Matt Holliday has seen a decline in his power production over the past four years.The Brewers and Cardinals begin a three-game series Tuesday night at Busch Stadium (8 ET on ESPN/WatchESPN), where St. Louis has won eight straight games. The Cards lead the NL Central by 3½ games over the Pirates and five games over the Brewers.
Here are some stats to know for Tuesday night’s game.
Going in opposite directions
After play on June 28, the Brewers were an NL-best 51-32 and held a 6½ game lead over the Cardinals in the division.
However, from June 29 to Aug. 25, the Brewers went 22-26 and saw their lead shrink to a game and a half. But things got worse from there.
Since Aug. 26, Milwaukee has won only five of 19 games, while the Cardinals (who have made postseason play each of the past three seasons, including two World Series appearances) have surged forward, winning 12 of 20 games to move into first place in the division.
Peralta struggling lately, but strong vs. Cardinals
Wily Peralta started off the season 15-7 with a 3.27 ERA in his first 25 starts. But he’s 1-3 with a 7.40 ERA over his past four starts.
Wily Peralta vs. Cardinals
Past 2 Seasons
However, he likes facing the Cardinals this season. Before losing to them Sept. 4, Peralta won his first three starts against St. Louis in 2014, pitching into the seventh inning every start.
What has been different against the Cardinals in 2014 from 2013?
• The Cardinals hit .524 (11-for-21) off Peralta with runners in scoring position last season; they are hitting .222 (4-for-18) this season.
• He has been much better at getting ground balls -- 60 percent ground ball rate in four starts against the Cardinals this season, 42 percent last season.
• Left-handed batters hit .286 with a 7-7 strikeout-to-walk ratio last season; they are hitting .184 with an 11-2 ratio this season.
Matt Holliday's power production has been in a steady decline since 2010, with his slugging percentage dropping each year (from .532 in 2010 to his current .439 this season).
Matt Holliday vs. Pitches On Outer Half
Past 2 Seasons
One reason for this lack of power could be his inability to hit pitches on the outer half of the plate.
He’s hitting almost 100 points lower on such pitches this season compared to 2013.
• No player to play at least half of his games at catcher in the modern era (since 1900) has produced as many doubles in a season as Jonathan Lucroy this year (51).
• The Cardinals have hit 99 home runs this season, 29th in the majors. The last time St. Louis finished last in MLB in home runs was 1991.
• St. Louis ranked 22nd last season in defensive runs saved (minus-39). This season, they lead all of baseball (plus-59).