All posts by Marilyn Green

Cardinals MLB Notebook: Week of November 13-19

photo: Paul DeJong (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports Images)

Lynn rejects qualifying offer

As expected, free agent starting pitcher Lance Lynn has declined his qualifying offer for the 2018 season made by the St. Louis Cardinals last week.  Lynn was one of nine players to receive the qualifying offer across MLB, and all nine rejected them.

Lance Lynn (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Lynn’s decline means the Cardinals will receive a compensation pick in next year’s draft if Lynn signs with another team.  That pick will come after Competitive Balance Round B, following the second round, which currently ends with pick number 75.  Where the Cardinals will pick will be slotted will depend on the value of any contract Lynn signs with another team.

Last season, the 30-year old right-hander made 33 starts and had a record of 11-8 and an ERA of 3.43.  Lynn pitched in 2017 a year after getting Tommy John surgery.

Competitive Balance pick in the 2018 draft

The Cardinals will receive a Competitive Balance pick in the 2018 draft due to being in the bottom 10 of MLB teams in either revenue or market size. Last season, the Cardinals’ pick was in Competitive Balance Round B, but was forfeited to Houston. In 2018, their pick moves up to Round A, following the first regular round, and is currently slotted at number 39 overall.

In addition to the Cardinals, the Pirates, Rays, Orioles, Padres, Diamondbacks, Royals, Indians and Rockies, in that order, complete Round A.

DeJong second for Rookie of the Year

Cardinals rookie shortstop Paul DeJong finished second to Dodgers slugger Cody Bellinger in the 2017 National League Rookie of the Year balloting.  Bellinger was a unanimous pick.

Paul DeJong (USA TODAY Sports Images)

From the 30 voters, two from each NL city, DeJong received 15 second place votes, and 11 third place votes.  The Pirates’ Josh Bell finished third with 10 second place votes and two third place votes.

DeJong made his MLB debut on May 28, and took over the shortstop job after Aledmys Diaz was optioned to Triple-A Memphis.  DeJong hit 25 home runs with St. Louis, and cemented the shortstop position for the remainder of the season.  His 25 home runs made him the first rookie to lead the Cardinals in home runs since Albert Pujols in 2001. DeJong ranked second among all NL rookies in 2017 in home runs and extra base hits, behind Bellinger.

No Cardinals were among the finalists for the 2017 Cy Young Award, Manager of the Year and Most Valuable Player.

Outfield move for Fowler?

Cardinals’ President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak visited outfielder Dexter Fowler in Las Vegas recently to discuss a number of issues, one of which was a possible move out of center field for the 2018 season.

In an effort to improve defense, the Cardinals will consider moving Fowler to a corner position, and put Tommy Pham in center field.  Though hampered somewhat by injuries in 2017, Fowler’s defense in center field in terms of his defensive metrics fell considerably from 2016.  From a Defensive Runs Saved of +1 in 2016, Fowler’s numbers in DRS fell to -18 in 2017.

Fowler has never played a corner outfield position in his major league career.

Another Hall of Fame shot for Simmons

The Modern Era ballot for the National Baseball Hall of Fame includes ten names – Steve Garvey, Tommy John, Don Mattingly, Marvin Miller, Jack Morris, Dale Murphy, Dave Parker, Luis Tiant, Alan Trammell and former Cardinals catcher Ted Simmons.

The vote of the 16-member Modern Baseball Era Committee will occur on December 10 with 75 percent of the ballots cast needed. Winners will be inducted into the Hall in Cooperstown on July 29, 2018.

The regular Hall 2018 ballot will be announced on Monday, November 20. Along with those 2017 candidates who finished with between five percent and 75 percent of the vote, first-time eligibles for the ballot include former Cardinals Chris Carpenter, Jason Isringhausen and Scott Rolen.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

Jon Morosi of mlb.com reports that the Cardinals are interested in relief pitcher Brandon Kintzler.  In a tweet on Wednesday, Morosi reported that the Cardinals have discussed reliever Alex Colome in trade talks with the Rays.

Morosi also tweeted on Sunday that the Cardinals have made a formal trade offer to the Marlins for Giancarlo Stanton.

Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch reported that while the Cardinals have no interest in free agent J.D. Martinez, there have been internal discussions concerning free agent outfielder Carlos Gonzalez.

Rob Rains reported that free agent first baseman Logan Morrison is considering offers from the Cardinals and the Angels.

In a related item, the Post-Dispatch reported that 2017 first baseman Matt Carpenter has been told to prepare to play multiple defensive positions in 2018.

Transactions

There are no transactions to report.

Injury Report

There is no injury news to report.

Looking Ahead

November 20 at 7:00 p.m. CT is the deadline for teams to finalize their 40-man rosters for the upcoming Rule 5 draft in December.  The Cardinals have made subtractions from the roster by releasing Trevor Rosenthal and outrighting Alex Mejia and Alberto Rosario.  Further subtractions could occur on November 20.  The 40-man roster now stands at 35 players. Key additions may include outfielders Tyler O’Neill and Oscar Mercado and pitcher Austin Gomber.

The deadline for teams to tender contracts to pre-arbitration and arbitration eligible players is December 1.  The Cardinals have three arbitration eligible players – Michael Wacha, Tyler Lyons, and Randal Grichuk.  Grichuk has been rumored to be a trade candidate.

The Winter Meetings are scheduled for December 10-14 in Orlando, FL.  The Rule 5 Draft will occur on the 14th.

Blast from the Past

In last week’s history segment, I discussed the 1978 St. Louis Cardinals team.  This week I jump two decades ahead to remember the Cardinals of 1990.

The 1990 Cardinals finished the season with a record of 70-92 and finished sixth in the National League East (last place).  The 1990 season was the end of Whitey Herzog’s tenure as the Cardinals manager.  Herzog resigned at mid-season and was replaced first by Red Schoendienst in an interim capacity, and then by Joe Torre, who served as the Cardinals manager until he was fired in June of 1995.  St. Louis’ GM in 1990 was Dal Maxvill.

Willie McGee (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Opening Day starters were Tom Brunansky (RF), Vince Coleman (LF), Pedro Guerrero (1B), Joe Magrane (SP), Willie McGee (CF), Jose Oquendo (2B), Terry Pendleton (3B), Ozzie Smith (SS), and Todd Zeile (C).

The club’s longest losing streak was seven games, from Sept. 27 to Oct. 3.  The longest winning streak was four games, twice, from July 19-22 and Aug. 9-12.  The largest winning margin was an 11-0 defeat of the Phillies on April 13.  The worst defeat was an 18-2 loss to the Expos on June 8.  Home/road splits were 34-47 at home and 36-45 on the road.

The top starting pitcher was John Tudor, with a record of 12-4 and an ERA of 2.40.  On the position player side, Guerrero had a slash line of .281/.334/.426, hit 13 home runs and drove in 80.

Smith was awarded his 11th Gold Glove at shortstop in 1990.

McGee won the NL batting title with a batting average of .335. However, McGee did not play the entire 1990 season with St. Louis, as he was traded on August 29 to the Oakland Athletics.

Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation: Surprise Manager Spike Owen on Cardinals AFL Prospects

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© 2017 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Cardinals MLB Notebook: Week of November 6-12

photo: Adam Wainwright (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Wainwright wins first Silver Slugger

Adam Wainwright (USA TODAY Sports Images)

2017 Silver Slugger awards were announced this past Thursday, and St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright was the National League honoree at his position.  The award was Wainwright’s first for his bat rather than his arm.

Wainwright is the third pitcher in franchise history to win the Silver Slugger.  Past recipients were Bob Forsch, who won twice in 1980 and 1987, and Jason Marquis, who was selected in 2005.  The award originated in 1980.

Wainwright led all MLB pitchers with 11 RBI and seven runs scored.  The right hander also topped all pitchers with at least 40 plate appearances in SLG (.452) and OPS (.731).  Wainwright has often stated his goal was to win the Silver Slugger and that was achieved with his 2017 performance at the plate.

In other award news, eight-time Gold Glove winner Yadier Molina failed to win that award for the second consecutive season.  Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart was the 2017 winner, unseating Buster Posey.  Additionally, shortstop Paul DeJong was announced as one of the three finalists for the Rookie of the Year award, which will be given out on November 13.

Cardinals make Lynn qualifying offer

Lance Lynn (USA TODAY Sports Images)

The deadline to make a qualifying offer to free agents came and went this past Monday, and the Cardinals made one such offer to pitcher Lance Lynn.  In addition to Lynn, three other Cardinals pitchers were free agents, Juan Nicasio, Seung-Hwan Oh, and Zach Duke.  The Cardinals did not extend the qualifying offer to any of the three.

The qualifying offer is for a one-year contract at $17.4 million.  Lynn has 10 days from 4pm CT on November 16, to accept or decline the offer.   Should Lynn decline, the Cardinals will receive a compensatory pick following Competitive Balance Round B in the June 2018 draft.

The 30-year old starter pitched in 2017 after missing all of 2016 due to Tommy John surgery.  Lynn finished the season with a record of 11-8 and an ERA of 3.43 in 33 starts.  Though Lynn indicated during the season that he would welcome remaining with St. Louis, the team did not engage in extension talks with the right-handed hurler.

Lynn is not expected to accept the offer, given that he has expressed the desire for a multi-year contract.

Cardinals cut ties with reliever Rosenthal

Trevor Rosenthal (USA TODAY Sports Images)

The Cardinals announced this past Monday that they have given pitcher Trevor Rosenthal his unconditional release. Next season will be Rosenthal’s final year of arbitration, eligibility and he will miss all or part of it due to Tommy John surgery.

The right-handed reliever was drafted by the Cardinals in 2009 and was paid a salary of $6.4 million in 2017.  Rosenthal made his major league debut in 2012 and ranks sixth all time in the Cardinals franchise with 121 saves.  He set the club’s single season record with 48 saves in 2015.

The Cardinals could bring Rosenthal back under a different contract structure, or allow him to seek employment elsewhere as a free agent.  Rosenthal had Tommy John surgery in August, and with an expected recovery time of 12-18 months, the right hander could miss all, or a considerable part of, next season.

Other moves made by the Cardinals include outrighting second baseman Alex Mejia and catcher Alberto Rosario off the 40 man roster.  The moves reduced the 40-man roster to 35 players.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

Giancarlo Stanton (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports Images)

The Cardinals continue to be linked to a pursuit of Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton.  Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch reported that the Cardinals are “determined” in their interest in Stanton.  Goold stated that the Cardinals are interested in other players on the Miami roster as well, including reliever Brad Ziegler.  Conversations with the Marlins are expected to continue during the GM Meetings in Orlando, FL during the coming week.  Other teams reported to be in the Stanton mix are the Giants, the Phillies and the Red Sox.

Goold also mentions in his same article on the Cardinals pursuit of Stanton that the Cardinals continue to be interested in Blue Jays infielder Josh Donaldson, though recent reports suggest the Jays are unlikely to deal him.

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports believes the Cardinals may pursue relief pitcher Greg Holland and outfielder Jay Bruce.  Holland has been mentioned previously as someone in whom the Cardinals are interested.  Heyman’s report concerning Bruce is the first mention of any link to the outfielder.

Transactions

11/6 The Cardinals activated RHP Alex Reyes from the 60 day disabled list.

11/6 The Cardinals sent 2B Alex Mejia outright to the Memphis Redbirds.

11/6 The Cardinals sent C Alberto Rosario outright to the Memphis Redbirds.

11/6 The Cardinals released RHP Trevor Rosenthal.

Injury Report

There is no injury news to report.

Looking Ahead

It was announced on Monday of this past week that the Cardinals have made a qualifying offer to pitcher Lance Lynn.  The qualifying offer is for 1 year, at a salary of $17.4 million dollars.  Lynn has 10 days to make a decision whether to accept or reject the offer.  Such decision by Lynn must be made prior to 4:00 pm CT on Thursday, November 16.   If Lynn rejects the offer, the Cardinals will get a draft pick as compensation, a pick that will occur after Competitive Balance Round B in next year’s June draft.  The Cardinals did not make qualifying offers to any of their other free agents.

Offseason awards will be given out in November.  Several of the awards have already been given out.   The following is a list of the remaining offseason awards and the dates they will be announced:

November 13          Jackie Robinson Rookies of the Year (MLB Network, 6 pm ET)

November 14          Managers of the Year (MLB Network, 6 pm ET)

November 15          Cy Young Awards (MLB Network. 6 pm ET)

November 16          Most Valuable Players (MLB Network, 6 pm ET)

November 17          Esurance MLB Awards (MLB Network)

November 20 is the deadline for teams to finalize their 40-man rosters for the upcoming Rule 5 draft in December.  Look for movement to and from the Cardinals roster between now and November 20.  That movement could include trades, as well as outrighting or releasing of existing 40 man players.

The GM Meeting begin this week in Orlando, Florida, running from Monday through Thursday.  It is expected that talks concerning a trade for Stanton, as well as others will occur during these meetings.

Blast from the Past

Last week, the history segment focused on the 1959 Cardinals.  This week, I jump ahead two decades to the 70s and showcase the 1978 club.  The 70s, like the 50s, were an indifferent decade for the franchise.  The team finished no higher than second in three seasons during the decade, and as low as fifth out of six teams in two more years, including 1978.

The 1978 Cardinals finished the season with a record of 69-93, 21 games back of the first-place Phillies.   The team had three managers during the season.  1978 began with Vern Rapp as skipper.  Rapp had been the manager for the entire 1977 season, and was very unpopular with his players.  After a seven game losing streak early in the 1978 season, Rapp was fired on April 25.  Rapp was succeeded temporarily by coach Jack Krol for two games, then former Cardinals third baseman Ken Boyer managed for the remainder of the season.  Boyer remained manager for two more seasons.  The general manager for the 1978 Cardinals was Bing Devine, who was fired at the end of the season.

The Opening Day starters were Lou Brock (LF), John Denny (SP), Keith Hernandez (1B), Jerry Morales (RF), Ken Reitz (3B), Tony Scott (CF), Ted Simmons (C), Garry Templeton (SS), and Mike Tyson (2B, not the boxer).

Ted Simmons, 1972 (Getty Images)

The longest losing streak during the season was 11 games, from May 12-23. The longest winning streak was five games, from August 5 through a doubleheader on August 8. The game with the highest winning margin was a 12-2 defeat of the Expos on April 26. The worst game was a 12-1 drubbing by the Braves on June 13. The team’s best month that season was August, when they went 18-11. Their home/road splits were 37-44 at home and 32-49 on the road.

The starting pitcher with the best record that season was Denny, who was 14-11 with an ERA of 2.96.  The best offensive performance was from catcher Ted Simmons, who had a slash line of .287/.377/.512.  Simmons hit 22 home runs, and drove in 80. (It was also announced this week that Simmons is among the Modern Era candidates for the Baseball Hall of Fame.)

First baseman Keith Hernandez won a Gold Glove.

One notable event not involving a Cardinal was a no-hitter pitched against the Cardinals on June 6 by Cincinnati Reds pitcher Tom Seaver.  It was the only no-hit performance of Seaver’s Hall of Fame career.

Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation: Cardinals Prospect Interview: Andy Young

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system.

Follow Marilyn Green on Twitter @Marilyncolor.

© 2017 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook: 11/11/17

photo: Edmundo Sosa (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Results from the Arizona Fall League Military Appreciation Game played on Saturday, November 11.

Peoria Javelinas 11 at Surprise Saguaros 10

In a slugfest on Saturday night between Surprise and Peoria, the Saguaros’ four-run lead was erased in a comeback over the final two innings by the winning Javelinas.

Two St. Louis Cardinals position players were in the starting lineup for the Saguaros.  Center fielder Oscar Mercado hit leadoff and was 1-for-5 on the night with two strikeouts.  Mercado’s lone hit was a fourth inning single, after which he stole his sixth base of the AFL season.

Mercado was involved in a scary outfield collision with right fielder and Twins prospect LaMonte Wade in the second inning as the latter’s head came into contact with the former’s hip.  Mercado was uninjured, though shaken up, and remained in the game.  Wade was carried off the field and taken to a nearby hospital with a concussion. His chest and back reportedly checked out ok. Mercado was able to catch the fly ball during the play for the out.

Here is video of the collision.

https://twitter.com/MorrieSilver8/status/929524410373033986

Edmundo Sosa (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Edmundo Sosa played second base and batted seventh, finishing 1-for-2 with fifth-inning single. The infielder also drew two walks, and came around to score on a fourth inning grand slam by teammate Nicky Lopez.  The second baseman also had a baserunning miscue when he was picked off first base in the third inning after his first free pass.

One Cardinals hurler made an appearance Saturday.  Josh Lucas pitched the ninth, and after a ground-rule double, sacrifice bunt, walk and fielders’ choice, yielded the Javelina’s winning run to take the loss, his second in the AFL.

The Saguaros setback puts their record at 11-15 with one week left in the season.  Surprise is in last place in the AFL West, four games back of the first place Javelinas.

Sunday’s game:  No game scheduled.

Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation: Cardinals AFL Prospect Interview: Oscar Mercado

Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system.

Follow Marilyn Green on Twitter @Marilyncolor.

© 2017 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook: 11/10/17

photo: Sandy Alcantara (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation

Results for the Arizona Fall League game played on Friday, November 10.

Surprise Saguaros 11 at Peoria Javelinas 5

Sandy Alcantara (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Surprise was dominant on Friday night, defeating the first-place Javelinas by the score of 11-5.  Two St. Louis Cardinals position players and two Cardinals pitchers made appearances in this contest.

Right hander Sandy Alcantara was the starting pitcher for the Saguaros. He pitched four scoreless innings, allowing only one hit while fanning four and walking none.  Alcantara was relieved Arturo Reyes.  Reyes allowed two runs on three hits in two innings of relief.  Reyes struck out two and walked one.

Andrew Knizner (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Center fielder Oscar Mercado and catcher Andrew Knizner were in the starting lineup.  Mercado hit in the two-spot and was 1-for-5 with an RBI.  The outfielder singled to plate a run in the fifth, a high scoring inning for Surprise.  Knizner also singled in a run in the same inning.  The number five hitter was 2-for-5 on the night; in addition to the RBI single, the catcher doubled in the second.

With a week left in the AFL season, Knizner is hitting .333 with three home runs and 11 RBI.  Mercado is batting .261 with eight RBI and five steals in five attempts.

Alcantara has a record of 1-2 and an ERA of 4.20 in the AFL season to date.  Reyes’ AFL ERA is 6.23.

Surprise is 11-14 and tied with the Glendale Desert Dogs, three games back of the Javelinas in the AFL West.

Saturday’s game:  vs. Peoria, Tyler Davis (1-0, 2.25) 7:08 CT.

Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation: Cardinals AFL Prospect Interview: Oscar Mercado

Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system.

Follow Marilyn Green on Twitter @Marilyncolor.

© 2017 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Cardinals MLB Notebook: Week of October 30-November 5

photo: 1959 St. Louis Cardinals

Molina to head Puerto Rican team

Yadier Molina (USA TODAY Sports Images)

The online Puerto Rican publication Primerhora.com reports that St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina has been named by the Puerto Rico Baseball Federation to head its U23 National Team.  The team will play in the premundial category tournament from November 23 to December 3 in Panama.

Molina will be supported by World Cup coaches Jose Cruz, Jose Molina, and Victor Ramos.  A list of players has not yet been published, but the roster will have 22 players, 75% of whom will be active major and minor leaguers.  The remainder will be amateurs.

Molina will be in charge of selecting the players and obtaining the necessary permits from the players’ current organizations.  He will also pay for the trip and the accommodations for each player.  Molina has arranged for the team to train at the Cardinals’ Spring Training facility in Jupiter, Florida.

Update: Among the players participating is Cardinals shortstop prospect Delvin Perez.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

Peter Gammons of Gammons Daily reported that the Cardinals have made “one of their best young pitchers” available for a possible trade for Marlins’ outfielder Giancarlo Stanton.  Stanton’s remaining contract with the Marlins is sizeable, and Gammons stated that the Cardinals would expect the Marlins ownership to retain the payment of some of the money owed Stanton if the Cardinals were to trade a top prospect.

Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals are looking at the free agent market for a closer and the club has reached out to agents of several free agent relievers as yet unnamed. Free agent relievers available include Greg Holland, Anthony Swarzak, Bryan Shaw, and Juan Nicasio. Nicasio, who was acquired by the Cardinals in September from the Philadelphia Phillies, is now a free agent.  Also available are Wade Davis and Brandon Kintzler, already established closers.

Transactions

11/2: Pitchers Juan Nicasio, Seung-Hwan-Oh, Lance Lynn, and Zach Duke all elected free agency.

Injury Report

There is no injury news to report.

Looking Ahead

On November 2, all pending free agents became eligible to elect free agency.  Four Cardinals pitchers have elected free agency.  They are Juan Nicacio, Lance Lynn, Seung-Hwan Oh, and Zach Duke.   A quiet period, where teams can enter into discussions with their pending free agents about extensions, ends at 4 pm CST on Monday, November 6.  Other teams are prohibited during this period from negotiating with or entering into contracts with another team’s free agents.  During this quiet period, teams may make their free agents a qualifying offer, which is valued at about $17.4 million dollars for a one-year contract.  Free agents have ten days following the conclusion of the quiet period to accept or reject the qualifying offer.  It has been reported that the Cardinals are unlikely to make a qualifying offer to any of the four free agent pitchers, though the possibility remains for Lynn.

Offseason awards will be given out in November.  The following is a list of the offseason awards and the dates they will be announced:

November 6           BBWAA Awards Finalists announced on MLB Network

November 7            Rawlings Gold Glove Awards (ESPN, 9 pm ET)

November 9            Louisville Silver Slugger Awards (MLB Network, 6 pm ET)

November 10          Wilson Defensive Players of the Year (MLB Network, 6 pm ET)

November 13          Jackie Robinson Rookies of the Year (MLB Network, 6 pm ET)

November 14          Managers of the Year (MLB Network, 6 pm ET)

November 15          Cy Young Awards (MLB Network. 6 pm ET)

November 16          Most Valuable Players (MLB Network, 6 pm ET)

November 17          Esurance MLB Awards (MLB Network)

November 20 is the deadline for teams to finalize their 40-man rosters for the upcoming Rule 5 Draft on December 14.  Look for movement to and from the Cardinals roster between now and November 20.  That movement could include trades, as well as outrighting or releasing of existing 40-man players.

Also coming up in November are the GM Meetings, scheduled for November 13-16 in Orlando Florida.

Blast from the Past

In past history segments, the author has written articles based on current events occurring during the week.  Now that the baseball season has concluded, this and future history segments during the offseason will often be based on past Cardinals’ teams chosen at random.

The segment this week has a connection to me.  I recently celebrated a birthday, and thus have chosen the year of my birth, 1959, as the focus this week.

The 1959 St. Louis Cardinals played in the 78th season of the Cardinals’ franchise.   The team finished the season with a record of 71-83, which put them seventh in the National League (there were no divisions in 1959).  The National League pennant and World Series winner that year was the Los Angeles Dodgers; the Cardinals finished 16 games back.

Solly Hemus

The manager of the 1959 Cardinals was Solly Hemus.  Hemus began as player-manager, but was released as a player in mid-June of that year.  The General Manager was Bing Devine and the team was owned by August (Gussie) Busch Jr.

Among the players from that team who should be familiar to Cardinals’ fans are infielder Stan Musial, pitcher Bob Gibson, and catcher Tim McCarver.  It was McCarver’s rookie year; he did not make his MLB debut until September 10 at the age of 17 (and he turned 18 a month later).  Other familiar names are Ernie Broglio (who was later traded to the Cubs for Lou Brock), Ken Boyer, and Curt Flood.

The Opening Day starter in 1959 was Larry Jackson.  The top MVP vote getter on the team was third baseman Ken Boyer, who placed 10th in the voting.  Boyer led the team in home runs with 28, and RBI with 94.  Jackson finished the season with a record of 14-13 and an ERA of 3.30 over his 256 innings.

Notable games in the 1959 season included a pair of 11-1 blowouts of the Chicago Cubs and the Pittsburgh Pirates, on May 9 and May 20, respectively.  The worst losses were a 11-0 defeat at the hands of the Philadelphia Phillies on July 9, and a 18-2 drubbing by the Pirates on August 6.

The longest losing streak in that season was seven games from August 18 through August 25.  The team had four four-game winning streaks in that season.

Boyer won a Gold Glove, one of his five Gold Gloves in all, four of which were consecutive, from 1958 through 1961.

Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation: Cardinals Winter Pitchers Report: 2017-2018 Period 2

Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system.

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© 2017 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook: 11/4/17

photo: Jordan Hicks, Sandy Alcantara, Andrew Knizner (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

AFL West 2 at AFL East 4

The Arizona Fall League Fall All Stars Game was played on Saturday night at Salt River Fields and in front of a national audience on MLB Network.  The AFL West team was defeated by the AFL East squad by the score of 4-2, powered by a three-run East comeback in the bottom of the eighth.

Sandy Alcantara (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Two Cardinals appeared for the West.

On the pitching side, St. Louis Cardinals prospect Sandy Alcantara pitched two innings in relief of the starting pitcher for the AFL West, Mitch Keller.  Alcantara kept the East off the board over the third and fourth innings.  The right hander struck out two and walked none, while allowing two hits, a single and a double.

(Editor’s note: Alcantara showed at least three different pitches, a fastball in the 98-99 mph range,  his plus change up and slider. The hard-hit double into the left field corner in the third came on a fastball thrown to Baltimore third baseman Ryan Mountcastle, the East’s number three hitter. In his second inning of work, after I had moved from the guns to taking photos, Alcantara reportedly threw a 100 mph offering.)

Cardinals pitcher Jordan Hicks did not appear in the contest.

Catcher Andrew Knizner was not in the starting lineup, but became the defensive substitution for starting catcher Max Pentecost in the bottom of the sixth inning.  Knizner had one plate appearance, in the top of the ninth inning, and grounded out.

Sunday’s game:  No game scheduled.

Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation: Cardinals Winter Pitchers Report: 2017-2018 Period 2

Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system.

Follow Marilyn Green on Twitter @Marilyncolor.

© 2017 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook: 11/3/17

photo: Arturo Reyes (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Results for the Arizona Fall League game played on Friday, November 3.

Surprise Saguaros 4, Salt River Rafters 1

Oscar Mercado (Springfield Cardinals)

The Saguaros defeated the Rafters on Friday with the help of six Cardinal prospects.  Four position players were in the starting lineup, and two pitchers made appearances out of the bullpen.  Three of the four Saguaros runs were driven in by Cardinals.

Oscar Mercado, playing center field and batting third, went 1-for-4 with two RBI.  Mercado’s fifth inning single drove in two after the ball caromed off the third baseman and traveled into left field.  Andrew Knizner started as the Surprise catcher and batted clean up.  Knizner launched a solo home run in the eighth inning for his only hit of the game.  He fanned once in four at-bats.

Edmundo Sosa batted in the seventh spot and played third base.  Sosa was 2-for-4 and scored a run.  John Nogowski played first base and hit in the eight hole. Nogowski was 1-for-3 including a strikeout.

Arturo Reyes (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Josh Lucas and Arturo Reyes pitched the eighth and ninth innings respectively.  Both pitchers tossed scoreless innings with identical lines of one hit allowed and one strikeout.  Reyes earned his first AFL save with Lucas receiving a hold, also his first in the league.

Knizner, along with pitchers Sandy Alcantara and Jordan Hicks, will represent the Cardinals and the West Division in the AFL Fall Stars Game, to be played on Saturday night and televised on MLB Network.

Saturday’s game:  The 2017 AFL Fall Stars Game will take place at Salt River Fields at 7:00 CT.

Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation: Cardinals Winter Hitters Report: 2018-2019 Period 2

Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system.

Follow Marilyn Green on Twitter @Marilyncolor.

© 2017 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Cardinals MLB Notebook: Week of October 23-29

photo: David Freese (USA TODAY Sports Images)

As the World Series continues, the St. Louis Cardinals filled their coaching staff for 2018 and Yadier Molina has again placed among the top three for the Gold Glove Award.  In our history feature, the unforgettable Game 6 of the 2011 World Series is remembered.

Molina repeats as Gold Glove Award finalist

Once again in his distinguished career, St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina has been named one of three finalists for the Rawlings National League Gold Glove Award for catcher.  The annual award will be given out during a televised award show on November 7, at 8 p.m. CT on ESPN.

Yadier Molina (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Molina was a finalist in 2016, but lost out to Giants catcher Buster Posey.  That loss broke a string of eight consecutive awards over Molina’s career.  For the prestigious award, Molina is once again among the top three scorers with Posey, as well as Reds’ catcher Tucker Barnhart joining them this year.

Should the catcher win his ninth Gold Glove Award, he will move into a tie with Bob Gibson for the second most Gold Gloves in Cardinals’ franchise history.  Ozzie Smith has the most Gold Gloves as a Cardinal with 11.  Only two catchers in history have more Gold Gloves than Molina – Ivan Rodriguez with 13 and Johnny Bench with 10.

The very durable 35-year old backstop logged 1,125 2/3 innings behind the plate in 2017, the eighth time in the last nine seasons Molina has caught more than 1,100 innings.  His 133 starts led all Major League catchers.  His 36% caught stealing rate was third among NL catchers with at least 100 games played.

The award is voted on by managers and coaches, with 25% of the rating being a sabermetric component established as an index by the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).  Molina’s Defensive Runs Saved for 2017 was a +3, which is considerably lower than the +21 compiled by his competition, Tucker Barnhart.  Barnhart did catch 200 fewer innings than Molina.

The winner of the Gold Glove at each position are then eligible for the Platinum Glove, which recognizes the best defensive player in each league.  Molina has won the Platinum Glove four times – in 2011, 2012, 2014, and 2015.

Cardinals fill coaching staff

The Cardinals announced four additions to manager Mike Matheny’s coaching staff this past week.  Three of the four coaches are internal hires, with one coming from outside the organization.

Mike Maddux (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Mike Maddux, former pitching coach for the Brewers, Rangers and Nationals, was hired to replace the dismissed Derek Lilliquist.  To replace the also dismissed Blaise Ilsley as bullpen coach, the Cardinals promoted Bryan Eversgerd.

Maddux, 56, was the pitching coach for the Washington Nationals for the last two seasons, but was dismissed along with manager Dusty Baker following the Nationals loss in NLDS.  The availability of Maddux became known after the Cardinals had already dismissed Lilliquist, and had reportedly interviewed former Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey.  Maddux was the pitching coach for the Texas Rangers from 2009-2015, including during the Rangers’ infamous loss to the Cardinals in the 2011 World Series.  Prior to the Rangers, Maddux was the pitching coach for the Milwaukee Brewers from 2003-2008.  Maddux is the brother of Hall of Fame pitcher Greg Maddux.

Bryan Eversgerd (St. Louis Cardinals)

Eversgerd, 48, has been the pitching coach for the Memphis Redbirds for the past five seasons.  He also coached for the Springfield Cardinals, and several of the Cardinals’ Class A affiliates.  Eversgerd was a major league pitcher from 1994 to 1998.  His major league career began and ended with the Cardinals, during 1994 and 1998 seasons. In between, Eversgerd played for the Montreal Expos in 1995, and the Texas Rangers in 1997.

Jose Oquendo (USA TODAY Sports Images)

In addition to Maddux and Eversgerd, the Cardinals sought and obtained the return of Jose Oquendo as third base coach, and have added former outfielder and Cardinals Hall of Famer Willie McGee to Matheny’s coaching staff.

Oquendo’s return to the third base coaching position follows a two year stint away from Matheny’s staff.  Oquendo took a leave of absence in March 2016 after multiple knee surgeries.  The former St. Louis infielder remained employed by the organization, serving as a special assistant to the GM, working with minor league players at the Cardinals spring training facility in Florida for the past two seasons.  Before his two-year absence, Oquendo spent 16 years on the Cardinals’ coaching staff, and played for St. Louis during the majority of his 12 season major league career.

Willie McGee (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

McGee, 58, played 13 of his 18 major league seasons as an outfielder for the Cardinals.  He was hired as a special assistant to the GM in 2013, has been a regular guest instructor at Cardinals’ Spring Training, and made visits to assist with instruction of the major league team.  McGee has not been given an official title as a member of Matheny’s staff.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.

Transactions

There are no new transactions to report.

Injury Report

There is no injury news to report.

Looking Ahead

The World Series continues, with Game 5 to be played in Houston on Sunday night, then moving to Los Angeles for Game 6 on Tuesday.  What to expect once the World Series concludes, follows.

Lance Lynn (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Pending free agents officially enter free agency at 9 a.m. EST on the day following the end of the World Series.  A quiet period follows, when teams can enter into discussions with their pending free agents about extensions. Other teams are prohibited during this period, which lasts five days, from negotiating with or entering into contracts with, another team’s free agents.  During this quiet period, teams may make their free agents a qualifying offer, which is valued at $17.4 million dollars for a one-year contract.  Free agents have ten days following the conclusion of the quiet period to accept or reject the qualifying offer.

The Cardinals free agents are Lance Lynn, Juan Nicasio, Zach Duke, and Seung-Hwan Oh.  The Cardinals are reported to be considering making the qualifying offer only to Lynn.

Offseason awards will be given out in November.  The following is a list of the offseason awards and the dates they will be announced:

November 6           BBWAA Awards Finalists announced on MLB Network

November 7            Rawlings Gold Glove Awards (ESPN, 9 pm ET)

November 9            Louisville Silver Slugger Awards (MLB Network, 6 pm ET)

November 10          Wilson Defensive Players of the Year (MLB Network, 6 pm ET)

November 13          Jackie Robinson Rookies of the Year (MLB Network, 6 pm ET)

November 14          Managers of the Year (MLB Network, 6 pm ET)

November 15          Cy Young Awards (MLB Network. 6 pm ET)

November 16          Most Valuable Players (MLB Network, 6 pm ET)

November 17          Esurance MLB Awards (MLB Network)

Also coming up in November are the GM Meetings, scheduled for November 13-16 in Orlando Florida.

Blast from the Past

This week’s history segment goes back only a short time, but marks an event that will likely be one of the greatest, if not the greatest, World Series game in MLB history.  Saturday, October 28, marked the sixth anniversary of Game 6 of the 2011 World Series between the Cardinals and the Texas Rangers.

That Game 6, the greatest Game 6, was won by the Cardinals by a score of 10-9 after four hours and 33 minutes of head scratching errors, pickoffs, wild pitches and passed balls, plus finger-nail biting, hair-pulling stress, never before experienced by any major league baseball team (or at the very least by this writer).

The Cardinals were down three games to two coming into Game 6.  The game was tied 2-2 in the fourth inning when the fun started.   A pop fly unbelievably fell between Cardinals shortstop Rafael Furcal and outfielder Matt Holliday.  Then a grounder to the mound was airmailed over second base by Cardinals reliever Fernando Salas.  An RBI single by Mike Napoli put the Rangers in the lead, and Cardinal Nation groaned.  Fortunately, the Rangers couldn’t tack on any more in that inning despite the St. Louis defense looking like the Keystone Cops on steroids.

David Freese (USA TODAY Sports Images)

The Texas defense wasn’t much better, which kept St. Louis in the game. Yadier Molina grounded out in the bottom of the fourth to tie the score.  Cardinals third baseman David Freese decided the previous inning’s follies weren’t enough, and took a popup off his head for another error just to prove it.  The Rangers took a one run lead again in the fifth when a double scored the runner who reached on the botched popup.

The Cardinals re-tied the score in the sixth inning because the Rangers’ pitcher went aiming for Yadier Molina’s face and walked him to force in a run via a bases loaded walk.  Maybe another bases loaded run would have occurred on a wild pitch had Matt Holliday not decided to take a nap at third base; you guessed it, he was picked off.

The Rangers took a two-run lead in the seventh via home runs, which made Lance Lynn unhappy.  Octavio Dotel was unhappy when the lead was increased to three runs by Ian Kinsler.   Everyone was sure the Rangers were the World Series winners – almost everyone, that is.  The intrepid Cardinals weren’t going to let defense and baserunning bungling ruin a perfectly good World Series game.

So Allen Craig did his Allen Craig thing and hit a home run.  The Cardinals were only losing by two, but it became the ninth inning and things looked bleak.  Albert Pujols doubled.  Lance Berkman walked.  Then there were two outs and David Freese came to the plate, the popup to the head guy.  Down to his last strike, he hit a line drive to right, and Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz thought he saw something whiz past him, but he wasn’t sure.  Too late; it was a game-tying triple.  David Freese forgot the popup to his head.

So extra innings happened.  Josh Hamilton hit a two-run home run and the Rangers took their lead back.  Again, it looked like the Rangers had won the World Series.  Nuh-uh.  In the home 10th, Daniel Descalso and Jon Jay reached base.  Kyle Lohse bunted.  Ryan Theriot grounded out and Descalso came home.  Albert Pujols was sent to first base because the Rangers were afraid of him.  They should have been afraid of Lance Berkman instead.  With the final strike of the game just moments away for the second time, Berkman singled to tie the game.  Again.

The Rangers didn’t score in the top of the 11th.  Popup guy came to bat in the bottom of the 11th.  He hit a home run to the grass in center field and Joe Buck told everyone listening that he would see them tomorrow night.  Chaos ensued.  Clothing was ripped off popup guy.  There was much rejoicing.  Tim McCarver didn’t understand how it all happened.

Game 7 came and the Rangers just didn’t have it in them.  The rest is history.  Glorious history.

(Editor’s note: Former ESPN scribe Anna McDonald recently published a series of articles consisting of extensive quotes from the newsmakers of the 2011 World Series. I encourage you to read them all, but here is the specific link to her Game 6 quotes.)

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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook: 10/28/17

photo: Sandy Alcantara (Springfield Cardinals FANatic Photos)

Results for the Arizona Fall League game played on Saturday, October 28.

Surprise Saguaros 3, Scottsdale Scorpions 11

Sandy Alcantara (USA TODAY Sports Images)

The Saguaros dropped a laugher to the Scorpions on Saturday. Surprise starter and Cardinal Sandy Alcantara was the losing pitcher.  The right-hander gave up three runs on four hits, including a two run home run, in four innings pitched.  Alcantara struck out seven and walked two, hit a batter and threw a wild pitch. He suffered his second loss in the AFL, while his ERA grew to 5.73.

Pitching in relief were Cardinals Arturo Reyes and Josh Lucas.  Reyes pitched one inning following Alcantara, and surrendered one run on a hit and a walk. Reyes fanned a pair. Josh Lucas pitched a scoreless ninth with one hit allowed.

Andrew Knizner (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Three Cardinals hitters were in the starting lineup.  Andrew Knizner batted cleanup as the DH, and was 1-for-4 with an RBI, his 10th in 10 AFL games.  Oscar Mercado started in center and hit in the two hole, going 0-for-5, including a strikeout.  Edmundo Sosa, playing second base, batted ninth and was 1-for-4 with a strikeout.  Knizner’s and Sosa’s hits were singles.

The Saguaros fell to 7-9 in the AFL West. They remain tied with the Glendale Desert Dogs, with both teams three games back of the Peoria Javelinas.

Sunday’s game:  No game scheduled.

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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook: 10/27/17

photo: Andrew Knizner (Springfield Cardinals FANatic Photos)

Results for the Arizona Fall League game played on Friday, October 27.

Surprise Saguaros 5 at Scottsdale Scorpions 6

Andrew Knizner (USA TODAY Sports Images)

The Saguaros lost another close contest on Friday against the Scottsdale Scorpions.  Two Cardinals appeared in this game.

Andrew Knizner, last week’s AFL Player of the Week, started at first base, hitting third in the lineup.  Knizner went 1-for-4 with two RBI.  A third inning single by the first sacker with two outs brought two runs home for Surprise, and tied the game.  A throwing error by Knizner in the sixth put a runner on, but no harm was done as that runner did not score.

Knizner is batting .351 in AFL action with two home runs and nine RBI in nine games.

John Nogowski (Sioux City Explorers)

Taxi squad player John Nogowski was Surprise’s designated hitter. The fifth-place batter went 0-for-4, with a line out, two fly outs and a damaging ground into double play in the eighth inning. Down one run in the eighth, Surprise had three singles, but could not tie the score. In addition to the double play, a Saguaros runner was thrown out at home.

None of the Cardinals four pitchers saw action.

The Saguaros are 7-8 in the AFL West, tied with Glendale, and two games behind Peoria.

Saturday’s game:  vs. Scottsdale, Sandy Alcantara (0-1, 5.14) 1:35 CT.

Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation: Potential Price of “Pouncing” on Free Agent Greg Holland

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Cardinals MLB Notebook: Week of October 16-22

photo: David Bell (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports Images)

Bench coach David Bell departs

St. Louis Cardinals bench coach David Bell has left the organization to become Vice President for Player Development for the San Francisco Giants.

David Bell (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Bell served as the Cardinals bench coach for the past three seasons and was the assistant hitting coach in 2014.  Before joining the organization, the 45-year old spent one season as the third base coach for the Chicago Cubs.  Bell began his coaching career in the Cincinnati Reds’ minor league system.

Bell played four seasons for the Cardinals from 1995-1998 as a bench infielder.  His career in the majors totaled 12 years, including one season with the Giants.  Bell also played for Cleveland, Seattle, Philadelphia and Milwaukee.

Bell’s father and grandfather were also major league players.  His brother, Mike Bell, was a third baseman for a short time with the Cincinnati Reds, while his father Buddy Bell, played for the Reds from 1985-1988, and also had seasons with Cleveland, Texas, and Houston.  Buddy Bell managed from 1996 to 2007 with the Tigers, the Rockies, and the Royals, and currently serves as Vice President and Assistant General Manager for the White Sox.

The departure of Bell leaves three coaching positions open for 2018.  The Cardinals previously released pitching coach Derek Lilliquist and bullpen coach Blaise Ilsley.  The search to replace all three is ongoing.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

The Cardinals are reportedly interested in former Tampa Bays pitching coach Jim Hickey as a replacement for Lilliquist.  The Cubs have also been reported to be interested in hiring Hickey following the dismissal of pitching coach Chris Bosio.  Hickey is scheduled to interview with the Cubs on Monday.

St. Louis President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak has declined to offer specifics regarding any pursuit of Hickey or the search for a pitching coach other than to say he would like to complete the search by the end of the month.

Transactions

There are no new transactions to report.

Injury Report

There is no new injury news to report.

Looking Ahead

The World Series is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, October 24.  The series pits the Houston Astros against the Los Angeles Dodgers in a best of seven.  The Dodgers have home field advantage in the series, thus Games 1 and 2 will be played in Los Angeles.  Once the World Series concludes, the offseason officially begins.

Pending free agents officially enter free agency at 9 a.m. EST on the day following the end of the World Series.  What follows is a quiet period, where teams can enter into discussions with their pending free agents about extensions. Other teams are prohibited during this period, which lasts five days, from negotiating with or entering into contracts with another team’s free agents.  During this quiet period, teams may make their free agents a qualifying offer, which is valued at about $17.4 million dollars for a one-season contract.  Free agents have ten days following the conclusion of the quiet period, to accept or reject the qualifying offer.

Cardinals free agents are Lance Lynn, Juan Nicasio, Zach Duke, and Seung-Hwan Oh.  The Cardinals are reported to be considering the qualifying offer only for Lynn.

Offseason awards will be given out in November.  The following is a list of the offseason awards and the dates they will be announced:

October 26             Rawlings Gold Glove Finalists announced on Twitter

November 6           BBWAA Awards Finalists announced on MLB Network

November 7            Rawlings Gold Glove Awards (ESPN, 9 pm ET)

November 9            Louisville Silver Slugger Awards (MLB Network, 6 pm ET)

November 10          Wilson Defensive Players of the Year (MLB Network, 6 pm ET)

November 13          Jackie Robinson Rookies of the Year (MLB Network, 6 pm ET)

November 14          Managers of the Year (MLB Network, 6 pm ET)

November 15          Cy Young Awards (MLB Network. 6 pm ET)

November 16          Most Valuable Players (MLB Network, 6 pm ET)

November 17          Esurance MLB Awards (MLB Network)

Also coming up in November are the GM Meetings, scheduled for November 13-16 in Orlando Florida.

Blast from the Past

The World Series is set to begin on Tuesday, with a matchup between the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Last week, the history segment focused on the NLCS and the Cardinals franchise history with respect to it.  This week I will take a look at the Cardinals in the World Series.

As most fans reading this know, the Cardinals have 11 World Series titles in franchise history, the most of any National League team, and the second most of any MLB team.  Only the New York Yankees have more, with 27 titles to their name.

The first World Series title occurred in 1926.  That series was played against the aforementioned New York Yankees, who the Cardinals defeated four games to three.  That Cardinals team featured player-manager Rogers Hornsby, as well as pitchers Grover Cleveland Alexander, aka “Pete” and Jesse “Pop” Haines.  Also on that team was future St. Louis manager Billy Southworth.  The most famous Yankees to play in that series were Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.  Ruth hit three home runs in Game 4, a record that has only been matched four times since.  Ironically, that includes 2011, when Albert Pujols hit three home runs for the Cardinals in Game 3.

The Cardinals won World Series titles 10 more times, in 1931, 1934, 1942, 1944, 1946, 1964, 1967, 1982, 2006, and 2011.  In addition, the Cardinals lost the Series eight additional times, in 1928, 1930, 1943, 1968, 1985, 1987, 2004, and 2013.

The Cardinals played the Yankees in the World Series five times, the most of any other team, with the Cardinals winning three.  Boston was the next most common opponent; the Cardinals played them four times, most recently in 2013.  The Cardinals defeated Boston in 1946 and 1967.  The Cardinals played Detroit three times, and Philadelphia twice, defeating Detroit in 1934 and 2006, and Philadelphia in 1931.

The Cardinals have never swept a World Series opponent, but were swept themselves twice, by the Yankees in 1928, and by Boston in 2004.

Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation: Cardinals Bring Back Trio of Minor League Free Agents

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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook: 10/20/17

photo: Andrew Knizner (Springfield Cardinals FANatic Photos)

Results for the Arizona Fall League game played on Friday, October 20.

Surprise Saguaros 6 at Mesa Solar Sox 7

Andrew Knizner (USA TODAY Sports Images)

The Saguaros dropped a tough one in Mesa on Friday night.  The Cardinals’ lone position player in the starting lineup made his presence known.  Catcher Andrew Knizner hit two long balls, his first of the AFL campaign.  The number five hitter began with a two-run shot in the fourth inning, followed by a solo shot in the sixth.  Knizner was 2-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored, raising his AFL average to .393. Knizner did make a miscue in the field, a passed ball in the sixth inning, his second.

Two Cardinals hurlers saw action.  Arturo Reyes pitched a 1-2-3 fifth inning of relief, receiving his second hold. The right-hander has now tossed six scoreless AFL innings on three hits, no walks and four strikeouts. Jordan Hicks did not fare well in his ninth inning outing. Ask to protect a three-run lead, he gave up four runs on three hits and two walks. The right-hander took the loss for the Saguaros on a walk-off triple with two out.

The Saguaros fell to 4-6, two games back of Peoria in the AFL West.

Saturday’s game:  No game scheduled.  The Bowman Hitting Challenge will take place at 7:35 CT in Mesa. Participants have not yet been announced. On Monday, Surprise will host Salt River.

Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation: Bilardello on Palm Beach’s Title-Winning Offense

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Cardinals MLB Notebook: Week of October 9-15

photo: Greg Holland (Russell Lansford/USA TODAY Sports Images)

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

Greg Holland (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images)

Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported that the Cardinals plan to pursue right handed pitcher Greg Holland, once he declines his player option for 2018 in his contract with the Colorado Rockies.  Holland is expected to decline the option and test free agency, as reported by FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman.

The Cardinals are reportedly in search of a closer, and Holland, one year removed from Tommy John surgery, posted 41 saves in his all-star 2017 with the Rockies, his third all-star selection. The others were with the Kansas City Royals.  Holland, age 32 next season, is represented by agent Scott Boras, so the price tag will likely be high.

Transactions

There are no new transactions to report.

Injury Report

There is no injury news to report.

Looking Ahead

The Championship Series in both leagues is now underway.  The World Series will follow beginning on October 24.  At the conclusion of the World Series, the offseason activity will officially begin.

Pending free agents officially enter free agency at 9 a.m. EST on the day following the end of the World Series.  A quiet period follows, when teams can enter into discussions with their pending free agents about extensions. Other teams are prohibited during this period, which lasts five days, from negotiating with or entering into contracts with, another team’s free agents.  During this quiet period, teams may make their free agents a qualifying offer, which is valued at about $17.4 million dollars for a one-year contract.  Offered free agents have ten days following the conclusion of the quiet period to accept or reject the qualifying offer.

The Cardinals free agents are Lance Lynn, Juan Nicasio, Zach Duke, and Seung-Hwan Oh.  The Cardinals are reported to be considering the qualifying offer only to Lynn. Nicasio has expressed a desire to return.

Offseason awards will be given out in November.  The following is a list of the awards and announce dates:

October 26             Rawlings Gold Glove Finalists announced on Twitter

November 6           BBWAA Awards Finalists announced on MLB Network

November 7            Rawlings Gold Glove Awards (ESPN, 9 pm ET)

November 9            Louisville Silver Slugger Awards (MLB Network, 6 pm ET)

November 10          Wilson Defensive Players of the Year (MLB Network, 6 pm ET)

November 13          Jackie Robinson Rookies of the Year (MLB Network, 6 pm ET)

November 14          Managers of the Year (MLB Network, 6 pm ET)

November 15          Cy Young Awards (MLB Network. 6 pm ET)

November 16          Most Valuable Players (MLB Network, 6 pm ET)

November 17          Esurance MLB Awards (MLB Network)

Also coming up in November are the GM Meetings, scheduled for November 13-16 in Orlando, Florida.

Blast from the Past

In last week’s Notebook, I discussed the League Division Series in MLB, and the Cardinals’ history in it.  This week’s subject is the League Championship Series.  The current ALCS and NLCS are underway, with the Dodgers and the Cubs playing in the NLCS, and the Astros opposing the Yankees in the ALCS.

The League Championship Series officially began in 1969. In that year, both leagues expanded from 10 teams each to 12.  Added were the Montreal Expos and San Diego Padres in the National League, and the Kansas City Royals and Seattle Pilots in the American League.   The Seattle Pilots were the precursor to the current Milwaukee Brewers, who are now in the National League.  With the expansion to 12 teams, the Leagues were divided in two divisions, the Eastern and the Western.

The LCS was originally a best of five series, in the 2-3 format.  In 1985, it was expanded to the current best of seven, in the 2-3-2 format.  When the League Division Series was added in 1995, the LCS matched the winners of the LDS in each league.  As of 2017, all 30 MLB teams have played in the LCS at least once.

It took 13 years for the Cardinals to reach their first LCS, but since then, they have appeared in 13 different LCS, winning seven – in 1982, 1985, 1987, 2004, 2006, 2011, and 2013.  Three World Series titles came from those seven wins.  The Cardinals were eliminated in the 1996, 2000, 2002, 2005, 2012, and 2014 LCS.

The team the Cardinals played most often in the NLCS is the San Francisco Giants, the opponent four times.  The Cardinals won only once, in seven games in 1987.

Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation: 2017 TCN Cardinals Rookie Player of the Year

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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook: 10/14/17

photo: Andrew Knizner (Springfield Cardinals FANatic Photos)

Results for the Arizona Fall League game played on Saturday, October 14.

Surprise Saguaros 11, Scottsdale Scorpions 1

Andrew Knizner (USA TODAY Sports Images)

The Saguaros walloped the Scorpions in Scottsdale on Saturday night, giving Surprise their second win of the early AFL season against three losses.

Three Cardinals position players saw action in the game, with Oscar Mercado and Andrew Knizner in the starting lineup, and Edmundo Sosa making a later appearance.  Mercado had two plate appearances in the game and was hitless.  The designated hitter and third-place hitter lined out and grounded out in the first and third innings, respectively, and was replaced by a pinch hitter in the fifth.

Edmundo Sosa (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Knizner started at first base, and was 1-for-4.  The cleanup hitter drove in two Surprise runs in the seventh on a ground ball single to right field.  Sosa was a defensive replacement at shortstop in the sixth inning and had two plate appearances.  The shortstop singled in both, with an infield single in the seventh and a line drive single to right field in the ninth.

No Cardinals pitchers saw action on Saturday.

Sunday’s game:  No game scheduled.

Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation: 2017 TCN Cardinals Rookie Player of the Year

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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook: 10/13/17

photo: Arturo Reyes (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Results for the Arizona Fall League game played on Friday, October 13.

Surprise Saguaros 6, Glendale Desert Dogs 7

Arturo Reyes (USA TODAY Sports Images)

The Saguaros (1-3) fell to the Desert Dogs in a one run loss on Friday.  Cardinals outfielder Oscar Mercado and third baseman Edmundo Sosa saw action in the starting lineup.  Third place hitter Mercado went 2-for-5, with singles in the first and sixth innings. Sosa got his only hit from the eight hole in the sixth, an RBI single.

Jordan Hicks, Arturo Reyes, and Josh Lucas made appearances out of the bullpen for Surprise.  Hicks pitched the fifth and sixth innings and gave up two runs on three hits, while fanning one and issuing no walks.  Reyes tossed a 1-2-3 seventh inning with two strikeouts.  Lucas took the ninth and allowed a run on one hit. Surprise came back with a run in the ninth, but fell just short.

No other Cardinals saw action.

Saturday’s game:  at Scottsdale, Zach Lovvorn (0-0, 0.00) 7:35 CT

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Cardinals MLB Notebook: Week of October 2-8

photo: Jose Martinez (Aaron Doster/USA TODAY Sports Images)

Offseason includes pursuit of impact bat

During the annual after-season press conference, held on Tuesday, President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak and GM Michael Girsch, outlined the team’s plans for the offseason.  The need for an impact bat in the lineup has often been mentioned as the major area of improvement for the team.  Both Mozeliak and Girsch indicated that the search for the impact hitter will occur this offseason.

Mozeliak did not specify in where that bat would be slotted, only that the lone position on the field with an occupant set in stone is catcher, where Yadier Molina is under contract for three more years.  Mozeliak added that the Cardinals have the flexibility to seek that impact player through both free agency and trade.

Because the Cardinals have not had a draft pick high enough in the draft to fill that hitting spot from within the organization, going outside appears to be the only option.  The organization had seen Oscar Taveras as the possible successor to Albert Pujols, but his untimely death in 2014 left a hole still to be filled.

Adding that impact bat is not the sole goal for the Cardinals offseason, however.  Shoring up the back end of the bullpen, especially in the ninth inning role, and rotation depth, are also needs Mozeliak and Girsch see.  The closer role could be filled internally by allowing a current pitcher to grow into it, or through free agency or trade.

Dexter Fowler (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Topics also covered at the press conference included where Dexter Fowler might fit in the outfield in 2018.  Mozeliak indicated Fowler was never guaranteed that he would play center field for the Cardinals for the duration of his contract, and a move to a corner spot was not ruled out.  Fowler’s defensive numbers were not good during his first season as the Redbirds center fielder.  Injuries may have contributed some to Fowler’s defensive struggles, but the outfielder has never had better than average numbers at best in center field in his career.

The Cardinals have four pending free agents, all pitchers.  Mozeliak stated that the Cardinals are still weighing the decision as to whether to make a qualifying offer to Lance Lynn.  The qualifying offer is set at around $18.1 million dollars for 2018.  In addition to Lynn, Juan Nicasio, Seung-Hwan Oh, and Zach Duke are all pending free agents.  September closer Nicasio has indicated his desire to remain with St. Louis.  There has been no indication that the Cardinals are interested in retaining either Oh or Duke.

Pitching coaches Lilliquist and Ilsley out

It was announced at Tuesday’s press conference that the contracts of pitching coach Derek Lilliquist and bullpen coach Blaise Ilsley are not being renewed for the 2018 season.  The reason was stated as a desire to change philosophy and approach to managing the pitching staff.  The rest of the current coaching staff is slated to return in 2018.

Brent Lilliquist (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Lilliquist had been in the Cardinals organization for 16 years, with the last six as the major league pitching coach.  He succeeded Dave Duncan, who retired as the pitching coach at the end of the 2011 season.  Lilliquist filled various roles within the minor league organization prior to moving up.

Ilsley joined the Cardinals in 2001, and became the Cardinals’ bullpen coach in 2012.  Ilsley spent the previous five years as the pitching coach of the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds.

Mozeliak indicated the Cardinals seek a pitching coach more willing to utilize advanced metrics and data compiled by front office staff.  Working with manager Mike Matheny is also critical for any new pitching coach.

The search for a pitching coach has begun, and the organization will be looking at both internal and external options.

Martinez named NL Rookie of the Month

Jose Alberto Martinez (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Cardinals outfielder Jose Martinez was named the National League Rookie of the Month for September, Major League Baseball announced on Monday.

The 29-year-old had a slash line of .353/.433/.553 in 25 games in September and October.  Martinez had four home runs and 18 RBI in that span.  All of this was accomplished despite him missing three games in September with a left thumb sprain.

Martinez joins infielder Paul DeJong as Cardinals to win the honor this season.  DeJong was the NL selection in July. They are the first Cardinals to win the award since Kolten Wong in May 2014.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported that a Marlins player indicated the Cardinals expressed interest during the summer in Miami players Marcel Ozuna, Dee Gordon, and Brad Ziegler.  The interest in Ziegler occurred after Trevor Rosenthal went down with an elbow injury, and subsequently had Tommy John surgery.

Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch reported that the Cardinals have interest in Japanese closer Yoshihisa Hirano of the Orix Buffaloes.  Hirano is an international free agent, unlimited by bonus caps or posting fees.

Transactions

10/2  In paper transactions, the Cardinals recalled RHP Rowan Wick and RHP Mike Mayers from the Memphis Redbirds, and SS Edmundo Sosa from the Palm Beach Cardinals. The trio are the only 40-man roster players not already brought up to St. Louis in September.

Injury Report

Adam Wainwright (USA TODAY Sports Images)

RHP Adam Wainwright underwent an elbow arthroscopy procedure on Tuesday to shave down a piece of cartilage.  Wainwright will require six weeks of recovery, but is expected to have a normal offseason and be ready and healthy for Spring Training.

Infielder Matt Carpenter will not require surgery for the ailing right shoulder that kept him out of the final series of the regular season.  A follow up MRI showed inflammation but no structural damage to the shoulder.  Carpenter will undergo physical therapy in his home state of Texas, and will not resume hitting or throwing until early December.

Infielder Aledmys Diaz suffered a left hamstring strain in the second inning of the final game of the season.  There has been no indication that the injury will impact Diaz’ Spring Training.

Looking Ahead

With the playoffs in full swing, there will be very little, if any, activity by the Cardinals in terms of roster transactions.   The conclusion of the World Series later this month signals the official beginning of the offseason.

Pending free agents officially enter free agency at 9 a.m. EST on the day following the end of the World Series.  What follows is a quiet period, where teams can enter into discussions with their pending free agents about extensions. Other teams are prohibited during this period, which lasts five days, from negotiating with or entering into contracts with another team’s free agents.  During this quiet period, teams may make their free agents a qualifying offer, which is valued at about $17.4 million dollars for 2018.  Free agents have 10 days following the conclusion of the quiet period to accept or reject the one-year qualifying offer.

Lance Lynn (USA TODAY Sports Images)

The Cardinals’ free agents are Lance Lynn, Juan Nicasio, Zach Duke, and Seung-Hwan Oh.  The Cardinals are reported to be considering the qualifying offer only to Lynn.

The offseason awards period begins in November.  Also occurring in November are the GM Meetings, scheduled for November 13-16 in Orlando, FL.

Some shuffling of the 40 man roster will occur in the month of November to prepare for the Rule 5 Draft, which is held during December’s Winter Meetings.

Blast from the Past

The playoffs have begun, and the two Division Series in each League are currently underway.  The Division Series first came into being by agreement of the owners and players union in 1993.  In 1994, both the AL and the NL realigned, increasing the number of playoff teams from four to eight.  Due to a player strike in 1994, resulting in a shortened season, this format did not begin until 1995.

The Cardinals played in their first Division Series in 1996, when they swept the San Diego Padres 3-0 to advance to the NLCS.  The Cardinals returned to the NLDS in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015.  Of those NLDS years, the Cardinals were the winner 11 times, losing only in 2001, 2009, and 2015.

The Cardinals swept the NLDS four times, in 1996, 2000, 2002, and 2005.  Two of those 3-0 sweeps were over the Padres, in 1996 and 2005.

Along with the Division Series, the wild card was also added in 1995, sourced from the non-division winner with the best regular-season record.  There was only one wild card team per league from 1995 through 2011.  The Cardinals were the NL wild card in 2001 and 2011.  A second wild card in each league was added in 2012, leading to a one-game play-in between the two wild cards.  The Cardinals were the second wild card team that initial year, winning the play-in game.

Since the advent of the wild card, four such teams went on to win the World Series, including the 2011 Cardinals.  The others were the Marlins in 1997 and 2003, and the Giants in 2014.

Next week, I will discuss the NLCS and the Cardinals history in it.

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Cardinals MLB Notebook: Week of September 25-October 1

photo: Juan Nicasio (Aaron Doster/USA TODAY Sports Images)

Game Recaps

Monday, September 25 – Cardinals 2, Cubs 10

In the final week of the regular season at Busch Stadium, the Cardinals took on the Cubs for the final time in 2017.  It did not go well for the Redbirds as they were formally eliminated from the NL Central race with this defeat.

The Cubs scored four runs in the first inning against Luke Weaver and never looked back.  Weaver pitched only three innings and gave up eight runs on seven hits, including two long balls.  The right hander fanned three and walked two.  Jack Flaherty added a scoreless fourth inning.  Ryan Sherriff tossed two scoreless innings of relief, followed by one scoreless inning from Sam Tuivailala. Sandy Alcantara allowed two unearned runs in 2/3 of an inning before Zach Duke finished the inning.  Josh Lucas pitched a scoreless ninth.  Weaver took the loss, his second of the season.

The Cardinals offense managed single runs in the second and seventh innings, both via the long ball.  Jedd Gyorko hit a solo home run in the second and Luke Voit did the same in the seventh.  Gyorko was 3-for-3; Dexter Fowler was 2-for-3.

In the field, Alcantara made a throwing error.

Tuesday, September 26 – Cardinals 8, Cubs 7

The second game of the series was a nail biter, but the Cardinals prevailed in the end.  Matt Carpenter started the scoring with a solo home run in the first inning.  Tommy Pham followed with a two run shot in the second.  In the seventh, Jedd Gyorko and Randal Grichuk both hit solo home runs.   Two additional runs came home in the first on a Grichuk RBI triple and a fielding error.  Paul DeJong plated a run on a double in the fifth inning.  Gyorko, DeJong, and Grichuk were each 2-for-4.  Pham was 2-for-3.

Starter Carlos Martinez pitched 4 1/3 innings, giving up three runs, two earned, on four hits.  The right hander struck out six and walked four.  Zach Duke tossed 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief.  Tyler Lyons surrendered two runs in his one inning.  John Brebbia started the eighth and allowed two runs; Juan Nicasio got the final out of the eighth, and returned to pitch a scoreless ninth. Duke got the win and Nicasio the save.

On the base paths, Tommy Pham was picked off first base.  In the field, Carson Kelly was charged with catcher interference.

Wednesday, September 27 – Cardinals 1, Cubs 5

In Game 3 of the series, the Cardinals offense was again shut down.  The only Redbirds run came in the second inning on an RBI single by Paul DeJong.  DeJong was the only Cardinal with multiple hits, with two in four at-bats.

Starter Michael Wacha pitched six innings, giving up five runs on seven hits.  Wacha struck out eight and walked one.  Matt Bowman and Zach Duke combined for a scoreless seventh inning.  Sam Tuivailala pitched a scoreless eighth and Brett Cecil pitched a scoreless ninth.  Wacha took the loss, his ninth of the season.

With the win, the Cubs clinched their second straight NL Central title, celebrating their accomplishment on the Busch Stadium turf.

Thursday, September 28 – Cardinals 1, Cubs 2 (11 innings)

The rubber game of the series was another nail biter, with the Cubs coming out on top in extra innings.  The Cubs took the initial lead in the first inning, but the Cardinals came back and tied the score in the sixth, when Tommy Pham singled to lead off, stole second base, and advanced to third on a wild pitch.  Dexter Fowler drove Pham in on a ground out.  Pham was the only Cardinal with multiple hits, with two in four at-bats.

Starter Lance Lynn, in what was likely his last start as a Cardinal, pitched five innings, giving up one run on three hits.  The right hander fanned five and walked four.  Ryan Sherriff, Brett Cecil, Juan Nicasio, Sam Tuivailala, and John Brebbia each contributed one inning each of scoreless relief.  Matt Bowman pitched the final inning, gave up the winning run, and took the loss.

On the base paths, Tommy Pham stole his 24th and 25th bases of the season.  Jedd Gyorko and Harrison Bader were each caught stealing for the second and first time respectively.  In the field, Matt Bowman made a throwing error.

Friday, September 29 – Cardinals 3, Brewers 5

In the first game of the final regular season series, the Cardinals fell to the Brewers, 5-3.  John Gant made the start in the place of Jack Flaherty, and pitched five innings, giving up four runs on seven hits.  The right hander struck out three and walked three.  Josh Lucas added two innings of scoreless relief.  Sandy Alcantara pitched the final two frames, surrendering one run on one hit.  Gant took the loss.

The Cardinals got on the board in the fourth on Paul DeJong’s solo home run.  Jose Martinez’ two run blast in the ninth scored the other Redbirds runs.  DeJong was the only Cardinal with multiple hits, going 3-for-4.

Magneuris Sierra made a fielding error.

Saturday, September 30 – Cardinals 7, Brewers 6

Harrison Bader (USA TODAY Sports Images)

The Cardinals came back to edge the Brewers in Game 2 of the series.  The loss eliminated the Brewers from postseason contention.

The Cardinals fell into a 6-0 hole in the third inning, but the offense rallied in the bottom frame to score four.  Paul DeJong drove in two on a double, and Jose Martinez followed with a ground rule double that plated two more.  Stephen Piscotty singled in the eighth and brought two runs home to tie the game.  Harrison Bader’s single drove in Piscotty for the winning run.  Greg Garcia was 2-for-4, the only Cardinal with multiple hits.

Luke Weaver had his second poor start in a row.  Weaver pitched 4 2/3 innings, giving up six runs on nine hits.  The right hander fanned four and walked four.  Zach Duke, John Brebbia, Ryan Sherriff, and Juan Nicasio combined to pitch the final 4 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.  Sherriff earned the win and Nicasio the save.

Sunday, October 1 – Cardinals 1, Brewers 6

The Cardinals went out with a whimper, losing the final regular season game to the Brewers without much of a fight against a rookie starter with a 8.00 ERA coming in. The B team started the game, with the lineup consisting of all rookies except for Randal Grichuk, and Aledmys Diaz, back from the minors.

The Brewers starter had a perfect game against the Redbirds until the sixth, when pinch hitter Jose Martinez singled to right.  The Cardinals scored their only run in the seventh on Grichuk’s solo home run.  The long ball was one of only three hits for the Cardinals.

With Carlos Martinez pulled from the start in the meaningless contest, Jack Flaherty was given the ball instead. The rookie pitched five innings and took the loss.  Flaherty gave up four runs in the first, but settled down and pitched four more scoreless innings.  Brett Cecil and John Brebbia each contributed a scoreless inning of relief.  Sandy Alcantara pitched the eighth and gave up a two run home run.  Sam Tuivailala finished with a scoreless ninth.

Thus ends the Cardinals 2017 season.

Big Picture

The Cardinals’ 2017 season is over, ending with a 6-1 loss the Brewers.  The final season record is 83-79 and the Redbirds finished in third place in the NL Central.

The team ended the week 2-5.  There really is nothing left to say.

Final NL Central Standings

W L % GB
Chic. Cubs 92 70 0.568
Milwaukee 86 76 0.531 6
St. Louis 83 79 0.512 9
Pittsburgh 75 87 0.460 17
Cincinnati 68 94 0.420 24

Final Wild Card Standings

W L % GB
Arizona 93 69 0.599
Colorado 87 75 0.537
Milwaukee 86 76 0.531 1
St. Louis 83 79 0.512 4

Who’s Hot

Over the past seven days (does not contain recent Sunday game results):

Paul DeJong (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Paul DeJong is batting .385 and has an OPS of 1.082.  He has 1 HR, 4 doubles, and 5 RBI.

Jedd Gyorko is batting .353 and has an OPS of 1.156.  He has 2 home runs and 2 RBI.

Jose Martinez is batting .267 and has an OPS of .922.  He has 1 HR, 1 double, and 4 RBIs.

Luke Voit is batting .500 and has an OPS of 1.750 in 4 plate appearances.  He has 1 HR and 1 RBI.

Lance Lynn (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Lance Lynn has an ERA of 1.80 and a WHIP of 1.40.

Zach Duke has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.00.

Ryan Sherriff has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.75.

Juan Nicasio has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 1.50 and had two saves in two opportunities.

Sam Tuivailala has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.33.

Josh Lucas has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 1.33.

Who’s Not

Over the past 7 days (does not contain recent Sunday games):

Stephen Piscotty is batting .059 and has an OPS of .259.

Carson Kelly is batting .143 and has an OPS of .325.

Harrison Bader is batting .125 and has an OPS of .347 in 9 plate appearances.

Aledmys Diaz is batting .200 and has an OPS of .400 in 10 plate appearances.

Michael Wacha has an ERA of 7.50 and a WHIP of 1.33.

Luke Weaver has an ERA of 16.43 and a WHIP of 2.87.

John Gant has an ERA of 5.63 and a WHIP of 1.88.

Seung-Hwan Oh has an ERA of 18.00 and a WHIP of 2.00.

Tyler Lyons has an ERA of 9.00 and a WHIP of 1.00.

A Look at Cardinals Lineups

The lineups over the last 7 games (does not contain recent Sunday game):

The leadoff hitter has been Matt Carpenter for five games, and Greg Garcia for two games.

The number 2 hitter has been Tommy Pham.

The number 3 hitter has been Dexter Fowler for five games, and Paul DeJong for two games.

The number 4 hitter has been Jose Martinez for three games, Jedd Gyorko for three games, and DeJong for one game.

The number 5 hitter has been DeJong for two games, Stephen Piscotty for two games, Martinez for one game, Kolten Wong for one game, and Yadier Molina for one game.

The number 6 hitter has been DeJong for two games, Gyorko for two games, Randal Grichuk for two games, and Harrison Bader for one game.

The number 7 hitter has been Piscotty for three games, Aledmys Diaz for two games, Grichuk for one game, and Greg Garcia for one game.

The number 8 hitter has been Carson Kelly for six games, and Wong for one game.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

Juan Nicasio (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images)

Free agent-to-be Juan Nicasio stated he wants to return to St. Louis in 2018 and has reportedly asked his agent to try to work out a deal with the Cardinals. The 31-year old right-hander appeared in nine games after joining the team in September, with two wins, no losses and four saves in four opportunities. His St. Louis ERA is 1.64. Nicasio struck out 11 against just two walks in 11 innings.

USA TODAY’s Bob Nightengale repeated an earlier rumor that this off-season, the Cardinals will pursue in trade Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson, who has a year remaining on his current contract.

Transactions

There are no transactions to report.

Injury Report

Adam Wainwright (USA TODAY Sports Images)

RHP Adam Wainwright, LHP Tyler Lyons, 1B/3B Matt Carpenter, and C Yadier Molina, were all shut down for the season this week.  Molina had taken two foul balls off his mask in Monday’s game and was in concussion protocol.  Carpenter has been suffering from an inflamed right shoulder, Wainwright has had right elbow issues, and Lyons has had knee issues.  Surgery is planned for Wainwright to repair cartilage damage in his elbow.

OF Dexter Fowler was not officially shut down, but had been out of the lineup since Thursday.

2B Kolten Wong (lower back tightness) and 3B Jedd Gyorko (right hamstring) also sat out. Wong did not play after Monday’s game against the Cubs, and Gyorko did not play in the Brewers series.

RHP Alex Reyes threw off the mound on Friday for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery in February.  Reyes’ recovery is on schedule, and the Cardinals are optimistic he will be healthy for the 2018 season.

Looking Ahead

The final week of the regular season is complete.  The Cardinals were eliminated from playoff contention in the final game of the Cubs series on Thursday.  The season ended on Sunday with a defeat to the Brewers.  The Brewers were eliminated with the loss to the Cardinals on Saturday.  The Cubs will be the only NL Central team participating in postseason play.

The postseason begins on Tuesday, October 3, with the AL Wild Card game between the New York Yankees and the Minnesota Twins.  The NL Wild Card game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies will be played on Wednesday, October 4.  The NLDS begins on Friday October 6, while the NLCS will be played beginning Saturday, October 14.    The World Series begins on Tuesday, October 24.

The Cardinals finished the season with a record of 83-79, and ended in third place in the NL Central, nine games back of the Cubs.

Typically, very little, if any, offseason transactions occur until after the World Series is completed.  Some movement in the rosters is possible, most likely internal paper moves only.  The Hot Stove season begins in earnest following the World Series.  Offseason awards typically occur within a few days of the World Series and continue for several weeks.  Players eligible for free agency shall become a free agent at 9 am EST on the day following the World Series.

Further information about upcoming important dates and the rules regarding offseason activity will be provided in future articles.

Blast from the Past

The 2017 Cardinals finished the regular season on Sunday with a record of 83-79.  This record placed them third in the NL Central, nine games behind the division-winning Cubs and three games back of the second place Brewers.

Four Cardinals teams in franchise history finished the season with the same record.  Those teams were 1966, 1977, 1992, and 1998.  Two other teams had 83 wins but not 79 losses.  Those teams were the 1953 Cardinals, and the 2006 World Series Champion Cardinals.  The 1953 team finished 83-71, and the 2006 team finished 83-78.

In 1966, the 83-79 finish placed the Cardinals 6th in the National League, in a time before divisions.  The 1977, 1992, and 1998 teams all finished third in their division, just as the 2017 team did.  Of course, the 2006 team was unique in that they won the division with the 83-78 record.

The 1953 team finished tied for third place in the National League with the Philadelphia Phillies.  In the decade of the ‘50s, the Cardinals never finished higher than second place, and they accomplished that just one, in 1957.  The team finished third three consecutive years, 1951, 1952, and 1953.

Of course, the ‘60s were a good decade for the franchise, as they won two World Series titles, and played in another World Series and lost.  The ‘70s were another decade in which the Cardinals never finished higher than second place.  The third place finish by the 1977 team was sandwiched between two fifth place finishes in 1976 and 1978.

The 1990s were a transition decade for the franchise.  After being owned by the Busch family since 1953, the Cardinals were sold to a group led by Bill DeWitt Jr, the current owners, in 1995.  The Cardinals won their division only one time in the ‘90s, in 1996.

The St. Louis Cardinals franchise has a long and storied history.  That history consists of decades of success, but few of failure.  The 2017 team may not have ended their season in the manner in which fans expected, but the Cardinals have nothing of which to be ashamed.  Very few major league baseball franchises can boast of the kind of long-term success the St. Louis Cardinals have enjoyed.

Let’s get excited for 2018.

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Cardinals MLB Notebook: Week of September 18-24

photo: Dexter Fowler/USA TODAY Sports Images

The St. Louis Cardinals’ playoff hopes improved with a sweep in Cincinnati, but fell again with two losses in Pittsburgh over the weekend. Dexter Fowler has been swinging a hot bat. In our history feature, the Cardinals greatness in the 1940s is remembered.

 

Game Recaps

Monday, September 18 – Off day

Tuesday, September 19 – Cardinals 8 at Reds 7

Dexter Fowler (USA TODAY Sports Images)

As the 2017 regular season entered its final two weeks, the St. Louis Cardinals played their last series of the regular season against the Reds in Cincinnati.  In Game 1, the Cardinals squeaked by the Reds in extra innings.  The Cardinals fell behind 4-0, but in the fourth inning put five runs on the board to take the lead.  It started with an RBI single by Jose Martinez, then was followed by a three run home run off the bat of Yadier Molina.  The fourth inning scoring was capped by Paul DeJong’s solo home run.  The Reds retook the lead in the sixth, but Dexter Fowler tied it up in the eighth with a solo home run.  The game went into the 10th, when Fowler’s RBI double plated one, and DeJong drove in another run on a single.

Fowler was 3-for-4 with three runs scored and two RBI.  DeJong was 2-for-5.

Starter Jack Flaherty only lasted two innings.  Flaherty gave up two runs on three hits while fanning two and walking one.  John Gant allowed two more runs in an inning of relief.  Brett Cecil tossed the next three innings, surrendering two additional runs.  John Brebbia started the seventh and pitched to two batters, walking one and hitting a second with a pitch.  Ryan Sherriff took over with two runners on and no outs.  Sherriff got the next three hitters out to finish the inning. Sherriff returned for the eighth and got one out, but left two men on.  Matt Bowman secured the final two outs of the inning.  Juan Nicasio pitched a scoreless ninth.  Nicasio returned for the 10th and gave up a leadoff solo home run.  The right hander got the next three hitters out to earn the win.

Kolten Wong stole his eighth base of the season.

Wednesday, September 20 – Cardinals 9 at Reds 2

Tommy Pham (USA TODAY Sports Images)

In Game 2 of the set, the Cardinals had a much easier win.  The offense took a 7-0 lead into the bottom of the fifth inning.  The scoring began with a Matt Carpenter solo home run in the first inning.  In the third, Tommy Pham added an RBI double.  Dexter Fowler followed with a two run home run, and Paul DeJong contributed a solo shot to put St. Louis up 5-0.  In the fifth, Yadier Molina added to the lead with a two run double.  The Redbirds added to their lead in on an RBI single by Pham.  In the ninth, Greg Garcia plated the final Cardinals run on a single.  Pham was 3-for-5 with two runs scored.

Starter Luke Weaver won his seventh game of the season.  Weaver went five innings, giving up two runs on five hits.  The right hander fanned seven and walked none.  Zach Duke pitched a scoreless sixth.  Seung-Hwan Oh, Sandy Alcantara, and Sam Tuivailala combined for the final three scoreless innings of relief.

Thursday, September 21 – Cardinals 8 at Reds 5

Carlos Martinez (USA TODAY Sports Images)

The Cardinals completed the sweep with an 8-5 victory in Cincinnati.  Starter Carlos Martinez pitched 6 1/3 innings, giving up four runs on nine hits.  The right hander struck out six, walked one, and surrendered two home runs.  Tyler Lyons followed with 1 2/3 scoreless innings.  Zach Duke pitched the ninth and allowed a run on two hits.  Martinez earned his 12th win.

The Redbirds got on the board in the first inning on Jose Martinez’ RBI single.  In the third, Dexter Fowler plated two on a double, and Yadier Molina’s sac fly tacked on an additional third inning score.  Molina doubled in Martinez in the seventh and Kolten Wong’s ground out plated Molina from third.  In the ninth, Greg Garcia’s double drove in one run, and Alex Mejia followed with a single to plate Garcia.

Fowler was 3-for-5 with two runs scored. Martinez was 2-for-5, Wong and Tommy Pham were 2-for-4, and Matt Carpenter was 2-for-3.

On the base paths, Pham stole his 22nd base of the season and Fowler swiped his sixth.  In the field, Paul DeJong made a throwing error.

Friday, September 22 – Cardinals 4 at Pirates 3

Juan Nicasio (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images)

In the first game of the weekend series in Pittsburgh, the Cardinals rallied in the ninth to edge the Pirates 4-3.  The Redbirds took the early 2-0 lead, scoring in the first and second innings.  An RBI single by Dexter Fowler put the first run on the board.  A bunt force out by Michael Wacha brought Paul DeJong home for run number two.  The Pirates tied it up and then took the lead, and the Cardinals failed to add on until the ninth inning.  In the ninth, Greg Garcia drove in a run on a single and Fowler grounded into a force attempt; a fielding error on the throw to first allowed Randal Grichuk to score the winning run.  Fowler and Stephen Piscotty were each 2-for-4.

Starter Michael Wacha pitched five innings, giving up two runs on three hits.  The right hander struck out four and walked one.  John Brebbia tossed a scoreless sixth.  Ryan Sherriff started the seventh and struck out the first batter.  Sherriff gave up a double and a single and was removed with two men on base.  With Matt Bowman pitching, a throwing error by DeJong on a routine ground ball allowed a run to score.  That run was charged to Sherriff.  Bowman then got the final two outs of the inning.  Juan Nicasio handled the last two scoreless innings, earning the win, his fifth.

On the base paths, Jose Martinez stole his fourth base of the season, Tommy Pham stole his 23rd base, and Fowler stole his seventh.  In the field, DeJong made a throwing error for the second consecutive night.

Saturday, September 23 – Cardinals 6 at Pirates 11

Game 2 of the series was one of the worst starts of Lance Lynn’s career.  Lynn could not complete the first inning, giving up eight runs before he was finally replaced by Josh Lucas.  This big inning followed a two run top of the first by the Cardinals offense.  That eight run inning put the Redbirds in a huge hole, from which they attempted to climb, but sadly failed.

Lynn left with two outs on the board, and Lucas allowed an inherited Lynn runner to score on a triple before getting the final out of the inning.  Adam Wainwright, now in the bullpen, followed with two innings of relief, surrendering one run on three hits.  Sam Tuivailala pitched the next two innings, and allowed an additional run to score.  Sandy Alcantara and Brett Cecil each tossed a scoreless inning.  Seung-Hwan Oh pitched the final inning, relinquishing another run.  Lynn took the loss, his eighth.

The Redbirds offense put six runs on the board.  The first two came in the first on Tommy Pham’s home run.  Pham drove in another run in the third on a double.  In the sixth, Randal Grichuk plated two on a single, and Harrison Bader singled for another run.  Pham was 2-for-4 with three RBI.  Matt Carpenter was 2-for-3.

Sunday, September 24 – Cardinals 1 at Pirates 4

The Cardinals dropped the rubber game of the series, putting their postseason hopes in jeopardy.   The Redbird offense was anemic, putting only one run on the board, and managing only four hits in the game.  Eight runners were left on base, and the offense was 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position.  The lone run came on a third inning solo home run by Matt Carpenter.  No Cardinal had multiple hits in the game.

Starter John Gant lasted three innings and gave up one run on three hits.  The right hander walked two and struck out none.  Matt Bowman pitched a scoreless fourth. Seung-Hwan Oh surrendered two runs in the fifth and took the loss.  Brett Cecil relinquished one run in the sixth, while John Brebbia and Tyler Lyons pitched one scoreless inning each.

Jedd Gyroko made a fielding error.  Gant picked a runner off first base.

Big Picture

The Cardinals ended the week 4-2, having swept the Reds in three games, but losing 2 of 3 to the Pirates.  The two losses to the Pirates represent a major setback to the Redbirds playoff hopes.  The Cardinals play four with the Cubs, with the Cardinals elimination number at two for the Division. This means Chicago’s clinching celebration will occur at Busch unless St. Louis sweeps.

The elimination number for the wild card stands at 5.  The Redbirds end the season with three against the Brewers, who currently are a half game ahead of the Cardinals in both the Division and the WC standings.

The losses to the Pirates were caused by a terrible start from Lance Lynn in the second game, and the offense taking a nap in the third game.  Some bullpen issues, as well as defense and baserunning mistakes also played a part.

The Cardinals chances at the postseason have dwindled, and winning out may be the only hope for the team.  All of the remaining games are at home.

NL Central W L % GB
Chicago Cubs 87 68 0.561
Milwaukee 82 74 0.526 5.5
St. Louis 81 74 0.517 6
Pittsburgh 71 85 0.455 16.5
Cincinnati 66 90 0.423 21.5
Wild Card W L % GB
Arizona 90 60 0.577 (clinched)
Colorado 84 72 0.538
Milwaukee 82 74 0.526 2
St. Louis 81 74 0.523 2.5

Who’s Hot

Over the past seven days (does not contain recent Sunday game results):

Dexter Fowler is batting .423 and has an OPS of 1.385.  He has 3 HR, 3 doubles, and 11 RBI.

Matt Carpenter (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Matt Carpenter is batting .389 and has an OPS of 1.167. He has 1 HR, 2 doubles, and 1 RBI.

Tommy Pham is batting .444 and has an OPS of 1.149.  He has 1 HR, 3 doubles, and 5 RBI.

Greg Garcia is batting .600 and has an OPS of 1.514 in 7 plate appearances.  He has 1 double, and 2 RBI.

Luke Weaver has an ERA of 3.60 and a WHIP of 1.00.

Michael Wacha has an ERA of 3.60 and a WHIP of 0.80.

Matt Bowman (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Matt Bowman has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 1.00.

Sandy Alcantara has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 1.00.

Juan Nicasio has an ERA of 2.08 and a WHIP of 0.69.

Tyler Lyons has an ERA of 3.38 and a WHIP of 1.13.

Sam Tuivailala has an ERA of 3.00 and a WHIP of 1.00.

Who’s Not

Over the past seven days (does not contain recent Sunday games):

Jedd Gyorko is batting .182 with an OPS of .455 in 11 plate appearances.

Luke Voit is batting .000 with an OPS of .000 in 3 plate appearances.

Kolten Wong is batting .200 with an OPS of .583.

Alex Mejia is batting .200 with an OPS of .533 in 6 plate appearances.

Lance Lynn has an ERA of 21.21 and a WHIP of 3.64.

Jack Flaherty has an ERA of 9.00 and a WHIP of 2.00.

Carlos Martinez has an ERA of 5.68 and a WHIP of 1.58.

John Gant has an ERA of 18.00 and a WHIP of 3.00.

Ryan Sherriff has an ERA of 5.40 and a WHIP of 1.80.

A Look at Cardinals Lineups

The lineups over the last six games (does not contain recent Sunday game):

The leadoff hitter has been Matt Carpenter for five games, and Kolten Wong for one game.

The number 2 hitter has been Tommy Pham.

The number 3 hitter has been Dexter Fowler for five games, and Paul DeJong for one game.

The number 4 hitter has been Jose Martinez for four games, DeJong for one game, and Jedd Gyorko for one game.

The number 5 hitter has been Yadier Molina for five games, and Dexter Fowler for one game.

The number 6 hitter has been DeJong for four games, Molina for one game, and Wong for one game.

The number 7 hitter has been Wong for four games, and Gyorko for two games.

The number 8 hitter has been Stephen Piscotty for four games, and Randal Grichuk for two games.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.

Transactions

Adam Wainwright (USA TODAY Sports Images)

9/19 The Cardinals activated RHP Adam Wainwright from the 10 day disabled list. With diminished velocity, he is pitching in relief.

9/20 The Cardinals recalled RHP Josh Lucas from the Memphis Redbirds.

9/20 The Cardinals recalled SS Aledmys Diaz from the Memphis Redbirds.

9/21 The Cardinals recalled 2B Breyvic Valera from the Memphis Redbirds.

Injury Report

Jose Alberto Martinez (USA TODAY Sports Images)

OF Jose Martinez suffered a left thumb sprain in the Sept 22 game against the Pirates.  He has not yet returned to the starting lineup.  An MRI and X-rays revealed no structural damage.  Martinez is listed as day to day.

1B Matt Carpenter has been playing through right shoulder tendinitis.

2B Kolten Wong returned after missing two games last week with back soreness.

Looking Ahead

The regular season is winding down as the Cardinals have two series left.

On Monday, the Cardinals return home to Busch Stadium to begin a crucial four game series with the Cubs.  Luke Weaver will get the start on Monday.  Carlos Martinez takes the mound on Tuesday, followed by Michael Wacha on Wednesday and John Gant on Thursday.

The homestand continues with a weekend series with the Milwaukee Brewers to end the regular season schedule.  Should the Cardinals make the postseason, the NL Wild Card game will be played on Wednesday, October 4.  The first games of the NLDS begin on Friday, October 6.

The Cardinals’ regular season schedule can be found here.

Blast from the Past

Though St. Louis still has hopes for the postseason, slim though they may be, one cannot look back on the last 15 years of Cardinals baseball and not deem it a success.  Two World Series championships, four NL Pennants, nine Division titles, and two 100 win seasons are in the books for the Cardinals since 2000.

The Cardinals have been one of the most successful franchises in MLB history.  Other periods have come close to matching the 2000s.  In the 1960s, the Cardinals won two World Series and played in three.  I have already talked about the teams of the 1960s in depth in previous articles.  One decade of Cardinal success I have not covered much is the 1940s.  I will do so in this history segment.

The Cardinals franchise won three World Series Championships in the 1940s, in 1942, 1944, and 1946.  The Cardinals defeated the New York Yankees in 1942 in five games.  In 1944, the Cardinals beat the crosstown St. Louis Browns, 4-2.  Finally, in 1946, the Cardinals overcame the Boston Red Sox 4-3.

In addition to the three World Series titles, the Cardinals won the NL pennant in 1943, but lost to the Yankees in the World Series, 4-1.  The 1940s Cardinals not only bested the 2000s Cardinals in World Series titles, they also won 100+ games in each of the 1942, 1943, and 1944 seasons. In fact, a series here at The Cardinal Nation named the 1942 and 1944 teams, managed by Hall of Famer Billy Southworth, the Cardinals’ two-best teams of all time.

The 1940s included many of the best years of Stan Musial’s career.  Musial won the NL MVP in 1943, 1946, and 1948.  He was the NL batting champion in those same years.  He was also the NL RBI leader in 1948.

The 1940s also featured some good pitching for the Cardinals.  Mort Cooper, Max Lanier, Howie Pollett, and Harry Brecheen were NL the ERA champion in 1942, 1943, 1946, and 1948 respectively.

Particularly notable about this era of Cardinal baseball is that these teams did all this while World War II was raging overseas.  Several Cardinal players served, and missed time because of it, most notably Musial, who spent the entire 1945 season in the Navy.  Also serving were Enos Slaughter, Red Schoendienst, and Max Lanier, among others.

The Cardinals of the 1940s were exceptional both on and off the field.

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Cardinals MLB Notebook: Week of September 11-17

photo: Luke Weaver (Scott Kane/USA TODAY Sports Images)

The St. Louis Cardinals’ playoff hopes took a nosedive over the weekend in Chicago. Starter Luke Weaver continues to pitch well every fifth day. In our history feature, long winning streaks are remembered.

Game Recaps

Monday, September 11 – Off day

Tuesday, September 12 – Cardinals 13, Reds 4

Yadier Molina (USA TODAY Sports Images)

In the first of a three game series, the Cardinals defeated the Reds in a blowout.  St. Louis got on the board in the first on a two run RBI double by Yadier Molina.  Molina drove in a third run in the sixth on a single, and was 2-for-3 in the game.  In the second inning, Tommy Pham’s triple plated two more runs, and double by Paul DeJong brought Pham home for the third run of the inning.  The Cardinals added a run in the third on a sac fly by Randal Grichuk, and again in the fourth on Jose Martinez’ double.  DeJong hit a solo home run in the sixth.  In the seventh, Matt Carpenter plated a run on a double, Carson Kelly drew a bases loaded walk, and Kolten Wong singled in a run.

DeJong was 3-for-4 with two runs scored, Martinez was 2-for-4, and Wong was 2-for-5.

Starter Lance Lynn pitched five innings, giving up four runs, three earned, on six hits.  The right hander struck out three, walked none, and earned his 11th win of the season.  Brett Cecil followed with two scoreless innings of relief. Zach Duke and Sandy Alcantara each pitched a run-free inning.

Martinez stole his third base of the season.  Lynn made a throwing error.

Wednesday, September 13 – Cardinals 0, Reds 6

In the second game of the series, the Cardinals were shut out by the Reds.  The offense managed only five hits, all singles. Jose Martinez was 2-for-4.  Yadier Molina, Matt Carpenter, and Stephen Piscotty had the other singles.

Jack Flaherty started and pitched 4 1/3 innings, giving up three runs on four hits.  The rookie right hander fanned three and walked two.  Ryan Sheriff relieved in the fifth and surrendered three runs.  John Gant followed with two scoreless innings, while Sam Tuivailala and Matt Bowman each pitched a scoreless inning.

In the field, Martinez committed a missed catch error.

Thursday, September 14 – Cardinals 5, Reds 2

Jose Alberto Martinez (USA TODAY Sports Images)

In the rubber game, the Cardinals blanked the Reds to take the series in Cincinnati.  Starter Luke Weaver pitched six innings, giving up one unearned run on two hits.  The righty struck out six and walked none and earned his sixth win.  Tyler Lyons and John Brebbia each tossed a scoreless inning of relief.  Juan Nicasio allowed one run in the ninth.

Jose Martinez drove in two on a single in the third inning.  In the fifth, Tommy Pham hit a two run home run.  Greg Garcia plated the final run on a sac fly in the eighth.  Pham and Martinez were each 2-for-4.

On the base paths, Pham stole his 20th and 21st bases of the season.  Paul DeJong stole his first base, and Harrison Bader swiped his second bag with St. Louis.  DeJong made a fielding error.

Friday, September 15 – Cardinals 2 at Cubs 8

In the opener of a crucial weekend series in Chicago, the Cardinals let the game get away with the big inning.  Starter Carlos Martinez began well, but the wheels came off the bus in the sixth inning.  In 5 1/3 innings pitched, Martinez gave up seven runs on six hits, with six scoring in the sixth.  Martinez was replaced with one out, having given up three runs and with the bases loaded.

Reliever Matt Bowman allowed the three inherited runners to score, and allowed an additional run of his own.  Bowman left with two outs and a runner on before Zach Duke got the final out of the sixth.  Brett Cecil and Sandy Alcantara each pitched a scoreless frame.

Tommy Pham got the Redbirds on the board in the first inning with a solo home run.  Carlos Martinez singled in a run in the fifth for the other Cardinals run.  Only Stephen Piscotty had multiple hits, going 2-for-4.

On the base paths, Pham was caught stealing for the seventh time in the season.  In the field, Greg Garcia made a throwing error, and Pham had an outfield assist.

Saturday, September 16 – Cardinals 1 at Cubs 4

St. Louis dropped the second game of the Wrigley Field series, scoring only one run late, on Matt Carpenter’s solo home run in the eighth.  It was Carpenter’s only hit.  Dexter Fowler was 2-for-3.

Starter Michael Wacha pitched 5 2/3 innings, giving up three runs on six hits.  The righty fanned seven and walked five.  Wacha took the loss, his eighth.  John Brebbia secured the last out of the sixth and the first two outs of the seventh.  Ryan Sherriff got the final out of the seventh before Tyler Lyons pitched the eighth and surrendered one run.

On the base paths, Jose Martinez was picked off first base.

Sunday, September 17 – Cardinals 3 at Cubs 4

The Cardinals suffered the sweep of the series on Sunday, with a one run loss to the Cubs.  The Redbirds fell behind by three runs but tied the score in the sixth inning when Dexter Fowler hit a three run home run.  The Cardinals could not add on, and the Cubs responded with one run in the seventh to take a lead they would not relinquish.  Fowler was 2-for-5.  Tommy Pham was 3-for-5.

Starter Lance Lynn pitched only four innings, giving up three runs on five hits.  The right hander struck out five and walked four.  Zach Duke and John Brebbia followed with a scoreless inning each.  Tyler Lyons started the seventh and gave up the winning run before Matt Bowman got the final two outs.  Juan Nicasio pitched a scoreless eighth.  Lyons took the loss.

Yadier Molina stole his ninth base of the season, and Kolten Wong stole his seventh bag.

Big Picture

After being swept by the first place Cubs over the weekend, the Cardinals are now six games back of the Cubs, and two games back of the second place Brewers in the NL Central.  The sweep virtually eliminated the Cardinals for contention for the Division.  Their elimination number now stands at eight with the Cubs’ magic number 10.

The offense essentially took a vacation in the Cubs series, and the pitching wasn’t much better.  Defensive errors and poor baserunning came back to haunt the team as well.  It was a complete defeat to say the least.

The Cardinals’ slightly better chance is with the Wild Card.  The team is 4.5 games back of the second WC spot, with an elimination number of nine. It is a tough hill to climb, but not impossible. With just 13 games remaining, the Cardinals have to play much better, and the Colorado Rockies and the Brewers, both of whom are ahead of the Cardinals for the second WC spot, have to play worse.

The Cardinals ended the week 2-4 and are in third place in the NL Central.

NL Central Standings

W L PCT GB E#
Chicago Cubs 83 66 0.557
Milwaukee 79 70 0.530 4 10
St. Louis 77 72 0.517 6 8
Pittsburgh 68 82 0.453 15.5 E
Cincinnati 66 84 0.440 17.5 E

NL Wild Card Standings

W L PCT WCGB WCE #
Arizona 87 63 0.580 5+
Colorado 82 68 0.547
Milwaukee 79 70 0.530 2.5 11
St. Louis 77 72 0.517 4.5 9

Who’s Hot

Over the past 7 days (does not contain recent Sunday game results):

Matt Carpenter is batting .250 and has an OPS of 1.020. He has 1 HR, 1 double, and 2 RBI.

Tommy Pham is batting .235 and has an OPS of 1.174.  He has 2 HRs, 1 triple, 1 double, and 5 RBI.

Dexter Fowler is batting .667 and has an OPS of 1.417 in 4 plate appearances.

Luke Weaver/USA TODAY Sports Images

Luke Weaver has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.33.

Lance Lynn has an ERA of 1.50 and a WHIP of 1.50.

Michael Wacha has an ERA of 1.98 and a WHIP of 1.17.

Brett Cecil has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.67.

Sandy Alcantara has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.50.

Brett Cecil (USA TODAY Sports Images)

John Gant has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.67.

Sam Tuivailala has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.00.

Zach Duke has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.75.

Who’s Not

Over the past 7 days (does not contain recent Sunday games):

Alex Mejia is batting .000 with an OPS of .000 in 5 plate appearances.

Harrison Bader is batting .158 with an OPS of .449.

Carson Kelly is batting .000 with an OPS of .250 in 4 plate appearances.

Carlos Martinez has an ERA of 11.81 and a WHIP of 1.69.

Jack Flaherty has an ERA of 6.23 and a WHIP of 1.38.

Matt Bowman has an ERA of 6.75 and a WHIP of 1.50.

Juan Nicasio has an ERA of 9.00 and a WHIP of 2.00.

Ryan Sherriff has an ERA of 27.00 and a WHIP of 3.00.

A Look at Cardinals Lineups

The lineups over the last 6 games (does not contain recent Sunday game):

The leadoff hitter has been Matt Carpenter.

The number 2 hitter has been Tommy Pham for five games, and Kolten Wong for one game.

The number 3 hitter has been Paul DeJong.

The number 4 hitter has been Jose Martinez.

The number 5 hitter has been Yadier Molina for five games, and Dexter Fowler for one game.

The number 6 hitter has been Stephen Piscotty for two games, Wong for two games, Molina for one game, and Harrison Bader for one game.

The number 7 hitter has been Bader for two games, Piscotty for two games, Wong for one game, and Randal Grichuk for one game.

The number 8 hitter has been Grichuk for two games, Bader for two games, Alex Mejia for one game, and Greg Garcia for one game.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.

Transactions

9/11 The Cardinals optioned 2B Breyvic Valera to the Memphis Redbirds.

9/12 The Cardinals recalled OF Magneuris Sierra from the Memphis Redbirds.

9/13 The Cardinals activated 3B Jedd Gyorko from the 10-day disabled list.

Injury Report

Seung-hwan Oh (USA TODAY Sports Images)

RHP Seung-Hwan Oh has been unavailable in the bullpen due to hamstring tightness.  Oh threw a bullpen session on Thursday, but remains unavailable for an indeterminate time. Juan Nicasio seems to have a temporary hold on the ninth inning.

RHP Adam Wainwright (right elbow impingement) remains on the 10 day DL.  Wainwright has thrown three bullpen sessions, most recently on Sunday.  The pitcher’s return to the active roster as a reliever is expected this coming week.

3B Jedd Gyorko (hamstring) was activated from the disabled list, but is available only to pinch hit for an indeterminate time.

Dexter Fowler (USA TODAY Sports Images)

CF Dexter Fowler missed five games after injuring his knee in a collision with the outfield wall at Busch Stadium.  Fowler returned to the starting lineup over the weekend.

2B Kolten Wong missed five games due to recurring back issues.  Wong was back in the lineup for Sunday’s game against the Cubs, however.

Looking Ahead

The Cardinals have a travel day on Monday following the weekend series with the Cubs.  The team travels to Cincinnati to take on the Reds in a three game series.  Jack Flaherty is scheduled to make the Tuesday start, followed by Luke Weaver on Wednesday, and Carlos Martinez on Thursday.

The Cardinals continue to road trip in Pittsburgh, playing a weekend series with the Pirates.  No starting pitcher have been announced, but will likely be Michael Wacha, Lance Lynn, and Jack Flaherty.

The Cardinals return home on Monday following the Pirates series, to take on the Cubs in a four game series.   The Cardinals finish their regular season schedule with a weekend home series against the Brewers.

The Cards are now 28-35 within the division. All remaining games are against division foes and St. Louis has losing records against three of the four.

3 at CIN (7-9 record to date)
3 at PIT (10-6)
4 vs. CHI (4-11)
3 vs. MIL (7-9)

The Cardinals’ regular season schedule can be found here.

Blast from the Past

The Cleveland Indians made the history books this past week, with a 22-game winning streak that was ended over the weekend with a loss to the Kansas City Royals.  The streak is the second-longest winning streak in MLB history, with the record held by the 1916 New York Giants, who won 26 games in a row.

One might ask what this has to do with the Cardinals.  The applicability is only indirect, but interesting nonetheless.  Only one St. Louis team has had a winning streak close to the 22-game win streak of the Indians.  That team was not the Cardinals, but the St. Louis Maroons, who won 20 consecutive games in 1884.  The Maroons were a professional baseball team that existed from 1884-1886, part of the short-lived Union Association, a league that lasted only one season, 1884.  The Maroons then moved to the National League, and relocated in 1887 to Indianapolis to become the Indianapolis Hoosiers.  The Hoosiers played for three more seasons, then folded.

The current Cardinals franchise never had a long winning streak like that of the Maroons – at least not as the Cardinals.  The St. Louis Browns of 1885, which eventually became the Cardinals in 1900, had a 14 game winning streak.   That streak was ended by a 7-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles (not the current Baltimore Orioles franchise, which team came into existence when the second incarnation of the St. Louis Browns moved to Baltimore in 1954).

The Cardinals did, however, end the long winning streaks of two major league clubs.  In 1935, St. Louis defeated the Chicago Cubs on September 28 by a score of 7-5 in 11 innings.  That ended a 21-game winning streak by the Cubs that began on September 4.

The other time St. Louis ended a streak was 28 years earlier in 1907.  That year the Cardinals ended a 14 game winning streak of the New York Giants.  The Giants’ streak began on April 25 with a win over the Philadelphia Phillies, and ended on May 20 with a 6-4 loss to the Cardinals.

The longest winning streak by the current Cardinals franchise was 12 games, which occurred from April 10 to April 23, 1982.  The 1901 Cardinals had an 11-game streak from August 8-19, and a 10-game streak from May 7-17.

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Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 9/17/17

photo: Aledmys Diaz (Springfield Cardinals FANatic Photos)

The Memphis Redbirds are the only team in the St. Louis Cardinals system still playing.  On Saturday night, the Redbirds lost their second consecutive game at El Paso to bring the Pacific Coast League Championship Series to 2-2.  The deciding Game 5 will be played Sunday in El Paso.

Josh Zeid (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Results for the game played Saturday, September 16.

Memphis 1 at El Paso 5

For the second consecutive night, Memphis was unable to secure the road victory that would give them the PCL Championship.  A five-run third inning by El Paso against Redbirds starter Zac Gallen put Memphis in a hole from which they were unable to emerge.  Gallen pitched five innings, giving up five runs on seven hits.  The big hit was a three-run home run against the right hander, who fanned six and walked two in his five innings pitched.  Josh Zeid hurled the final three hitless, scoreless innings of relief.

Aledmys Diaz (USA TODAY Sports Images)

The Memphis bats managed one run in the sixth, on an RBI double by Aledmys Diaz, his only hit.  Adolis Garcia, Nick Martini, and Jeremy Martinez were each 2-for-4.  The double by Diaz was the only extra base hit.  The sputtering Redbirds offense left eight runners on base and were 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position.

In the field, Patrick Wisdom committed a fielding error, and Martini had an outfield assist.

Sunday’s winner will play the Durham Bulls (Rays), International League Champion, in the winner-take-all Triple-A National Championship Game, to be played Tuesday in Scranton, PA.

Sunday’s game:  at El Paso, Matt Pearce (0-0, 0.00) 7:05 CT.

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Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 9/16/17

photo: Ryan Helsley (Springfield Cardinals FANatic Photos)

The Memphis Redbirds are the only team in the St. Louis Cardinals system still playing.  After taking the first two games in the PCL Championship series, the Redbirds lost Game 3 on Friday night in El Paso. Ryan Helsley tossed six one-run innings and Tyler O’Neill was on base three times, stole a bag and made a great catch.

Results for games played Friday, September 15.

Memphis 0 at El Paso 3

Tyler O’Neill (Memphis Redbirds)

The Redbirds suffered the loss in the Game 3 of the PCL Championship, but still remain ahead 2-1 in the best-of-five series.  A night after the Memphis offense was shut out for 10 innings before winning in the 11th, they could only muster six hits and put no runs on the board over nine innings. Chihuahuas hitters got the better of Redbirds pitching to win their first game of the set.

Jeremy Martinez was the only Redbird with multiple hits, as he singled twice in four at-bats.  Breyvic Valera had the only extra base hit, a double.  Tyler O’Neill, Nick Martini, and Wilfredo Tovar all singled. O’Neill also drew two walks, stole a base and made a running catch into the center field wall to save a run. The Redbirds offense left 10 runners on base and were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position.

Ryan Helsley (Palm Beach Cardinals)

Memphis starter Ryan Helsley pitched six innings and gave up one run on five hits.  The right hander struck out five and walked two.  The run he surrendered was a solo home run in the fifth inning.  In his first post-season appearance, Arturo Reyes gave up two runs in the seventh, and recorded no outs.  Miguel Socolovich finished the final two innings without further damage. Helsley took the hard-luck loss.

In the field, Martini made a throwing error, but all three El Paso runs were earned.

After Saturday’s Game 4, Sunday’s series finale, if necessary, will be Sunday night at 7:05. The winner will play the Durham Bulls (Rays), International League Champion, in the winner-take-all Triple-A National Championship Game, to be played Tuesday in Scranton, PA.

Saturday’s game:  Game 4 at El Paso, Zac Gallen (0-0, 0.00) 8:05 CT.

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Cardinals MLB Notebook: Week of September 4-10

photo: Jose Martinez (Aaron Doster/USA TODAY Sports Images)

The St. Louis Cardinals are making a September run, led by Jose Martinez and Yadier Molina offensively. In our history feature, the late-charging 1964 Cardinals are remembered.

 

Game Recaps

Monday, September 4 – Cardinals 2 at Padres 0

In the first of a four game series in San Diego, the Cardinals shut out the Padres in a low scoring contest.  Starter Carlos Martinez pitched a complete game, allowing only three runs, fanning 10 and walking three. Martinez won his 11th game of the season.

Both Cardinals runs were driven in on Yadier Molina’s single in the fourth inning, his only hit of the game.  Tommy Pham was 2-for-4.

Harrison Bader stole his first major league base, and Pham stole his 18th base of the season. Paul DeJong committed a fielding error.

Tuesday, September 5 – Cardinals 8 at Padres 4

Michael Wacha (USA TODAY Sports Images)

In Game 2 of the series, The Cardinals scored more runs, enabling them to claim a win over the Friars.  A first inning two run home run off the bat of Jose Martinez got the scoring started. Martinez contributed a solo shot in the seventh as well.  Harrison Bader had a three run blast in the second inning.  Martinez was a perfect 3-for-3 with three runs scored.  Bader was 2-for-5 with two runs scored.  In the third inning, a run came home on a fielder’s choice.  In that same inning, Stephen Piscotty plated a run on a single.

Starter Michael Wacha pitched six innings, giving up four runs, three earned, on seven hits.  The right hander struck out six and walked three.  Matt Bowman, Brett Cecil, and Tyler Lyons each pitched a scoreless inning of relief.  Wacha earned his 11th win of the season.

Randal Grichuk stole his sixth base of the season.  Piscotty was caught stealing for the sixth time in 2017.  Bader made a throwing error and Piscotty had an outfield assist.

Wednesday, September 6 – Cardinals 3 at Padres 1

The Cardinals managed a victory in Game 3 of the series on a rally in the late innings.  A Stephen Piscotty two run home in the seventh gave the Cardinals the lead. Another run came home in the eighth on a sac fly by Harrison Bader.  Piscotty at 2-for-4 was the only Cardinal with multiple hits.

Jack Flaherty made his second big league start, but did not get the win.  Flaherty pitched five innings, giving up one run on three hits.  The righty fanned four and walked four.  Ryan Sherriff followed with two scoreless innings of relief.  John Brebbia tossed a scoreless eighth, and Tyler Lyons added a run-free ninth.  Sherriff got the win.

On the base paths, Tommy Pham stole his 19th base of the season.  Greg Garcia was caught stealing for the first time in 2017.

Thursday, September 7 – Cardinals 0 at Padres 3

The Cardinals failed to get the sweep, as they were shut out by the Padres in the rubber game of the series.  Starter Lance Lynn pitched well, tossing six innings while giving up only one run on six hits.  The right hander struck out three and walked three.  Zach Duke started the seventh, pitched to one batter and gave up a single.  With no outs and a runner on, Seung-Hwan Oh came in.  Oh gave up a two run home run, with one run inherited from Duke.  Sam Tuivailala pitched a scoreless eighth.  Lynn took the loss, his seventh of the season.

Cardinals bats managed 11 hits, but could not put a run across the plate.  Harrison Bader, Paul DeJong, and Stephen Piscotty were each 2-for-4.

In the field, Alex Mejia made a throwing error, and Dexter Fowler had an outfield assist.

Friday, September 8 – Cardinals 4, Pirates 1

In Game 1 of the weekend series, the Cardinals defeated their NL Central rivals the Pirates at home.  Unlike the previous day’s game against the Padres, Cardinals bats scored almost as many runs as they had hits.  With only five Redbirds hits in total, four runs came across the plate.  The first scored on a Luke Weaver ground out in the third inning.  In the fourth, another ground ball out from Randal Grichuk plated one.  The final two runs scored on an RBI single by Jose Martinez in the fifth. At 2-for-4, Martinez was the only Cardinal with multiple hits.

Starter Luke Weaver went 5 2/3 scoreless innings to earn his fifth win of the season.  The rookie right hander allowed seven hits and struck out seven. Matt Bowman got the final out of the sixth inning in relief of Weaver.  John Brebbia gave up the only Pirates run in the seventh.  Ryan Sherriff and Juan Nicasio combined for a scoreless ninth.

Saturday, September 9 – Cardinals 4, Pirates 3

In the second game of the series, the Cardinals squeaked by the Pirates to win.  Yadier Molina’s two run home run in the second got the Redbirds on the board.  Matt Carpenter’s solo home run in the seventh tied the score.  In the eighth, Randal Grichuk’s ground out plated the winning run.  Only Molina had multiple hits; he was 2-for-4.

Starter Carlos Martinez pitched six innings, giving up two runs on four hits.  The hard throwing right hander fanned eight and issued two free passes.  John Brebbia allowed a run in the seventh.  Tyler Lyons tossed a scoreless eighth to pick up the win.  Juan Nicasio followed with a scoreless ninth.

Matt Carpenter committed a throwing error.

Sunday, September 10 – Cardinals 7, Pirates 0

Yadier Molina (USA TODAY Sports Images)

The Cardinals completed the sweep of the Pirates with a 7-0 blanking of the Bucs on Sunday afternoon.  Michael Wacha was brilliant, pitching eight scoreless innings and picking up his 12th win.  The right hander allowed five hits, walked none and struck out seven.  John Gant tossed a scoreless ninth in relief.

Yadier Molina shined again offensively, driving in five of the seven Redbirds runs.  In the third, Molina hit a three run home run, his 17th.  Molina had plated the first run in the first inning on an RBI single.  A sac fly in the seventh gave Molina his fifth RBI and the final run of the game.  Randal Grichuk hit a solo home run in fourth, and Wacha helped himself by plating a run in the sixth on a sac fly.  Molina was 2-for-3 with the five RBI.  Paul DeJong was 2-for-4.

Big Picture

The Cardinals ended the week 6-1, having taken three of four from the Padres, and sweeping the Pirates.  The 8-2 streak in the last 10 games leaves them tied with the Brewers for second place and two games back of the Cubs.  The Cubs have lost six of their last 10, and were swept by the Brewers over the weekend.  The Cardinals have three games remaining with the Brewers, which occur in the last series of the season at home.  The Cardinals have seven games remaining with the Cubs, three in Chicago and four at home.  With the race tightening, the NL Central is up for grabs in the remaining weeks of the regular season.

The Cardinals have been playing well, with pitching being the main driver.  The offense has been inconsistent, but has been good enough to support the pitching for the most part.

All of the remaining games in the regular season are with NL Central teams, including three more with the Pirates and six more with the last place Reds.

NL Central Standings

W L % GB
Chicago Cubs 77 66 0.538
Milwaukee 75 68 0.524 2
St. Louis 75 68 0.524 2
Pittsburgh 67 77 0.465 10.5
Cincinnati 62 82 0.431 15.5

Who’s Hot

Over the past seven days (does not contain recent Sunday game results):

Jose Alberto Martinez (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Jose Martinez is batting .440 with an OPS of 1.437.  He has 3 HRs, 3 doubles, and 8 RBI.

Matt Carpenter has an OPS of 1.026 in 3 plate appearances.  He has 1 HR.

Stephen Piscotty is batting .294 with an OPS of .871.   He has 1 HR, 1 triple, and 2 RBI.

Harrison Bader is batting .280 with an OPS of .789.  He has 2 HRs and 6 RBI.

Lance Lynn has an ERA of 1.50 and a WHIP of 1.50.

Luke Weaver has an ERA of 1.42 and a WHIP of 1.03.

Carlos Martinez (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Carlos Martinez has an ERA of 1.20 and a WHIP of 0.80.

Tyler Lyons has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 1.33.

Matt Bowman has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.00.

Sam Tuivailala has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 1.00.

Brett Cecil has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 1.00.

Ryan Sherriff has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 1.13.

Juan Nicasio has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.43.

Who’s Not

Over the past seven days (does not contain recent Sunday games):

Alex Mejia is batting .059 with an OPS of .170

Dexter Fowler is batting .000 with an OPS of .167.

Kolten Wong is batting .000 and has an OPS of .286 in 7 plate appearances.

Zach Duke has an ERA of 27.00 and a WHIP of 3.00.

Seung-Hwan Oh has an ERA of 9.00 and a WHIP of 1.00.

Sandy Alcantara has an ERA of 13.50 and a WHIP of 4.50.

A Look at Cardinals Lineups

The lineups over the last seven games (does not contain recent Sunday game):

The leadoff hitter has been Matt Carpenter for three games, Dexter Fowler for two games, and Harrison Bader for two games.

The number 2 hitter has been Tommy Pham for three games, Harrison Bader for two games, Randal Grichuk for one game, and Stephen Piscotty for one game.

The number 3 hitter has been Paul DeJong for six games, and Pham for one game.

The number 4 hitter has been Jose Martinez.

The number 5 hitter has been Yadier Molina for five games, Fowler for one game, and Piscotty for one game.

The number 6 hitter has been Piscotty for three games, Bader for one game, Grichuk for one game, Molina for one game, and Greg Garcia for one game.

The number 7 hitter has been Greg Garcia for three games, Wong for two games, Carson Kelly for one game, and Breyvic Valera for one game.

The number 8 hitter has been Alex Mejia for five games, Grichuk for one game, and Bader for one game.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.

Transactions

9/5 The Cardinals recalled 2B Breyvic Valera from the Memphis Redbirds.

9/6 The Cardinals acquired RHP Juan Nicasio from the Philadelphia Phillies for 2B Eliezer Alvarez.

Injury Report

Dexter Fowler (USA TODAY Sports Images)

OF Dexter Fowler injured his left knee in a collision with the outfield wall in Saturday’s game.  An initial MRI came back clean, no structural damage.  A full diagnosis and expected return will not be known until Tuesday.

RHP Adam Wainwright (right elbow impingement) threw off flat ground over the weekend and is expected to throw off the mound this week.  A return date remains unknown.

3B Jedd Gyorko (right hamstring strain) did some light running and took batting practice this past week.  Gyorko was expected to run the bases over the weekend.  No expected return date has been announced.

Both Kolten Wong (back tightness) and Matt Carpenter (right shoulder bursitis) returned to the lineup over the weekend.

Tommy Pham (right shoulder tightness) also returned over the weekend, but was out of Sunday’s lineup due to recurring vision issues.

Looking Ahead

The Cardinals have an off day Monday.  On Tuesday, the team begins a three game series at home against the Reds.  No starters for the series have yet been designated, but if the rotation holds they will be Flaherty, Lynn, and Weaver. However, they may decide to skip Flaherty this time through.

The Cardinals travel to Chicago to take on the Cubs in a weekend series following the homestand.  After another Monday off day, the team heads to Cincinnati for a three game set with the Reds.  The Cardinals then travel to Pittsburgh for a weekend series with the Pirates.

The Cardinals return home and begin a four game series with the Cubs at Busch Stadium.  The Brewers then come to St. Louis for a weekend series to end the regular season schedule.

The Cardinals’ regular season schedule can be found here.

Blast from the Past

The Cardinals are on a mini run of sorts in these last remaining weeks of the season.  While the run cannot as yet be compared to the magical run of 2011, it has some of the makings of it.  In addition to the comeback of the 2011 Cardinals, another team in Redbird history made a miraculous comeback to win it all.  That team was the 1964 St. Louis Cardinals.

1964 Cardinals celebration

The 1964 Redbirds squad ended the season with a record of 93-69 and finished on top in the National League.  In 1964, there were no divisions, only two leagues, the National League and the American League.  The Cardinals were managed by Johnny Keane in 1964.  The squad consisted of starting position players Tim McCarver behind the plate, Bill White at first base, Julian Javier at second base, Dick Groat at shortstop, Ken Boyer at third base, Lou Brock in left field, Curt Flood in center field, and Mike Shannon in right field.  Brock joined the ‘64 Cardinals at mid-season.  Shannon was a mid-season call-up from the minors.  The rotation was headlined by Hall of Famer Bob Gibson.

The Phillies were the favorite to win the National League.  The Cardinals struggled throughout the first half, and were at times close to the bottom in the league.  By mid-August, the Redbirds were 9.5 games back of first place.  The Cardinals’ struggles got GM Bing Devine fired.  By August 23, the Cardinals were 11 games back.

After August 23, the Cardinals won six games in a row and moved up in the standings.  At the same time, the Phillies began to falter, hampered in part by injuries.  The famous “Phillies Phold” began on September 21.  They were swept by Cincinnati in three games, and Milwaukee in four games.  They lost crucial games to the Braves, and lost another series to Milwaukee.  In the meantime, the Cardinals won five in a row against Pittsburgh, then met the Phillies and swept them in three games on Sept 28-30.  The Cardinals played the Mets in the last series of the season, and though they lost the first two, they won the final game to win the pennant by one game.

The Cardinals then met the Yankees in the World Series, and won it four games to three.

The famous run in 2011 had its precedent in the 1964 team.  It is too soon to predict what will happen in 2017, but the possibilities are exciting.

Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation: Palm Beach Cardinals Notebook: 2017 Week 23

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Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 9/9/17

photo: Nick Martini (Springfield Cardinals FANatic Photos)

The St. Louis Cardinals system was 0-2 in Friday’s playoff action.  The Peoria Chiefs were eliminated from the Midwest League title chase. Our Players of the Day are the top three hitters in the Memphis lineup, Nick Martini, Aledmys Diaz, and Tyler O’Neill, who combined for seven runs driven in a wild playoff loss.  O’Neill hit the only home run.

Results for games played Friday, September 8.

Memphis 15 at Colorado Springs 16

Aledmys Diaz (USA TODAY Sports Images)

A slugfest in Colorado Springs ended in a one run loss for the Redbirds. Down by nine heading into the eighth, a huge Memphis rally fell just short, despite them putting up eight runs.

The top three in the lineup drove in seven among them.  Nick Martini was 2-for-6 with three runs driven in.  Aledmys Diaz was 3-for-6 with two RBI.  Tyler O’Neill drove in two, one on a solo home run in the ninth.  Adolis Garcia was 3-for-6 with two runs scored.  Patrick Wisdom was 2-for-6 with an RBI and two runs scored.  Wilfredo Tovar plated two, scored three, and was 2-for-3.  Magneuris Sierra was 2-for-4 with two runs driven in and two runs scored.  Jacob Wilson was 2-for-2 and drove in two.

Tyler O’Neill (Memphis Redbirds)

Ryan Helsley took the loss.  Helsley pitched four innings, giving up six runs on six hits.  The right hander struck out one and walked two.  Josh Zeid surrendered four runs, three earned, in his one inning pitched.  Rowan Wick followed with an inning in which he allowed three runs, one earned.  Sean Gilmartin relinquished three runs in an inning of relief.  Josh Lucas pitched a scoreless eighth.

The Redbirds’ chances were damaged by three errors (Martini, Tovar, Gilmartin), five walks, and three wild pitches. Memphis went 11-for-22 with runners in scoring position, but the Sky Sox were 10-for-14.

Down two games to one in the best of five set, Memphis must win the next two to move into the Pacific Coast League finals.

Saturday’s game:  at Colorado Springs, Zac Gallen (0-0, 0.00) 5:00 CT.


Peoria 5 at Quad Cities 8

Brian O’Keefe (Peoria Chiefs)

The Chiefs lost a tough one at Quad Cities, a defeat that eliminated them from the Midwest League playoffs.  This makes the third straight playoff elimination loss in a best of three series for the Chiefs.

Starting pitcher Anthony Shew went just 1 2/3 innings, giving up four runs on five hits while fanning four and walking one.  Leland Tilley followed with a three run, two earned, 2/3 inning relief performance.  Austin Sexton surrendered a run in 1 2/3 innings.  Dewin Perez pitched three scoreless innings, and Yelson Medina added a scoreless eighth.

The Chiefs didn’t score until the fifth inning, when Brian O’Keefe launched a solo home run. Kramer Robertson’s RBI double in the sixth added a second run.  Singles by O’Keefe, Matt Fiedler, and Ryan McCarvel plated three in the eighth.  O’Keefe was 2-for-3 with three runs scored.  Robertson was 2-for-5.



Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation: State College Spikes Notebook: 2017 Week 12

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Cardinals MLB Notebook: Week of August 28-September 3

photo: Lance Lynn (Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports Images)

The St. Louis Cardinals won four of six, but sit six games out of first place. Heading toward free agency, Lance Lynn continues to excel on the mound. In our history feature, the 1918 Cardinals and their triples proficiency are remembered.

Cardinals make unexpected trade

Mike Leake (USA TODAY Sports Images)

In a surprising move one day before the August waiver deadline, the St. Louis Cardinals traded starting pitcher Mike Leake to the Seattle Mariners for minor league shortstop Rayder Ascanio.  The Cardinals also sent $750,000 in international pool money to the Mariners.

In his second of a five-year deal with the Cardinals, Leake had to waive his no trade clause in order to make the deal happen.  Leake is owed $48 million over the next three seasons.  The Cardinals are sending $17 million of that to the Mariners.

To fill the rotation spot, St. Louis called up Memphis right handed pitcher Jack Flaherty, who made his first start on Friday against the Giants.

Leake had a fantastic first half, but struggled in the second.  The Cardinals considered removing him from the rotation, but gave him one last start before trading him.

Ascanio, 21, is from Venezuela and has been assigned to the Cardinals Class-A Advanced Palm Beach Cardinals.

Game Recaps

Monday, August 28 – Off day

Tuesday, August 29 – Cardinals 10 at Brewers 2

The Cardinals thumped the Brewers in the first of two games at Miller Park.  St. Louis scored the bulk of its runs in the third, fourth, and fifth innings.  In the third, a Brewers error led to the first St. Louis run, and two more runs came home on a Luke Voit groundout.  Aggressive base running by Dexter Fowler resulted in two runs on the play.  Paul DeJong and Voit plated two runs each on singles in the fourth.  In the fifth, Matt Carpenter blasted a two run home run to center field.  The 10th and final run scored in the seventh on a DeJong RBI single.  DeJong and Voit were 2-for-5.  Tommy Pham was 2-for-4, as was Carson Kelly.

St. Louis starter Luke Weaver pitched 5 2/3 innings, giving up two runs on eight hits.  The rookie right hander fanned 10 and walked one to earn his third win of his major league season.  Zach Duke relieved in the sixth and got the final out of the inning.  Seung-Hwan Oh, Brett Cecil, and Ryan Sherriff each pitched a scoreless inning of relief.

On the base paths, Pham was caught stealing for the sixth time.

Wednesday, August 30 – Cardinals 5 at Brewers 6

In the second of two at Miller Park, the Cardinals narrowly lost to the Brewers.  Starter Carlos Martinez pitched 5 2/3 innings, giving up six runs, only three earned, on 10 hits, thanks to some poor Redbird defense.  Martinez struck out seven but walked none.  Ryan Sherriff relieved and got the final out of the sixth inning.  Sam Tuivailala and Matt Bowman each tossed a scoreless inning of relief.  Martinez lost his 10th game of the season.

The Cardinals got on the board first in the first inning, on two run home run from Tommy Pham.  The long ball was responsible for all St. Louis’ runs.  Randal Grichuk launched a solo home run in the fifth.  Pham hit another two run shot in the eighth.  Pham was 2-for-4, both home runs, for four RBI and two runs scored.

Three errors hurt the Cardinals.  Jose Martinez and Paul DeJong committed throwing errors.  Matt Carpenter made a fielding error.

Thursday, August 31 – Cardinals 5 at Giants 2

The Cardinals prevailed against the Giants in San Francisco in the first of a four game set.  A two run home run by Randal Grichuk in the second inning got the Cardinals on the board first.  A 3-for-4 performance by Tommy Pham aided in the victory.  Pham singled in a run in the seventh inning and was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the eighth to plate his second run.  Also in the fifth, a bases loaded walk by Greg Garcia sent another run home.  Grichuk was 2-for-4 with two runs scored.

Starting pitcher Michael Wacha pitched six innings, giving up one run on four hits.  The righty struck out two and walked two.   Matt Bowman and Tyler Lyons tossed a scoreless seventh and eighth, respectively.  John Brebbia got one out the ninth and allowed one run.  Zach Duke and Seung-Hwan Oh secured outs two and three, respectively.  Wacha won his 10th game of the season.

Friday, September 1 – Cardinals 11 at Giants 6

The Cardinals took the second of the four game set, thanks to a six run ninth inning rally.  The Redbirds scored twice in the third and the seventh innings and a fifth run in the eighth to tie the game.  Harrison Bader’s two run home run in the third cut the 3-0 Giants lead to one run.  In the seventh, Greg Garcia’s ground out plated a run, and Randal Grichuk followed with a solo home run.  Garcia tripled in a run in the eighth.  The ninth inning scoring began with Kolten Wong’s RBI single.  Paul DeJong doubled to plate two.  Yadier Molina’s single brought a fourth run home, then Stephen Piscotty launched a two run home run.  Wong, Bader, and DeJong were each 2-for-4.  Molina was 2-for-5.  Piscotty was 3-for-5 with three runs scored.

Rookie starter Jack Flaherty made his major league debut.  Flaherty pitched four innings, giving up five runs on eight hits.  Though the start was rough for the rookie, he did strike out six in those four innings.  John Gant tossed two scoreless innings in relief of Flaherty.  Brett Cecil and Tyler Lyons each pitched a scoreless inning, with Lyons getting the win.  Sam Tuivailala allowed one run in the ninth.

Wong made a fielding error.

Saturday, September 2 – Cardinals 1 at Giants 2 (10 innings)

The Redbirds were the hard luck extra-inning loser of the third game of the series in San Francisco. St. Louis bats couldn’t figure out Giants starter Jeff Samardzija, managing only two hits against him and three in the game.  Two of the three hits came from Dexter Fowler, who was 2-for-4 with the only RBI.  The lone run came in the fourth on a Fowler single.  Fowler also tripled in the 10th, but was stranded.

Starter Lance Lynn pitched an excellent game, but wasn’t rewarded by his offense.  Lynn went eight scoreless innings, allowing only one hit, fanning four and walking four.  Tyler Lyons gave up a run in the ninth, and was pulled with one out.  Seung-Hwan Oh pitched to one batter and allowed an inherited runner to score.  After Oh gave up the RBI single to Buster Posey, Ryan Sherriff got the final two outs of the ninth.  Sherriff returned for the 10th and gave up the walk off home run to the first batter he faced to take the loss.

Sunday, September 3 – Cardinals 7 at Giants 3

The Redbirds pulled out the Giants series win on Sunday in the rubber game.  Luke Weaver won his fourth game of the season, pitching seven innings, giving up two runs on four hits.  The righty fanned nine and walked two.  Rookie reliever Sandy Alcantara allowed one run in his major league debut, striking out one and issuing one free pass in his 2/3 of an inning.  Zach Duke got the final out of the eighth before John Brebbia pitched a scoreless ninth.

Harrison Bader and Jose Martinez were the stars of the Cardinals show, driving in five of the seven runs between them.  Martinez and Paul DeJong hit back to back solo home runs in the fourth to take a 2-1 lead.  Bader added a solo shot in the sixth, followed by an RBI double from Martinez and an RBI double by Yadier Molina.  Bader drove in a run on a single in the seventh, and Martinez’ ground rule double in the seventh plated a second run.  Bader was 2-for-5, Martinez was 3-for-5.

Big Picture

The Cardinals finished the week 4-2, splitting the two game series with the Brewers, and taking 3 of 4 from the Giants.  The team remains in third place in the NL Central, six games back of the Cubs, and 2.5 games back of the Brewers.  The Cardinals have 26 games remaining in the regular season.

The rosters expanded on September 1, and the Cardinals added pitchers Jack Flaherty, John Gant, and Sandy Alcantara, and position players Harrison Bader, Alex Mejia, and Alberto Rosario.  Flaherty takes over a rotation spot following the trade of Mike Leake, and Luke Weaver continues in the rotation in place of the injured Adam Wainwright.  It is unknown whether Wainwright will return to the rotation before the end of the regular season, but the expectation is that he will.

The Cardinals are not gaining ground, and without an extended winning streak, they are unlikely to make the postseason.

NL Central Standings

W L % GB
Chicago Cubs 75 61 0.551
Milwaukee 72 65 0.526 3.5
St. Louis 69 67 0.507 6
Pittsburgh 65 72 0.474 10.5
Cincinnati 58 79 0.423 17.5

Who’s Hot

Over the past 7 days (does not contain recent Sunday game results):

Tommy Pham (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Tommy Pham is batting .471 with an OPS of 1.491.  He has 2 HRs, 2 doubles, and 6 RBI.

Stephen Piscotty is batting .286 with an OPS of .976.   He has 1 HR, 1 triple, and 2 RBI.

Harrison Bader is batting .500 with an OPS of 1.850 in five plate appearances.  He has 1 HR and 2 RBI.

Carson Kelly is batting .400 with an OPS of 1.100 in six plate appearances.  He has 1 double.

Lance Lynn (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Lance Lynn has an ERA of 1.20 and a WHIP of 0.93.

Michael Wacha has an ERA of 1.50 and a WHIP of 1.00

Seung-Hwan Oh has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 1.20

Brett Cecil has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.50.

Zach Duke has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.00

Matt Bowman has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.50.

Who’s Not

Over the past seven days (does not contain recent Sunday games):.

Luke Voit is batting .167 and has an OPS of .333.

Paul DeJong is batting .185 and has an OPS of .464.

Kolten Wong is batting .174 and has an OPS of .644

Jack Flaherty has an ERA of 11.25 and a WHIP of 2.25.

Carlos Martinez has an ERA of 4.76 and a WHIP of 1.76.

Sam Tuivailala has an ERA of 6.00 and a WHIP of 1.00.

John Brebbia has an ERA of 5.40 and a WHIP of 2.40.

A Look at Cardinals Lineups

The lineups over the last six games (does not contain recent Sunday game):

The leadoff hitter has been Matt Carpenter for four games and Kolten Wong for two games.

The number 2 hitter has been Tommy Pham for four games, Harrison Bader for one game, and Jose Martinez for one game.

The number 3 hitter has been Paul DeJong.

The number 4 hitter has been Dexter Fowler for five games, and Matt Carpenter for one game.

The number 5 hitter has been Yadier Molina for five games, and Wong for one game.

The number 6 hitter has been Wong for two games, Stephen Piscotty for two games, Luke Voit for one game, and Martinez for one game.

The number 7 hitter has been Greg Garcia for two games, Piscotty for one game, Wong for one game, Voit for one game, and Grichuk for one game.

The number 8 hitter has been Grichuk for four games, Garcia for one game, and Carson Kelly for one game.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.

Transactions

8/30 The Cardinals traded RHP Mike Leake, international bonus money and cash to the Seattle Mariners for SS Rayder Ascanio.

8/31 The Cardinals designated LHP Kevin Siegrist for assignment.

8/31 The Cardinals recalled RHP John Gant from the Memphis Redbirds.

9/1 The Cardinals sent LHP Sean Gilmartin outright to the Memphis Redbirds.

9/1 The Cardinals selected the contract of RHP Sandy Alcantara from the Springfield Cardinals.

9/1 The Cardinals selected the contract of C Alberto Rosario from the Memphis Redbirds.

9/1 The Cardinals selected the contract of RHP Jack Flaherty from the Memphis Redbirds.

9/1 The Cardinals recalled CF Harrison Bader from the Memphis Redbirds.

9/1 The Cardinals recalled 2B Alex Mejia from the Memphis Redbirds.

9/2 The Philadelphia Phillies claimed LHP Kevin Siegrist off waivers from the St. Louis Cardinals.

Injury Report

3B Jedd Gyorko (right hamstring strain) played catch on Saturday, his first baseball activity since going on the disabled list.  Gyorko is eligible to come off the disabled list on Wednesday, but no definitive announcement has been made as to when he will return.

RHP Adam Wainwright (right elbow impingement) continues on the 10 day disabled list.  Wainwright was shut down from throwing activity. A reevaluation is expected soon.

RHP Trevor Rosenthal (right elbow) was scheduled to have Tommy John surgery the week of August 28.

OF Tommy Pham missed two games due to jamming his thumb into second base on Thursday night in San Francisco.  Pham returned to the lineup for Sunday’s game.

OF Dexter Fowler has been out of the lineup for a sore hip, aggravated by a slide into second base in Saturday’s game.  He is considered day to day.

Looking Ahead

Following the Giants series in San Francisco, the Cardinals travel to San Diego to take on the Padres in a four game series.  Carlos Martinez is scheduled to make the Monday start, followed by Wacha on Tuesday, Jack Flaherty on Wednesday, and Lance Lynn on Thursday.

The team then returns home to St. Louis for a weekend series against the Pittsburgh Pirates.  The Cardinals have an off day on the Monday after the Pirates series, then begin a three game set at home against the Cincinnati Reds.

The homestand will end on Thursday, September 14, as the Cardinals travel to Chicago to play the Cubs in a weekend series at Wrigley Field.  Another Monday off day follows as the team travels to Cincinnati for a three game series against the Reds. St. Louis will then continue to Pittsburgh for a weekend series against the Pirates.

The Cardinals’ regular season schedule can be found here.

Blast from the Past

In Friday’s game against the Giants, four Cardinals tripled in the 11-6 victory – Yadier Molina, Stephen Piscotty, Greg Garcia, and Dexter Fowler.  Garcia’s triple drove in a run.  Hitting four triples in a single game is not an easy feat, even for a ballpark that has a “triples alley” like AT&T Park in San Francisco.

In fact, the last time the Cardinals hit four triples was in the second game of a doubleheader on July 27, 1918, 99 years prior.  Those four triples in that game were hit by three players.  Two triples came from right fielder George Anderson.  The others came from second baseman Bob Fisher, and shortstop Rogers Hornsby.  That July 27 game was a victory for the Cardinals by a score of 22-7 over the Brooklyn Robins.

The Robins were the precursor to the Brooklyn, and later, Los Angeles Dodgers.  The Robins were so named from 1914 to 1931.  The 1918 version of the Robins finished the season with a record of 57-69 and were fifth in the National League.  The 1918 Cardinals were worse, finishing eighth (dead last) in the National League, with a record of 51-78.

The 1918 squad were managed by Jack Hendricks, and featured Hornsby as the starting shortstop.  The primary starting lineup in addition to Hornsby were catcher Mike Gonzalez, first baseman Gene Paulette, second baseman Fisher, third baseman Doug Baird, and outfielders Cliff Heathcote, Austin McHenry, and Walton Cruise.  The starting rotation consisted of right handers Bill Doak, Red Ames, and Lee Meadows, and left handers Gene Packard and Jakie May.

The 1918 Cardinals would be the last Cardinals team to finish in last place until 1990, 72 years later.

Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation: Gulf Coast League Cardinals Notebook: 2017 Week 10

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Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 9/2/17

photo: Jacob Wilson (USA TODAY Sports Images)

The St. Louis Cardinals system was 4-2 on Friday. Our Player of the Day is Springfield third baseman Jacob Wilson, who was 2-for-3 with a three run home run and four RBI in the Cardinals win over the Arkansas Travelers.

Results for games played Friday, September 1.

Memphis 3 at Colorado Springs 4

Rangel Ravelo (Memphis Redbirds)

The Redbirds fell to the Sky Sox in Colorado Springs on Friday night.  Memphis initially took the lead with two runs in the first inning on solo home runs by Breyvic Valera and Tyler O’Neill.  The home run was O’Neill’s only hit. Valera was 2-for-5.  Rangel Ravelo was also 2-for-5, with an RBI single in the third inning.

In his Memphis debut, starter Ryan Helsley pitched five innings, giving up two runs on seven hits.  The right hander struck out five and walked three.  Josh Zeid surrendered two runs in two innings of relief, and was charged with a blown save and the loss.  Josh Lucas pitched a scoreless eighth.

In the field, Aledmys Diaz made a missed catch error.  O’Neill had an outfield assist.

The Redbirds are 89-49 on the season and are in first place in the PCL Southern by 23.5 games.

Saturday’s game:  at Colorado Springs, Kevin Herget (4-2, 4.01) 7:00 CT.


Springfield 6, Arkansas 2

Jacob Wilson (USA TODAY Sports Images)

The Cardinals defeated the Travelers at Hammons Field on Friday night.  Starter Connor Jones picked up the win, pitching 6 2/3 innings and giving up two runs on six hits.  The righty fanned two and walked three in his Texas League debut.  Tyler Bray and Eric Carter combined for the final 2 1/3 scoreless innings of relief.

The offense was led by Jacob Wilson, who hit a three run home run in the sixth and was 2-for-3 with four RBI.  Wilson drew a walk in the second to plate a run.  Tommy Edman drove in a run in the second on a force out.  John Nogowski’s RBI single in the seventh delivered the sixth and final run for the Cardinals.  Nogowski was 2-for-4. Magneuris Sierra was 2-for-5.

Edman stole his fifth base in seven attempts for Springfield.  Anthony Garcia stole his seventh bag in nine attempts.  Sierra was caught stealing for the fifth time in 21 attempts, and Oscar Mercado was caught stealing for the 19th time in 55 attempts.

The Cardinals are 76-61 overall, and 41-26 in the second half and are one game back of first place in the Texas League North.

Saturday’s game:  at Tulsa, Pedro Echemendia (2-4, 4.30) 7:05 CT


Palm Beach 8 at St. Lucie 5 (12 innings)

Jose Godoy (Palm Beach Cardinals)

A three run 12th inning for Palm Beach sealed the deal in this extra innings win on Friday night.  The inning began with a two run home run by Jose Godoy, who was 3-for-6 with three RBI.  Leobaldo Pina was also 3-for-6.  Casey Grayson also provided a long ball, a solo shot in the fifth inning.  New Cardinal Rayder Ascanio drove in a run on single in the third.  Godoy also singled in a run in the third.  Vince Jackson plated a run on a single in the ninth.  Edmundo Sosa was 2-for-4.

Starter Mike O’Reilly pitched four innings, giving up five runs, two earned, on nine hits.  The right hander struck out two and walked one.  Ian McKinney tossed three scoreless innings of relief.  Two new Cardinals covered the final five frames. Kodi Whitley went three scoreless innings, and Kevin Hamann added the final two scoreless innings to earn the win.

Jose Martinez committed a fielding error.  Blake Drake had an outfield assist.

The Cardinals are 74-58 overall and 34-31 in the second half, which puts them seven games back of first place in the FSL South.

Saturday’s game:  vs. St. Lucie, Sam Tewes (3-1, 2.77) 4:30 CT.


Peoria 7, Quad Cities 4

Frederis Parra (Johnson City Cardinals)

The Chiefs topped the River Bandits on Friday night with the aid of a five run sixth inning.  J.R. Davis’ RBI double in the sixth plated two, and Nick Plummer followed with an RBI single.  Evan Mendoza drove in a run on a single, and Kramer Robertson stole home for the fifth and final run of the inning.  Davis plated the first Chiefs run in the second inning on a double and was 3-for-4.  Mendoza hit a solo home run in the eighth and was 3-for-5.

Starter Frederis Parra pitched six innings, giving up one run on five hits.  The right hander struck out five and walked two.  Ronnie Williams provided two scoreless innings of relief.  Max Almonte surrendered three runs in the ninth and left with two outs.  Yeison Medina got the final out to earn his 10th save.

On the base paths, Robertson stole his ninth base in 13 attempts, and Mendoza swiped his second bag in two attempts for Peoria.  Plummer was caught stealing for the ninth time in 17 attempts.  In the field, both Mendoza and Robertson made throwing errors.

The Chiefs are 67-69 overall and 37-30 in the second half to put them four games back of first place and two games ahead in the wild card in the Midwest League West for the second half.

Saturday’s game:  at Kane County, Austin Warner (2-3, 2.93) 6:30 CT.


State College 1 at Mahoning Valley 2

Matt Davis (Peoria Chiefs)

State College lost a low scoring contest on Friday night in Mahoning Valley.  The Spikes took the lead in the third on Matt Davis’ solo home run, but they would not score again.  The only other hits for State College were a Yariel Gonzalez single and a Brandon Benson double.

Starter Jonathon Mulford went 4 2/3 innings, giving up one run on four hits.  Mulford struck out two and walked four.  Robbie Gordon took the loss after pitching three innings of relief, surrendering one run on two hits.  Jesus Cruz got the final out of the eighth inning.

The Spikes are 38-32 and are 2.5 games back of first place in the New York-Penn League Pinckney Division and two games behind in the wild card.

Saturday’s game:  at Mahoning Valley, Daniel Castano (8-3, 2.82) 6:05 CT.


GCL Cardinals 6, GCL Mets 5

Robbie Coman (St. Louis Cardinals)

The Cardinals edged the Mets on Friday in a one run contest.  Starter Brian Pirela pitched six innings and gave up three runs on six hits.  The right hander fanned six and walked three.  C.J Saylor added two innings of relief and earned the win.  Saylor surrendered two runs on three hits.  Cory Malcolm tossed a scoreless ninth.

Robbie Coman was 3-for-4 with two RBI, on a sixth inning single.  Elehuris Montero drove in a first inning run on a triple and was 2-for-3 with two runs scored.  Terry Fuller’s two run home run in the eighth was his only hit.    Taylor Bryant was 2-for-4.

On the base paths, Jonatan Machado was caught stealing for the second time in 10 attempts.

The Cardinals are 25-29 on the season and are 8.5 games back in the GCL East.

Saturday’s game:  at GCL Nationals, TBA 9:00 a.m. CT.



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Cardinals MLB Notebook: Week of August 21-27

photo: Yadier Molina (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports Images)

The reeling Cardinals lost four of six at home to losing teams from San Diego and Tampa Bay this week, extending their skid to 4-9 since the eight-game win streak. A road trip to Milwaukee and the West Coast is ahead. Yadier Molina has quietly continued to perform well at the plate. Cardinals Hall of Fame inductee Pepper Martin is profiled in our history feature.

Game Recaps

Monday, August 21- Off day

Tuesday, August 22 – Cardinals 4, Padres 12

St. Louis dropped the first of a three game home series to the Padres in large fashion.  The lead changed several times during the first six innings, but the Cardinals bullpen had a major meltdown in the final innings.  Starter Lance Lynn pitched six innings, giving up four runs on six hits.  The right hander struck out four and walked one.  Reliever Matt Bowman started the seventh, but left with three more Padres’ runs on the board and no outs.  Zach Duke then replaced Bowman and allowed three more runs, for six runs in the inning, before getting the three outs to end the inning.  Josh Lucas tossed the final two innings and surrendered two additional runs in those two innings.  Bowman took the loss.

All four Cardinals runs came via the home run.  Jedd Gyorko hit a two run shot in the fourth, and Stephen Piscotty followed with a bases-empty homer.  In the sixth, Yadier Molina hit a solo shot.  Molina was 2-for-2 with two runs scored.  Piscotty was 2-for-3.

Wednesday, August 23 – Cardinals 6, Padres 2

The Cardinals fared better in Game 2, thanks to a pitching gem by Luke Weaver.  The rookie pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing three hits while fanning 10 and walking one.  Seung-Hwan Oh relieved in the eighth, gave up one run, and left with no outs on the board.  Tyler Lyons finished the inning with no further damage.  John Brebbia pitched the ninth and surrendered a solo home run.  Weaver was the winning pitcher, his second.

Tommy Pham got the Cardinals on the board in the first inning with an RBI double to left.  Dexter Fowler also drove in a run in the inning on a sac fly.  In the third, Jedd Gyorko singled to bring a third run home.  Greg Garcia scored in the fourth on a throwing error on a pickoff attempt.  In the fifth, Fowler scored on a wild pitch.  The final Cardinal run came home on Gyorko’s RBI single in the eighth.

Kolten Wong was 3-for-5 with three runs scored.  Gyorko was 2-for-4.

On the base paths, Wong stole both second and third base, but has just six stolen bases on the season.  Pham stole his 17th base.

Thursday, August 24 – Cardinals 3, Padres 4

The Cardinals were edged by the Padres in the rubber game of the series.  The offense had 12 hits, but only scored three runs.  The scoring began in the fourth on Jedd Gyorko’s RBI double to left.  In the sixth, Yadier Molina plated a run on a ground ball single to left.  Randal Grichuk’s solo home in the ninth was the third and final Cardinals run.

Kolten Wong was 2-for-5, while Paul DeJong and Dexter Fowler were both 3-for-4.

Starting pitcher Carlos Martinez pitched seven innings, giving up two runs, one earned, on seven hits.  The right hander struck out six and walked two.  Tyler Lyons pitched a scoreless eighth.  It took four Cardinal relievers to get out of the ninth.  Sam Tuivailala, who took the loss, surrendered two runs on two hits, and left with no outs in the inning.  Zach Duke pitched to one batter and allowed a hit.  Matt Bowman walked a batter but managed to get one out before leaving for Brett Cecil.  Cecil got the last two outs of the inning via the strikeout.

Martinez committed a throwing error.

Friday, August 25 – Cardinals 3, Rays 7

In a weekend series against the Tampa Bay Rays, the Cardinals dropped the first game by a score of 7-3.  Starter Michael Wacha didn’t get out of the fourth inning, pitching 3 1/3 innings and giving up five runs on nine hits.  The right hander fanned five and walked two and was tagged with this seventh loss of the season.  Zach Duke got the final two outs of the fourth.  Reliever Ryan Sherriff made his major league debut, pitching three scoreless innings, allowing two hits, striking out four and walking one. Sam Tuivailala tossed a scoreless eighth.  In the ninth, Brett Cecil surrendered two runs on three hits.

The Cardinals put one run on the board in the first inning on a sac fly by Dexter Fowler.  In the third, a sac fly double play off the bat of Yadier Molina plated one.  Kolten Wong’s solo home run in the fourth was his third home run of the season.  No Cardinals batter had multiple hits.

Saturday, August 26 – Cardinals 6, Padres 4

The Cardinals won a nail biter in the second game of the weekend series.  The offense was kept off the board until the sixth inning, when two scored on Paul DeJong’s triple and Yadier Molina’s double.  The Cardinals tied the score in the eighth on RBI singles by Molina and Kolten Wong.  In the bottom of the ninth, Tommy Pham became the hero, hitting a two run blast in a walk off win for the Redbirds.  The home run was Pham’s only hit, but he scored three of the six total runs.  Molina was 2-for-4 and Jedd Gyorko was 2-for-3.

Starter Mike Leake pitched seven innings, giving up four runs on six hits.  Leake struck out three and issued no walks.  John Brebbia and Tyler Lyons each tossed a scoreless inning of relief, with Lyons earning the win, his second.

Sunday, August 27 – Cardinals 2, Padres 3 (10 innings)

In the rubber game of the series, St. Louis tied the score in the later innings, but lost in the 10th. All five runs scored via solo homers. The Cardinals were stymied by the pitching of Rays starter Chris Archer, but Kolten Wong final broke through in the seventh with a solo home run.  Matt Carpenter tied it up the next frame with his own solo shot.  Greg Garcia was 3-for-4.

Starter Lance Lynn pitched seven innings, giving up two runs on six hits, including two long balls.  The right hander struck out eight and issued two free passes.  Seung-Hwan Oh, Zach Duke and John Brebbia each got one out in the eighth. Brebbia returned to pitch a scoreless ninth.  Sam Tuivailala gave up the winning run on another solo blast in the 10th and took the loss, his third.

Big Picture

The Cardinals ended the week 2-4, having lost both home series to the below-.500 Padres and Rays.  The losses put the Cardinals themselves back to .500.  St. Louis remains 4.5 games back of the Cubs with 32 games left in the regular season.

Cardinal pitching has fallen off, both starting pitching and the bullpen.  Mike Leake continues to struggle and Michael Wacha’s last three starts were each shorter than the one prior.  Carlos Martinez has struggled off and on since the All-Star Break, especially in the first inning.  Most of the bullpen has struggled, with the exception of Tyler Lyons and John Brebbia.  Luke Weaver has pitched well since coming up to replace the injured Adam Wainwright, and the Cardinals are searching for a closer with the loss of Trevor Rosenthal for the season.  The offense has been inconsistent.  Defense has been adequate, but the loss of Jedd Gyorko to the disabled list could cause the defense to take a hit.

The Cardinals begin a road trip this week, playing the second place Brewers for two games.  The Cardinals play the struggling Giants and the Padres again.

NL Central Standings

W L % GB
Chicago Cubs 69 60 0.535
Milwaukee 68 63 0.519 2
St. Louis 65 65 0.500 4.5
Pittsburgh 63 68 0.481 7
Cincinnati 55 76 0.420 14

Who’s Hot

Over the past 7 days (does not contain recent Sunday game results):

Yadier Molina (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Yadier Molina is batting .429 with an OPS of 1.173.  He has 1 HR, 3 doubles, and 5 RBI.

Jedd Gyorko is batting .364 with an OPS of 1.167.  He has 2 HRs, 2 doubles, and 7 RBI.

Stephen Piscotty is batting .333 with an OPS of .955.   He has 1 HR and 1 RBI.

Kolten Wong is batting .360 with an OPS of .905.  He has 1 HR, 1 double, and 3 RBI.

Carlos Martinez has an ERA of 1.29 and a WHIP of 1.29.

Luke Weaver/USA TODAY Sports Images

Luke Weaver has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.57.

Lance Lynn has an ERA of 1.50 and a WHIP of 1.67.

Tyler Lyons has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.67.

John Brebbia has an ERA of 3.00 and a WHIP of 0.33.

Who’s Not

Over the past 7 days (does not contain recent Sunday games):

Matt Carpenter is batting .188 and has an OPS of .465.

Randal Grichuk is batting .125 with an OPS of .551.

Jose Martinez is batting .200 with an OPS of .400 in 5 plate appearances.

Mike Leake has an ERA of 9.00 and a WHIP of 1.40.

Michael Wacha has an ERA of 13.50 and a WHIP of 3.30.

Matt Bowman has an ERA of 81.00 and a WHIP of 12.00.

Zach Duke has an ERA of 16.20 and a WHIP of 3.60.

Seung-Hwan Oh has an ERA of 9.00 and a WHIP of 2.00.

A Look at Cardinals Lineups

The lineups over the last 6 games (does not contain recent Sunday game):

The leadoff hitter has been Matt Carpenter for four games and Kolten Wong for two games.

The number 2 hitter has been Tommy Pham for four games and Stephen Piscotty for two games.

The number 3 hitter has been Paul DeJong.

The number 4 hitter has been Dexter Fowler for five games, and Randal Grichuk for one game.

The number 5 hitter has been Yadier Molina.

The number 6 hitter has been Jedd Gyorko.

The number 7 hitter has been Piscotty for three games, Wong for two games, and Grichuk for one game.

The number 8 hitter has been Greg Garcia for two games, Wong for two games, and Grichuk for two games.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.

Transactions

8/21 The Cardinals optioned 1B Luke Voit to the Memphis Redbirds.

8/23 The Cardinals transferred RHP Trevor Rosenthal from the 10 day disabled list to the 60 day disabled list.  Right posterior elbow irritation.

8/23 The Cardinals optioned RHP Josh Lucas to the Memphis Redbirds.

8/23 The Cardinals selected the contract of LHP Ryan Sherriff from the Memphis Redbirds.

8/24 The Cardinals sent LHP Kevin Siegrist on a rehab assignment to the Palm Beach Cardinals.

8/27 The Cardinals placed 3B Jedd Gyorko on the 10 day disabled list.  Right hamstring strain.

8/27 The Cardinals recalled 1B Luke Voit from the Memphis Redbirds.

Injury Report

RHP Adam Wainwright continues on the DL with a right forearm impingement. Wainwright had a doctor’s appointment on Sunday to learn when he would be cleared to being a throwing program.  A possible return to the roster could occur in mid-September.

LHP Kevin Siegrist has been sent on a rehab assignment to the Palm Beach Cardinals.  It is expected that Siegrist will make at least two more rehab appearances this week in preparation for activation from the DL.

RHP Trevor Rosenthal has been transferred from the 10 DL to the 60 day DL.  Rosenthal is expected to have Tommy John surgery this week and is out for the remainder of the season and much of the 2018 season.  Rosenthal will be a free agent following the 2018 season.

3B Jedd Gyorko has been placed on the 10-day DL with a right hamstring strain.  An MRI showed a mild to moderate strain and the Cardinals are optimistic that Gyorko will return to the roster before the end of the season.

Matt Carpenter and Dexter Fowler missed games due to a stomach virus.  Both have returned to the lineup.

Looking Ahead

On Monday, the team travels to Milwaukee for a short two game series with the Brewers, beginning on Tuesday.  Luke Weaver is scheduled to make the Tuesday start, followed by Carlos Martinez on Wednesday.

After leaving Milwaukee, the Cardinals head to San Francisco for a four games series against the Giants.  Michael Wacha is set to start on Thursday.  Mike Leake will make the Friday start.  The starters for the remaining two games have not been announced but will likely be Lance Lynn on Saturday, and Luke Weaver on Sunday.

On Monday, Sept 4 following the Giants’ series, the Cardinals play four games against the Padres in San Diego.   The team returns home on Friday for a weekend series with the Pirates.

The Cardinals have another off day on Monday, Sept. 11, but the homestand continues on Tuesday with a three game series against the Reds.

The Cardinals’ regular season schedule can be found here.

Blast from the Past

On Saturday, the 2017 Cardinals Hall of Fame induction ceremony took place, with three former Cardinals honored.  Those players were Tim McCarver and Mark McGwire, voted in by the fans, and Pepper Martin, chosen by the Red Ribbon Committee.  Martin was represented by his family at the ceremony, specifically his daughter, who gave the induction speech.

Pepper Martin (St. Louis Cardinals)

To cover all three players in any depth would take pages of this article.  I choose to focus this segment on Pepper Martin, of the famous “Gas House Gang”.  I have discussed the Gas House Gang in passing several times before, but this segment will cover it more in depth.

The Gas House Gang refers specifically to the 1934 St. Louis Cardinals team.  That team won 95 games during the regular season, won the National League Pennant, and were the 1934 World Series Champions, defeating the Detroit Tigers in seven games.  The nickname was bestowed on that team in reference to their general shabby appearance and rough tactics.

The term gas house in those days referred to factories that produced gas for lighting and cooking from coal.  Those factories were dirty and smelly, hence the reference to the team, who were reported to have played in dirty and smelly uniforms.

The 1934 Cardinals were managed by Frankie Frisch.  Standouts included Joe “Ducky” Medwick, Ripper Collins, the Dean brothers, Dizzy and his brother Paul, and Martin, among others.

Martin played for the Cardinals in 1928, 1930-35, and 1944.  He was a four time All Star and a three time National League stolen base leader in 1933, 1934, and 1936.  Pepper’s full name was John Leonard Roosevelt Martin and he was born on February 29, 1904, in Oklahoma City, leading to his nickname, The Wild Horse of the Osage.

Martin’s career batting line over his 13 year major league career was .298/.358/.443 with 59 HR, and 501 RBI.  Injuries plagued Martin’s career, and he never lived up to the promise of his early career, when the press claimed him to be the next Ty Cobb.

Martin ended his baseball career as a successful manager and coach in both the major and the minor leagues.  He was reported to have a fiery temper, and was once fired from his managing job for a minor league team for allegedly choking an umpire.  He was once arrested for punching a spectator in the stands.

Pepper Martin died of a heart attack on March 5, 1965.  His wife, Ruby, survived him by over 40 years, passing away in 2009, just after her 99th birthday.  In addition to his induction to the Cardinals Hall of Fame, Martin was also inducted into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame in 1992.

Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation: Johnson City Cardinals Notebook: 2017 Week 10

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Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 8/27/17

photo: Frederis Parra (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

The St. Louis Cardinals system was 6-1 on Saturday.  Our Player of the Day is Peoria’s Frederis Parra, who pitched seven scoreless innings in the Chiefs’ shutout of Kane County. Other pitching standouts include Austin Gomber, Connor Jones, Johan Oviedo and Diego Cordero.

Results for games played Saturday, August 26.

Memphis 4 at Iowa 2

Nick Martini/Springfield Cardinals

The Redbirds defeated the Cubs in Iowa on Saturday night, as Jack Flaherty earned his seventh win since joining Memphis.  Flaherty pitched five innings, giving up two runs on seven hits, fanning three and walking one.  Mike Mayers followed with two scoreless innings before Mark Montgomery and Josh Lucas tossed a scoreless inning each, with Lucas earning his 15th save.

Solo home runs off the bats of Rangel Ravelo and Luke Voit, added to the two RBI by Nick Martini, gave the Redbirds the margin of victory. Voit was 3-for-5 on the night. Martini’s RBI came on a ground out in the first and a sac fly in the fifth.

Harrison Bader had an outfield assist.

The Redbirds are 85-48 on the season and are in first place in the PCL American South by 20.5 games.

Sunday’s game:  at Iowa, John Gant (6-5, 3.82) 1:08 CT.


Springfield 8, Tulsa 3

Austin Gomber (USA TODAY Sports Images)

The Cardinals topped the Drillers by a score of 8-3 at Hammons Field on Saturday night.  Austin Gomber reached double digits in wins, earning his 10th of the season.  Gomber tossed seven one run innings, allowing two hits while fanning nine and walking two.  Reliever Tyler Bray gave up an unearned run in both the eighth and ninth innings.

Scoring occurred in the second, fourth, and fifth innings.  Jacob Wilson blasted a two run home run and Andrew Knizner came home on a wild pitch in the second.  Wilson and Knizner were both 2-for-4.  Eliezer Alvarez was a perfect 4-for-4 with two runs scored.  Darren Seferina plated two runs and was 2-for-5.  Gomber also drove in a run.

Oscar Mercado stole his 36th base in 52 attempts.  Knizner committed a fielding error, while Seferina made two errors, one throwing and one fielding.  Adolis Garcia had an outfield assist.

The Cardinals are 74-57 overall, 39-22 in the second half, and in first place by one game in the Texas League North.

Sunday’s game:  vs. Tulsa, Ryan Helsley (3-0, 1.93) 2:10 CT.


Palm Beach 5, St. Lucie 2

Connor Jones (St. Louis Cardinals)

The Cardinals defeated the Mets on Saturday, and improved to 6-3 on the season against St. Lucie.  Jose Martinez and Jose Godoy each had two hits, Martinez in three at-bats, and Godoy in four.  Godoy also had an RBI.  Also plating runs were Thomas Spitz, Casey Grayson, Edmundo Sosa, and Shane Billings.

Rehabbing St. Louis reliever Kevin Siegrist pitched the first inning, allowing no runs and only one hit.  Regular starter Connor Jones followed with seven innings to earn the win, his eighth.  Jones gave up one run on five hits, fanned six and walked three.  In the ninth, Eric Carter allowed two hits and a run, coming on a long ball, but then struck out the side.

The Cardinals are 71-55 overall and 31-28 in the second half.  They are 7.5 games back of first in the FSL South.

Sunday’s game:  vs. St. Lucie, Mike O’Reilly (3-0, 3.30) 12:00 p.m. CT.


Peoria 4, Kane County 0      

Frederis Parra (Johnson City Cardinals)

The Chiefs shut out the Cougars, with half the runs coming off the bat of Stefan Trosclair.  Trosclair hit a solo home run in the third inning, and later doubled in a run in the fifth to end the night 2-for-4.  Danny Hudzina was also 2-for-4 and plated a run.  Matt Fiedler’s triple also drove a run home.

Starter Frederis Parra pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing four hits, striking out seven and walking two.  Leland Tilley finished with two run-free frames of relief.  The win was Parra’s fourth of the season.

The Chiefs are 62-69 overall on the season, 32-30 in the second half to put them eight games back of first place in the Midwest League West. Peoria is tied for the wild card.

Sunday’s game:  vs. Kane County, Austin Warner (2-3, 2.93) 2:00 CT.


State College 3, Williamsport 1

Johan Oviedo (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Excellent starting pitching by Johan Oveido propelled the Spikes to a 3-1 victory over the Crosscutters.  Oveido threw eight strong innings, giving up only one run on two hits, while striking out nine and walking one for his second win as a Spike.  Will Latcham earned his fourth save, pitching a scoreless ninth.

Yariel Gonzalez and Joshua Lopez had two hits.  Bryce Denton, Wood Myers and Zach Kirtley had an RBI each.  Myers tripled in the sixth and came home on Kirtley’s double.

Scott Hurst was caught stealing for the fourth time in nine attempts.  Lopez had a passed ball.

The Spikes are 34-30 on the season and are three games out of first place in the NY-Penn Pinckney Division and 3 ½ back of the wild card.

Sunday’s game:  vs. Williamsport, Jonathon Mulford (2-5, 4.31) 5:05 CT.


Johnson City 2 at Princeton 12

The Cardinals were dealt a walloping by the Rays in Princeton, on a night when the big league clubs had a different outcome.  Three Cardinals errors didn’t help the situation, but the offense was sluggish against Rays pitching.  The bats scored two runs on only four hits, with no Cardinal having multiple hits.   Carlos Rodriguez and Walker Robbins drove in the two runs.

Starter Edwar Ramirez pitched 3 2/3 innings, giving up five runs on nine hits.  The right hander struck out two and walked one and was tagged with his seventh loss.  Will Changarotty gave up one unearned run in 3 1/3 innings.  Paul Salazar surrendered a three-run home run and six scores, only one earned, in 2/3 of an inning.  Thomas St. Clair finished the eighth with no further damage.

Carlos Rodriguez made two fielding errors, and Imeldo Diaz committed one fielding error.

The Cardinals are 33-29 on the season and are 4.5 games back of first place in the Appalachian League West. Johnson City has a one-game lead for the wild card.

Sunday’s game:  at Princeton, Jacob Schlesener (2-2, 3.56) 4:00 CT.


GCL Cardinals – Off

Sunday’s game:  at GCL Mets, TBA 9:00 a.m. CT


DSL Cardinals 6 at DSL Nationals 1

Diego Cordero (St. Louis Cardinals)

The Cardinals were victorious against the Nationals in the season finale.  Starter Diego Cordero won his fourth game with six innings of sharp pitching.  Cordero gave up only one run on two hits, struck out four and issued two free passes.  Roy Garcia and Nelson Prado combined for three scoreless innings of relief.

Center fielder Carlos Soler had a big day at the plate, going 4-for-5 with a triple, a double, and two runs scored.  Pablo Gomez and Franklin Soto plated a run each and were both 2-for-4.  Diomedes Del Rio was 2-for-5 with an RBI.  Also driving in runs were Freddy De Jesus and Joyser Garcia.

Pablo Gomez was picked off and caught stealing in the second inning.  It was his fourth caught stealing in 12 attempts.  De Jesus committed a throwing error, and Cordero picked a runner off first base.

The Cardinals finished the season at 30-40, 18.5 games back of first place in the DSL South.



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