Players of the Game
- Adam Wainwright (2.04 FIP, 26 batters): Despite yielding the go-ahead run in the form of a walk, Wainwright pitched another dandy, striking out seven.
- Neil Walker (.130 WPA, .663 wOBA): Walk knocked a key RBI double and walked in three plate appearances.
- Edinson Volquez (2.30 FIP, 21 batters): After a terrible spring, Volquez held down the Cardinals in his first outing when it mattered, striking out four and walking only one.
Plays of the Game (by Win Expectancy from the Cardinals’ point of view)
- Tony Sanchez doubled to center, scoring Pedro Alvarez in the 7th (-.269): As Wainwright said afterward, “A walk followed by a ball in the middle of the plate is usually a pretty bad sequence.”
- Matt Holliday grounded into a double play to pitcher in the 9th (-.222): In the highest-leverage play of the game (4.75) and the tying run on first, Holliday couldn’t get the job done.
- Jon Jay tripled to center, scoring Matt Carpenter in the 6th (+.220): For the second time in as many starts, Jay ripped a run-scoring extra-base hit into the gap, bringing the Cardinals from a 27% win expectancy to nearly 50%.
- Gabi Sanchez, Neil Walker, et al looked fab in their traditional gold and black stirrups. Now if they were only real stirrups.
- Yadier Molina threw out speedster Starling Marte on a strike-em-out, throw-em-out DP. That Molina was able to gun down a fast runner while waiting for a batter’s swing to finish is another testament to his skill, not to mention Wainwright’s quicker delivery.
- Jon Jay may be hitting his way back into at least proper platoon time.
- With Volquez pitching in the sixth, Clint Hurdle made the managerial call of the game by intentionally walking Matt Holliday with a runner on third and two outs, then relieving his righty starter with lefty Tony Watston when Matt Adams batted. In the highest-leverage at-bat to that point in the game (2.87 LI), Watson struck out Adams on three pitches. Volquez had faced only 21 batters but was perhaps tiring, having allowed a hard groundball single to Wainwright and Jay’s triple. With an off-day Monday, the Bucs could afford to dip into their bullpen a bit early.
- The 30 total batters that Cardinal pitchers faced was the fewest on the young season.
- The 31 that came to bat for the Cardinals was also the fewest.
- As we wrote for ESPN’s power rankings, the Cardinals are yet to find rhythm on the mound (1.90 K/BB is 14th in NL) and groove at the plate (.281 OBP is 11th), but they managed a 3-3 start against division foes Cincinnati and Pittsburgh to start the season.