Stats & Info: Kolten Wong

Another day, another walk-off HR in Cards

July, 9, 2014
Jul 9
St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong seems to have recovered well from the left shoulder bruise that sidelined him for a couple of weeks at the end of June into early July.
Kolten Wong
Wong capped the Cardinals' win over the Pittsburgh Pirates with his first career walk-off home run.

He’s 4-for-10 with two home runs and four RBIs in three games since his activation. He hit only one home run in his first 45 games of the season and was 4-for-45 in the 15 games prior to being placed on the disabled list.

The Cardinals have won back-to-back games on walk-off home runs after not hitting one since Game 6 of the 2011 World Series (David Freese’s winner against the Texas Rangers).

The last time the Cardinals hit walk-off home runs in consecutive games was June 4-5, 2011. Both home runs were hit by Albert Pujols.

Prior to these games, the Cardinals hadn’t beaten the Pirates on a walk-off home run since Jim Edmonds hit one in 2003.

Second Base is First Priority for Improvement
Entering Tuesday, the Cardinals had gotten little from the second base position all season, the drawback of moving Matt Carpenter to third base.

Cardinals second basemen entered the day hitting .204 with a .539 OPS, which ranked third-worst and second-worst in baseball, respectively.

Wong is doing a couple of things decently. He’s hitting .259 with a .420 slugging percentage in 112 at-bats at home. He’s also hitting a respectable .227 with two strikes this season.

Wong has managed to put his bat on the ball at a good rate. He has missed on only 12 percent of his swings this season. That ranks sixth-lowest among the 140 National League hitters with at least 150 plate appearances this season.

Frieri again
Ninth-inning troubles continued for Pirates reliever Ernesto Frieri, who yielded Wong’s home run.

Frieri has now allowed eight ninth-inning home runs this season, tied with Addison Reed for the most of any pitcher in the major leagues, and has now given up a walk-off home run for two teams this season.

Another day, another unique ending

October, 28, 2013
Tim Kurkjian likes to say that the best thing about baseball is that you’ll see something new every day.

In the case of this World Series, that’s been true with the final play of the past two games.

Game 3 featured the first game-ending obstruction call in postseason history. Game 4 had the first game-ending pickoff.

Another weird ending
Koji Uehara picked Kolten Wong off first base with Carlos Beltran representing the tying run at the plate to close the game. Uehara had only two pickoffs in his career entering the day. This was his first one since Aug. 6, 2011, when he picked off Asdrubal Cabrera of the Indians.

There had been one prior pickoff to preserve a lead with one out in the ninth inning -- Mike Marshall of the Dodgers nailed pinch runner Herb Washington of the Athletics in Game 2 of the 1974 World Series -- but never before had there been one with two outs.

The Cardinals had been on the right side of a baserunning blunder of a somewhat similar nature once before.

They threw Yankees slugger Babe Ruth out trying to steal second base with two outs in the ninth inning in a one-run game to end Game 7 of the 1926 World Series.

Turning point: Gomes homers
Jonny Gomes entered the day with the lowest career postseason batting average of any active player with at least 40 at-bats (.125).

But he made up for that with his three-run homer against Seth Maness that put the Red Sox ahead for good.

Gomes hit a sinking Maness fastball out, which isn’t easy to do. Only two players -- Rick Ankiel and Marlon Byrd -- homered against Maness’ fastball in 2013, with Byrd being the last to do so on June 12.

Ortiz carrying the load
David Ortiz went 3-for-3, making him 8-for-11 in the World Series.

The Elias Sports Bureau notes that he’s the second-fastest player to reach eight hits in a World Series. The only one faster was Billy Hatcher, who was 8-for-his-first-9 for the 1990 Reds.

Duffy Lewis last appeared in a World Series in 1916, but he still holds one prominent Red Sox World Series mark. Lewis had six career multihit games, the most in franchise history. But Ortiz now trails him by only one.

Ortiz is the third Red Sox first baseman with three hits in a World Series game. The others are Dick Hoblitzell (1915) and Carl Yastrzemski (1975).

Ortiz will have either the highest or second-highest batting average of any player through his first 40 World Series at-bats, as noted in the chart on the right. His next turn will be the 40th of his career.

Doubront, Tazawa and Lackey come through
The Red Sox got four very impressive innings from their middle relievers after Clay Buchholz got hooked prior to the fifth inning.

Felix Doubront was charged with one run (yielded by Craig Breslow) but got through 2 2/3 innings. He’s allowed one run in seven innings this postseason.

Tazawa recorded his fifth hold of this postseason, matching Mike Timlin’s 2003 single-season record for a Red Sox pitcher.

Tazawa has pitched in 13 games this postseason and entered 12 times in the middle of an inning. In 11 of those instances, he came in with at least one man on base. Game 4 marked the sixth time he came in with two men on base.

He’s now stranded 12 of the 15 baserunners he’s been handed this postseason.

Lackey made his first relief appearance since June 27, 2004, against the Dodgers. On Sunday, he escaped a runner-on-third, one-out jam for the first hold of his major or minor league career.