Diamond Diaries

Cardinal baseball, from the girls

The Rollercoaster Ride of May

A little late, due to some technical difficulties*

After having a terrific first month of the season, May was a little bit tougher to take. Losing a 5-game division lead? Swept by the last-place Astros while home at Busch Stadium? That struggling offense, and being shut out four times? Yes, it all happened – but as the month ended, the Cardinals were tied with the Reds for first place, heating up hitting-wise and on the plus side with a 15-14 record (and 30-22 overall).

It was definitely a month of extremes. The Cardinals scored their most runs of the season this week, with 12 runs against the Reds on Monday (May 31). But they also allowed their most runs of the season, 10, to the Angels on May 22. They had two 3-game losing streaks, May 4-6 against the Phillies (after winning the first game of the series) and the already mentioned sweep by the Astros May 11-13. The longest winning streak also was 3 games, May 1-3, although they did win 4 of the last 5 to end the month. And the hot streak the offense went on in those four victories (scoring 8, 7, 9 and 12 runs on 15, 11, 14 and 16 hits) definitely improved the stats for some familiar names who spent much of the month struggling.

So who helped make this rollercoaster month what it was?

Biggest Surprise
Dennys Reyes
He had a 0.00 ERA for the month (which actually was a surprise when I discovered it). In 14 appearances covering 10.1 innings, he allowed 2 hits, struck out 5, walked 6 and allowed no runs (earned or unearned). Another unrelated surprise I found while looking up these stats: he is 6-foot 3. He just always seems kind of, well, short and squat (and sweaty) when he’s out pitching. Maybe that listed weight of 250 is a little kind? All that aside, great month for the Big Sweat (see No. 6).

Other Surprises
Jason Motte
In 11 innings pitched during May, he only walked 1 and struck out 15. While his nickname is Mayhem, he wasn’t causing any this month.Brendan Ryan
The bar was set low since he finished April batting .179 (and it went down from there once May began), but Brendan finished the month batting .217. The May 27 game (where he went 4 for 4 with his first homer of the year) definitely helped. He also struck out much less in May: 9 times, compared to 19 in April.

Skip Schumaker
After a bad April for Skip also, he improved in May after being moved out of the lead-off spot. He had a .271 average for the month (compared to .212 in April) plus had 9 RBI, after only having 3 last month.

Biggest Disappointment
Colby Rasmus
We now know Colby needed new contacts but his May was definitely disappointing after being on of April’s biggest surprises. His average for May was .226 (compared to .323), he had only 1 homer (6 last month), he struck out 33 times (up from 22) and he walked 11 times (compared to 17). June is getting off to a better start, so let’s hope those new contacts really are the key to getting back to more April-like production.

Other Disappointments
Blake Hawksworth
Not a good month for Diesel either. (Maybe it was the disgusting looking chili and chili dogs he ate on camera in Cincinnati?) After not allowing a run during 9 innings in April, he allowed 12 earned runs in 11.1 innings pitched in May for a month ERA of 9.53. He allowed 4 homers, with 5 walks and an equal number of strikeouts.

Trever Miller
The man who handed out the nicknames (and still doesn’t have one?) didn’t fare too well in May either. He had a 5.14 ERA for the month, allowing 4 earned runs in 7 innings pitched — plus he hit 2 batters and allowed 2 homers.

Consistently Good
David Freese
His batting average wasn’t quite as good for May as April – .315 compared to .324 – but he had a better slugging percentage (.491, after .412 in April) and had 17 RBI compared to 14 last month.

Ryan Ludwick
He had the same batting average for May as he did for April, .291. He improved on his RBIs, with 16 compared to 10. Add to that the great catches he made in the outfield and it all adds up to another reason to celebrate Ryan Ludwick Appreciation Day.

Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia and Adam Wainwright
Can we call them the Cardinals “Big Three”? For May, they were a combined 9-4 with a 2.44 ERA.Surprisingly Not Disappointing
Albert Pujols
The end of the month definitely helped! (Or maybe it was Erika’s post?) While his average was only .291 for the month (after .345 in April), he finished with 20 RBI – one more than last month – and struck out 12 times compared to 14 in April. He had a pretty good day last Sunday too.

Matt Holliday
While he only had 1 home run compared to 4 in April and he struck out 17 times after 13 Ks last month, his other stats look pretty good. His batting average was .325 (.284 in April), he walked 13 times (4 last month) and he had 12 RBI (10 in April). Both he and Albert are continuing their hot streaks in the first few games in June, which is promising.

Best Game
May 30
Cardinals 9, Cubs 1

Albert breaks out with 3 homers, Holliday has 4 hits, all the runs score with 2 outs, Adam Wainwright pitches 7 strong innings – and all against the Cubs at Wrigley Field? Hard to top that.

Worst Game
May 26
Padres 1, Cardinals 0
There were a lot of bad losses to choose from, but this was by far the most frustrating. Adam Wainwright did all he could, allowing only 4 hits (including a homer to Jerry Hairston Jr. for the only run) while striking out 12 in 7 innings. The Cardinals actually had more hits than the Padres, 7 total, plus had the bases loaded with only one out in the first inning – yet were shut out.

Nicest Moment

P.J. Walters getting his first major-league victory on May 27 in San Diego.
Pitcher of the Month
Jaime Garcia
The Cardinals pitching overall continues battling the Padres for the best ERA in the major leagues, and Jaime Garcia is a key reason why. Our Rookie of the Year candidate was 3-1 in May with a 1.53 ERA, giving him an overall record of 5-2 and a 1.32 ERA (second in the National League).Player of the Month
David Freese
As mentioned above, the other Rookie of the Year candidate continued what he started in April and it made a big difference during this month’s offensive struggles.

After all that, we can be glad May is over, and that June is off to a good start. Hopefully this month will be a little bit less of a rollercoaster!

*The Geek Squad still has possession of my laptop, but tell me they were able to recover everything from it. Not that the original version of this post will help me much now! But it will be nice to get my laptop back (and working again), plus all of its contents, very soon.

3 responses to “The Rollercoaster Ride of May

  1. Michael June 4, 2010 at 5:25 PM

    >You know, I still find it hard to believe the Cardinals got away with a winning month. With all that happened, or in the case of the offense, didn't happen, I think we were lucky the Cardinals stayed so close to first.Now that we're in June, it's not going to be luck that propels them to another winning month. It's going to be how good they are — starting tonight.

  2. Chris June 4, 2010 at 9:03 PM

    >The offense got hot at the right time, and it's continuing over into June. But, you're right — they need to keep up their winning ways.

  3. Michael June 5, 2010 at 4:56 PM

    >And we now can take Dennys Reyes off the list of pleasant surprises. It's June, so that scoreless streak definitely is coming to an end.

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