After 13 runs scored in the last night’s game against the Pirates, the Cardinals’ offense may have finally gotten its “mojo” back. Let’s hope it can carry over in Cincinnati for the crucial series against the Reds.
Before tonight’s game, let’s break down the Cardinals’ hitting against the game one starter:
Bronson Arroyo: 138 innings pitched, 9-8 record, 3.26 earned run average, 76 strikeouts, 25 walks, 18 home runs allowed.
Against the Cardinals, Arroyo is 0-2 in three starts. He has 19 innings pitched with eight earned runs. He has allowed three home runs–one each to Holliday, Beltran, and Adams.
However, disregarding past performances against St. Louis, Arroyo is coming off a really good July. In five starts, he was 3-2 with a 2.16 earned run average. He had 33 and one-third innings pitched with eight earned runs. He allowed five home runs and had 19 strikeouts to just five walks.
Bold Prediction: One home run each for Holliday and Jay. Okay, the first is a lot less bold than the second, but given the current homer drought, I figured it was fine calling any home run a bold prediction.
So when is Arroyo most vulnerable? The first pitch. In 84 at-bats this season, hitters have 29 hits with 10 doubles, three home runs, and 12 runs batted in. Why is he most vulnerable on the first pitch? Well, the only straight pitch he has is his fastball. He only throws it 13-14% of the time. However, 17-18% of his first pitches are fastballs–most likely an attempt to get ahead of the hitter. Thus, Cardinals’ hitters won’t see many straight pitches tonight so expect them to be first pitch swinging more often than not.
I know that in my last article I said that Adron Chambers deserves a shot to start now that he has been called up, but given the current outfield’s success against Arroyo, it will be difficult for Matheny to keep any of the three from the starting lineup.
Let me explain why below…
Cardinals Hitting vs. Arroyo:
Those in bold are the hitters to watch.
Matt Carpenter: 1 for 12, .083 batting average, .083 on-base percentage, 1 single, 1 strikeout
Carlos Beltran: 11 for 32, .344 batting average, .400 on-base percentage, 2 doubles, 1 triple, 2 home runs, 6 runs batted in, 5 strike outs
Allen Craig: 1 for 14, .071 batting average, .071 on-base percentage, 1 double, 2 runs batted in, 2 strikeouts
Matt Holliday: 16 for 51, .314 batting average, .386 on-base percentage, 4 doubles, 4 home runs, 10 runs batted in, 10 strikeouts
David Freese: 1 for 15, .067 batting average, .125 on-base percentage, 1 single, 4 strikeouts
Jon Jay: 13 for 32, .406 batting average, .424 on-base percentage, 2 doubles, 1 triple, 1 home run, 3 runs batted in, 3 strikeouts
Tony Cruz: 1 for 5, .200 batting average, .200 on-base percentage, 1 double, 1 strikeout
Pete Kozma: 1 for 7, .143 batting average, .143 on-base percentage, 1 single, 2 strikeouts
Daniel Descalso: 9 for 25, .360 batting average, .360 on-base percentage, 3 doubles, 1 triple, 4 runs batted in, 3 strikeouts
Matt Adams: 1 for 1, 1 home run, 2 runs batted in
Based on the above statistics and some other factors, here is the lineup I would use for the game.
1. Carpenter 2B
2. Beltran RF
3. Craig 1B
4. Holliday LF
5. Freese 3B
6. Jay CF
7. Cruz C
8. Descalso SS
9. Miller P
I originally had Adams in the 4-spot playing first base, but given Craig’s successful night at the plate last night, I decided that he should be kept in the lineup–moving him to the 3-spot and Holliday to the 4-spot–just like last night.
Another thing to watch for is Shelby Miller and his ability to keep the ball in the ballpark. He has allowed home runs in three of his past four starts. Thus, he will have to work extra hard at keeping the ball down in the zone given the ballpark and its proclivity to allow home runs.
Game Prediction: Cardinals 6, Reds 3.
Until next time…
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