Series Notes @ San Diego

I know, one more game to go but with the events of the last two nights, I couldn’t wait any longer! While the Cardinals offense has not been prolific over the last two nights in San Diego, it’s gotten the job done and that’s the important part.

  • Albert Pujols ended his homerless streak on Monday night with his first home run in a streak that lasted 27 games, 105 at bats, or 120 plate appearances. However you look at it, that’s long for Mr. Pujols. The longest previous such streak was 22 games back in 2007, as I’ve mentioned before. As far as I can tell, I was one of the first to mention the historic place of his power slump. Does this mean he’s about to break out and go bonkers on the majors? Cardinals fans can only hope. With Matt Holliday expected to miss a little more time with his current injury, the offense needs Pujols now more than ever. If Albert wants to work his way back into the good graces of the fans, there is no better time.
  • Kyle Lohse won his sixth game of the season on Monday night to tie teammate Kyle McClellan for the league lead at 6 wins. Lohse also leads the entire major leagues with a 0.901 WHIP. Those who know a little about WHIP can understand that this is a phenomenal feat. To have a WHIP, even after just 10 starts, of less than 1 is amazing. Lohse’s pin point command has been the key to his success this year and he is answering all the questions about the Cardinals’ season resting on his shoulders. He’s gone from perhaps the least favorite member of the rotation to one of the most necessary.
  • Daniel Descalso is basically the man. While he is only batting .239 on the season, that only tells part of the story. The big numbers come later, as in “Late & Close.” He is hitting .379 in “Late & Close” situations (11 for 29) and that’s good for 12th in the NL. Descalso is currently hitting .412 with runners in scoring position with two outs, a big statistic for coming up big when the team needs him to keep an inning alive. Eleven of Descalso’s 17 RBI come with two out and runners in scoring position. It’s also interesting to note that he plays best when the team is behind. He hits .208 when the team is ahead and hits .344 when the team is behind.
  • Another brief look at Descalso. Looking at his split numbers, he has seemingly struggled mightily against pitchers for the first time he sees them. In games, he hits just .111 the first time through the batting order against a starting pitcher. But the second time he sees a starter, he hits .407. The third time, he hits .385. The first time he sees a reliever, hitting just .180.
  • With 8 saves, including one in the first game of the series, Fernando Salas is currently tied for 23rd in the major leagues. However, his numbers are better than pretty much every pitcher ahead of him on the board. Remember, this is a guy that didn’t make the team out of Spring Training. He has since become the Cardinals’ closer apparent.
  • And how can I not talk about Tony Cruz. Making his major league debut, Cruz went 3-for-5 against the Padres on Tuesday night. If I used the Baseball-Reference Play Index correctly, he is the first Cardinal to record 3 hits in his major league debut since Terry Pendleton in 1984. Only three other Cardinals did it other than Cruz and Pendleton too. Ernie White in 1940, and then Creepy Crespi and Enos Slaughter both did it in 1938.
  • Not a Cardinals related note, but found while looking for a Late & Close leaderboard. Former Cardinal Brendan Ryan is actually 10th in the AL in Late & Close batting average with a .400 average (8 for 20).
  • Perhaps there will be another notes feature tonight after the game. It’s a 6:35 pm Eastern time start for tonight’s game. That is SO much better than 10 pm that it isn’t even funny.