I think it’s safe to say this game didn’t go as planned. While it may be easy to point out that the Cardinals have now dropped five straight games, the more grotesque stat is their record over their last 20.
Oh yeah, and Scooter Gennett hit four home runs. Yes, four. He’s the 17th player in MLB history to do so, and if you somehow managed to sit through each of the four homers as the Cardinals coughed their way to a 13-1 loss, I commend your resilience.
I’ll leave it to the Red Reporter to cite all the crazy stats about this feat, and how there probably isn’t a player in baseball you’d have less confidence in actually achieving baseball immortality. Instead I bestow upon you, the good people of Viva El Birdos, my favorite stat of the night on the set of dingers, courtesy of Keith Law (whose new book is a fantastic read).
Scooter Gennett has hit 9.5% of his career HR in tonight's game.— keithlaw (@keithlaw) June 7, 2017
Oddly enough, the early stages of this game had me thinking the clubs recent struggles were just continuing on the back of a few bad bounces. In the first inning, Gennett’s first RBI and the first run of the game came on a high-and-tight fastball which he flared the other way. 1-0, not a great start, but hey, things can’t get worse right?
Well let’s just say Adam Wainwright didn’t have his best stuff on the night. Evidenced by the first massive mistake pitch, a flat, 3-2 sinker left right over the heart of the plate for Gennett to deposit into the right field bleachers (on left in picture below). Following that up, Eugenio Suarez poked a bases-clearing triple past the glove of Dexter Fowler in center for three more runs an inning later, making the game 8-0 (on right in picture below). To nobody’s surprise, that pitch was also dead center of the plate, but this time it was a loopy, hanging curveball. 89 pitches over 3.2 innings (62% strikes), isn’t an efficient way to continue a nice stretch of promising outings. Wainwright had gone 26.1 innings, allowing only one run over four starts and going 6+ innings in each. The regression fairies were in full flight on Tuesday night, and Wainwright was their victim. Below I pulled the two pitches which accounted for seven runs total against Wainwright, I believe they say all that needs to be said (blue dots).
Mop-up duty for the Cardinals came in the form of the “John” duo. First, the stutter-stepping Jon Gant and doing his best to mimic the two earned runs Gant relinquished was righty John Brebbia. In case you were wondering who the other three homers came off on Gennett’s big day, Gant was credited twice and Brebbia once in the historic moment.
With really nowhere else to go in this recap but continuing to circle back on Gennett’s night, I’ll highlight the long solo home run that Stephen Piscotty hit to prevent the Cardinals from complete embarrassment (bear with me, I’m being nice). The Cardinals’ right fielder was 2-for-3 on the night with a walk, and noticeably aggressive early in counts. Fed a decent diet of fastballs through the night, Piscotty put a great, level swing on one in the first inning for a single, and then launched an elevated two-seamer from Tim Adleman (7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K) in the seventh. While it may seem like there is an aura of neutrality around Piscotty in 2017, peripherally, the 26 year old has been fantastic. He cut his swinging strike rate by about 2% from last year, has become a much more patient hitter at the plate, and currently sits on a .380 OBP. With evidence that Piscotty has passed the plate appearance threshold where reliance on improvement can be exercised with a bit more confidence, if anything close to a 0% K-BB ratio is the new norm, we’re looking at a player whose production will far exceed the $33.5 million over six years the Cardinals paid him. I’m very excited to watch Piscotty for the rest of 2017 and you should be too.
In the very small sample size that is June, Piscotty is batting .286/.500/.500 with a 30% BB rate and a .214 ISO. He and the Cardinals hope to channel that concentrated success into a win tommorrow in Cincinnati, as Lance Lynn faces a familiar face, Bronson Arroyo.
- It’s always tough to pull interesting nuggets from games like this, one play that caught my attention - before the flood gates opened - was a fly ball to Stephen Piscotty with one out and runners on first and third in the third inning. Piscotty’s attempt to make the catch on the ball - which I have a strong inclination he knew was foul - brought up a conundrum I’ve often considered the aggregate results of from time to time. Do you intentionally let that ball go foul so the runner cannot tag upon making the catch? Or take the sure out and trade it for the run? Sure, the context of the situation has a lot to do with the correct decision, but from the body language on the field, it seemed like Wainwright expected Piscotty to let the ball go foul, while Piscotty convinced viewers he made the catch and clearer had intentions of making the catch (the wall in right field of Great American hides the fielder behind the wall when the plays creeps near the fou line). A replay, and a long one for an obvious call, was used to determine that the ball in fact hit the wall, rendering the play dead and the ball foul.
- Once again, I’ll needlessly state my astonishment that Scooter Gennett actually hit four home runs in one game.
- I’ll allow the comments section below to act as a safe space to vent your feelings over the next 24 hours. Fire away.