Cardinals Triple Plays Are Not Game Changers

The triple play is one of the rarer plays in baseball. When the St. Louis Cardinals executed one on Friday night, it was only the 15th in at least the last 70 years for the club.

The Cards were down 2-1 over Toronto in the bottom of the sixth Friday night. The bases were loaded with Jays against pitcher Seth Maness with no out. The Jays could have blown the game wide open, but St. Louis escaped. Joey Bautista’s line drive to Daniel Descalso enabled him to flip the ball to shortstop Jhonny Peralta covering second, who relayed the throw to Allen Craig to complete the trifecta.

It was St. Louis’ first triple play in over nine years.

In a generic sense, the triple play comes with mixed emotions. Obviously, a team is dealing with a no-out situation with at least two opposing runners already on base. Game momentum is probably not positive at that point. Though the three-out play could change that, it hasn’t seemed to happen much at all.

As the data below indicates, at least it does not hurt. The Cardinals were ahead in just six of the 15 triple play contests at the time of the key play, but they ended up winning all of those games.

Of the nine games in which they were tied or behind, including Friday, they came back to win just once for a 1-8 record in those contests. In the one victory, it was just overcoming a 0-1 deficit in the third inning.  That makes the Cards’ overall mark 7-8 in triple play games.

Here is Tom Orf’s research – the details behind the Cardinals’ 15 triple plays in the last 70 years.

Date StL Fielders Pitcher Opp Batter Score Inn RoB Play Description
6 06 14 L Descalso, Peralta, Craig Seth Maness TOR Joey Bautista down 2-1 b6 123 Line Drive Triple Play: 2B; Reyes out at 2B/2B-SS; Cabrera out at 1B/SS-1B
5 05 05 L Pujols, Eckstein Matt Morris SDP Ramon Hernandez tied 0-0 t2 -12 Line Drive Triple Play: 1B; Giles out at 1B/1B; Nevin out at 2B/1B-SS
8 01 02 L Drew, Renteria, Martinez Chuck Finley @FLA Eric Owens down 0-3 b6 -12 Line Drive Triple Play: RF-SS-1B
5 11 93 W G.Pena, O.Smith, Jeffries, O.Smith Donovan Osborne NYM Todd Hundley ahead 4-0 t2 -12 Triple Play: Groundout: 2B-SS-1B-SS
9 05 91 L Zeile, G.Pena, Guerrero Bryn Smith @SDP Jerald Clark tied 0-0 b2 -12 Ground Ball Triple Play: 3B-2B-1B (Weak 3B)
8 16 88 W Pendleton, Oquendo, Laga Ken Dayley HOU Jim Pankovits ahead 3-0 t8 -12 Ground Ball Triple Play: 3B-2B-1B
9 27 83 L Doyle O.Smith, Aducci, Doyle, Oberkfell Steve Baker MON Andre Dawson down 3-7 t4 123 Triple Play: Groundout: 2B-SS-1B; Francona out at 3B/1B-2B-3B; Lea stays at 3B
4 11 81 L Hernandez, Templeton, Hernandez Jim Otten PHI Gary Matthews down 2-5 t8 123 Triple Play: Groundout: SS-C-1B-2B
5 08 77 W Tyson, Kessinger, Hernandez John D’Acquisto HOU Willie Crawford down 0-1 t3 -12 Line Drive Triple Play: 2B-SS-1B
9 25 56 1 W Musial, Schofield, Blasingame, McDaniel, Boyer Lindy McDaniel @CHC Solly Drake ahead 2-1 b5 123 Line Drive Triple Play: 1B; Landrith out at 2B/1B-SS; Baker out at Hm/SS-2B-P-3B
5 30 56 1 L Moon, Blasingame Murry Dickson CIN Ray Jablonski down 2-3 t6 123 Line Drive Triple Play: 1B-SS
8 27 49 1 W Schoendienst, N.Jones Fred Martin @NYG Bobby Thomson ahead 2-1 b3 -12 Triple Play: Lineout: SS-1B
6 14 49 L Marion, Schoendienst, N.Jones Howie Pollet BRO Gil Hodges down 0-2 t1 -12 Line Drive Triple Play: SS-2B-1B
8 23 47 W D.Rice, Marion, Musial Al Brazle @PHI Charlie Gilbert ahead 5-3 b8 -12 Triple Play: Bunt Popfly: C-SS-1B
7 01 44 W Jurisch, Verban, Sanders Al Jurisich BRO Frenchy Bordagaray ahead 2-0 t3 -12 Triple Play: Flyball: P-2B-1B

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