 6 opportunities) and winning two others. Over his last 10 innings, Carlos has pitched to a 1.80 ERA.
Harrison Bader had moments in the Cincinnati series, but overall his bat seems to be slowing a bit. Harrison is 4 for 17 (all singles) for a .235 batting average over his last 6 games.
With yesterday’s 0-for-3, Harrison has played in 8 games after a loss in the second half. He is 0 for 17 in those games, and is now down to .189 (21 for 111) after a Cardinal loss this year.
Kolten Wong’s RBI triple brings him to 55 RBIs this season. He is 6 behind his career high set in 2015.
St Louis has won the first game of its last five series, and 7 of the last 8.
In the win, the Cards snapped a six-game streak in which they trailed at some point of the game.