Three observations from the Cardinals 7-2 loss to the Rays on Tuesday.
Wainwright is rarely that bad
It’s safe to say that Adam Wainwright’s start last night may have been his worst of the season. He got knocked up for four earned runs (six total) off of six hits and couldn’t make it out of the fifth inning. The main problem for Wainwright was his control, something he usually thrives in. Out of 87 pitches, Wainwright only threw 49 strikes and of the 26 batters he faced he only threw first pitch strikes to half of them. The result was four walks, one coming with the bases loaded, and he hit Evan Longoria.
The good news for Cardinal fans is that Wainwright is rarely that bad and hopefully we can chalk that start up to All-Star Break rust. Derrick Goold tweeted last night that Wainwright has only allowed more than four runs in less than five innings with more than four walks only three times in 205 starts for the Cardinals with the last being in 2007. Given the rarity of those numbers, Wainwright should be back to form in his next start.
The Two-Hole in the lineup is a problem
Kolten Wong didn’t have his best day at the plate yesterday, going 0-4 with a walk in the two-hole for the Cardinals. The difference between production from the two-hole between this year’s Cardinal team and the 2013 squad is staggering. Last year, St. Louis ranked second in the National League in batting from the two spot as they hit .304 with 95 RBIs. Carlos Beltran typically manned that spot in the order for the 2013 team.
However, this season the Cardinals rank 14th out of 15 NL teams as the second spot in the order is only hitting .250 with 42 RBIs. Mike Matheny has consistently toyed with different batters in that spot, even inserting Matt Holliday for a stretch of the season. Wong currently owns that spot in the lineup and he will have to prove that his spurt to end the first-half of the season wasn’t an anomaly. The second spot in the lineup is one of the most important spots as it sets the table for big RBI guys like Holliday and Matt Adams to drive in runs. The diminished production of the two-hole might be one of the key reasons for the poor offensive performance of the Cardinals this year.
Where is Oscar Taveras
Good news for Cardinal fans: There was an Oscar Taveras sighting last night.
Bad news for Cardinal fans: It came as a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the ninth inning in a game St. Louis was going to lose. He got a hit anyway.
I’m not following Mike Matheny’s persistant use of Allen Craig, it’s like beating a dead horse. It doesn’t appear like Craig is going to hit himself out of this season long slump anytime soon, evident from how he struck out three times last night. Taveras was called up to hit, not to work on his sunflower spitting ability on the bench. Let the kid hit.