Here is an exercise. One of these players is Dexter Fowler, one is Matt Carpenter, and one is Marcell Ozuna. Can you guess who belongs to each stat line?
If you have been paying close attention it should not be too difficult, but it might be surprising.
In Wednesday afternoon’s game against the Brewers, Matt Carpenter hit a home run. Marcell Ozuna also hit a home run. Dexter Fowler did not hit a home run, but he walked and singled. If the Cardinals are going to be successful, they will need production throughout the entire lineup, especially with Tyler O’Neill and Harrison Bader on the Injured List. These players will be the difference makers.
So far Marcell Ozuna has contributed. After his [hilarious] gaff in right field last week he has seen steady improvements to his overall stat line. In the five games since he has 7 hits in 23 plate appearances — 5 home runs, a double, and a single.
Here is a quick recap of every single game against the Brewers the Cardinals have played:
- Lorenzo Cain robs a home run
- Christian Yelich hits a gut-wrenching homer
- A Brewer pitcher inexplicably gets an annoying, big hit
Today only the third thing happened. In the bottom of the fifth inning Brewers relief pitcher Aaron Wilkerson hit a two-run home run against Michael Wacha. It may seem like an exaggeration, but the Brewer pitchers are terrorizing the Cardinals. Per the Fangraphs Splits Leaderboard (H/T to ebo) before Wednesday’s game they were batting .545/.545/.909 with a 279 wRC+ and were 6-11 with one double and one home run.
Today was Michael Wacha’s fourth and likely best start of the season. Going into this game he was outperforming his 6.86 FIP with a 5.28 ERA, which is not great. These numbers appear to be due mostly to a 18.1% walk rate and 2.35 home runs allowed per nine innings. Every season of his major league career to this point Wacha has allowed less than one home run per nine and the highest walk rate of his career was in 2018 at 10.1%.
On Wednesday afternoon Wacha was able to keep his walks in check; he issued one free pass. He did give up the before-mentioned homer to — and I cannot stress this enough — relief pitcher Aaron Wilkerson. That home run accounted for the only Brewer runs of the day against Wacha, though. Wacha was able to scatter five hits across six innings of work.
Michael Wacha, Disgusting 85mph Changeup. pic.twitter.com/IsVNhxgwt1— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 17, 2019
The bullpen held the lead, though Andrew Miller appeared to have another shaky outing. He came in the game to pitch the eighth and immediately surrendered a double to Hernan Perez. He was able to strike out Manny Peña and coaxed a line-out and popup from Yasmani Grandal and Mike Moustakas, respectively, but he was not able to keep Christian Yelich from Yeliching home Perez on a RBI single.
Jordan Hicks walked Ryan Braun, then erased him on a double play and struck out Jesus Aguilar swinging. Jordan Hicks owns.
John Gant earned his third hold of the season. He pitched a clean seventh inning, stranding Travis Shaw, who singled off Wacha to start the inning. Gant induced a double play from Aguilar and struck out Orlando Arcia.
Kolten Wong and Paul DeJong continued their excellent play. Wong singled on a kind of odd little pop-up in the second inning — the ball sort of fell in No Man’s Land between the rightfielder, the centerfielder, and the shortstop (who was moving to cover second on the pitch since Dexter Fowler took off from first) — and came around to score on a Matt Weiters — who was starting in place of Yadier Molina today — single. Weiters hit Wong home again later in the top of the eighth after Wong hit his third double of the season. Wong hit another single in the top of the third inning, scoring Paul DeJong, who reached base four times this game. His hot streak continues, though he was not selling or wearing jeans, to many’s (okay, just my) dismay.
Paul Goldschmidt continued to Goldschmidt. AsYouVanSlykeIt noted that he has an unusual run, similar to Matt Holliday and likened both player’s running style to “an angry train”. Something to keep an eye on.
Every Cardinals starter, besides Wacha, got a hit today. José Martínez made a start in right field as Dexter Fowler fills in for the injured Bader and O’Neill in center field.
Tomorrow is an offday, but then the Mets come to town for a weekend series at Busch Stadium.