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Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

How often did the Cardinals score so few despite so many hits?

It is rough enough that the St. Louis Cardinals lost to the visiting Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night, but seeing the many missed scoring opportunities made it all the worse.

The Cardinals offense plated just one run despite rapping out 11 hits. Adam Wainwright pitched well for St. Louis, but took the loss primarily due to the lack of cover from the hitters. (Shane Robinson, pictured, went 0-for-4, stranding four.)

Curious about the rarity of such team-based futility, I asked researcher Tom Orf to identify how often the Cards collected 11 or more hits when scoring either no runs or one run.

The answer is just 41 times in team history, including 24 since 1960. Tuesday was just the third occurrence in the last 15 years, though the team had two in Tony La Russa’s second season managing the club, 1997. The most recent two dozen are listed below, along with the game in which the team had the most hits in a nine-inning contest, 15, on June 14, 1951.

Not surprisingly, these one- or no-run, high-hitting endeavors almost always conclude with a loss. To be specific, the Cardinals were just 2-39 in these contests. Noted in the table are the two wins. The first was in 1919 with the second being the most recent game of the 40 prior to Tuesday.

In that outing, the team’s other ace, Chris Carpenter, avoided being the victim of the minimal run support, but had to be almost perfect to do so. On June 23, 2010, Carpenter allowed just three hits in eight innings, followed by a one-hit frame from closer Ryan Franklin as the Cards shut out Toronto, 1-0.

St. Louis Cardinals, one or no runs on 11 or more hits, 1960-current (with two earlier additions)

Date Opp Score Run Hits Notes
6/12/2012 ChW 1-6 1 11
6/23/2010 TOR 1-0 1 11 win
4/17/2010 NYM 1-2 1 15 20 innings
6/1/1997 LAD 1-6 1 11
5/16/1997 ATL 0-1 0 11
6/9/1993 SF 1-3 1 11
7/25/1992 CIN 1-9 1 11
7/17/1992 CIN 1-8 1 12
8/15/1990 CIN 1-3 1 11
8/30/1989 CIN 0-2 0 12
8/3/1983 ChC 0-4 0 12
6/20/1979 SD 1-3 1 11
5/11/1977 CIN 1-5 1 11
9/4/1976 ChC 1-5 1 11
7/27/1976 PIT 1-3 1 11
5/17/1972 PIT 0-12 0 11
6/25/1971 ChC 0-12 0 11
5/13/1970 PIT 1-5 1 11
7/28/1968 PIT 1-7 1 13
8/26/1967 LAD 1-2 1 13
8/21/1963 LAD 1-2 1 13
9/22/1962 LAD 1-4 1 12
9/3/1961 PIT 1-8 1 11
7/16/1961 MLN 1-9 1 11
6/5/1919 CIN 1-0 1 11 win
6/14/1951 BRO 1-2 1 15 most hits

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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28 Responses to “How often did the Cardinals score so few despite so many hits?”

  1. blingboy says:

    There was a column in the post asking the panel if there is a morale problem. No useful info anywhere that I noticed, but it caused me to wonder if anybody has asked Mo about it. Like the situation last year when he admitted the problem. I know, its too early for that, we will be getting guys back, etc. Just wondering if he’s been asked yet and his response.

    There has been some talk about players taking advantage of Mike, getting away with slacking, moping and poor play. My question is: with 12 position players what exactly is he to do about it? Among the 12 are inexperienced fill ins, .200 hitters, a backup catcher and an extra first baseman. And Greene. He can’t sit the boppers and if he shifts them around they whine and mope and dog it.

    It seems like Mo needs to either give Mike the green light to jerk chains and rattle cages or get him some horses, real ones, not nags a heartbeat from the glue factory. Since that latter would require the expenditure or resources, and would result in a huge glut at some point later on, the former seems like the way to go. The question is how big of a hole will be in by the time Mike gets that green light.

    • crdswmn says:

      Last night in the post game presser, Matheny said that there were some “confidence” issues. I took that as code for a morale problem. As to what is specifically going on, no doubt we will never know. If the vets are acting like prima donnas then obviously that needs to be addressed. If it is something else then I just hope they fix it and soon. I just want to see good baseball again.

      • WesPowell says:

        Whenever the team is not doing well, the fans and the media desperately search for answers. The answer is—- when you play 162 games a year, year after year after year. there is going to be stretches that don’t look very good. That’s would be the case even if we could indentify the exact problem and perfect remedy every single time, which we can’t.

        There’s a boatload of hot air when the team is rolling, and even more when they are not.

        • WesPowell says:

          Sure we would love to see good baseball every day from now until doomsday. I would also like my powerball lottery ticket to win tonight.

          • crdswmn says:

            Occasional bad baseball, short periods of bad baseball are to be expected and must be accepted Prolonged, consistent, bad baseball is not. We are perilously close to the latter.

            • WesPowell says:

              Over the course of time proplonged bad baseball will happen. Nothing can be done to stop it.

              • crdswmn says:

                Sure something can be done to stop it. Fans can refuse to continue to financially support it. If the team wants me to buy a ticket to a game, they can put a good product on the field, or I stay home. Very simple.

              • WesPowell says:

                The interesting thing is when you follow the blogs and talk radio the result of prolonged mediocre results is many fans expressing utter disgust, often to the point of giving up and-or calling for heads. At the very least becoming more frantic and hostile with each loss.

                The following has happened in just about the last year and a half……The Saint Louis Cardinals come from the grave to win the World Series. The Louisville Cardinals go 10-9 in their last 19 regular season games and go to the final four. The new York Giants lose 5 in a row to go to 7-7, then win the Super Bowl. The Los Angeles Kings are the 8th seed out of 8 in the western conference and they win the Cup.

                In each case a hefty chunk of those teams media ands fans were pooping their diapers for almost the entire ride.

                • crdswmn says:

                  Yep, that happened. I am also old enough to remember years, even decades, where that didn’t happen. Doesn’t change the fact that I don’t have to accept “bad baseball just happens” when I am shelling out bucks to see it.

                  • WesPowell says:

                    Oh stop it. You have gotten your moneys worth and more from Cardinal baseball.

                    • WesPowell says:

                      There is an intersting psychology to it all that deserves some study. In Louisville last year the charade ended with a segment of the fan base actually relishing the very prospect of losses. “We will lose to Marquette by at least 20, maybe 30.” I suppose because as long as the losses come then they can continue to gripe, which is their core nature.

                    • crdswmn says:

                      No, I don’t think I will. I determine when I get my money’s worth.

  2. blingboy says:

    1. Rafael Furcal (S) SS
    2. Carlos Beltran (S) RF
    3. Matt Holliday (R) LF
    4. Allen Craig (R) 1B
    5. David Freese (R) 3B
    6. Yadier Molina (R) C
    7. Daniel Descalso (L) 2B
    8. Shane Robinson (R) CF
    9. Lance Lynn (R) P

  3. WesPowell says:

    Just had to check back in. Big win. It got hairy but we pulled it out. Last 4 games we have scored 2,1,1, and 1. and we have won 2 of the 4, with one of the losses 1-1 in the 8th and up for grabs.

    That would have been a tough one to lose late the way things have been going, and particularly tough for Lynn. Glad to see the guys hold on. If for nothing else it at least temporarily prevents the panic and finger -pointing of some fans.

  4. WesPowell says:

    It’s funny how thin the razors edge is. Can you imagine the abuse Motte would have absorbed if he gives up that lead? But a grounder to third and a double play.

  5. blingboy says:

    crdswmn should skip this comment.

    Carlos needs to bat in the first inning, max his PAs. No question. But it is equally important for him to have as many runners on ahead of him as possible. So there are two possibilities.

    1. Carlos hits third. Which creates issues because of a certain 799 lb crybaby who wants to hit 3rd. It will occur to the astute reader, almost immediatly, that the best solution is to have them both bat 3rd, which as we all know, can be accomplished only one way.

    2. Pitcher hits eighth. Allowing another hitter to hopefully get on ahead of Carlos.

    As to PH8, the wonks tell us that a lineup will produce the most runs if the worst hitter is as far from the best hitter as possible in the lineup. Don’t know, but I have read that programs which predict runs scored by lineups consistently reach that result.

    The main issue I have with it is that PH8 will be more effective the higher the OBP of the guy you put 9th. This means you are minimizing the PAs per game of one of your high OBP guys.

    But if you are prevented from choosing the best option because of the cry baby and his uncle Mo, then PH8 is the second best choice. Truthfully, PH7 would be even better, but lets say PH8.

    The beauty of it is you are effectively making the crybaby your cleanup hitter and Carlos your #3 hitter except for the first inning. The desired result is achieved without bringing on a tantrum.

    • crdswmn says:

      Nah, I read it anyway. 😉

      Are you stating that it is a fact that Matt Holliday is a crybaby, and if so what is your source?

      I find that Matt Holliday is an easy target for many fans because he makes so much money. If someone could prove the basis for their dislike I might take it more seriously. As it is, I have heard nothing but very good things about Holliday.

      • blingboy says:

        IMO, not indisputable fact. I think there is no other explaination for why Matt, who hasn’t homered in weeks, always hits 3rd, and Carlos, with three solos in a week, never hits 3rd so as to get the most from his power. The key is the ‘always’. No exceptions, no matter how many lineup combinations, necessitated by injuries, Mike must employ, only Matt and his #3 position never varies. And of course, the one time Mike rolled out a card with Matt not third, he scratched with a hang nail or something. To me, I believe Mike would have moved Matt around a bit, now and then, if he could.

        • crdswmn says:

          Okay, so he’s a crybaby in your opinion then?

          • kray66 says:

            I can’t testify to Holliday being a crybaby, but he doesn’t strike me as the type of guy to do anything to help the team win. Which annoys me when that comes from someone who has been given a semi-leadership position (the large contract).

            He’s not tough, he’s not clutch, and he’s appears to be unwilling to move from his spot in the lineup to help the team, even if it’s just to shake things up a bit. That frustrates me.

            For full disclosure though, I haven’t loved Holliday since he dropped the fly ball in L.A. in 2009, then struck out looking in the same game.

            • crdswmn says:

              The thing that frustrates me is that I hear all this stuff about him being this that or the other thing, yet not one person has ever been able to cite to a credible source that backs them up. People make assumptions, form opinions, spread them around and then the next thing you know, people are stating these things like they are fact, with NOTHING with which to back them up. The only sources that I have seen (like the PD) have had nothing but positive to say about Holliday’s interactions with teammates, his mentoring of younger players (like Freese) his generosity to charities, etc.

              This is the source for what I know about Holliday.


              If someone wants to give me a source that contradicts this, I would be happy to read it.

            • crdswmn says:

              I don’t know where the “not tough” comes from, because he’s played more games than any other player on the team except Rafael Furcal and Furcal has only played in one more. As for being “clutch” he is a career .292 hitter with RISP. He is a much better second half player, so I expect his “clutchiness” to improve this year in the second half, as it always does.

  6. JumboShrimp says:

    Be careful. Crybaby is a naughty word, at this site. You may have to wash your mouths out with soap.

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