(BaseballStL) — Looking to build off his sterling complete-game outing against the Nationals, Adam Wainwright takes the ball for St. Louis in Tuesday’s rematch with the Mets.
Against Washington, he allowed no runs on just two hits while striking out eight. The Cardinal ace hasn’t gone less than seven innings on the year and hasn’t struck out less than seven hitters in an outing.
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The opposing force in the New York lineup, David Wright, is riding a similar streak of success. Currently in the midst of a 12 game hit streak, Wright has notched 20 hits, nine RBIs and four runs scored since April 9.
In his career, the New York third baseman is 5-for-14 against Wainwright, with a pair of doubles and three RBIs.
Wainwright’s masterful outing against the Nats was the product of a razor sharp cutter, something the 6-foot-7 righty has been inching closer to perfecting in 2014. He threw 29 cutters in Washington D.C., just three less than his curveball and two more than his fastball.
30 percent of the time batters swung, they missed completely. Another 30 percent of the time, they fouled it off. When they did put in play, it was a ground ball two thirds of the time.
Wainwright got three strikeouts with the cutter, and three with the curve. If he can replicate that kind of diversity and control Tuesday, the Mets offense will have an uphill battle, David Wright included.
Trouble at the dish
With Wainwright on the hill, and the recent success of the pitching staff, the concern shifts to the offense.
Over the last eight games, the Cardinal rotation has posted an ERA below 1.0, and the team has gone 4-4. The offense has hit .253 over that stretch, striking out 61 times to 69 hits. It has been feast or famine for the Birds, posting run totals of 4,4,6 and 8 over the four wins, and 2,1,1 and 0 in the four losses.
Three unearned runs add to the frustration over the eight game stretch, as the staff struck out 73 hitters while allowing 48 hits and 27 walks.
The Mets will throw Dillon Gee at the Jekyll and Hyde that is the St. Louis lineup. The Cardinals don’t have a ton of exposure to Gee, but both Allen Craig and Matt Carpenter are hitting .500 against him in 12 combined at bats. Craig has four hits, a homer and four RBIs while Carpenter has two singles, an RBI and three walks.
Those with the most at bats against Gee, Yadier Molina and Matt Holliday, are hitting .250 and .167, respectively.
Gee has a consistent five-pitch arsenal, and mixes his offerings well. He uses a sinker, change and fastball primarily, while working in a slider and knuckle curve behind them. He occasionally tosses a cutter into the mix, though about only three percent of the time.
He prefers to go down and away to hitters when he has two strikes on them, no matter what side of the plate they’re on.
While Gee’s versatility could present a problem to a struggling offense, his velocity is catchable. Hitting 90 at his highest, mistake pitches will be harder to get away with. When he’s on, he gets good movement with his change and sinker; but if he doesn’t execute, he doesn’t have the power to escape unscathed.