The St. Louis Cardinals return home this weekend having been swept on the road trip. An 0-4 showing against the Cincinnati Reds put them on a seven game losing streak and clamoring for changes to the team’s coaching staff has reached a fever pitch. Those changes may be coming at a 2 pm Central press conference that the Cardinals have called.
Regardless, the Cardinals have a good chance to sweep at home against the league worst Philadelphia Phillies this weekend.
A failure to hold leads
Much like the Cubs series, the Cardinals struck first on Monday an Wednesday for multiple runs and then failed to hold off their opponents.
On Monday, the Cardinals scored a pair of runs in the top of the 5th courtesy of a Paul DeJong double and a Carlos Martinez single. However, things would unravel in a hurry in the bottom of the 7th as Martinez allowed the first three batters in the inning to reach before the Reds put four runs on the board. That would be the final score.
On Wednesday, they put three runs on the board in the third on a Matt Carpenter home run, a Stephen Piscotty double and a Jedd Gyorko single. The Reds chipped back with one in the fifth before putting four runs on the board in the seventh.
Piscotty hitting well
Piscotty went 6-for-14 in the four game series as he has made his home in the third spot in the lineup with Matheny’s recent reshuffling.
Since his return from personal leave, Piscotty is hitting .351/.468/.595 with 3 doubles and 2 home runs in 12 games. He has hits in 10 of those 12 games.
Carpenter proves why he should and shouldn’t lead off
Mike Matheny finally made the move to return Matt Carpenter to the lead off spot on Wednesday and he responded by hitting home runs on both Wednesday and Thursday, proving why his bat is far more valuable to the Cardinals in the second or third spot in the lineup.
I’m not a believer in the idea that Carpenter cannot hit outside the lead off spot, but the numbers are hard to refute as sample sizes get larger. He is batting .296/.386/.488 in 492 games as the lead off hitter in the lineup and outside of the lead off spot he’s hitting .245/.346/.400 in 284 games.
Cecil shows off Mr. Hyde
Brett Cecil had entered Wednesday’s game with 7 consecutive appearances without allowing a run. Over those 7 appearances he had allowed just 2 hits and a walk over 6 innings of work. He had lowered his ERA from 5.79 to 4.05. And then he came in to pitch in the seventh.
A couple singles and a strikeout to open the inning set the stage for a Patrick Kivelahn home run. He would then go on to leave one runner on base that Trevor Rosenthal would inherit and allow to score on a Joey Votto home run. His ERA ballooned back up to 5.66.
Cecil had been a solid reliever in the month of May more often than not, but games like Wednesday night’s continue to make it difficult to rely on him in spots that his $30 million contract say he should be used in.
DeJong cooling off
After a hot start, Paul DeJong looks to be cooling off, going just 2-for-14 in the series. His batting average is down to .244 and he has yet to work any walks during his cup of coffee here in the big leagues. Beyond the walks, he struck out 6 times in those 14 plate appearances, a 42.9% K rate.
He is likely poised to be returned to Memphis when Kolten Wong returns.