With an easy 8-1 win over the Cubs on Saturday night, the Cardinals claimed their 50th victory in 74 games. As MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch notes, they’re the quickest to 50 wins since the 2005 world champion White Sox, when they started out 50-22.
Other relevant notes, per Langosch: in the last 50 years, only 18 teams have reached 50 wins before losing their 25th game. Of those 17 teams (excluding this year’s Cardinals, of course), four won it all: the ’05 White Sox, the 1998 Yankees, the ’86 Mets, and the ’84 Tigers. 13 of those 17 teams reached 100-plus wins. Only two of them failed to reach the playoffs.
The Cardinals currently own an eight-game lead over the second-place Pirates, by far the largest lead in any of the six divisions. All this, despite losing Adam Wainwright, Matt Adams, and Matt Holliday to injuries.
Pirates outfielder Starling Marte was hit on the hand by a Jack Flaherty pitch in the fourth inning of Tuesday night’s game against the Cardinals. Rather than take first base, Marte — who came to the plate with a runner on first base — insisted to home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman that the ball hit the knob of the bat, not his hand. Marte was allowed to continue his at-bat, though manager Clint Hurdle came out to discuss the ruling with Dreckman. Marte eventually grounded into a fielder’s choice. He then got caught attempting to steal second base and the Pirates scored zero runs in the inning.
According to Baseball Prospectus, a team that has runners on first and second with no outs is expected to score 1.55 runs. Having a runner on first base with one out yields 0.56 expected runs. Marte essentially cost his team a run by rejecting first base. Oops.