The Cardinals made Jacob deGrom look inept. Carlos Martinez looked like a #1 starter. The Cardinals’ lineup looked like an American League team. Collecting 19 hits and 3 home runs. All good. Cards win 8-1 over the Mets.
Martinez continues to do what the Cardinals want him to do: forget strikeouts and get ground balls. It has allowed him to pitch deep into games. It took him only 79 pitches to get through seven innings in Houston, and it took him 97 pitches to get through eight Tuesday. He got inning-ending double plays to get out of jams twice. The fact he had only five strikeouts might not endear him to the analytics crowd, but now that the Cardinals have tidied up their defense, it has worked.
Martinez (12-7) got 24 outs, and 14 of them came on the ground. Martinez leads the National League with 27 double plays.
Mike Matheny moved Matt Carpenter back to the leadoff spot. In an attempt to get him going. Marp had a 1st inning home run. Not a fan of this move. But, the Cardinals don’t have a leadoff hitter on the roster. Marp has struggled since moving to the 3rd spot in the lineup. Hitting .219 for August. In the short-term understandable. In the long-term don’t like it. Matt has to develop into a middle of the lineup hitter.
With this roster there is really not a perfect lineup. Matchups are the key and current player trends. If Matheny is going to do that. Everything will fall into place. But, flexibility, is not something that Matheny does well. Will be interesting to see if Mike will do a better job of it in September.
Randal Grichuk also had a very good night. A walk, a double, a home run. It’s been a great 2 weeks for Grich. Amazing what a little support from the manager can do. Bernie breaks down Randal’s potential:
Here goes …Among MLB hitters that have at least 796 PA over the last three seasons:
Grichuk ranks 16th among 273 players in Isolated Power, with an ISO that’s superior to a lengthy list of notable hitters including Bryce Harper, Yoenis Cespedes, Paul Goldschmidt, Todd Frazier, Miguel Cabrera, Jay Bruce, Ryan Braun, Freddie Freeman, and Albert Pujols.Grichuk ranks 29th among 273 players in slugging (.491), which tops a roll call of bruisers that includes Chris Davis, Victor Martinez, Daniel Murphy, Adrian Beltre and Robinson Cano.
Grichuk ranks 40th among 273 batters in home-run ratio, slamming a HR every 20.05 at-bats.
Grichuk has an OPS of .792 that ranks 61st among 173 batters and is higher than the three-year OPS turned in by the likes of Pujols, Carlos Beltran, Jason Kipnis, Evan Longoria, Adam Jones, Justin Upton, Eric Hosmer, Jayson Werth, Neil Walker and Hunter Pence.
Grichuk’s 113 wRC+ (weighted runs created plus) is 13 percent above league average and puts him above many others including Carlos Gonzalez, Charlie Blackmon, Will Myers, Gregory Polanco, Kole Calhoun, David Wright, Jason Heyward, and Kendrys Morales.
Grichuk’s has 4.6 Wins Above Replacement since 2014, but that’s tamped down by limiting playing time. Grichuk was utilized more often in 2015 and had a 3.1 WAR.A three-win player in his age 23 season?
Teams would salivate over that. Not here. Not with Grichuk foolishly sent to detention multiple times in 2016 for striking out too much.
This team wasted much of Grichuk’s season, and it’s really a shame.The mishandling of Grichuk cost the Cardinals in other ways.How many times have we hollered about the lousy defense and sloppy base-running?
Grichuk has 13 Defensive Runs Saved in center field over the last three years. This season his six Defensive Runs Saved puts him at No. 8 among big-league center fielders.
And according to the base-running metric at Baseball Prospectus, Grichuk has been the Cardinals’ best on the bases in 2016 with a BRR of +2.5.Grichuk has 185 hits in his brief major-league career, and 51 percent have gone for extra bases.That’s crazy.
The Grichuk power is immense. Defensively he’s a Top 10 center fielder. And he injects some speed into a mostly slow lineup of runners.
Grichuk strikes out too much?
It all comes down to Matheny finally understanding that the Cardinals are a growth and development organization. Protect and support the young guys. Expect the veterans to perform in whatever role is best for the team. In other words. Do everything exactly the opposite of the way you have managed the team for the last 4 1/2 years.
The Cardinals still need to find 2 or 3 more arms for the backend of the bullpen. The starters still need to be able, to not allow the opposition, to put up crooked numbers in the first 2 inning of most games. They have to get back to providing a quality start.
Matheny did not shoot down the idea that Reyes might become a starter. Might be the roster changing move that makes everything fall into place. Would be worth a try. Time will tell. Lots of decisions to still be made for the final weeks of the season.
This team is far from set for the postseason run. Lots of issues stills need to be resolved. Matheny will have to push the right buttons to make it all work. Something that history tells us he is not very good at. Hopefully, the light has finally come on.
The best thing the Cardinals do have going for themselves, is that the rest of the wild card contenders, have just as many issues as the Cards.
The Giants continue their post All Star breakdown. Lost again to the Dodgers. 2-8 over their last 10. Good for the Cards. Only .5 game behind the Giants for the first wild card.
The Giants old school, keep the band together, spend your way out of problems approach. Might finally be catching up with them. The Giants have been fighting the younger is better approach to roster building. It has worked for them. No doubt. This might be the year that it finally falls apart.
Bochy against Matheny in the postseason is something the Cards need to avoid. The force would not be with us, in that matchup.
The Cards still maintain a 1.5 lead over the Fish for the second wild card. The Fish did pick up left-handed hitting specialist Jeff Francoeur yesterday. That will help. Not good for the Cards.
Waino against Lugo today. The Cards attempting to reach the elusive 10 games over .500 mark. Need this win.
Time for the corner to finally be turned on the season.
How many times have I said that this year?