In Game 1 of the NLDS, the St. Louis Cardinals looked like a well-tested veteran team and two of those vets netted impressive statistical accomplishments.
The Cardinals routed the Pirates 9-1 for their fifth straight win against them dating back to the regular season. The nine runs were the most ever allowed by the Pirates in a postseason series opener.
Beltran and the Bambino
Carlos Beltran continued his postseason home-run barrage. He hit his 15th in his 35th career game, a three-run shot to open the scoring. It was the first homer of Beltran’s career to come with multiple runners on base.
BeltranBeltran has the most homers of anyone in their first 35 postseason games, one more than Nelson Cruz. His 15 postseason homers are tied for the eighth-most all-time with Babe Ruth (who hit all 15 of his in the World Series).
In fact, Beltran and Ruth are a statistical match for a day. Beltran has 15 homers in 129 postseason at-bats, matching Ruth’s exact totals in both stats.
Beltran now ranks second for most postseason homers by a National League player. The only one with more is currently in the American League, Albert Pujols (18).
Adam Wainwright had one of those days that has become a staple of his career. Great curveball, great start.
Wainwright allowed one run and three hits in seven innings to improve to 3-0 with a 2.27 ERA in postseason play.
WainwrightWainwright threw 33 curveballs, 27 for strikes and netted 11 swings-and-misses with the pitch, tied for his second-most in any game within the last five seasons.
Wainwright also came out firing. He averaged 92.9 mph with his fastball, his fastest average velocity in any start since he averaged 93 mph in a playoff start against the Dodgers in 2009.
He became the second Cardinal to have multiple postseason starts with at least nine strikeouts. The only other is Hall-of-Famer Bob Gibson, who had seven such starts.
The struggles of A.J. Burnett
A.J. Burnett got pummeled for seven runs in two innings. That tied for the second-most runs allowed in a postseason game in Pirates history and was the most yielded since Lee Meadows gave up seven to the Yankees in the 1927 World Series.
Burnett has now made five starts at Busch Stadium since joining the Pirates last season. In those five he’s allowed 31 earned runs, 37 hits and 10 walks in 18 innings.
This wasn’t the first time that Burnett has been burned by Beltran. Last season in St. Louis, Beltran hit a pair of three-run homers against Burnett … in the same game.
Burnett invited trouble with his pitch location. He threw 13 pitches that our pitch classification system categorized as “middle-middle” (over the middle-third of the plate height-wise and width-wise).