Jaime Garcia’s second consecutive quality start was the tenth in a row for the Cardinal pitching staff. This is only the fifth such streak the Cards have enjoyed this century. They put together streaks of 11 in a row from April 23 – May 4, 2003; 10 in a row from August 7 – 17, 2007; 12 in a row from April 24 – May 5, 2010; and the century’s longest 13 game streak last year from June 23rd to July 6. During the streak, the team ERA has been at 2.42 with the starters contributing a 1.96 over those games.
Twenty of the 29 Cubs that Garcia pitched to last night (69%) didn’t get deep enough into the count against him to see ball two. For the season, 66% of all batters he’s faced see at most one pitch out of the strike zone from him. In general, hitting behind in the count against Jaime is difficult, so batters tend to be aggressive with him.
But hitting early in the count is no bargain either. The Cubs had only 3 infield hits and a hit batsman to show for their quick at bats. The 9 batters that hung around long enough to see at least ball two went 3 for 7 with a double and two walks. For the season, the batting line against Garcia when you don’t get to ball two in the count is .225/.235/.322. If you can work him deep in the count without falling behind, your line improves to .341/.487/.451.
Since serving up a three-run homer to Bryant in St Louis, Seung-hwan Oh has pitched very well. Even including his messy eighth the other night against Texas, he has allowed just 1 earned run in 12 innings (0.73) over his last 13 appearances, walking 1 and striking out 17.
Kris Bryant and Willson Contreras managed what few batters this month have against Oh – they worked him to a full count. Previous to last night, the only time Oh had gone to a full count on a hitter this month was to Cincinnati’s Adam Duvall back on June 8th. He struck out. Last night Bryant flew out and Contreras bounced into a critical double play on 3-2 pitches from Oh.
Trevor Rosenthal worked into more trouble last night before holding onto the save. Between hits, walks and hit batsmen, 10 of the last 13 batters he’s faced have reached base. Closing has become an extreme sport in St Louis.
Whether his short vacation to Memphis fixed anything or not, time will tell. But Kolten Wong did respond with a couple hits yesterday – taking one to left. Kolten has hit in both his starts since his return, and is 3 for 10 since his recall.
Matt Carpenter’s 12-game hitting streak came to an unceremonious end last night, as he struck out twice and flew to the track in left (a drive that would be well out of the park when the wind is blowing out). He finished the streak with 41 at bats, 12 singles, 6 doubles, 1 home run, 9 runs scored, 7 runs batted in (including 2 late, game-changing hits), 13 walks and 4 strikeouts. His batting line for the streak was a healthy .463/.593/.683. Half of the games were multi-hit games.
While Matt contributed no hits to last night’s victory, he did walk both times he got into three-ball counts. So far this month, Carpenter has pushed 19 of his 63 plate appearances to three-ball counts. He has walked in 15 of them and has an .895 on base percentage this month in three-ball counts. For the season, when Matt Carpenter works his way into a three-ball count, his line is .375/.713/.775. Few batters in the league today can work a count like Matt Carpenter.
Matt Holliday is now 2 for his last 18 (.111) covering his last six games after his 0-for-3 last night. Sixteen games into June, Matt carries a .220 average for the month. He, nonetheless, has hit 3 home runs, driven in 7 and drawn 6 walks.
Matt worked his way into 2 three-ball counts last night, walking once and striking out the other time. While not as lofty as Carpenter’s average, Holliday now carries a .653 on base percentage this year when the count against him reaches three balls.
Yadier Molina drove a pitch to center that – on other days – would have left the yard. But that was as close as he came to a hit in 4 at bats yesterday. Molina’s average is starting to tilt back down (he is now 1 for his last 11). None of his at bats even reached ball two. For the month of June thus far, 44 of his 56 plate appearances (79%) are over before he gets to ball two.
St Louis lost two more base-runners last night, including having Carpenter thrown out stealing. The Cards are 2 for 8 this month stealing bases.
Both home runs hit last night were hit before John Lackey threw a pitch out of the strike zone (Moss hit an 0-2 pitch and Peralta jumped the first pitch of his at bat). St Louis has hit 20 home runs in the first 16 games of this month – 13 of them before seeing ball one in the at bat.
For the season (courtesy of baseball-reference) St Louis leads all of baseball in batting average at .312 on three-ball counts. Boston is the only other team over .300 at .306. St Louis also has the highest team on base percentage in those counts at .626. Three other teams are over .600 (the Cubs at .609, Boston .607 and Washington at .603).
Chicago collected 4 infield hits last night. That is now 14 infield hits against the Cardinals in their last 6 games.
While St Louis leads the league in hitting in three-ball counts, the pitching staff has been nearly unhittable this month in those counts. Opposing batters in June have 10 singles in 65 at bats (.154) when they get into three-ball counts. For the season, the Cardinal average against in these counts is just .212.
St Louis now has five one-run victories this season, with three of them coming against the Cubs. These wins represent all of their victories against Chicago so far this season.
The home runs by Brandon Moss and Jhonny Peralta bring to 25 the number of multi-home-run games for the Cardinals this season. Again, they had only 36 such games through all of 2015. The current season totals are 69 games, 2,379 at bats, and 91 home runs.
It took the 2015 team until their 111th game on August 9th before they hit their 91st home run. Matt Carpenter did the honors against Milwaukee’s Jimmy Nelson – a three-run, seventh-inning drive in team at bat #3,781 that turned a 3-1 Brewer lead into a 4-3 Cardinal lead in a game the Brewers would come back to win 5-4.