Wacha, Carpenter & Wainwright Among Heroes of Extra-Inning Win

There are games – many of them, actually – when baseball transcends the numbers it leaves in its wake.  Last night was one of those games.  Nothing can adequately quantify Carpenter’s heroic home run, the heartbreaking blown save, the impossible game-winning double from Wainwright, the finishing strike from Brandon Moss.  Each of these occurrences is headline material.  When this all happens in the same game, the emotion of the day rather dwarfs the numbers.

That being said, the 12-inning, white-knuckle ride that was the 9-3 Cardinal win (box score) did extend a few notable trends.  Most gratifying, it was the team’s ninth victory in the last 13 games.  And these have been gritty, grueling victories against good teams (Washington, San Francisco & Pittsburgh) and a lesser Cincinnati team that put up three spirited battles against the Cardinals.  These were the stick-to-your-ribs kind of victories that you can mount a pennant run on.  But I’m getting ahead of myself a little.

This recent resurgence has been fueled equally by the pitching and the hitting.  Wacha’s 7-inning effort was the eighth quality start in the last 13 games.  Meanwhile, the 9 runs means that St Louis has scored 78 runs in their last 13 games – 6.00 runs per game.  The balance has been very good and the heroes plentiful.

As the Cardinals have ground through this tough series of games, Matt Carpenter continues to be the heavy lifter.  Yes, he hit the three-run homer that flipped the score in the eighth inning, but he also had 2 walks to go with his 2 hits as his season OPS rises to .955.

Over the last 13 games, Matt has been pretty torrid.  He now has 20 hits in his last 50 at bats (.400), 12 of which have been for extra bases (although last night’s home run is the only homer in the group).  He has driven in 10 runs during his last 12 games and carries a .720 slugging percentage during this streak.

Earlier this season, Matt went through some struggles against right-handed pitching.  In April he managed only 14 hits in 66 at bats against them.  The hits were 7 singles, 2 doubles, 2 triples and 3 home runs – and he also worked 10 walks and 3 HBP – so his line against right handers (.212/.338/.439) wasn’t as bad as it might have been.  Since the end of April, though, righties haven’t been able to keep him off base.  In his last 99 plate appearances against right-handed pitchers, Carpenter has amassed 12 singles, 12 doubles, 2 triples, 5 home runs, 20 runs batted in and 17 walks for a line of .383/.485/.765.  His line against them for the season now reads .306/.419/.619.

Brandon Moss capped the twelfth-inning explosion last night with a stake-in-the-heart two-run homer.  Brandon has forced his way into regular playing time by hitting .364 (12 of 33) and slugging .970 (the hits are 5 singles, a triple, and 6 home runs) during that span.  He has played in only 10 of the last 13 games – and started just 7 of those – but has driven in 9 runs in those games (the third most on the team behind Adams’ 11 and Carpenter’s 10).

Moss’ home run was his team-leading 14th of the season.  All have been hit off of right-handed pitchers, as were all 4 that he hit last year after coming to St Louis in a trade.  According to baseball-reference.com, Brandon has only hit 16 of his 124 career home runs against left-handers.

Jhonny Peralta has hit the ground running on his return from injury.  Even though his hits last night were infield hits, he still has 6 hits in his first 15 at bats (.400) and half have been for extra bases (2 doubles and a home run).  He has driven in 5 runs in 4 games (only 3 of which he’s started) and is slugging .733 early on.  It’s good to have him back.

Jhonny went 2-for-4 against the right-handed pitchers he saw last night and is 5 for his first 10 against them this season.  At last year’s All-Star Break, Peralta carried a .313 batting average against righties with 6 home runs and 36 runs batted in.  From that point on he hit a soft .252 against them, his 41 hits (in 163 at bats) being 35 singles (3 of the infield variety), 4 doubles and 2 home runs.  He drove in just 19 runs against right-handers and slugged just .313 against them after the break.

Randal Grichuk’s endless summer of struggle continues.  Hitless in 4 at bats last night, Randal is 6 for 46 (.130) while his team has been winning 9 of 13.

Grichuk’s night included two fruitless at bats against left handed relievers.  One of the more agonizing aspects of his stubborn slump is his inability to hit left-handers. Those at bats topple him to 1 of his last 14 against lefties and leaves him at .172 (10 for 58) with 1 home run and a .259 slugging percentage against them for the season.

The two lefthanders in the Pirate bullpen held the Cards hitless in 5 at bats.  For the season, St Louis is hitting .275 against right-handed pitching and .245 against lefties.  The team slugging percentage against lefthanders has quieted to just .387.  Against righties, the Cardinals are still carrying a .482 team slugging percentage.

In the fourth inning of the May 29th game in Washington, Michaels Wacha served up a game-winning single to National’s right-handed hitting catcher Wilson Ramos.  At that point of the season, right-handed batters were hitting .319 against the Cardinal right-hander (47 for 147).  From that precise point on, Wacha has allowed 3 hits to right-handed batters in their last 30 at bats against him (.100).  Of the last 17 he faced last night, the only one to reach was Jordy Mercer, who walked – and later scored – in the fifth.

To this point, opposing managers have found no advantage sending left-handed batters against Seung-hwan Oh.  Gregory Polanco did hit the ball well against him last night (a lineout to center), but with the out, lefties now hit .136 against Oh in his brief major league career.  He has allowed 8 hits (7 singles and 1 double) in 59 left-handed at bats against him for a .153 slugging percentage.  Nineteen of the 59 have struck out.

Matthew Bowman has also been better than expected against lefties.  Polanco was also the only lefty Bowman faced, and Matthew got him to bounce into the game-ending double play.  Lefties are 5 for 30 (.167) against Bowman this year.

Whether right-handed or left-handed, the Cardinal pitching staff has been hurt infrequently by left-handed batters.  Jaso’s fifth-inning RBI single was the only hit allowed to a Pirate left-hander in 8 such at bats last night.  For the season, opposing left-handed hitters have been saddled with a .232/.305/.380 line by Cardinal pitching.

The one crease in the forehead caused by last night’s effort is the blown save by Trevor Rosenthal.  As the Cards have fought their way to victory over these last two weeks, they’ve had to do it in spite of their closer in several occasions.  With the run allowed last night, Trevor has served up 4 in his last 5 innings.  The two walks last night give him 6 in those 5 innings.

The only lefthander that Rosenthal faced last night was pinch-hitter Matt Joyce, who walked to load the bases with one out for the top of the order.  Trevor has now walked 4 of the last 10 lefties he’s faced, and 10 of the 40 to face him this season.

He then promptly struck out Sean Rodriguez.  Of the 48 right-handed at bats against Trevor this season, 21 have ended in strikeouts.

Adam Wainwright – the hitter – now has 6 hits on the season and is hitting .261.  All 6 hits have been for extra bases (4 doubles, a triple and a home run).

After the 2015 Cardinals finished with just 36 games in which they hit more than one home run, the 2016 Cardinals – just 61 games into their season – have now accomplished this 21 times.  Just 2,118 at bats into the season, St Louis has hit 82 home runs.  Home run #82 in the 2015 season wasn’t hit until Matt Carpenter served one against Colorado’s Kyle Kendrick leading off game #103 – on July 31st.  The Cards used that blast to springboard to a 7-0 victory behind Michael Wacha (then 12-4).  The at bat was #3,477 of the year.

Last night’s game was not only the season’s longest in innings, but – at 4:16 – also in time.  On May 12th the Cards and Angels took 3:56 to conclude a 12-10 Cardinal victory.

Wainwright Semi-Dominant as Cards Win 3-2

A rare 3-2 victory in a pitcher’s duel (box score) – fronted by Adam Wainwright making his most encouraging start of the season – gave the Cardinals their eighth win in the last 12 games and pushed them to four over .500 for the first time this year at 32-28.

After allowing 2 hits and a run in the first inning, Adam gave neither run nor hit over his last five innings, striking out 9 along the way.  Only 4 of the 21 he faced swung at his first pitch, with only Joey Votto putting that pitch in play when he grounded out to end the third.  Eventually, 11 of the 21 found themselves in 2-strike counts.  They went 0-for-11 with only two of them putting a pitch in play (Suarez flew out on a 2-2 pitch in the third and Cabrera flew out on a 1-2 pitch to end the fifth).

St Louis has now won 8 of the last 9 games that Adam Wainwright has started.  They are 9-4 this season when Adam takes the mound.  They were a perfect 6-0 when Wainwright started in May. The only starter in the rotation that the team doesn’t have a winning record behind is tonight’s starter.  The Cards are 5-7 when Michael Wacha starts.

Adam also leads the team in quality starts.  For all the turmoil over his numbers, Wainwright has now given us 8 quality starts in his 13 outings.  It’s not the ratio he would hope for, but it’s better than anyone else on the staff.  He has 15 strikeouts over his last 13 innings.

For the most part last year, three runs scored was enough.  The Cardinals managed to win 21 of the 33 games that the offense scored exactly three runs.  They were also 9-8 when getting two runs.  Last night was only the third time this year the Cardinals have scored three runs – and the first of those games that they’ve won.  They are 1-3 when scoring two runs.

Last year’s team only scored 5 or more runs 53 times (32.7%), but won 47 of them (.887).  This includes a perfect 38-0 when scoring 6 or more runs.  This year’s team is crossing the 5-run threshold almost 60% of the time (34 of the first 60), but has already lost 7 of those games, including 1 when they’ve scored 6 runs, two when they’ve scored 7 runs and 2 when they’ve scored 8 runs.

The Cardinals have scored in double figures 11 times in the first 60 games of this season.  In 162 games last year, St Louis scored in double figures 7 times.

Last night was the 17th time this season that Cardinal pitchers have held their opponent to fewer than 3 runs (28%).  The remarkable pitching staff of 2015 did this to 80 of the 162 opponents they faced last year (49%).  Over the first 89 games of the regular season, 50 Cardinal opponents failed to score 3 runs.

Seung-hwan Oh has now struck out 12 of the last 26 batters he’s faced covering 7 innings.  He has 46 in his 32.2 innings.  Starter Mike Leake has 47 strikeouts this season in 74.2 innings.

Brandon Moss continues to be a big cog in the offensive wheel – and last night against a tough lefthander.  With 2 more hits, Moss is now hitting .370 over his last 9 games (10 of 27).  Six of the ten hits are for extra-bases (5 home runs and a triple), bringing his slugging percentage to 1.000 over those at bats.  He is also 8 for his last 15 (.533) with 4 home runs, 6 RBIs and a 1.467 slugging percentage.

Much of the recent surge has come without much contribution from Stephen Piscotty, who after his 0-for-4 last night has 5 hits in his last 29 at bats (.172).  Piscotty has offered at the first pitch 19 times in his last 31 plate appearances.

Things still aren’t breaking through for Randal Grichuk.  After two hits on Wednesday, there was some hope that Randal might be starting to roll.  Not quite yet.  Even though three of his four at bats last night were pretty good, he left the field with an 0-for-4.  He has 6 hits in his last 42 at bats (.143) and his season average is back down to .217.

Last night’s victory leaves the Cardinals 5-2 for Thursday games.  Curiously, Thursday was our best day last year, as we won 14 of 19 (.737).  In a 100-win season, we were over .500 every day of the week – although barely so on Friday (14-12).  St Louis is only 3-6 so far this year on Friday (they are also 3-6 on Tuesday).

In fact, the entire Cincinnati series followed a fairly familiar pattern.  St Louis lost the first game of the series – which they have done 12 times in their first 19 series.  They then won game two (they are 11-8 in second games of series) and game three.  They have won 13 of 19 game threes.  In the series they’ve played so far that have gone four games, they are 1-2 in game four.  In their last four series, they are 4-0 in game two and 3-1 in game three.

They were very good in the third games of their series last year (29-18, .617), but the biggest favor that the 2015 team did for itself that the 2016 team hasn’t quite figured out yet is they won game one.  Of their 52 series, they won the first game 32 times (.615).

The Cardinals opened the 2016 campaign losing the first three games that they faced a left-handed starter (4-1 vs Francisco Liriano and the Pirates on April 3rd; 6-5 in 11 innings to Jon Niese and the Pirates again on April 5th; and 9-8 to Brandon Finnegan and the Reds on April 16).  Since those losses (and including last night), the Cards have won 9 of the last 13 times a left-hander has started against them.  Last year, they were 9-12 against lefties before the All-Star break, but 16-6 against them thereafter.

Last night’s win was also their 15th come-from-behind victory.  This includes 1 rally from 3-runs down and 3 from 4 runs down.  They have 13 losses in games where they held a lead at one point, including serving up one 3-run lead and one 4-run lead.  Last year, the Cardinals only lost 23 games in which they held a lead at some point.

With the win, St Louis has now won three consecutive series (against Milwaukee, San Francisco & Cincinnati) for the second time this season.  After being swept in the season opening series in Pittsburgh, they swept Atlanta and took two out of three from both Milwaukee and Cincinnati.  Of the 19 series they have played so far this season, they have won 10, lost 7 and split 2.  They are now 5-2-2 in road series where their record is 17-12.

Inherit the Wind Entry #13: Favorite Lines

I was watching the run through the other day, and thought about my favorite lines in the show.  I subsequently asked others in the cast to share theirs with me, and have their responses to share with you as well.

I also add this invitation.  Any cast members that didn’t get their favorite lines in here are welcomed to add them as comments.  This extends to audience members and other interested readers – you may also share your favorite lines.

The show itself seems almost equally divided between insightful observations and comedic one-liners.  Surprisingly, only two offerings came from the snotty reporter EK Hornbeck (who spends the entire play spouting pithy comments).

Tom Moore contributes “The boob has been de-boobed” with this comment: “It just sounds good, and boils down so much of the ensuing drama into one short, punchy line.”

Aaron Mermlestein admires the line: “I had a nice place to stay, but left it to come here.”

From the “agnostic” lawyer Henry Drummond, only one of his humorous lines was submitted, but it came in twice.

“College examinations notwithstanding, it takes a very smart fella to say ‘I don’t know the answer!'” was the favorite line of Jessa Knust for the following reason: “This line is my favorite because it very much encapsulates the idea and purpose of higher education. As much as I learned in college and graduate school, the most important thing I learned is that there’s always more to learn, and that it’s our responsibility to keep challenging conventional wisdom in search of new discoveries and new solutions. I think Drummond would agree with me. ”

Director Mark Neels also tagged this line.  DOCTOR Neels has recently secured his PhD in History at the expense of considerable time, effort and treasure.  He makes reference to this line in his director’s notes.

There are a couple from the “religious” lawyer Matthew Brady.  “I do not think about things that … I do not think about!” was offered twice by Steve Garrett and by Nathan Schroeder .

Nathan also contributes “Blobs of jelly, then” from one of the young students of Bertram Cates, and this exchange between Drummond and one of the candidates for the jury:

Drummond: “I’ll bet you read your Bible.” Juryman: “Nope.”  Drummond:”How come?” Juryman: “Can’t read.” Drummond:”Well, you are fortunate.”

That jury member is played by Howie Hirshfield, whose favorite line is the frequently repeated “I object! I object! I object” by the lawyer Drummond – who finds lots of things objectionable in heavenly Hillsboro.

Ann Eigenreither transitions us to the more serious side of the show with this from Brady.  “. . . the Lord began the Creation on the 23rd of October in the Year 4004 B.C., at—uh, 9:00 a.m.”  Her comment on this is: “Even in the face of diehard creationists, this has to sound ridiculous.  And of course, it really marks a turning point in the arguments between Drummond and Brady.  From this point, Drummond has Brady on the ropes until Matt loses it at the end of the scene.”

Another one of these is, again, from Nathan who gives us Drummond’s “He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind; and the fool shall be servant to the wise at heart.”  Nathan adds: “A key turning and revealing point.”  He doesn’t say that it’s also the title of the play, but I assume he assumes we can figure that one out.

My own favorite line is also from Drummond and also at the end of the play.  After all the courtroom drama has played out, he makes this observation.  That Brady “was looking for God too high up and too far out.”

This resonates with me.  As a believer (and probably more of a literalist than most when it comes to the scriptures), I think this is an all-too common failing among believers.  If we are not careful, we make our God into an inflexible monolith whose function is to grind up and spit out the weak and unworthy beings that we all are.

Throughout the play, Brady refers to Him as the Heavenly Father.  That, I think, is the God that is sometimes lost in our conversations – and sometimes even in our innermost thoughts.  This universe and our existence in it is a triumph of the love of God the Eternal Father, not of his perfection.  His Atonement is the conquest of mercy over justice.  The Reverend Brown – in his zeal – loses sight of this at one point of the play.  He is not necessarily alone in this failing.

Position Wars Through June 8

As the Cardinals have scrambled their way back to 3 over .500 (31-28), let’s take a new look at the position wars.

Position: Catcher

While he is on the team as the backup catcher (and in spite of the fact that he’s hitting .423), there is clearly no confidence on the part of the management in Eric Fryer’s ability.  Last night, Yadier Molina started at catcher for his eighth straight game.  He has caught 20 of the last 21, 29 of the last 31, 33 of 36, 43 of 47, and 54 of the 59 games played so far.  At his current pace, Molina will be the starting catcher in 148 games this year.

Position: First Base

Matt Adams has made 9 straight starts at first and now has 32 starts there this season.  Brandon Moss has made 18.  St Louis is 16-16 when Adams starts, and 9-9 with Moss.  Both the runs per game (5.44 vs 5.03) and the team ERA (4.10 vs 4.35) slightly favor Brandon Moss.

Position: Second Base

The Kolten Wong era goes on pause after Wong had started at second base in 35 of the first 56 Cardinal games.  St Louis was 19-16 when Wong started, scoring 5.23 runs per game and allowing a 3.82 team ERA.  Jedd Gyorko has made 20 starts there with a 10-10 record.  The offense ticks up with Jedd in the lineup (5.85 rpg), but the team ERA adds a run per game (4.82).

Position: Shortstop

Shortstop now belongs so completely to rookie Aledmys Diaz that last year’s starting shortstop has been re-cast as our starting third baseman after coming back from injury.  Last night was Aledmys’ 49th start of the season at short.  For the season, so far, the Cards are 27-22 with Diaz at short and 4-6 without him.  They score 5.94 runs per game when he starts at short.  When someone else starts a game there, the offense drops to 3.40 runs per game.  The team ERA is about the same (4.28 with vs 4.29 without).  In spite of a few errors, the team unearned run average (surprisingly) is better with Diaz at short (0.31) rather than Tejada/Garcia/Gyorko (0.42).

Most of that offense, of course, dates from his explosive April.  The Cardinals scored 114 runs in the 16 April starts he made (7.16 rpg).  Over the last 33 starts he’s made there, St Louis is still scoring 5.45 runs per game and the Cards have won 18 of the 33. So even though Diaz has come back to earth a bit, there is still ample production.

Position: Third Base

Matt Carpenter moves to second, now, to accommodate Jhonny Peralta.  In his 49 starts at third, St Louis won 25, lost 24, scored 5.08 runs per game and allowed a 4.07 team ERA.  Including the first two games of the Peralta era, St Louis is 6-4 when someone else starts at third.

Position: Left Field

Matt Holliday leads the team in starts in left field.  He has been there for 43 of the first 59 games.  Jeremy Hazelbaker has made 8 starts there and Moss has been there for 7 games.  The team is 19-24 when Holliday starts, 7-1 in Hazelbaker’s starts, and 5-2 with Moss.  When Hazelbaker starts, St Louis averages 8.63 runs per game, 5.71 when Moss starts there, and 5.00 for Holliday.  The ERA rank is Moss, 3.34; Hazelbaker, 3.38; and Holliday 4.60.  Individually, the numbers for Hazelbaker and Moss are too small a sample size to consider.  Together, however, they represent a 12-3 record, 7.27 offensive runs per game and a 3.36 combined team ERA.

Position: Center Field

Randal Grichuk has struggled through the first third of the season.  Still the Cardinals are 26-19 in his 45 starts in center (including wins in 16 of his last 27 starts there).  They are 5-9 with Hazelbaker or Stephen Piscotty starting in center.

Position: Right Field

Stephen Piscotty has been the man here from the moment that last year’s starter decided to move to another team.  I occasionally see Piscotty’s numbers (Piscotty is hitting .312/.388/.482 with 7 home runs and 34 RBIs) compared with the numbers of last year’s right fielder (he is currently hitting .226/.323/.313 with 3 home runs and 21 runs batted in).  I’m afraid this line of reasoning is somewhat misleading.

In reality, Piscotty was going to start for the Cards this year no matter what Jason Heyward decided.  The question was where.  Had Jason re-upped with the Cardinals, Piscotty’s likely destination would have been first base.  So, if he were still in Cardinal red, Heyward would be stealing at bats from first basemen Brandon Moss (who leads the team with 13 home runs and is slugging .570) and Matt Adams (who has emerged as a force, hitting .333/.386/.583 with 8 home runs and 31 runs batted in).

As far as Piscotty in right, he has started there in 51 of the 59 Cardinal games, with St Louis crafting a 27-24 record in those games.  Moss (6) and Hazelbaker (2) have also started there, combining on a 4-4 record.

A Few Notes From Last Night’s Game

Of the Cardinal’s 31 victories this season, 15 have now been by 5 runs or more.  They are 3-8 in one-run games.  They won 12-7 last night (box score).

Nothing like a little dose of the Cincinnati pitching staff to revive the Cardinal offense.  In two days in Cincy, they have scored as many runs (18) as they have in any complete series since they scored 25 runs in 3 games against the Angels.  The last time they scored 18 runs in a series was in Washington – and it took them four games to do that.

Of course, they have also allowed 14 runs in two days – already more than either the Brewers or Giants scored in three games of their recent series.  The Cardinals now have one quality start in their last four games.

The four home runs struck by Cardinal batters marks the twentieth game this season that they have hit more than one home run in a game.  They managed that only 36 times all last year.  Last year they hit three or more home runs in a game 8 times and only had 1 four-homer game.  For 2016, this team has already hit three or more 10 different times and four or more 6 times.  Cincinnati, of course, was the opponent when St Louis hit six in a game earlier this year.

The season total has now reached 80.  It has taken the Cardinals 59 games and 2,041 at bats.  Last year it took until game #102 (a 9-8 win against Colorado – in St Louis – on July 30) for the Cards to reach the 80 homer mark.  Matt Carpenter produced the blow, a 3-run second inning shot off of Rockies’ left-hander Chris Rusin that opened up a 4-1 lead (that wouldn’t last).  The at bat was the team’s 3,449th of the season.

Leake Streak Ends in 7-6 Loss to Reds

Mike Leake’s team-best, five-game quality start streak came to a crashing end at the hands of the Cincinnati Reds.  His former team owned him last night, ringing up six runs, ten hits and two home runs in less than seven innings.  The night concluded with one of the most annoying losses of the season as a furious Cardinal rally took Leake off the hook for the loss and tied the game at 6-6 in the ninth.  But after a review, Matt Carpenter was called out at third trying to stretch his game-tying double into a triple, the inning ended with no further scoring, and Cincinnati walked off with the win in the bottom of the ninth.  The final was 7-6 (box score).

During the Leake Streak, he threw first-pitch strikes to 86 of the 132 batters that faced him (65.2%).  Last night, only 16 of the 28 he faced (57.1%) saw that first-pitch strike.

Twice in the fourth inning last night Cincinnati put a runner at third with less than two out against Leake.  Both scored (Phillips on Duval’s home run and Suarez on Cabrera’s sacrifice fly).  For the season, so far, all 8 runners to reach third against Leake with less than two out have scored.

When pitcher John Lamb looked at strike three in the third and Eugenio Suarez did the same in the sixth, they became Leake’s team-leading 22nd and 23rd “looking” strikeouts of the season.  Michael Wacha is second with 22.  Since Leake only has 47 strikeouts for the season, 48.9% of his strikeouts have come on called third strikes – the highest ratio on the team.  Jonathan Broxton at 40.9% (9 of 22) and Tyler Lyons at 40.0% (10 of 25) are the only others on the staff at or above 40%.  One of the two strikeouts that Broxton got last night came on a called third strike.

Mike Leake carries the team’s lowest swing-and-miss ratio at just 12.3% after having just 6 swinging strikes in 48 swings last night.  Among all pitchers, Seth Maness is the second lowest at 13.7%.  Among starters, Adam Wainwright misses the second fewest bats (16.9%).  Jaime Garcia (21.7%) and Carlos Martinez (21.1%) are our starters over 20% in this category.  Seung-hwan Oh gets the batter to miss on 38% of his swings (95 out of 250).

For the game, Leake threw only 28 balls to the 28 batters he faced.  For the season, he has the rotation’s highest percentage of strikes at 66.9%.  Wainwright, again, is second at 64.5%.

With a propensity to throw strikes and not much ability to miss bats, it would stand to mathematical reason that at bats against Mike Leake don’t usually last very long.  The 28 plate appearances against him last night required only 92 pitches (3.29 per).  This is another category he leads the team in.  For the season, he requires just 3.43 pitches per plate appearance against him.  Jaime Garcia’s 3.59 pitches per is the next lowest.

Dean Kiekhefer threw first-pitch balls to all three batters he faced.  Even granting that one of the batters was getting an intentional walk, this has been a troubling pattern for the rookie.  Of the 46 batters he’s faced in the big leagues, only 19 have gotten first-pitch strikes.  His 41.3% is by far the lowest percentage on the staff.  Maness’ 56.5% is the second lowest.  Of the 46, only 5 batters have swung at Dean’s first pitch.

Jonathan Broxton also does himself few favors with his command.  He made 32 pitches in the eighth inning last night, complicating his outing by throwing 13 of them out of the strike zone.  For the season, every pitcher on our staff is throwing at least 60% of his pitches for strikes – except Broxton (59%).

As a staff, St Louis has allowed 43 of the last 62 runners who have reached third with less than two outs to come home (69.4%).  Just another category where the pitching staff of 2016 fails to measure up to the staff of 2015 that permitted that run just 41.6% of the time.

Inherit the Wind Entry #12: Tech Week

Monday night of Tech Week.

Quick quiz:  Does this say "read your bible" or "ready out bible?"  There are no wrong answers.
Quick quiz: Does this say “read your bible” or “ready out bible?” There are no wrong answers.

For those not familiar with the process, Tech Week is the week leading up to the opening of the show.

In community productions like this everyone works their rehearsals around jobs and other annoyances of life.  I think tonight is the first time we’ve actually had everyone together (if, in fact, we did have everyone together).

This almost looks like a production number from a musical.
This almost looks like a production number from a musical.

Up until now, we will have been rehearsing three or four times a week.  Now, we will go every night from Sunday through Wednesday in preparation for Thursday’s opening.

And, of course, the “Tech” in “Tech Week” stands for technical.  Up until now, the rehearsal process has been almost exclusively an acting process.  Actors in street clothes, general lighting, no sound effects.  Ours is not necessarily the most difficult process.  Our costumers have put in several long days getting everything ready.  This is them:

Our Amazing Costumers - Jean Heckmann (L) and Tracey A Newcomb (R)
Our Amazing Costumers – Jean Heckmann (L) and Tracey A Newcomb (R)
Costumer Tracey Newcombe finding everything in her tub of costume accessories.
Costumer Tracey Newcomb finding everything in her tub of costume accessories.

But ours is the most time consuming process.  So our work is done in bits and pieces over several weeks as we discover how all our various roles mesh into the grand design.

Aaron M. as the mayor, calling down hell-fire and stealing scenes is all part of a day's work.
Aaron M. as the mayor, calling down hell-fire and stealing scenes is all part of a day’s work.

Now it’s time for all of the other pieces to add in.  Now, it starts to feel like a show.

Hornbeck explains everything for Rachel
Hornbeck explains everything for Rachel

Also, about now the rest of the crew surfaces:

Betsy Gasoske - Production Stage Manager.
Betsy Gasoske – Production Stage Manager.
This is Kim.  She keeps everything smooth backstage.
This is Kim. She keeps everything smooth backstage.

The journey isn’t at all complete.  We’ve got a three week run waiting at the end of tech week, and the show will transform itself again as the run progresses.

But the most exciting part of the journey is about to begin.

Director Mark Neels practices his curtain speech.
Director Mark Neels practices his curtain speech.  This is probably not his costume.
The mayor - looking almost lifelike
The mayor – looking almost lifelike

Pitching Rest Revisited

Four days rest? Or five? With a few off days this month – including last night – all the starters (and the relief pitchers, too, for that matter) will see some extra rest.  Here is how that has looked so far.

One third of the way through the season, none of the five Cardinal starting pitchers is pitching any better on four days rest than when they make starts on five days of rest or more.  Three of the five don’t show any substantial difference.  Adam Wainwright’s ERA is 5.80 in 6 starts on four days, and 5.10 in 5 starts with more than four.  Carlos Martinez is similarly 3.60 on four days (5 starts) and 4.06 in 5 starts of five or more.  That number is skewed a bit by a rocky start that he made on 7 days of rest as he was recovering from the flu (5 innings, 4 runs, 5 hits).  Michael Wacha’s numbers are also close, but with some twists that we’ll look at below.

In 2015, Jaime Garcia was decisively better on five days of rest instead of four.  He made 8 starts on four-days, and did well.  He gave 4 quality starts with a 3-2 won-lost record and a 3.78 ERA.  Opposing batters hit .270 against him, but it was a soft .270 as he allowed just 1 home run in 50 innings (and only walked 11).  Of the batters who hit the ball in play against him, 59.0% hit the ball on the ground.

However, in 10 starts when Jaime had that extra day in between starts, he gave us 8 quality starts, a 7-2 record with a 1.22 ERA and an opposing batters’ line of .190/.233/.248.  64.7% of the opposing batters hit the ball on the ground.

In the early part of this season, that pattern is beginning to express itself again.  In 6 starts on 4 days, Jaime has 2 quality starts, a 2-4 record, 4.13 ERA, .252/.326/.323 batting line against, 25 strikeouts in 32.2 innings, and a 62.7% ground-ball rate.  His corresponding numbers on 5 days: 4 starts, 2 quality starts, 2-1 record (with another lead lost by the bullpen), 2.08 ERA, .194/.265/.290 batting line, 27 strikeouts in 26 innings, 67.2% ground balls.

Mike Leake didn’t pitch here last year (as a Cardinal, anyway), but baseball-reference.com suggests that Mike was also better on more than four days’ rest.  In 15 starts on 4 days last year, Leake was 5-5 with a 4.50 ERA.  In 15 starts on more than 4, he was 6-5, 2.91.  This is another pattern that is beginning to manifest so far this year.  In 6 starts on 4 days so far this year, Mike is 2-3 4.03 as opposed to 2-0, 2.77 in 4 starts on 5 days or more.

Michael Wacha has made 6 starts on four days of rest so far this year (with a 5.40 ERA) and 5 starts on 5 days (4.33 ERA).  While neither ERA is anything special, the underlying numbers are very different.  On four days, Wacha has allowed only 36 hits in 35 innings, but all 5 of the home runs he’s allowed have come in those games.  The batting line in these games is .257/.329/.471.  On five days, he has allowed no home runs, but with a batting line of .290/.342/.390.  On four days, his record is 0-6 as he has received only 7 support runs.  He has benefited from 31 support runs in his five-day starts, leading to a 2-0 record.

When it comes to the bullpen, however, the recurring theme here is not enough consistent work.

All 3 of the home runs that Matt Bowman has served up this year came in the 9 games and 12 innings in which he’s pitched on more than two-days’ rest.  In his 7 appearances on one or two days, Matt has worked 9.2 innings, surrendering 8 singles and a double.

Jonathan Broxton has pitched 11 times already this season (9.2 innings) after having either pitched the day before or having one day of rest in between appearances.  In those games, he has been as good as we could ask for, allowing 1 run on 3 hits and 1 walk.  His 0.93 ERA is accompanied by an .094 batting average against.  From the point that Jonathan gets a second day of rest, (12 games, 11 innings) his ERA leaps to 9.00 and his batting line to .311/.448/.400.  He throws 61% of his pitches for strikes and averages 14.17 pitches per inning on short or no rest.  Those numbers are 58% and 22.45 pitches once he has longer periods in between games.

Tyler Lyons, who has undertaken the long-relief role, is good for up to 3 days of rest.  In his 8 games and 12 innings within 3 days of his last appearance, Tyler has matched his 3.00 ERA with a batting line of .190/.277/.429.  After 4 days of rest (7 games, 13 innings), Lyons ERA soars to 5.54 with a line of .288/.327/.558.

And then, there is the celebrated case of closer Trevor Rosenthal.  The high-scoring nature of the Cardinal games have made his game appearances erratic.  So far this season he has made 13 appearances on two or more days of rest (covering 12 innings) as opposed to just 7 on less than 2 days (covering 6.1 innings).  His ERA in the 13 games is 5.40 against 0.00 in the other 7.

Instructively, though, that is the only number that shows a huge difference.  The batting lines are very similar: .240/.367/.280 when he’s had less than two days off; .238/.396/.381 on more than 2 days.  The difference in slugging percentage is accounted for with the fact that both home runs allowed have come on two-days rest – and one of those was a fairly meaningless shot by Rickie Weeks in the ninth-inning of a then 6-0 game where Trevor was trying to get some work in.

The biggest issue that Cardinal nation has had with Rosenthal has been the walks – 16 of them in 19 innings.  But there doesn’t seem to be a days-rest component to Trevor’s control problems.  On zero or one day of rest, Rosenthal has walked 5 (in 6.1 innings) and throws 60% of his pitches for strikes.  He has walked 11 in 12 innings with more rest and throws 63% of his pitches for strikes.

Two notable exceptions to this trend are two of the late-inning anchors of the pen.  Both Seung-hwan Oh and Kevin Siegrist have profited significantly from a few days of rest.  Oh is still very good when pitching with no rest or one day off (17 games, 17 innings, 3.18 ERA, .161/.175/.242 batting line).  With two days or more, even better (11 games, 13 innings, 0.00 ERA, .140/.229/.163).

Siegrist’s numbers show a preference for at least one day in between games.  In the 5 games he’s pitched after working the day before, Kevin has thrown 4 innings, allowing 3 runs on 5 hits and a walk.  With at least one rest day, Siegrist improves to 1.53 in 18 innings over 19 games.  The line against him is .136/.212/.305 under these circumstances.

Martinez Continues Pitching Resurgence; Cards Take Series vs Giants

The solid (and sometimes dominating) outing turned in by Carlos Martinez completes two very good turns through the rotation.  A grinding offense rewarded Martinez’ effort with a 6-3 win (box score) that gave St Louis the rubber game against the San Francisco Giants.

Last night the Cards received their seventh quality start in the last ten games, with the rotation offering a welcomed 3.38 ERA and pitching 64 of the 87 innings.  While Martinez wasn’t as dominant as he was in his last start against the Brewers, he is still 2-0, 1.93 ERA through his last 14 innings with 15 strikeouts his last two times out.

With 5 support runs in his 6 innings, Martinez is now averaging 6.58 support runs per game while he is the pitcher of record – the highest total on the staff, although Adam Wainwright is averaging 6.03 and Michael Wacha gets 5.83.

Jonathan Broxton hit one of the two batters he faced in relief of Martinez, but only threw 3 pitches.  He has averaged just 2.93 pitches for each of the last 14 batters he’s faced.

Only one of Jonathan’s pitches was a strike.  For the season, he is the only Cardinal pitcher (other than Reuben Tejada) to throw fewer than 60% of his pitches for strikes.  Broxton is at 58.9%

Kevin Siegrist inherited his fifteenth runner of the season last night and stranded him (although not without some drama).  Only 3 of the 15 have scored so far this season.

Seung-hwan Oh also received a support run after the inning he worked.  For the season, now, Oh has had 30 runs scored for him in his 30.2 innings.  That’s an average of 8.80 per 9 innings.

Trevor Rosenthal’s innings the last two games were only the second and third that he’s pitched in St. Louis’ last 10 games.

For the season, Rosenthal faces an average of 4.53 batters and throws 21.53 pitches per inning.  These are complicated innings.  He’s faced a total of six batters and thrown just 22 pitches in his last two.  His 4.76 pitches per batter faced this season is the staff’s highest.

Rosenthal also holds the team’s highest ground ball rate.  After getting grounders from all three he faced last night, 70% of the batters that put the ball in play against Trevor are hitting ground balls.

In the middle of all the rallies, again, was Matt Carpenter.  Carpenter has now hit in three straight games and five of his last six – and he hasn’t been quiet doing it.  With 14 hits in his last 25 at bats, Matt is hitting .560 over his last two series with a .920 slugging percentage.  At the same time, this has been a little different from the Carpenter we usually see.  Specifically, he has walked just once in those six games and – while everyone else has been launching home runs, his 7 extra-base hits don’t include a homer.  Matt last went deep May 19th against Colorado.

Carpenter only saw 10 pitches in his 4 plate appearances last night, but now has seen 1,017 for the season.  No other Cardinal has more than Stephen Piscotty’s 888.  Carpenter leads the team in pitches per plate appearance at 4.24, although that number was only 2.50 last night.

As Matt came to the plate in the third inning with Randal Grichuk on third and one out, it was the eighteenth time this season that Carp has had that runner at third with less than two outs.  To that point, he had only delivered the runner 6 times.  At the All Star break last year, Matt was bringing the run in 67% of the time (10 of 15).  After the break last year, Carp drove in just 7 of 14.  Matt delivered this run with a smash into right field.

Carpenter, of course, took the first pitch in all four of his plate appearances.  For the season, he has swung at the first pitch only 34 times (14.2%).  This rate is more than 10% lower than anyone else on the team.  Kolten Wong, who is the second most selective on the team, swings at 24.3% of the first pitches thrown to him.

After a little batting swoon, Aledmys Diaz – helped by his ability to run – is starting to see his average rise again.  His 2-hit game last night was his second straight, and his fourth 2-hit game in his last 6.  Including a pinch-single the night before, Aledmys has hit safely in six of his last seven, batting .385 (10 for 26) in those games – including the game-changing three-run homer on Saturday night.  His RBI last night was his fourth in his last two games.

Diaz’ third-inning infield hit was his team-leading 12th of the season.  Piscotty, who has 7, is a distant second.

Diaz’ speed also expresses itself in double-play situations.  He has bounced into just 2 in 39 DP opportunities – a team-leading (among regulars) 5.1%.  Matt Adams is a surprising second at just 6.1% (2 in 33 chances).

And, for a guy with significant pop, Diaz rarely swings and misses.  Of the 8 swings he took last night, he only missed 1 when he struck out in the seventh (and that was technically a foul-tip).  For the season, Aledmys misses only 15.1% of the pitches that he swings at, the lowest rate on the team among regulars (barely better than Yadier Molina’s 15.2%).

After collecting two more hits last night, Matt Adams has run his most recent hitting streaks to six consecutive games, eleven of his last twelve, and 14 of his last 16.  Matt now has 20 hits in his last 46 at bats, including 4 home runs and 15 runs batted in.  His batting line over this streak is now .435/.481/.826 (for a 1.307 OPS).  His season batting line is now up to .325/.382/.569 (a .951 OPS).

With his game-tying hit in the sixth, Matt Adams has now driven home 6 of 9 runners on third with less than two outs.

Matt Holiday drew an important walk, but his average is trending down.  After an 0-for-3 last night, Matt has 1 hit in his last 12 at bats and hasn’t driven in a run since last Tuesday in Milwaukee.  He has hit with two-strikes on him in 8 of his last 14 plate appearances.

Holliday took 9 of the 13 pitches thrown to him, including 4 that were called strikes.  For the season, just 29.7% of the pitches Matt takes are called strikes.

Stephen Piscotty has seen his average slide to .311 after a 2 for 16 spell.  Stephen has swung at the first pitch in 11 of his last 19 trips to the plate, and saw only 8 pitches in his 4 PAs last night.  In fact, Stephen hasn’t extended an at bat past three pitches since the fifth inning of the Friday game against the Giants – 10 plate appearances ago.  Piscotty has seen 15 pitches total over his last 9 PAs.

For the season, Piscotty swings at the first pitch just 32.8% of the time, and averages 3.78 pitches per plate appearance.

Piscotty contributed a HBP to the winning sixth-inning rally.  He came to the plate with runners at first and second with no one out, the 41st time this season that Piscotty came to the plate in a double play situation.  He has obliged only 3 times (just 7.3%).

Kolten Wong is now just 3 for his last 30 (.100), after an 0-for-2 last night.  Kolten’s last extra-base hit was a double against Zach Greinke on May 22nd, 32 at bats ago.  His last RBI was 57 at bats ago – a single against Matt Schoemaker in Anaheim back on May 11.

Kolten didn’t get a first-pitch strike in either of his plate appearances.  One of the team’s most selective first-pitch swingers, Wong only gets a first-pitch strike 54.2% of the time, the lowest ratio of any hitter who plays at least semi-regularly.

Mostly a result of that grinding sixth inning, St Louis batters came to the plate yesterday in 10 double-play situations and 6 times with a runner at third an less than 2 outs.  They delivered 5 of the 6 runs and only grounded once into the double-play.

For the season, St Louis gets that run in 55% of the time.  Last year, they only managed that 49% of the time.

St Louis has now won 5 of the 8 rubber games they’ve played this season, and have split their first five home series (although the home record is still a game under .500 at 15-16).

Lineup Knowledge

We haven’t mined the Cardinal lineup for insight, recently.  Let’s see what the record shows.

Even with the loss last night, the Cardinals are still 8-4 this season when Adam Wainwright starts.  In the just completed 16-13 month of May, St Louis was 11-1 when Wainwright or Leake started.  They were 5-12 with anyone else on the mound (including 2-10 during Wacha and Martinez’ starts).

St Louis was also 14-9 in the 23 games that Randal Grichuk started.  They were just 2-4 when he wasn’t in the lineup.  For the season, St Louis is 24-18 in Randal’s 42 starts.  They are 4-9 when he is not in the lineup.

St Louis is 13-10 when Brandon Moss starts against right-handed pitchers and 7-11 when he doesn’t.  They are 11-15 when Matt Adams starts against righties and 17-12 when he doesn’t.

Surprisingly, St Louis won 7 of the 10 May starts against left-handed pitchers.  The only 3 times they were beaten by lefties last month were the three starts that Carlos Martinez made against them.  Carlos lost 4-2 to Pittsburgh and Francisco Liriano on May 6; lost 5-3 to Scott Kazmir and the Dodgers on May 14; and lost 11-7 to Patrick Corbin and Arizona on May 20.

Matt Carpenter has been the leadoff hitter in 48 of St Louis’ first 55 games.  They are 24-24 in those games and 4-3 when someone else leads off.  In May, St Louis won 14 of the 25 games he batted leadoff (.560) and were 2-2 with someone else there.

The second spot in the batting order underwent a flip about midway through the month, but it didn’t seem to make much difference.  Stephen Piscotty batted second 16 times (9-7 record) and Aladmys Diaz had 12 starts in the second slot (7-5 record).  For the season, Piscotty has batted second 30 times with the team going 16-14 in those games and 12-13 with someone else batting second.

In April, Matt Holliday started and hit third in the lineup in 20 of the 24 games.  St Louis struggled to an 8-12 record in those games while going 4-0 when someone else batted third.  In May, Holliday made 26 of the 29 starts, St Louis going 15-11 with him there and 1-2 without him.

Four different batters have made 12 or more starts hitting clean-up.  Of the four, the best record belongs to Grichuk.  The team is 9-3 on the season (including 5-0 in May) when Grichuk bats fourth.  They are 8-7 with Piscotty there, 6-8 when Moss bats fourth, and 5-9 with Adams.  The run scoring, though, favors Piscotty.  St Louis averages 6.47 runs per game when Stephen bats fourth, compared to 5.92 with Grichuk, 5.43 with Moss and 3.57 with Adams.  Piscotty kind of took over the position in May, hitting there in 10 games and leading the team to a 6-4 record and 6.70 runs per game.

Yadier Molina has spent the most time batting fifth in the lineup, but the results have been less than overwhelming.  In 18 May starts with Molina batting fifth, St Louis scored 4.61 runs per game and went 9-9.  For the season, Molina’s 25 starts in the five-hole have resulted in an 11-14 record and 4.68 runs per game.  With anyone else batting fifth, they are 17-13, scoring 5.90 runs per game.

Yadi has also spent more time batting sixth than anyone else – and there the results have been noticeably better.  In the 23 games that Molina has hit sixth, St Louis is 14-9 (a .609 winning percentage) while scoring 6.52 runs per game.  When it’s not Molina in the sixth-slot, St Louis is just 14-18, scoring 4.50 runs per game.

The sixth-slot was something of a free-for-all in May.  Six different players hit there, none more than 8 times.

Seventh was also a much contested lineup slot in May.  Eight different players batted there, none more than Randal Grichuk’s 9 times.  St Louis did win 6 of those 9 games, scoring 6.56 runs per game.  For the season, the leaders here are Kolten Wong (9-8 in 17 games) and Jedd Gyorko (6-9 in 15 games).

As Diaz was transferring to the second slot in the order, Wong was dropping into the eighth hole.  In April St Louis was 9-6 when Diaz hit eighth, but lost 5 of the 6 games he hit there in May.  The Cards won 8 of the 12 (scoring 5.75 runs per game) in May when Wong hit eighth.

One overlooked note from last night – and one under-reported trend for the season:

The 2-run single off Dean Kiekhefer in the ninth inning means that 6 of the 7 runners he’s inherited have scored on his watch.  The seventh also scored, but after he had left the game in favor of Broxton.

For the season so far, 18 of 49 inherited runners have scored (36.7%).  Through all of baseball, 30.9% of inherited runners score.  St Louis ranks eighth-highest in all of baseball and fifth-highest in the National League in allowing inherited runners to score.

Last season, only 50 of 211 runners inherited by the bullpen came home to score (23.7%).  This was the fourth-lowest total in all of baseball – third lowest in the National League.

One final note: In the National League Leader Boards, three different pitchers are tied for the league-lead in wins with 9.  They are Jake Arrieta of Chicago, Stephen Strasburgh of Washington and Johnny Cueto of San Francisco.  All three pitchers gained their ninth victory courtesy of the Cardinals and all in the last ten days.

A lot of things aren’t going particularly well right now for the Birds, but they have also been running into a lot of very hot pitchers lately.  That hasn’t helped.

Relative Score Numbers from May

As we wait for the San Francisco series to open tonight, I’m looking over relative score numbers from last month.  By relative score, I mean whether the batter is hitting with his team ahead or behind in the game – and by how much.  Here are a few that I found interesting:

The Giants will be seeing Matt Adams after a torrid month of May.  Adams hit .364 last month with 4 home runs.  His month was even stronger when the games were close.  Adams hit .381 in May (16 for 42) when the Cardinals were within two runs (either way) of the other team.  Those hits included all four of his home runs, 3 doubles and 17 of his 19 RBIs for the month.  His slugging percentage in those at bats was .738.

Matt Carpenter also is coming off a very good month of May.  In Carpenter’s case, though, he didn’t contribute too much when St Louis was in comeback mode.  In 40 plate appearances with his team trailing in the game, Carpenter managed 6 hits in 35 at bats (.171) although 5 of the 6 sits were for extra bases – including a three-run homer against the Angels that turned a 5-3 deficit into a lead the Cards would not surrender.  When Carpenter was up with the score either tied or ahead, he hit .387 (24 for 62).  Fourteen of those hits went for extra bases (7 doubles, 2 triples and 5 home runs), so in May, with his team either even or ahead, Carpenter’s slugging percentage was .806.

Aledmys Diaz’ May was certainly quieter than his April, but he made significant contributions when the game scores were close.  With the Cardinals trailing by no more than 3 runs or leading by no more than two, Diaz hit .347 (25 for 72) and slugged .556 as all three of his home runs last month fell during these at bats, as did 9 of his 13 runs batted in.

Randal Grichuk had, arguably, the best moment of the month – his game-winning home run against the Cubs.  It was pretty much his only highlight of the month in close games.  With the score within two runs either way last month, Randal was just 9 for 54 (.167) with four RBIs.  Once the Cardinals fell behind by three or more runs, or pushed ahead by three or more runs, Randal became much more productive.  He hit .366/.435/.756 in those at bats (15 for 41 with 5 doubles, a triple, 3 home runs, 9 RBIs and 5 walks).

Matt Holiday hit only .222 in May (16 for 72) when the score of the game was either tied or the Cards trailed.  However, those 16 hits drove in 10 runs – including 5 game-winning RBIs.  Once St Louis had a lead, Holliday hit .375/.459/.813 with 4 home runs.

Stephen Piscotty quietly finished off another excellent month, hitting .346 in May.  And when the Cards were as close as one run, but no further ahead than two, Piscotty answered with a .426 average (26 for 61).  Of the 16 runs he drove in for the month, 15 of them came in those close-score at bats.

Jaime Garcia finished May with a very solid 3.18 ERA, but this particular statistic speaks to composure.  This is always a question with Garcia.  While Jaime could keep the score even or pitch with a lead, he looked like as good a pitcher as there is in baseball.  In 24.1 innings either even or ahead, Garcia posted a 1.48 ERA, holding opponents to a .186 batting average.  From the moment he fell behind in a game last month, batters went 12 for 23 against him (.522) and drove in 5 runs.  In the 4 innings he trailed last month, Jaime’s ERA was 13.50.

This kind of composure/toughness was also an issue with Carlos Martinez.  Once the game score moved to two or more runs either way, Martinez was more than a handful.  In the 11.1 May innings he pitched under those parameters, he gave us a 1.59 ERA and a .195/267/.293 batting line against.  The problem was that for 21.2 of the 33 innings he pitched in May, the score was either even or within one run.  He surrendered 14 earned runs and 25 hits in those innings, while walking 9.  His ERA in the close innings was 7.06, which was accompanied by an opposing batters’ line of .305/.389/.402.

Seung-hwan Oh’s worst moment of May was the crushing home run he surrendered to Bryant of Chicago.  The Cards were already two runs down at that point.  When pitching in a game trailing by two or more runs, Oh pitched 5 May innings, allowing 4 runs on 5 hits (7.20 ERA).  He pitched 9.2 innings in May with his team trailing by no more than one run, innings in which he allowed no runs on just four singles.

One way you go a whole month without a win as a starting pitcher is to melt down every time your offense gives you the lead.  Of the 32 innings that Michael Wacha pitched in May, he pitched with a lead in only 4.1 turbulent innings.  In those innings, he surrendered 13 runs (11 earned) on 13 hits and 3 walks.  His 22.85 ERA in those innings comes with a batting line of .481/.533/.593.  Wacha was 0-5 with a 6.75 ERA in May.

The pitching staff in general broke down in the close moments of the May games.  Once St Louis fell behind by at least three runs or forged ahead by at least two runs, the pitchers settled down and delivered a solid 3.58 ERA with a .245/.293/.414.  But in between, even though opposing batters hit an uninspiring .267/.325/.397, the team ERA sunk to 5.18.