June of 2018 was a very forgettable month for the St. Louis cardinals. There were baby win streaks of 3 and 4 games hidden among a combined record of 12-15 for the month. They also experience their longest losing streak of the season, which was from June 12th to Jun 16th, a span of four games.
On the offensive from, June was the worst full month of the season on both the runs scored and runs allowed fronts. St. Louis had 109 guys make the trip around the base path while giving up 126 such events to their opponents.
Asked Matheny what he makes of a Cardinal offense that seems only to be able to really 'click' for a game or two here and there without ever finding its footing for a longer stretch.
"It's hard. Baseball is hard. Hitting is hard."
I feel like I'm learning a lot. #STLCards
— Brenden Schaeffer (@bschaeffer12) June 30, 2018
What might surprise you is that St. Louis hit 37 home runs in June, 4 more than either of the first months of the season. Even with a higher HR/AB ratio, which led to a slightly higher slugging percentage (.401), the team OPS for the month was the lowest of the season at .704.
In June, the Cardinals were basically playing with 4 hitters who accounted for 72 of their 101 RBI’s, and 31 of the 37 team home runs.
Jose Martinez remained consistent in June, slashing .314/.373/.578 for the month. At this juncture in the season, he leads the team in BA at .300 and also RBI’s with 52. He seems to be much more comfortable on defense at first base as he did not commit any errors in the month of June.
Matt Carpenter continued his return to the guy we are used to seeing. After a tough start to the season, Matt saw some things go his way in May and June. In June he hit .313/.404/.636 for an OPS (on base plus slugging) of 1.040, which is very very good — the NL leader, Nolan Arenado, owns a .974 OPS for the season. He also hit 8 home runs and drove in 15 runs in June. This is the Carp that we have been waiting for. However, since he bats lead off, there are rarely teammates on base to capitalize off of his home runs; in fact all but one of his home runs this season have been solo shots.
Marcell Ozuna had a breakout month in June, as he hit .333 with an OPS of .951. He was one homer shy of Jose and Matt, with 7 and he tied Martinez with 21 RBI’s on the Month. He now has a respectable batting average of .285 with 10 HR and 44 RBI on the season. I’m really pleased with Ozuna and how he is fitting into the lineup. When Ozuna hits, the Cardinals are much more likely to win, as he has hit .325 in Cardinal wins, but only .245 in losses so far this season.
Yadier Molina missed most of the month of May due to an injury, but he came back as hot as every. For June he slashed .263/.341/.513 and hit 5 home runs. On the season he is slugging .479, which puts him on pace for one of the best power hitting seasons of his career. He is tied for first in the NL among catchers with 11 home runs on the season.
Based on the four guys above, you might think, what is this guy talking about? St. Louis has a lot going for them right now. Well…if you look at the remaining 6 guys in the top 10 AB category for the month, they hit a combined .206 with 7 home runs and 19 RBI’s. We have seen struggles as the plate all year long for guys like Dexter Fowler and Kolten Wong, but Tommy Pham has really hit a wall as of late, hitting below the Mendoza line in two consecutive months. The Cardinals have to have production from these three guys in order to have a chance at anything good this season.
In a weird twist of fate and an example that the Cardinals are struggling to get everything rolling at the same time, the bullpen actually pitched decent in June. For the first time this season, the WHIP and ERA from relievers was actually better than that of the starters…let that sink in.
Miles Mikolas had the “most successful” June of all the starters, with an ERA of 2.68 and WHIP of 1 flat in 6 appearances. However, he went 2-3 during the month, even though he went 6 or more innings and gave up only 1 run on two occasions.
Carlos Martinez returned from injury and struggle in his starts, with an ERA of 6.75 and WHIP of 2.20. Luke Weaver continues to be inconsistent at best, and now Michael Wacha is on the DL. Jack Flaherty was very good in 3 of his 5 outings, going 5 or more innings and giving up 1 or fewer runs, but only earning a win in one of them. He even struck out 13 batters in a start against Milwaukee, but the offense averages less than 4 runs per game when he pitches.
We saw some decent pitching out of the bullpen with a combined SO/9 of 9.6, the highest of the season for this relieving core. Austin Gomber, John Brebbia, and Jordan Hicks led the team with 12 or more appearances a piece. Brett Cecil earned himself an ERA of 2.25 in his 12 innings of work and Mike Mayers and Bud Norris each had a WHIP under 1.
The Cardinals close out the month of June with a record for the season of 42-39, good enough for third place in the NL Central – 5.5 games back of the Brewers.
Maybe July will be better?
— cardinalsgifs (@cardinalsgifs) July 1, 2018
Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com