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Cardinals Pitching Dulls Pirates Hitting: A Recap For August 12th, 2015

The Cardinals win 4-2 powered by Yadier Molina's rare triple and 4 runs of offense again, pushing the Pirates 7 games out of first place while the Cardinals go 33 games over .500.

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

To begin that game, Michael Wacha got through the Pirates lineup with help from his friends Yadier and Kolten, on an amazing caught stealing out. Wong took the short hop and snapped it right onto the Pirates runner's arm, for a rather impressive play on both player's parts.

This seemed to be an early defining moment of the game, since not much offense happened for a little while. In the third inning though, the home team loaded the bases and took advantage of another misplay by Alvarez at first (I guess one could say it was partly the throw, but Alvarez has looked rather bad at first base and on defense in general). This was costly as it allowed the Cardinals to plate two runs.

But Andrew McCutchen had an answer, and his answer was due. Andrew hit his 18th home run despite the Cardinals having him well under wraps as of late, and his terrible numbers at Busch Stadium. It was time for things to swing back in the Pirates way, but even despite them trying hard and loading the bases, Michael Wacha struck out the necessary batter like a veteran hurler.

Later on Matt Holliday joined everyone in the booth. He was there for a while. His observations were often much more astute than the announcers. The gamethread loved it and Holliday had some cool insights into his fellow teammates in general, their behavior and how they were a bunch of nice guys.

During the 2nd inning of Holliday announcing, the wonderful occurred... after Grichuk got on base again because of a hard hit ball, Yadier Molina did the unthinkable and beat his career record. This came as a great surprise since just a few weeks earlier, Yadi hit a bases clearing triple in Chicago to defeat the White Sox.

"To give you an idea how rare of an occurrence that is, he has one triple in 2005, one in 2009, and one in 2011. And now one in 2015! If he gets one more, he'll beat his own in-season record. That's about a triple every three years."

There, I just quoted my own writing. So to reiterate, this was very strange and peculiar because:

  1. Yadier Molina rarely ever hits triples, years in between, over 2,000 AB before he hit his last one
  2. Yadi just hit a triple a few weeks ago and doesn't run very fast, even in svelte form
  3. Molina has never hit more than one in an entire season. He has beat his own record!

Yadi's fifth career triple plated the speedy jaguar Randal Grichuk. Stephen Piscotty would then put another run on the board with a sharply hit single to score Yadier, 4-2 Cards. The Pisco Kid is right around 140 wRC+ in the Bigs.

Gerritt Cole pitched 5.1 innings and gave up 3 earned runs, while Michael Wacha pitched 6 and gave up 2. Kevin Siegrist came in and for two consecutive innings dazzled the Pirates hitters with his pitching prowess.

Kevin Siegrist is at 1.51 ERA, & 2.58 FIP.

This was partly a game of players in the outfield misplaying hits enough to cause triples. Grichuk did it and so did the Pirates. To show his hit earlier was no fluke, Yadi went ahead and hit a double down the line. He looked really good at the plate tonight. But he wasn't done bucking trends, he stole a tightly contested base with baserunning magic he may have learned from Pujols (remember how that guy was almost a ninja on the bases?).

Bourjos got to play too. I love this team, it is totally stacked with talent. But Bourjos had a rough at bat because the ump called a low strike on him, and he hardly ever gets to hit. He walked off the field very frustrated.

After total devastation from Rosenthal's fastball last night, Trevor got another chance to close a game down. The first out was a fine assist by Peralta, where he perfectly timed a jump to rob the Pirates of their treasure. Then Closenthal induced a flyout to Piscotty. Trevor then faced Mike Morse, whom I had no idea was a Pirate: a perfectly placed changeup for strike 1, then that heat he throws for strike 2, and a little later, Morse connected with one but it was right into the ground towards the solidly fielding Peralta and the game was over.

The Cardinals are now 33 games above .500 and 7 games ahead of Pittsburgh, with the Cubs lurking in third. Tune in for more surprising baseball action tomorrow at 6:15pm. Liriano (3.05 SIERA) takes on Lynn (3.49 SIERA), and the Cardinals go for the series fatality. The offense and pitching have been incredibly steady lately, appearing to make run suppression and absorbent defense a science. Even so, this will be a tough one with Liriano on the mound, I feel. Or maybe the offense has yet to really break through to its true potential.

Win Probabilities

<iframe src="" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" height="450" width = "450" style="border:1px solid black;"></iframe><br /><span style="font-size:9pt;">Source: <a href="">FanGraphs</a></span>

Yadier Molina was the hitter of the game with .210 of WPA power. Kevin Siegrist was pitcher of the day with .130. That said, McCutchen had the highest WPA of any player tonight.

Stray thoughts

  • It seems like the Cardinals score 4 runs a lot, and win with only 4
  • Siegrist and Rosenthal's combined ERA is like 1.55. Lefty Righty Devastation.
  • it seems like Piscotty and Wacha would be best buds, so stoic
  • by SIERA, xFIP, WPA, and a few other pitching stats, Carlos Martinez has been the Cardinals ace
  • The Cardinals bullpen is the best in the NL and tied for 2nd best in MLB, by fWAR
  • Lance's Lynn pitch value for his fastball is among the best
  • The guys in the booth mentioned that a great idea would be to have Matt Holliday and Adam Wainwright announce a game. I agree so much that I think they should announce as many games as possible before their return
  • strange strikezone from the ump tonight <img src=""></img>