That Cardinals leadoff man Jon Jay has struggled at the plate in the postseason is undeniable. Also undeniable: the Cardinals have played seven games on the road and just four at home.
Playing a second straight game in St. Louis on Thursday, Jay went 2-for-5 with a two-run double in the Cardinals’ 8-3 win over the Giants. It raised his postseason average to .195.
In 2012, Jay has simply been a different player at home. In the regular season, he had one of the more dramatic splits you’ll ever see:
Home: .384/.453/.496 in 224 AB
Away: .224/.289/.301 in 219 AB
It’s carried over into October, too. He’s 5-for-16 with six RBI in home games and 3-for-25 with one RBI the rest of the time.
Of course, most likely, this whole thing is one big fluke. Busch Stadium isn’t a hitter friendly park, though it does play better for left-handed hitters than right-handers. Also, Jay was actually better in road games than home games last year.
Still, Jay is probably the happiest of the bunch about the Cardinals possessing home-field advantage in the World Series, should they win one of the next three games and move on. It’d be the first time in the postseason that they’d have home field.
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.
Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.
Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.
The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.
ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.
Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.
Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.
EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.