The Cardinals are now 10-11 in home games this season (5-5 in May after going 5-6 here in April). This has already been the focus of some discussion, so let’s look what at what the home record tells us.
After seeing his eight-game hitting streak snapped on Tuesday, Stephen Piscotty was back on point with three hits last night. He has now hit in 13 of his last 15 games, 18 of his last 22, and 21 of his last 26. Last night was his eleventh multi-hit game in that streak, which has now seen him hitting .364 (39-for-107), with 3 home runs and 15 runs batted in.
Piscotty’s strong rookie campaign was built on success at home. In 35 games and 127 Busch Stadium at bats, Stephen hit .346 with 4 home runs, 23 runs batted in and a .551 slugging percentage. On the road, he was more mortal, hitting .255 in 28 games with 3 home runs and 16 runs batted in.
2016 began completely opposite for Piscotty. He opened the season hitting .357 away from home in April (20-for-56) with 3 home runs, 11 runs batted in and a .589 slugging percentage. At the same time, he got off to a very sluggish start at home, collecting just 7 hits in his first 35 home at bats (.200), although 5 of the 7 hits were for extra-bases (including a home run). He drove in 4 runs in his first ten home games.
May has brought about a righting of the ship. With his 3 hits last night, Piscotty is now hitting .390 at home this month (16-for-41) with a home run and 6 runs batted in. He hit a more modest .280 (7 for 25) over the recently concluded road trip, with just one extra-base hit and 2 runs batted in.
Aledmys Diaz slapped a couple more hits last night. He has now hit in 11 of his last 14 games – with five of them being multi-hit affairs. His average has actually gone down over this span, though, as he is only hitting .333 (17-for-51). However, 8 of those 17 hits are for extra-bases (6 doubles and 2 home runs), so he is slugging .568 while driving in 7 runs during those 14 games.
Aledmys, of course, first came into prominence during the season-opening road trip – and even though he was a modest 6 for 21 in California last week, Aledmys is still hitting .439 (25-of-57) on the road. He hasn’t done poorly at home, though. Last night’s hits raised his home average to .324 (22-for-68), with half of his hits going for extra bases. He has 2 home runs and a .544 slugging percentage at Busch.
Matt Carpenter – 0-for-2 last night – is now just 1 for his last 14 (.071) over the Cardinals last two series. That one hit is the home run that helped win the finale against the Dodgers. He has 5 strikeouts in his last 14 at bats.
For the season, Matt is now hitting an uninspiring .250 at home. But with two more walks last night, his on-base percentage is an admirable .356. Six of Matt’s eight home runs this year have come on the road. Last year, 13 of his 28 came at home.
Randal Grichuk’s season has stalled both at home (.220) and on the road (.215). Grichuk walked last night – his ninth walk at home this season. His home on-base percentage is a decent .324.
Last year, Randal hit just .259 at home during the season’s first half. After the break, he lit up Busch to the tune of a .305 average (25-for-82), 8 home runs, 16 runs batted in and a .659 slugging percentage.
Yadier Molina, 0-for-4 last night, has (temporarily) lost his mojo at Busch. In 10 home games in April, Yadi was unstoppable. He hit .471 here that month (16-of-34), with surprising power. No home runs, but his 5 doubles and a triple brought his slugging percentage to .676 at home. For the month of April.
The law of averages has caught up with him a bit this month, as his May home average now slides to .194 (7-for36) and his slugging percentage to .222 (the hits are six singles and a double).
His road numbers have made the opposite correction. Yadi was 10 for 22 (.455) on the just completed LA road trip after hitting just .250 (12-for-48) on the road in April.
Brandon Moss has also struggled since the end of the series against the Angels. He is now 0-for-11 against the Dodgers and Rockies.
Moss’ home average is now down to .182 (10-for-55). With two strikeouts last night, Brandon has fanned in 25 of his 55 home at bats. Five of his ten home hits have left the park, however. He has one more total base at home (26) than he does strikeouts at home. He is hitting .245 on the road (12-for-49). He has “only” 13 strikeouts during those road at bats, but also only 2 home runs. His splits still suggest that maybe Brandon is trying too hard at Busch.
Last night’s win was the fifth time in the ten May home games that St Louis scored fewer than 3 runs. In April, they scored 57 runs in their 11 home games (5.27 per), hit 15 home runs, batted .279, and slugged .497. (They were even better on the road, averaging 6.46 runs per game and hitting 19 homers in 13 games). Thus far, May is quite a bit different. Ten home games into the month, the Cards have hit 10 home runs, scored 36 runs and are hitting .241.
At last year’s All Star Break, the Cardinals had played 42 home games and hit 25 home runs. They have played exactly half that many home games so far this season, and have hit 25 home runs. They hit 44 home runs in 47 pre-All-Star-break road games last year. They have 29 in 19 road games so far this year. In last year’s second half, with Piscotty joining the lineup and Grichuk and Carpenter getting into the swing, St Louis hit 35 home runs over its last 39 home games, and 33 over its last 34 road games.
All three of Adam Wainwright’s home starts this month have qualified as a quality start. In addition to last night’s gem against Colorado, Adam also survived 6.1 innings against Pittsburgh, allowing just 3 runs on 7 hits on May 7th after allowing 3 runs in 6 more innings against Philadelphia on May 2. St Louis won all three games. His ERA in those games is 2.84 and he still hasn’t allowed a home run at Busch this season in 24.1 innings. He has only walked 2 batters in his 19 home innings this month, and has surrendered only 4 walks at home this year.
Tonight’s starter Michael Wacha has been our best pitcher at home this year. His record is only 1-2, but he carries a 2.08 ERA in 26 innings over four starts (3 of them quality starts.) He has lost both of his starts at home this month, although his ERA is a very good 3.21.
Jaime Garcia, after losing the opener of the Colorado series, is just 2-3 in five home starts. His ERA here is an excellent 2.51, but he has only thrown 32.1 innings in those games and has just 2 quality starts to show for his efforts. Early exits are getting to be too common for Jaime. Garcia made ten starts at home last year, going 5-2 with 8 quality starts and a 1.70 ERA.
Mike Leake turned his season around on the LA road trip. He started and won twice, collecting his first two wins as a Cardinal and first two quality starts. He allowed 2 runs on 11 hits over 14 innings. Now, he needs to translate that to Busch, where he is 0-2, 5.76 ERA and no quality starts through 4 games.
As last season wore on, Kevin Siegrist sustained his terrific performance at home (where he posted a 1.59 ERA in 42 games), but faded notably on the road. He hit the All-Star break with a 1.86 road ERA in 21 games and 31 strikeouts in 19.1 innings. After the break, though, the struggles began. Over his last 15.2 road innings he was reached for 7 runs (4.02 ERA). He began 2016 on the same note, allowing a home run and three runs in his first 5 innings away from Busch this year, but has been better in May. He pitched 2.2 innings during the LA road trip, allowing only a home run to Dodger shortstop Corey Seager.
At home, Siegrist continues to dominate. He retired all four batters faced last night (3 on strikeouts) and now carries a 0.96 home ERA in 9.1 innings, during which he has walked none and struck out 17.
Trever Rosenthal was better away from home last year (1.41 ERA v 2.70). At the All Star break, the numbers were quite comparable (1.86 road ERA v 1.17 home ERA), but the second half showed a puzzling separation as his 0.71 road ERA was offset by his 5.27 at home.
Rosenthal is still unscored on on the road this year (granted that’s only 6.1 innings), but served up 2 runs in 3.2 home innings in April. May, so far, is a different story. Including last night’s game, Trevor has appeared in only 3 of the 10 home games this month – going one inning each time (all scoreless so far).
Trevor saved 24 home games last year in 25 opportunities. Including last night, he now has saved 3 home games this season (in 4 opportunities). He is 5-for-5 in saves on the road.
The two walks allowed last night were only the 19th and 20th walks in the ten games St Louis has played at home this month.
When Siegrist entered last night’s seventh inning, the two runners he inherited brings to 18 the total number of runners the bullpen has inherited in the 21 home games they’ve played so far. Only 3 (16.7%) have scored. On the road, the pen has allowed 7 of 21 (33.3%) to come home.
Last year, your St Louis Cardinals won 55 of 81 home games. They did that in spite of the fact that they only scored an average of 3.89 runs per game. The pitching staff made those runs stand up, fashioning a sparkling 2.70 ERA at Busch. They got quality starts in 56 of those 81 games. Through 21 home games this season, the home ERA is a good 3.48, but the quality starts are only at 10.
Anyone searching for the mystery of the disappointing home record would be advised to start here. The formula last year was dominant pitching and just enough runs to squeak by. The formula this year has been solid pitching, exciting defense, and streaky offense. The results last year were excellent. This year, so far, is decidedly mixed. When and if the pitching becomes dominant again, the home record will return to its expected performance.