Cardinals Stat of the Day: April 2021
MLB.com is keeping track of a Stat of the Day for the Cardinals this season, highlighting a unique, interesting or fun nugget from each game.
April 30: Cardinals 7, Pirates 3 -- Carlson in rare company
With a first-inning double against the Pirates, Cardinals right fielder Dylan Carlson recorded his 25th hit of the season. The double broke a tie between Carlson and Showboat Fisher -- who played one season with St. Louis in 1930 -- for the fourth-most hits by a Cardinals rookie before May 1 since 1906. He sits behind Albert Pujols (34, 2001), Aledmys Diaz (30, 2016) and Joe McEwing (27, 1999) for the most in franchise history.
April 29: Cardinals 4, Phillies 3 (10 innings) -- Carp gives bench a lift
When Matt Carpenter's home run ball slipped out of Roman Quinn's glove and landed in the Cardinals' bullpen, it was a seminal moment. Not just for the player -- who had been bitten by bad luck so far this season -- but for St. Louis' bench. Entering play on Thursday, the Cards' reserves were hitless in their last 31 at-bats with just one RBI (a sacrifice fly from Austin Dean on April 13). The bench is now 7-for-60 with one extra-base hit on the year.
April 28: Phillies 5, Cardinals 3 -- Edman on base? The day ended in 'Y'
As April draws to a close, there is still no stopping Tommy Edman. With a two-hit night, the second baseman has gotten on base, statistically, in every game but one this season, with a .340 OBP through 24 games. The only game he didn't reach base? Well, he sort of did, reaching on an error, though it does not go down in the stat-keeping books as a time on base for on-base percentage purposes. Seems like the leadoff spot is suiting him nicely.
April 27: Cardinals 5, Phillies 2 -- C-Mart's deceptive ERA
Carlos Martínez has had his fair share of uneven starts this season, conceding three or more runs in each of his first three turns. He's started to right that trend, allowing just one earned run while pitching deep into the game in each of his past two outings. One blow-up inning in particular stands out. A six-run second inning against the Phillies on April 16 was exacerbated by defensive miscues. Without that frame, Martínez would own a strong 2.96 ERA instead of his 4.76 mark.
April 26: Phillies 2, Cardinals 1 -- Waino stumped again in CG effort
That Adam Wainwright took the loss in a nine-inning complete game on Monday was unusual but not especially rare in baseball history books, with Houston's Justin Verlander doing the same in 2019. What's a bit more peculiar? The last Cardinal to do so was ... Wainwright in 2007, during yet another 2-1 loss, this time against the Dodgers at 25 years of age. What's more, Wainwright's complete game on Sunday was his third since the 2020 season. Only one other pitcher (the Phillies' Aaron Nola) has as many in that span.
April 25: Cardinals 5, Reds 2 -- Run support masters
In each of Jack Flaherty's starts this season, the Cardinals have given him more run support than any other starting pitcher. He is the only starting pitcher, in five starts, whose team has scored five-plus runs in each of those games.
April 24: Cardinals 2, Reds 0 -- Rotation turns new leaf
The Cardinals' rotation -- a source of pride for the organization on an annual basis -- struggled out of the gates this season. The first three turns produced a 6.24 ERA, with stopgaps making starts as the preferred crop of starters was ailing coming out of Spring Training. With Kwang Hyun Kim back in the fold -- and after John Gant's six shutout innings in this one -- the fourth turn has provided confidence that the expected strength may still be one this season. How does a 1.47 ERA over the past week sound?
April 23: Cardinals 5, Reds 4 -- Home, sweet home for Yadi
Only a small group of players are able to reach the 1,000-hit plateau in their Major League careers. Picking up 1,000 hits in just one ballpark? That's elite company. With an RBI double in the third inning on Friday -- after he hit a solo homer in the second -- Yadier Molina collected his 1,000th hit in his home stadium. The breakdown: 940 at Busch Stadium III, 60 at Busch Stadium II. Only seven other Cardinals have hit that milestone: Stan Musial, Lou Brock, Enos Slaughter, Rogers Hornsby, Albert Pujols and Red Schoendienst.
What's more, only four catchers lead their home stadiums in all-time hits. Molina owns the top mark among that group, topping Buster Posey at Oracle Park (654), Joe Mauer at Target Field (637) and Jim Sundberg at Arlington Stadium (582).
April 21: Nationals 1, Cardinals 0 -- Martínez's quality start, double
Two things went right for Carlos Martínez on Wednesday. The first? He threw a quality start for the first time since July 7, 2018, when he went seven strong against the Giants in San Francisco. The second? He laced a double off Max Scherzer in the second inning, one of only two extra-base hits for the Cards on the day and Martínez's first since ... July 7, 2018. With manager Mike Shildt not elevated to the interim role until July 14 of that season, Wednesday marked Martínez's most positive day under the skipper's tenure.
April 20: Nationals 3, Cardinals 2 -- Age is just a number
Adam Wainwright's punchout of Yadiel Hernandez in the seventh inning of Tuesday's 3-2 loss against the Nationals did two things. First, it made him the first Cardinals starter this season to complete seven frames, needing 17 games to do so as a pitching staff. What's more, it gave him 10 strikeouts on the night, his first time doing so since May 2019. It also made him the oldest Cardinal to strike out 10 in a start since Chuck Finley whiffed as many Cubs in September 2002. Finley just so happened to be 46 days older than Wainwright was on Tuesday (38 years, 233 days).
April 19: Cardinals 12, Nationals 5 -- Flaherty notches strikeout No. 500
With his third-inning strikeout of Yan Gomes on Monday, Jack Flaherty locked up his 500th career strikeout. In doing so, he became the fastest Cardinal to reach the milestone, needing just 80 appearances to do so. He surpassed not Bob Gibson, Adam Wainwright or Dizzy Dean, but Lance Lynn, who needed 101 games to hit the 500-strikeout mark as a Cardinal.
April 18: Phillies 2, Cardinals 0 -- Edman's streak ends
Pinned to leadoff duties this season, Tommy Edman has done nothing but exactly what he's been asked to do. He's hitting for average -- as a switch-hitter, to boot -- he's taking his walks and he's stealing a few bags. So call Sunday -- when his career-high, Major League-leading 12-game hitting streak came to a close -- not a downfall, but a marker. Through the first 15 games of the season, Edman is hitting .286 with a .348 on-base percentage. That batting average is the highest of Cards' leadoff hitters from years past (compared to a full season, granted), but it's set an optimistic stage for Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt. What's more, Edman is doing it while making Gold Glove-caliber plays at two positions.
April 17: Cardinals 9, Phillies 4 -- Yadi turns back the clock
Riding his history-making 2,000th game caught last week and one of the best offensive starts to his 18-year career, Yadier Molina is forcing us to wonder each day if there's anything he can't do. His pair of homers against the Phillies -- Nos. 3 and 4 on the year -- came at 38 years, 278 days old. Only six other times in Cardinals history has a player that age or older produced a multihomer game. One of them is Hall of Famer Larry Walker, who did so on Oct. 1, 2005. He was 26 days older that day than Molina was this game.
April 16: Phillies 9, Cardinals 2 -- Cards looking to break streak
The Cardinals, who dropped the opener of a three-game set at Citizens Bank Park, have not won a series against the Phillies since 2018. St. Louis won the previous six series (2015-17) leading up to that point.
April 14: Nationals 6, Cardinals 0 -- Yadi's 2,000th full of veteran moments
When the game hit the fifth inning on Wednesday and Yadier Molina's 2,000th game behind the plate became official, it marked an MLB first. Six catchers have caught 2,000 games; only Molina has done so for one franchise. Since Molina's first game in 2004, the world has changed. There were no iPhones. But the one they call Yadi is eternal, leading all catchers in at-bats, hits, doubles and even owning the second-most steals since entering the league.
What's more, a first-inning plate appearance on Wednesday pitted Adam Wainwright against the Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman, with Molina behind the dish. That's 50 years of Major League baseball in one at-bat, all of which have come for their one respective home franchises.
April 13: Cardinals 14, Nationals 3 -- Goldy blasts HR No. 250
Paul Goldschmidt thought he had homer No. 250 in his first at-bat of the season, though replay ultimately deemed it a double. Nevertheless, his solo blast in the first inning against the Nats -- for real this time -- put him in some cozy company. Eight others have hit their 250th homer while donning the birds on the bat: Stan Musial, Ken Boyer, Orlando Cepeda, Jim Edmonds, Reggie Sanders, Albert Pujols, Scott Rolen and Matt Holliday. And now, Goldschmidt.
April 12: Nationals 5, Cardinals 2 -- The homerless king? That's John Gant
John Gant didn't turn in the outing he maybe wanted against the Nats, going five-plus solid frames before failing to retire a batter in the sixth and two more runs added to his ledger. There was one glaring positive, though. By not allowing a home run, Gant extended his streak of innings without doing so to 44 1/3 -- a stretch that dates to 2019. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that's the longest active streak in the Majors, with Gant surpassing Zack Britton, after entering the series opener tied with the Yankees reliever at 39 1/3 frames.
April 11: Brewers 9, Cardinals 3 -- Cards' inexperienced outfield
The news of Tyler O'Neill landing on the injured list put an already inexperienced Cardinals outfield in an even deeper hole. Starting against Milwaukee were Austin Dean, Lane Thomas and Dylan Carlson. The trio entered the day with a combined 563 plate appearances. For comparison, Adam Wainwright, a pitcher, owns 774 plate appearances across his big league career.
April 10: Brewers 9, Cardinals 5 -- First impressions? How about rivaling Maris?
Did Nolan Arenado need to do anything else to get into the good graces of Cardinals fans? Not really, but he did so anyway. His first-inning double gave him hits in each of his first eight games with his new club. That's the best hitting streak to the start of a Cardinals career since Roger Maris did the same in 1967. Maris hit .424 (14-for-33) to open up that season before going hitless in the ninth game of the season. Arenado is just behind, at .333 (11-for-33) -- but has the chance to pass the two-time MVP in the games category.
April 8: Cardinals 3, Brewers 1 -- Arenado curtain calls before 2021? 0. Now? 1.
Nolan Arenado arrived in St. Louis overwhelmingly excited to play in front of the Cardinals' faithful. Before this season, he said that he had never received a curtain call, despite plenty of worthy moments. Well, it took one game at Busch Stadium to receive his first, thanks to the two-run homer that he hit in the eighth.
One game, one curtain call. Sabermetrics.
April 7: Cardinals 7, Marlins 0 -- Dominance in Miami
The Cardinals completed their 10th all-time sweep of the Marlins, seven of which have come in Miami. The Cards now own a .644 road winning percentage against the Marlins, which is their second-best away mark vs. any team (minimum 50 games).
April 6: Cardinals 4, Marlins 2 -- A homer off Gant? Good luck, hitters
After pitching four innings on Tuesday, five years to the day since his MLB debut, John Gant extended his streak of homerless innings to 39 1/3, a mark dating back to the 2019 season. By the final pitch of his outing, Gant trailed only the Rockies' Germán Márquez at 39 2/3 innings, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. But Márquez, who also pitched on Tuesday, gave up a homer to the D-backs, handing Gant the longest active steak in the Majors, tied with the Yankees' Zack Britton (39 1/3 innings), who's on the injured list, and ahead of the Rays' Ryan Yarbrough (35 1/3). "Is John Gant good at baseball?" That's for Twitter to decide. But he's very good at limiting home runs, at the very least.
April 5: Cardinals 4, Marlins 1 -- Yadi passes Bench with 2B
Yadier Molina is trying to reach numerous milestones during this 2021 campaign. On Monday he seized one of the first, lacing his 382nd career double -- a two-run two-bagger in the first inning -- to pass Hall of Famer Johnny Bench for sole possession of eighth place all time among catchers. One of the next milestones on the docket? With 1,993 games caught following Monday's series opener, Molina is 32 games behind Jason Kendall for fifth all time.
April 4: Reds 12, Cardinals 1 -- Yadi's place carved in Cincinnati hearts
After the fracas with Nick Castellanos on Saturday, Yadier Molina received a Bronx cheer every time he stepped up to the plate on Sunday. His play alone could have merited such groans. Molina left the 12-1 loss with a .312 batting average and 65 RBIs at Great American Ball Park along with 16 homers across 113 games played, thanks in part to plating Tyler O'Neill in the fifth inning for the Cardinals' only run of the day. Those numbers are easily Molina's best at any rival National League Central ballpark over his 18-year career.
April 3: Reds 9, Cardinals 6 -- Opening series? DeJong bound to homer
Paul DeJong has an affinity for the start of the season. With a two-homer day against the Reds on Saturday, he made it four consecutive years in which he has left the yard during the opening series. The streak started with a homer in the third game of his first full season in 2018 -- against the Mets in New York -- and has continued every inaugural series since.
What's more, though it didn't come amid the start to the Cardinals' season, DeJong homered in the first Major League series of his career on May 28, 2017, in Colorado. It was merely his first career at-bat, to boot.
April 1: Cardinals 11, Reds 6 -- Carlson throws it back ... to 1936
How about a little throwback Thursday to start the 2021 season? Dylan Carlson's first-inning home run against the Reds was big in that it propelled the Cardinals to a 6-0 lead in an instant. But there's more.
The top prospect's first homer of the season made him the youngest Cardinals hitter with an Opening Day home run since 1936, when Eddie Morgan blasted a two-run shot off of the Cubs at 21 years of age. Carlson blasted his shot off of the right-field foul pole at 22 years, 160 days old.