Perhaps is was just being on the field with him again, but ex-teammates Yadier Molina and Matt Holliday combined for seven hits as the Cards and Angels wrapped up their three-game series.
In outlasting Anaheim last night, the Cardinals secured their seventh win in their last ten games – and this one was a kind of a microcosm of the streak so far. At the end of the ride, the Cards have come out ahead most of the time, but haven’t made any of it look easy. For a team on something of a roll, they have looked all too mortal.
The offense has been at the center of this little run. With 12 runs and 18 hits last night, they are hitting .289 and scoring 5.7 runs per game over the last ten. They have added 16 home runs since the beginning of the Philadelphia series. They were 5-for13 with runners in scoring position for the night and are hitting .297 (27-for-91) over the course of these games. They hit .350 (41-for117) with seven home runs and 25 runs scored in the Angel’s series – fashioning a team slugging percentage of .590.
But the pitching staff is surrendering hits with runners in scoring position almost as fast as the offense can collect them. Los Angeles went 5-for-11 last night, and the last ten opponents have managed a .289 average against the Cardinal staff (21-for-74) with ducks on the pond.
Matt Holliday wrapped up a bizarre series as he sandwiched Wednesday’s hitless game between a three-hit game Tuesday and last-night’s four-hit game. He finished the series 7 for 14 (.500) with five extra-base hits (2 doubles and 3 home runs).
Yadier Molina keeps on starting and keeps on hitting. Three more hits last night brings him to .351 over the last ten games (13-for-37). His season average now sits at .336. Molina has started all but three games behind the plate.
He did a little showing off for his friend in the other dugout, finishing the series against the Angels with 7 hits in 12 at bats (.583).
Yadi was also 1-for-2 with two strikes on him. Over the last ten games, Molina is hitting .438 (7-for-16) with two-strikes on him. Molina was also 2-for-2 with two-outs, and is now 6 for his last 12 batting with two outs.
Matt Carpenter’s resurgence continues. Two more hits, including another home run, brings him to 12 hits in his last 37 at bats (.324). Eight of those hits have been for extra-bases (including four home runs in his last ten games), giving him a recent slugging percentage of .757. He hit three of those home runs in the three games against the Angels.
Carpenter has led off an inning 19 times over the last ten games, and hasn’t drawn a walk in any of them. He does have 9 hits (3 singles, 4 doubles and 2 home runs) so he carries a .474 on base percentage while leading off those innings. Matt was 1-for-3 leading off last night. During those same games, all Cardinal leadoff hitters are carrying a .296/.352/.531 slash line and are coming around to score 58% of the time they reach base.
Aledmys Diaz isn’t hitting .400 anymore, but he isn’t exactly slump-ridden, either. A 2-for-5 night last night brings him to .333 (11-for-33) over his last nine games.
Adam Wainwright – after showing marginal improvement in his previous two games – took a step backwards last night. Among the situations plaguing him are those at bats with runners in scoring position. The Angels had hits in four of their eight RISP at bats against Adam, and over his last three starts he has surrendered hits to 8 of 18 (.444) such batters.
Over the last ten games, St Louis has been held under 4 runs only twice, while scoring at least 5 runs in 7 of the games. Last year, the Cardinals failed to score four runs in almost half of their games (79 games), while scoring five or more slightly more than a third of the time (53 games). So far in 2016, the Cards have been denied a fourth run only 10 times (29%) while scoring at least five runs in 21 games (60%). Last night’s explosion marked the eighth time already this season that St Louis has scored in double figures – a feat they managed only 9 times all year last year.
On the other hand, the Cardinal pitching staff held opposing teams to less than four runs 101 times last year (62% of their games) and surrendered five runs or more just 47 times (29%). This year, so far, only 15 opponents have been held below 4 runs (43%), while 13 other games have seen 5 or more runs scored against them (37%). After allowing 10 or more runs in a game only four times in all of 2015, that has already happened three times this year.
Last year, St Louis never lost a game once the fashioned at least a four-run lead, and only lost once when they led by three runs. Conversely, they only overcame deficits of four runs or more twice last year – and only overcame 3-run deficits four times. Already in 2016 they have surrendered a 3-run lead (the April 25th game where Arizona scored 9 runs in the sixth to win 12-7) and a four-run lead (the 9-8 loss to Cincinnati on April 16th). On the other hand, they have already come back once from three runs down (a 10-3 win May second against Philadelphia) and twice from four-runs down (April 8th against Atlanta, 7-4; and May 4th against Philly, 5-4).
Better buckle in tight. Looks like it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
The slugging Cardinals had yet another 3-homer game last night. Through 35 games and 1,226 team at bats, St Louis has already amassed 51 home runs. They needed 67 games and 2,233 at bats last year to hit 51 home runs. Yadier Molina hit that home run on June 19th (a 2-run, second-inning shot against a Philadelphia right hander named Phillipe Aumont that broke a scoreless tie and sent St Louis on its way to an eventual 12-4 win. That team was 44-23 and five games ahead in its division.
Last night was also the 14th multiple homer game and the sixth time they’ve hit at least three in a game. In all of 2015, St Louis managed 36 multiple home run games, hitting as many as three in a game only eight times.