Matt Carpenter hit a 425-foot home run to right-center field off Zach Greinke in the third inning on Saturday. The Cardinals then proceeded to go the next 26 innings without a run, losing that game, the Dodgers series finale to Kershaw, and the Giants series opener to Lincecum. This stretch had fans pounding the panic button as vigorously as possible. Imaginary trades were flying everywhere on Twitter trying to bring any offensive production to this anemic offense.
Last night it was more of the same in the first two innings facing Ryan Vogelsong. A leadoff single erased by a double play sent groans across Cardinal Nation, as it seemed the streak would never end.
Then, finally, in the third inning the Cardinals got the inning they have dreamt about. Oscar Taveras showed off his hitting prowess and athleticism with a leadoff double to right. A Mark Ellis single put runners on the corners with no outs. A perplexing call to have Wainwright bunt resulted in a strikeout and had fans flashing back to the day before, when Lincecum struck out the side to escape a bases loaded jam.
However, Carpenter put a ball back up the middle scoring Taveras and ending the interminable nightmare that had been the last five days. Matt Holliday drove in Ellis with a single through the right side for good measure.
And now that the wicked streak is dead, Let’s look back at just how inept the Cardinals were for those 26 innings.
– Cardinal batters hit a combined .153
– They went 1-18 with runners in scoring position (.056) *The one hit was a single with Jhonny Peralta on second and he was held at third.
– 22 Cardinals were left on base
– The Cardinals were outscored 13-0 during that time.
Perhaps the happiest person in the Bay Area last night was Adam Wainwright who was able to get the win making him the first NL pitcher to 11 wins. Wainwright threw 7 ⅔ scoreless innings while working around four hits and two walks. The two runs probably felt like a deluge to Wainwright, who lost his last start in LA 1-0. The Cardinals ace has given up just two runs over his last four starts helping him to secure a 1.89 ERA, the best in baseball, and a 4.1 WAR, best in the NL.
The most surprising thing about last night’s performance, aside from the Cardinals actually scoring, was Wainwright’s strikeouts or strikeout. The only K of the evening for Wainwright came against Michael Morse in the seventh inning. It was the stereotypical Waino hard-breaking curve that dives into the dirt as the batter swings over top.
This is somewhat of an anomaly as the Giants were overly aggressive all night going after fastballs early to avoid that curve, however it is a statistic worth watching the rest of the way. Wainwright’s 7.7 K/9 is his lowest since 2008. Meanwhile, Clayton Kershaw, his main competition for Cy Young, is at a 12.1 clip. The Cy Young race is going to come down to the wire and Wainwright’s ERA is bound to regress at least a little. A huge disparity in strikeouts could cost him his first Cy Young.
Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images
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