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Cardinals Triple Plays Are Not Game Changers

The triple play is one of the rarer plays in baseball. When the St. Louis Cardinals executed one on Friday night, it was only the 15th in at least the last 70 years for the club.

The Cards were down 2-1 over Toronto in the bottom of the sixth Friday night. The bases were loaded with Jays against pitcher Seth Maness with no out. The Jays could have blown the game wide open, but St. Louis escaped. Joey Bautista’s line drive to Daniel Descalso enabled him to flip the ball to shortstop Jhonny Peralta covering second, who relayed the throw to Allen Craig to complete the trifecta.

It was St. Louis’ first triple play in over nine years.

In a generic sense, the triple play comes with mixed emotions. Obviously, a team is dealing with a no-out situation with at least two opposing runners already on base. Game momentum is probably not positive at that point. Though the three-out play could change that, it hasn’t seemed to happen much at all.

As the data below indicates, at least it does not hurt. The Cardinals were ahead in just six of the 15 triple play contests at the time of the key play, but they ended up winning all of those games.

Of the nine games in which they were tied or behind, including Friday, they came back to win just once for a 1-8 record in those contests. In the one victory, it was just overcoming a 0-1 deficit in the third inning.  That makes the Cards’ overall mark 7-8 in triple play games.

Here is Tom Orf’s research – the details behind the Cardinals’ 15 triple plays in the last 70 years.

Date StL Fielders Pitcher Opp Batter Score Inn RoB Play Description
6 06 14 L Descalso, Peralta, Craig Seth Maness TOR Joey Bautista down 2-1 b6 123 Line Drive Triple Play: 2B; Reyes out at 2B/2B-SS; Cabrera out at 1B/SS-1B
5 05 05 L Pujols, Eckstein Matt Morris SDP Ramon Hernandez tied 0-0 t2 -12 Line Drive Triple Play: 1B; Giles out at 1B/1B; Nevin out at 2B/1B-SS
8 01 02 L Drew, Renteria, Martinez Chuck Finley @FLA Eric Owens down 0-3 b6 -12 Line Drive Triple Play: RF-SS-1B
5 11 93 W G.Pena, O.Smith, Jeffries, O.Smith Donovan Osborne NYM Todd Hundley ahead 4-0 t2 -12 Triple Play: Groundout: 2B-SS-1B-SS
9 05 91 L Zeile, G.Pena, Guerrero Bryn Smith @SDP Jerald Clark tied 0-0 b2 -12 Ground Ball Triple Play: 3B-2B-1B (Weak 3B)
8 16 88 W Pendleton, Oquendo, Laga Ken Dayley HOU Jim Pankovits ahead 3-0 t8 -12 Ground Ball Triple Play: 3B-2B-1B
9 27 83 L Doyle O.Smith, Aducci, Doyle, Oberkfell Steve Baker MON Andre Dawson down 3-7 t4 123 Triple Play: Groundout: 2B-SS-1B; Francona out at 3B/1B-2B-3B; Lea stays at 3B
4 11 81 L Hernandez, Templeton, Hernandez Jim Otten PHI Gary Matthews down 2-5 t8 123 Triple Play: Groundout: SS-C-1B-2B
5 08 77 W Tyson, Kessinger, Hernandez John D’Acquisto HOU Willie Crawford down 0-1 t3 -12 Line Drive Triple Play: 2B-SS-1B
9 25 56 1 W Musial, Schofield, Blasingame, McDaniel, Boyer Lindy McDaniel @CHC Solly Drake ahead 2-1 b5 123 Line Drive Triple Play: 1B; Landrith out at 2B/1B-SS; Baker out at Hm/SS-2B-P-3B
5 30 56 1 L Moon, Blasingame Murry Dickson CIN Ray Jablonski down 2-3 t6 123 Line Drive Triple Play: 1B-SS
8 27 49 1 W Schoendienst, N.Jones Fred Martin @NYG Bobby Thomson ahead 2-1 b3 -12 Triple Play: Lineout: SS-1B
6 14 49 L Marion, Schoendienst, N.Jones Howie Pollet BRO Gil Hodges down 0-2 t1 -12 Line Drive Triple Play: SS-2B-1B
8 23 47 W D.Rice, Marion, Musial Al Brazle @PHI Charlie Gilbert ahead 5-3 b8 -12 Triple Play: Bunt Popfly: C-SS-1B
7 01 44 W Jurisch, Verban, Sanders Al Jurisich BRO Frenchy Bordagaray ahead 2-0 t3 -12 Triple Play: Flyball: P-2B-1B

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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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11 Responses to “Cardinals Triple Plays Are Not Game Changers”

  1. Bw52 says:

    Looks like Cards going to waste Wainwrigt`s good game.Neshek gives up GR double 1st batter.

    • JumboShrimp says:

      You are a marshmellow fan, Bw.

      • Bw52 says:

        You are so wrong Jumbo.I have been a fan of the Cards since early 60`s.Very few times have I felt less sure about a Cards team than this one.Cards had some very crappy teams over the years but many were not expected to be veryt good.This team is SUPPOSED to be a GOOD TEAM.That is the difference.

        • JumboShrimp says:

          Bw, you often write complaints about the Cards. Anxiety or frustration seems to be what inspires you to write. You brand players like Jaime Garcia a marshmellow player, though Garcia pitched in pain during 2012 and went under the knife in 2013. This makes as much sense as branding a purple heart awardee a marshmellow, because he stopped a bullet.

          It is terrific Garcia has rehabbed his shoulder enough to get back to the majors. He is averaging more than 6 innings per start and shut out the slugging Blue Jays in their own ball park. This is wonderful. If the Cards reach the playoffs in 2014, Garcia will be a reason. He is soldiering on, even after Lyons and Kelly marshmellowed onto the DL. .

          • Bw52 says:

            If my opinion bothers you so much then simply don`t read it.My opinions are my opinions.Until Garcia pitches a few complete seasons and doesn`t wuss away multiple leads during the season he will always be a marshmellow man .If he proves he can do that then I might change my mind.

  2. JumboShrimp says:

    We powerfully smacked down the Rays, tonight. Wainwright wins 9th, Matt Holliday powers the victory. Why score two, when one is enough?

    • Bw52 says:

      So Jumbo will every starting pitcher have to throw a shutout to have a chance to win? It`s still a pitiful offense and Matheny is still a poor manager.

  3. Bw52 says:

    Wainwright`s MRI and Wacha`s rapidly declining K rate.Wacha losing velocity or just mini slump.Read than AW MRI just saying tendinitis.

  4. blingboy says:

    I’m concerned about Martinez.

    • JumboShrimp says:

      With abundant reason. They should bring up Aarsdma and send Martinez down to stretch him to prepare for being a starting pitcher. We may need some more.

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