All posts by Marilyn Green

St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of November 22-28

photo: Steven Matz (Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports)

The St. Louis Cardinals signed free agent left-handed starting pitcher Steven Matz. The 2022 Hall of Fame ballot has been announced. Our history feature looks back at prior Cardinals Cy Young Award winners.



Cardinals sign LHP Steven Matz to a four-year deal

On Tuesday, November 24, multiple media sources reported that the Cardinals had reached an agreement with LHP Steven Matz for a 4-year, $44 million dollar deal, pending a physical. As of Monday morning, the Cardinals have not yet confirmed the deal, as the pitcher was to have his exam over the weekend.

Steven Matz

Matz, 30, was drafted by the New York Mets and made his major league debut in 2015. The left hander pitched six seasons for the Mets before being traded in January 2021 to the Toronto Blue Jays for three players. Matz struggled in the first half of the season in Toronto but ended strong, posting a 14-7 record with a 3.82 ERA in 29 starts.

Several other teams had been courting Matz, including his former team the Mets. Shortly after the deal was announced, a frustrated Steve Cohen, owner of the Mets, vented his anger toward Matz’ agent in a tweet. Cohen likely had expectations that Matz would return to the Mets, expectations that were not realized.

Matz will be added to a Cardinals rotation that should include Adam Wainwright, Jack Flaherty, Miles Mikolas, and Dakota Hudson. Alex Reyes, Jordan Hicks, Jake Woodford, and Johan Oviedo could also be in the mix.  Matz being left-handed adds a different look to the predominantly right-handed staff.

Matz relies heavily on a sinkerball, and routinely posts an above average ground ball rate. With a St. Louis defense that features five Gold Glove Award winners, and a stadium that is pitcher friendly, Matz should find a high level of comfort in his home for the next four years.

More information

Cardinals to Add Lefty Steven Matz

Baseball Hall of Fame 2022 ballot released

The ballot for the 2022 Class of the Baseball Hall of Fame was released on Monday, November 23. The 30-player slate contains both first timers and veteran players, some appearing for their 10th and final year. The voting members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America have until the end of December to cast their ballot for up to 10 individuals. Anyone receiving the 75% vote threshold for induction will be announced on January 25, 2022.

Scott Rolen (Getty Images)

Those players appearing for the final time include controversial candidates Curt Schilling, Barry Bonds, and Roger Clemens. There are 13 first time players on the ballot: Carl Crawford, Prince Fielder, Ryan Howard, Tim Lincecum, Justin Morneau, Joe Nathan, David Ortiz, Jonathan Papelbon, Jake Peavy, A.J. Pierzynski, Jimmy Rollins, Alex Rodriguez, and Mark Teixeira.

Former Cardinals third baseman Scott Rolen appears for the fifth year. Rolen received 52.9 % of the vote in 2020 and is a favorite to eventually be inducted. The only other Cardinal on the ballot is short-termer Pierzynski, who was acquired in July of 2014 after being released by the Red Sox. He became a free agent at the end of the season and moved on to play for the Braves through the end of the 2016 season.

“Big Papi” Ortiz and “A-Rod” Rodriguez are the two big names on the ballot for the first time, and will likely garner significant votes, if not enough to reach the 75% threshold or higher. A player must receive at least 5% of the vote to remain on the ballot for the next year. Players remain on the ballot for a maximum of 10 years as long as the 5% threshold is reached annually.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.

Transactions

  • 11/24 The Cardinals sign LHP Steven Matz to a four-year deal, pending physical.

Injury Report

There are no new injuries to report.

Looking Ahead

As November nears its end, December in the MLB offseason calendar brings the non-tender deadline and the Winter Meetings, including the Rule 5 draft.

The non-tender deadline generally falls on the first or second day of December every year. On that date teams decide whether to tender contracts to their pre-arbitration and arbitration eligible players on their major league roster. For the majority of MLB players, the tender day is routine. However, some players will not be offered contracts and will therefore become free agents, available to sign with another team.

Due to the impending expiration of the Collective Bargaining Agreement on December 1, the non-tender deadline this year has been moved to November 30.

The Cardinals are not expected to non-tender any players. Several possible candidates have already been taken off the roster by other available means.

The annual Winter Meetings are scheduled to take place December 6-9 in Orlando, Florida. The Rule 5 will take place on December 9. The roster has been finalized for that purpose. The Cardinals added three players to the 40-man roster to protect them from the draft. They are Brendan Donovan, Freddy Pacheco, and Jake Walsh.

These offseason activities could be altered/delayed by the expiration of the Collective Bargaining Agreement on December 1. There is a high probability that a failure to come to an agreement between the two parties by December 1 will result in a lockout. A lockout would cause all offseason activity to cease until an agreement is reached. The length of any such delay is indeterminate.

Blast from the Past

In the third installment of the MLB awards series, we look at past Cardinals recipients of the Cy Young Award for excellence as a pitcher. A brief history of the award and summary of all past Cardinal winners follows.

Bob Gibson’s 1968 Cy Young Award

The Annual Cy Young Award for excellence in pitching was created in honor of Hall of Fame pitcher Cy Young, who began his career in 1890 for the Cleveland Spiders and finished with the Boston Rustlers in 1911. Young accumulated a career record of 511-315 and ERA of 2.63 in 22 professional seasons, including two seasons with the St. Louis Perfectos/Cardinals from 1899-1900.

The first award was given out in 1956, one year after Young’s death. For the first 10 years the award was given out to one pitcher across both leagues but in 1967 was changed to one pitcher in each league. From 1956 to 1966 one pitcher won it multiple times, Sandy Koufax in 1963, 1965 and 1966. The first winner in 1956 was Don Newcombe of the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Only two Cardinals have won the award in the NL since 1967. Hall of Famer Bob Gibson received the award twice, in 1968 and 1970. Chris Carpenter was the 2005 recipient in the NL.

Bob Gibson

Gibson won in 1968 after a season in which he posted an MLB record ERA of 1.12. That record remains to the present day. Gibson had a won/loss mark of 22-9 and in addition to the ERA record also put up a NL record 13 shutouts and 268 strikeouts. The vote for Gibson in 1968 was unanimous, one of only 11 NL pitchers to receive 100% of the vote. He was also the NL MVP winner.

In 1970 Gibson received the award for a second time. That season Gibson led the NL in wins with 23 and posted an ERA of 3.12.  He finished fourth in the MVP voting.

Chris Carpenter (USA TODAY Sports)

Chris Carpenter was the 2005 NL Cy Young winner. Carpenter was signed as a free agent first with the Cardinals in December 2002 but missed the entire 2003 season due to the reoccurrence of a right labrum injury. He was re-signed by the Cardinals for the 2004 season and made 28 starts. In 2005 a fully recovered Carpenter posted a record of 21-5 and an ERA of 2.83. He led the NL with seven complete games that season.

Carpenter finished third in the Cy Young voting in 2006, and second in 2009. Teammate Adam Wainwright finished third behind Carpenter that year.

Other Cardinals pitchers to finish in the top three include Wainwright again in 2010 (2nd), 2013 (2nd), and 2014 (3rd). Two other Cardinals finished second, John Tudor in 1985 and Lee Smith in 1991.

Other notable Cardinal pitchers to win the Cy Young when not playing with the team include Steve Carlton, who won it four times after being traded from the Cardinals to the Phillies in 1972. Pete Vukovich was the 1982 recipient, two years after the Cardinals traded him to Milwaukee. Hall of Famer Bruce Sutter was honored in 1979 with the Cubs, before he became a Cardinal in 1981. Sutter finished third while with St. Louis in 1982 and 1984.

Next week in the fourth and final installment, we look at Cardinals who won the NL Most Valuable Player Award.


Exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation

TCN 2022 St. Louis Cardinals Prospect #44 – Edwin Nuñez


2021 Prospect Guide now 20% off!

Now available, The Cardinal Nation 2021 Prospect Guide is back for a fourth year. It includes over 250 pages of in-depth commentary about the very best St. Louis Cardinals minor leaguers, including dozens of color photos.

20% off Blowout Sale now underway on the spiral-bound, printed version.

TCN’s 2021 Cardinals Prospect Guide – 20% Off Blowout Sale


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.

© 2021 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of November 15-21

photo: Brendan Donovan (Memphis Redbirds)

The St. Louis Cardinals added three players to the 40-man roster to protect them from the Rule 5 draft. Though the team had contenders, no Cardinals won in NL Rookie, Manager, Cy Young and MVP voting. Our history feature looks back at prior Cardinals Managers of the Year.



Cardinals add three players to roster

The deadline for finalizing rosters in anticipation of the Rule 5 draft came and went on November 19. The Cardinals have added three players to the 40-man roster to protect them from the draft, scheduled to take place on December 9.

The three players added are infielder Brendan Donovan, and pitchers Freddy Pacheco and Jake Walsh. The addition of these players brings the total on the roster to 36.

Donovan, 24, was drafted by the Cardinals in the seventh round of the 2018 draft. He spent parts of the 2021 season with Peoria, Springfield, and Memphis. Donovan also played in the 2021 Arizona Fall League. He hit a combined .304/.399/.455 in all three levels. He also slashed .308/.422/.519 in the AFL.

Brendan Donovan

Pacheco was signed as an International Amateur Free Agent in 2018 out of Venezuela. The RHP also played parts of 2021 at each of Peoria, Springfield, and Memphis as a reliever. He ended the season with a combined ERA of 3.67 with 11 saves.

Freddy Pacheco

Right hander Walsh was drafted in the 16th round of the 2017 draft out of Florida Southern College. The 26-year-old pitched for both Springfield and Memphis in 2021 and had a combined record of 2-2 with an ERA of 2.86 in 22 innings pitched. Walsh pitched in the 2021 Arizona Fall League as well, pitching 10 innings in relief and had an ERA of 8.10.

Jake Walsh

Among those left unprotected are shortstop Delvin Perez and first baseman Luken Baker.

More details here:

Cardinals Add Trio to 40-Man Roster

Cardinals miss out on other awards

Outfielder Dylan Carlson and former manager Mike Shildt each placed third in voting for the National League Rookie of the Year and Manager of the Year, respectively.

Adam Wainwright finished seventh in the NL Cy Young Award voting and Paul Goldschmidt (sixth) and Tyler O’Neill (eighth) finished in the top 10 of the NL Most Valuable Player polling.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.

Transactions

  • 11/18 The Cardinals sent RHP Ljay Newsome outright to the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 11/19 The Cardinals selected the contract of 3B Brendan Donovan from the Memphis Redbirds
  • 11/19 The Cardinals selected the contract of RHP Freddy Pacheco from the Memphis Redbirds
  • 11/19 The Cardinals selected the contract of RHP Jake Walsh from the Memphis Redbirds.

Injury Report

There are no new injuries to report.

Looking Ahead

As November nears its end, December in the MLB offseason calendar brings the non-tender deadline and the Winter Meetings, including the Rule 5 draft.

December 1 is the non-tender deadline. On that date teams decide whether to tender contracts to their pre-arbitration and arbitration eligible players on their major league roster. For the majority of MLB players the tender day is routine. However, some players will not be offered contracts and will therefore become free agents, available to sign with another team.

The Cardinals are not expected to non-tender any players. Several possible candidates have already been taken off the roster by other available means.

The annual Winter Meetings are scheduled to take place December 6-9 in Orlando Florida. The Rule 5 draft will take place on December 9. The roster has been finalized for that purpose. The Cardinals added three players to the 40-man roster to protect them from the draft. They are Brendan Donovan, Freddy Pacheco, and Jake Walsh.

The offseason activities could be altered/delayed by the expiration of the Collective Bargaining Agreement on December 1. There is a high probability that a failure to come to an agreement between the two parties by December 1 will result in a lockout. A lockout would cause all offseason activity to cease until an agreement is reached. The length of any such delay is indeterminate.

Blast from the Past

In the second installment of the series on Cardinals past MLB award recipients, the Manager of the Year is this week’s focus. We begin with a short history of the award and then a summary of the three Cardinal managers who have won the award in past seasons.

The Manager of the Year award was first given out in 1983. One manager from each league is chosen by a vote of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA). Thirty members of the BBWAA submit a ballot for three managers, ranked by first, second, and third place. Some time prior to the actual award being presented, the three “finalists” are announced publicly.

Three Cardinals managers have received the award since 1983. One of the three has won the award multiple times and with different teams in both leagues.

Tony La Russa

Tony La Russa won the Manager of the Year award four times since 1983. He won it in the inaugural year of 1983 when he was the manager of the Chicago White Sox. La Russa’s White Sox finished first in the AL West Division that year with a record of 99-63.

La Russa won the award again in 1988 as the manager of the Oakland Athletics and again with the Athletics in 1992. Both times the Athletics finished first in their Division. In 1988 Oakland won the AL pennant but lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series.

La Russa moved on to the National League St. Louis Cardinals in 1996. He won the Manager of the Year award for the fourth time with the Cardinals in 2002. The Cardinals finished first in the NL Central with a record of 97-65. St. Louis advanced to the National League Championship Series but lost to the San Francisco Giants.

Whitey Herzog

The second Cardinal manager to win the award was Whitey Herzog. Herzog managed four MLB teams, beginning with the Texas Rangers in 1973. He was the interim manager with the Angels in 1974, then took over the reins for the Kansas City Royals from 1975 to 1979. After leaving the Royals he became the skipper of the St. Louis Cardinals in 1980, where he remained until 1990. Herzog won one World Series as manager of the Cardinals in 1982 and took the team to two more in 1985 and 1987. It was in the 1985 season that Herzog was voted Manager of the Year. Herzog managed the Cardinals to a Division title in 1985 (then the NL East). The Cardinals advanced to the World Series but lost to Herzog’s former team the Kansas City Royals in seven games.

Mike Shildt (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

The third recipient of the Manager of the Year award from the Cardinals was Mike Shildt. Shildt was named the manager of the Cardinals in the middle of the 2018 season following the termination of Mike Matheny. Shildt worked for the Cardinals in various capacities within the minor league system for many years prior to his ascension to major league manager. He was promoted to Matheny’s coaching staff in 2017 as the quality control coach.

Shildt won the award in 2019, his first full season as the Cardinal skipper. He took the Cardinals to an NL Central title that season with a record of 91-71. Shildt took the Cardinals to the National League Division Series, where they defeated the Atlanta Braves in five games. The Cardinals lost in four games to the Washington Nationals in the National League Championship Series.

Shildt was unexpectedly dismissed as Cardinals manager in the 2021 offseason and was replaced by bench coach Oliver Marmol.

Of the three Cardinals Manager of the Year award recipients, one is still currently managing a major league team. Tony La Russa returned to managing after a 10-year hiatus to manage the Chicago White Sox, where he first started his managerial career. Mike Shildt was a finalist for the 2021 Manager of the Year award but lost to Gabe Kapler of the Giants. The 90-year-old Herzog now resides in St. Louis.


Exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation

Cards Sign Fourth Minors Free Agent of the Week – LHP Kyle Ryan


2021 Prospect Guide now 20% off!

Now available, The Cardinal Nation 2021 Prospect Guide is back for a fourth year. It includes over 250 pages of in-depth commentary about the very best St. Louis Cardinals minor leaguers, including dozens of color photos.

20% off Blowout Sale now underway on the spiral-bound, printed version.

TCN’s 2021 Cardinals Prospect Guide – 20% Off Blowout Sale


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.

© 2021 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook – November 20, 2021

photo: Juan Yepez (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

The Glendale Desert Dogs lost to the Surprise Saguaros in the final regular game of the AFL season. The loss eliminated Glendale from the Championship Game. Three Cardinals saw action Friday. Brendan Donovan and Juan Yepez (2-for-4) were in the starting lineup. Jake Walsh got the final out of the sixth inning.



Results from the Arizona Fall League game on Friday, November 19.

Desert Dogs 3 at Saguaros 5 (seven innings)

The Glendale Desert Dogs dropped their final regular season game to the Surprise Saguaros by a 5-3 score on Friday. Surprise took first place in the West Division and moves on to the Championship Game on Saturday.

Three Cardinals saw action. Brendan Donovan was the leadoff batter and played second base. Juan Yepez played first base and hit third. Jake Walsh pitched in the sixth inning and got the final out.

Glendale got on the board first with its three runs in the third inning. Jacob Amaya, Yepez, and Korey Lee hit back-to-back singles. James Outman drew a walk and Amaya scored. Grae Kessinger singled to plate Yepez and Lee.

Surprise came back with two runs in the fourth inning, two more in the fifth to take the lead, and one insurance run in the sixth.

Juan Yepez

Yepez singled twice and struck out twice, going 2-for-4 with a run scored. Donovan was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, a line out and a fly out.

The Desert Dogs sent four pitchers to the mound concluding with Walsh. Starter Coleman Crow pitched four innings. He gave up two runs, one earned, on four hits and struck out three. Kyle Hurt tossed the fifth and surrendered two runs. He took the loss and was tagged with a blown save. Caleb Freeman started the sixth and allowed the final run to Surprise. Walsh replaced Freeman with two outs in the inning and induced a flyball for the final out.

Jake Walsh

Glendale finished the season with a record of 17-13 for second place in the West Division.

Saturday’s game:  Glendale’s season is over. AFL Championship Game – Surprise Saguaros vs. Mesa Solar Sox at 6 p.m. CT on MLB Network.


Exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation

Cards Sign Fourth Minors Free Agent of the Week – LHP Kyle Ryan


Now 20% Off – 2021 Cardinals Prospect Guide

Now available, The Cardinal Nation 2021 Prospect Guide is back for a fourth year. It includes over 250 pages of in-depth commentary about the very best St. Louis Cardinals minor leaguers, including dozens of color photos.

20% off Blowout Sale now underway on the spiral-bound, printed version.

TCN’s 2021 Cardinals Prospect Guide – 20% Off Blowout Sale


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.

© 2021 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook – November 18, 2021

photo: Zack Thompson (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

The Glendale Desert Dogs topped the Mesa Solar Sox by one run on Wednesday to move back into a first-place tie. Cardinals Brendan Donovan and Juan Yepez started and Zack Thompson pitched two scoreless innings out of the bullpen to earn the win.



Results from the Arizona Fall League game played on Wednesday, November 17.

Desert Dogs 3 at Solar Sox 2

The Glendale Desert Dogs defeated the Mesa Solar Sox in a close 3-2 game on Wednesday. Glendale’s three-run sixth inning and strong relief work put them over the top.

Desert Dogs starter Chad Donato tossed four frames and gave up both of Mesa’s runs, one unearned. Donato struck out two and walked one.

Cardinals left hander Zack Thompson took over for Donato for the next two innings. He gave up a single and a walk but struck out two and induced a ground out to end the inning. In the sixth, Thompson walked a pair but got out of the jam with two strikeouts and a fly out. He earned his third win of the season.

Zack Thompson

Caleb Freeman and Joe Record combined to throw the final three scoreless innings for Glendale.

Mesa got on the board first with single runs in the first and the third. Glendale took the lead in the sixth with three runs. Juan Yepez, hitting third as Glendale’s first baseman, doubled to begin the inning and Korey Lee brought him home on a two-run home run to center field.  James Outman drew a walk and followed it with a stolen base. Pedro Leon also walked. Carson Taylor then singled to right to score Outman for the third run of the inning.

Second baseman Brendan Donovan hit leadoff for the Desert Dogs. He went 0-for-4 with a walk, struck out twice and grounded out twice. Yepez’ double in the sixth was his only hit. He walked, flied out, grounded out and struck out.

Glendale’s win and a loss by Surprise put the Desert Dogs into a tie for first place in the AFL West. Glendale has one game left to play while Surprise has two. The two will finish the regular season facing each other on Friday, with the division winner taking on East Division champion Mesa in Saturday’s AFL Championship Game.

Thursday’s game:  No game scheduled.
Friday’s game: Glendale (17-12) at Surprise (16-11), RHP Landon Knack vs. RHP Owen White, 12:35 pm. MT


Exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation

Cardinals Add Minor League Pitcher James Naile


Now 20% Off – 2021 Cardinals Prospect Guide

Now available, The Cardinal Nation 2021 Prospect Guide is back for a fourth year. It includes over 250 pages of in-depth commentary about the very best St. Louis Cardinals minor leaguers, including dozens of color photos.

20% off Blowout Sale now underway on the spiral-bound, printed version.

TCN’s 2021 Cardinals Prospect Guide – 20% Off Blowout Sale


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.

© 2021 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of November 8-14

photo: Nolan Arenado (St. Louis Cardinals)

The St. Louis Cardinals dominated 2021 defensive awards as individuals and team. Other awards may be coming, a key reliever returns for another season and Winter Warm-Up 2022 has been announced. Our history feature looks back at prior Cardinals Rookies of the Year.

Arenado wins Platinum Glove; Cardinals win Gold Glove team award

The defensive accolades for the St. Louis Cardinals continued this week with the announcement of the winners of the annual Platinum Glove Award. The first-ever Rawlings Platinum Glove was awarded in 2011 and has been a staple of MLB’s collection of offseason awards ever since.

Since its inception, the Platinum Glove in the National League has been dominated by two players. Nine of the 11 winners since 2011 have either been catcher Yadier Molina or third baseman Nolan Arenado. Molina is a four-time winner, in 2011, 2012, 2014, and 2015.

Nolan Arenado

On Friday, Rawlings announced the NL winner of the Platinum Glove is Arenado. It is the third baseman’s fifth consecutive Platinum Glove and his first as a Cardinal. His first four came during his time with the Rockies.

Unlike the Gold Glove, the Platinum Glove is a fan award, voted online. For the first two years the award was 100% determined by the fan vote. In 2013, the SABR Defensive Index (SDI), the same as is used to determine Gold Glove winners, was added to the calculation.

When the Platinum Glove Award winners were announced, Rawlings also revealed that the Cardinals as a team were the recipients of the Gold Glove for the best overall defensive team in the NL. This team award was introduced last season, with the winners in its inaugural season the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago Cubs. The Astros were the AL winners in 2021.

As a team, the Cardinals led baseball with 86 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) and the Astros came in second with 78 DRS. The Cardinals were also the leaders in Outs Above Average (OAA) with 50; the Astros came in second with 45 OAA.

Cardinals’ outfielder and former manager named award finalists

This coming week brings a panoply of offseason awards whose winners will be announced each night from Monday through Thursday. The first to be given out will be the recipient of the Rookie of the Year Award from each league.

The top three finishers for each award have already been released as “finalists”. Cardinals’ right fielder Dylan Carlson is up for the Rookie of the Year Award, along with favored Jonathan India of the Reds and Trevor Rogers of the Marlins.

Dylan Carlson

Carlson’s 2021 season was his first full season in the majors. He also played in more than half of 59 games in the pandemic shortened season in 2020. He struggled at the beginning and was sent down to the Alternate Site for a short while but came back and finished much stronger. In his 2021 campaign, he slashed .266/.343/.437 with 18 home runs and 65 RBI. He played at times at each of three outfield positions, with the most time in right. His totals were 78 games in right, 59 in center for the twice injured Harrison Bader, and eight in left.

Mike Shildt (USA TODAY Sports Images)

The Cardinals have no finalists for either the Cy Young Award or the Most Valuable Player, but former manager Mike Shildt is among the top three finishers for the Manager of the Year Award. Shildt directed St. Louis through a rocky season that ended with a 17-game winning streak and a postseason berth as the second Wild Card. Shildt was fired shortly after the Cardinals were eliminated from the postseason in a loss to the Dodgers in the Wild Card game. The surprise dismissal was due to “philosophical differences” between the manager and the front office over the direction of the team.

Shildt’s competition is Giants manager Gabe Kapler, and Brewers skipper Craig Counsell. Shildt previously won it in 2019.

The winner of the Rookie of the Year Award will be disclosed on Monday, November 15 at 5 pm CT, and the Manager of the Year Award winner will be announced the next day, November 16, also at 5pm CT on MLB Network. The winners were chosen via voting by selected members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

Cardinals make first offseason signing

In their first proactive move of the offseason, the Cardinals signed free agent left-handed pitcher T.J. McFarland to a one-year contract for 2022. The contract is reportedly for $2.5 million with $500,000 in performance incentives.

T.J. McFarland

The Cardinals signed McFarland on July 1, 2021, as an addition to a strained bullpen after he had been released by the Washington Nationals. The left hander pitched 38 2/3 innings for St. Louis and posted an ERA of 2.56.  McFarland’s ability to induce ground ball double plays proved decisive in many games for the Cardinals in the second half of the season. He was the pitcher when the Cardinals completed the noteworthy 3-2-5-4-2-8-6 double play in a September 25 game against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

The Cardinals have almost certainly lost one left hander from the 2021 bullpen with the free agent departure of Andrew Miller. McFarland’s return boosts a bullpen with only one other lefty, Genesis Cabrera, currently slated for the 2022 season.

2022 Winter Warm-Up announced

The St. Louis Cardinals and Cardinals Care, the team’s charitable foundation, announced that the 26th annual Winter Warm-Up will be held in person for 2022. The fan-focused event will be held in new venues – Busch Stadium and Ballpark Village – from January 15-17.

Three-day weekend tickets will be available for purchase starting Friday, November 26th. Single-day tickets and autograph tickets will be available at a later date. Check cardinals.com/wwu for further information.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

  • Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported that the Cardinals are one of 10 teams interested in RHP Nick Martinez. Martinez was formerly with the Texas Rangers but has been pitching in Japan since 2018. He officially becomes a free agent in December.
  • Tim Healey of Newsday reported from the GM Meetings in Nashville this past week that free agent left handed pitcher Steven Matz attended the meetings to meet with teams interested in acquiring him. Healey stated the Cardinals were one of the teams showing interest.
  • Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch reported from the GM Meetings in Nashville regarding the Cardinals plans for the offseason. President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak told assembled media that the team’s focus for the offseason will be on pitching. Mozeliak stated that the position players are “set” but that they are always open to opportunities. Goold mused in his articles about the free agent starting pitching market and speculated on whether the Cardinals might be interested in free agent starters like Max Scherzer or groundball specialist Marcus Stroman. Stroman in particular could be a fit for the Cardinals, says Goold, because of the elite defense that would play behind him.

Transactions

  • 11/8 The Cardinals signed free agent LHP T.J. McFarland.

Injury Report

There are no new injuries to report.

Looking Ahead

The offseason has officially begun. Nine Cardinals have elected free agency. They are LHPs Kwang-Hyun Kim, Andrew Miller, Wade LeBlanc, J.A. Happ, Jon Lester and T.J. McFarland (since re-signed), RHPs Carlos Martinez and Luis Garcia, and 3B Matt Carpenter. Some of these players could return to the Cardinals on either a major or minor league deal.

November is MLB awards month. Following are dates for the announcement of the winners of the major remaining awards:

  • November 15 – Rookie of the Year
  • November 16 – Manager of the Year
  • November 17 – Cy Young Award
  • November 18 – MVP

Other important dates include the release of the Hall of Fame ballot on November 15, and the deadline for free agents to accept or reject the Qualifying Offer, which is November 17 (which no Cardinals received).

Teams also must finalize rosters for the upcoming Rule 5 draft by November 19. Any player a team wishes to protect from the Rule 5 draft must be added to the 40-man roster by then.

Brian Walton dug into this for members of The Cardinal Nation.

The Cardinal Nation’s 2021 Rule 5 Protection Picks

Blast from the Past

The month of November is offseason awards month, and the first of the awards, the defensive ones, have already proved to be a boon for the Cardinals. Five Cardinals won Gold Gloves, Nolan Arenado also received the Platinum Glove, and the team won the overall best defensive team Gold Glove in the NL.

This coming week, major awards presentations will begin on Monday and conclude on Thursday. Blast from the Past will commemorate this with a four-part series remembering all Cardinal winners of the major awards from seasons past. We begin with the Rookie of the Year award. One current Cardinal, Dylan Carlson, is a finalist for the award, having finished among the top three vote-getters.

The Rookie of the Year Award was initially given out by the Chicago chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America. MLB adopted it as a national award in 1947. The first winner was Jackie Robinson and the award was formally named the Jackie Robinson Award in 1987. For the first two seasons, it was given to one player regardless of league. In 1949, the award was separated by league.

The team with the most ROY awards is the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers with 18. Six Cardinals have won the award in its MLB history. The last St. Louis winner was Albert Pujols in 2001. A brief summary of each winner from the team follows.

  1. The first Cardinal winner of the ROY was Wally Moon in 1954. Moon was signed by the Cardinals as a free agent in 1950. He debuted with the Cardinals on April 13, 1954 against the Cubs, and hit a home run in his first at bat. Moon primarily played left field, but also had time in right and center, and at first base. In his rookie season, Moon hit .304/.371/.435, with 12 home runs and 76 RBI. He led the NL in plate appearances with 716. Moon played five seasons for the Cardinals before being traded to the Dodgers in 1958.
  2. Stan Musial, Bill Virdon, Wally Moon

    The next season, 1955, Bill Virdon was named ROY. It was the first of two times a Cardinal won the award in back-to-back seasons. Virdon had been acquired via trade with the Yankees in 1954 and major his major league debut with St. Louis on April 12, 1955. He was a center fielder, and when he arrived, the Cardinals moved Stan Musial to first base to accommodate him. Virdon slashed .281/.322/.433 with 17 home runs and 68 RBI in his rookie campaign. He played less than two seasons with the Cardinals. Virdon slumped to begin the 1956 season, and Frank “Trader” Lane quickly sent him packing to the Pirates in May 1956.

  3. The third Cardinal ROY recipient was Bake McBride in 1974. McBride is a native of Missouri and was drafted by St. Louis in the 37th round of the 1970 draft. He debuted on July 26, 1973 and played in 40 games that season. He retained his rookie status for 1974. McBride, an outfielder, slashed .309/.369/.394 with 30 stolen bases in 1974. He played parts of five seasons for the Cardinals and was traded to the Phillies mid-season 1977.
  4. Vince Coleman (Getty Images)

    Fast forward to 1985, when the first of two Cardinals again won the ROY in back-to-back seasons. First up was Vince Coleman. Coleman, another outfielder, was drafted by the Cardinals in the 10th round in 1982. He made his major league debut on April 18, 1985 against the Expos. Coleman slashed .267/.320/.335 and led the NL that season with 110 stolen bases. The future Cardinals Hall of Famer stayed with St. Louis until he reached free agency, signing with the Mets in 1990.

  5. Todd Worrell, the first and only pitcher to become ROY for the Cardinals, won the award in 1986. Worrell was the team’s 1982 first round draft pick. He made his debut on August 28, 1985 and retained his rookie status for 1986. Worrell was the pitcher who received the throw from first baseman Jack Clark in Game 6 of the 1985 World Series, a play that resulted in the infamous blown call by umpire Don Denkinger. Worrell posted an ERA of 2.08 as a reliever in 1986 and led the NL in Saves with 36. He was granted free agency in 1992 and signed with the Dodgers.
  6. Albert Pujols, spring 2001 (Getty Images)

    Albert Pujols was the ROY winner in 2001, the last Cardinal to win the honor. Pujols’ career is well known. He played with St. Louis until after the 2011 World Series season and then signed a 10-year contract with the Los Angeles Angels. In his rookie season, he slashed .329/.403/.610 with 37 home runs and 130 RBI. The future Hall of Famer was selected to the All-Star Game in his rookie year and won the Silver Slugger award as a third baseman.

Next week Blast from the Past looks at the Cardinals’ three Manager of the Year Award winners.

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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook – November 14, 2021

photo: Juan Yepez and Lars Nootbaar (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

The AFL Fall All Stars Game took place on Saturday night at Salt River Fields. Two Cardinals were in the starting lineup for the West Division, Lars Nootbaar in right field and Juan Yepez. The first baseman/cleanup hitter doubled twice and plated one on a sacrifice fly. Two other Cardinals saw action; Zack Thompson pitched the fifth inning, and Brendan Donovan entered the game as a substitute at shortstop.



Results from the Arizona Fall League Fall Stars Game played Saturday, November 13.

AFL West 5 at AFL East 6

The AFL West squad was topped by the AFL East by a lone run in the Fall Stars Game on Saturday night at Salt River Fields. Four Cardinals appeared, with two in the starting lineup for the West.

The West got on the board first in the top of the first inning. Leadoff hitter Lars Nootbaar drew a walk, Nick Gonzales of the Pirates singled, and Bryan Stott of the Phillies doubled to score Nootbaar. Juan Yepez, batting fourth, launched a sac fly that scored Gonzales.

The East responded in the bottom of the first with four runs and added to the lead with single tallies in the fourth and fifth. The West came back in the sixth with three runs to bring the score within one. Yepez doubled to left and Ji-Hwan Bae of the Pirates singled. Nathan Eaton of the Royals plated Yepez and Bae on a triple to make it 6-5. Eaton came home on a sac fly by Royals teammate Seuly Matias.

The game technically ended with the final West out in the top of the ninth. The game continued into the bottom of the ninth and gave East a chance to pad their lead, but all three hitters were retired.

Nootbaar walked and doubled in his three plate appearances. Yepez went 2-for-3 with two doubles and an RBI on a sac fly. On his second double, Yepez’ ball’s exit velocity was 99.3 mph. The first baseman played the full nine innings for the West.

Brendan Donovan entered in the sixth at shortstop. His only plate appearance came in the seventh when he walked but was stranded when Yepez struck out.

10 pitchers took the mound for West. Cardinal left hander Zack Thompson pitched the fifth and yielded one of the East’s six runs. He surrendered a double to the first hitter, then struck out the next. A single scored the run. His final two batters were retired on ground outs.

Thompson threw 20 pitches, 14 for strikes. According to Baseball Savant, he deployed five pitches, with his four-seamer in the low 90’s peaking at 94 mph. His trademark curve was 73 to 75 mph, along with showing a changeup, sinker and slider.

During the early innings, Nolan Gorman was interviewed by the broadcast team. The Cardinals’ No. 1 prospect was named to the Fall Stars Game but was unable to play due to a hamstring injury. Gorman related his journey to move from third base to second base as well as other topics.

A late roster addition, Cardinals pitcher Andre Pallante, did not appear for the West.

Miami outfielder J.J. Bleday (single, home run, three RBI) was the game’s Most Valuable Player.

The AFL season moves into its final week on Monday, ending with the Championship Game on Saturday, Nov 20 between the winners of the East and West Divisions.

Sunday’s game:  No AFL games are played on Sunday.
Monday’s game: Glendale vs. Peoria, TBD vs. TBD 1:35 CT.


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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook – November 13, 2021

The Glendale Desert Dogs lost to the Scottsdale Scorpions in a Friday afternoon contest at Camelback Ranch. No Cardinals saw action for the second time this AFL season. Astros prospect Korey Lee drove in both Desert Dogs runs.



Results from the Arizona Fall League game played on Friday, November 12.

Desert Dogs 2, Scorpions 4 (seven innings)

The Glendale Desert Dogs were defeated by the Scottsdale Scorpions in 4-2 contest at home on Friday afternoon.  For only the second time this AFL season, no St. Louis players appeared in the game. The two teams played only seven innings.

Scottsdale scored all of their runs early, with three in the first inning, and one in the second. That 4-0 score held until the sixth inning. Jeremiah Jackson doubled, and following a fly out by Yoelqui Cespedes, James Outman drew a walk. With two outs, Houston’s Korey Lee smacked a double to center that scored both Jackson and Outman to cut the lead to 4-2.

Glendale sent four pitchers to the mound. Starter Johan Dominguez pitched three innings and gave up four runs, three earned, on six hits. The White Sox prospect struck out three and walked one. R.J. Freure followed with two scoreless innings. Zach Linginfelter and McKinley Moore each tossed a scoreless inning. Dominguez took the loss, his second of the AFL season.

With one week remaining in the season, Glendale has fallen back into second place in the AFL West, with a record of 15-11, one game behind the 15-9 Surprise Saguaros.

The Fall Stars Game will take place on Saturday, at Salt River Fields at 6 pm CT. Four Cardinals have been named to the West Division roster – Brendan Donovan, Lars Nootbaar, Juan Yepez, and pitcher Zack Thompson. Nolan Gorman was also chosen but will not play due to a hamstring injury.

Saturday’s game:  AFL Fall Stars Game, TBD vs. TBD, 6 pm CT on MLB Network


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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook – November 11, 2021

photo: Juan Yepez (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

The first-place Glendale Desert Dogs prevailed over the Mesa Solar Sox Wednesday night. Two St. Louis Cardinals were in the starting lineup. Juan Yepez was outstanding on offense, hitting two long balls and driving in four of the Desert Dogs’ nine runs.



Result from the Arizona Fall League game played on Wednesday, November 10.

Desert Dogs 9, Solar Sox 4

The Glendale Desert Dogs defeated the Mesa Solar Sox at Camelback Ranch on Wednesday night. St. Louis Cardinals prospects Lars Nootbaar and Juan Yepez were in the Glendale starting lineup, hitting first and third respectively.

Nootbaar, playing right field, went 1-for-4 with an RBI. His ground ball single to center plated the first of three runs in the second inning and the second run for the Desert Dogs. He scored the final run of the frame on a bases loaded walk by teammate Pedro Leon. Nootbaar’s other trips to the dish resulted in a fly out to left in the third, a hit by pitch in the fifth, and a ground out to third base in the eighth. The Cardinal outfielder is hitting .303 with an OPS of 1.078 in the AFL.

Lars Nootbaar

Juan Yepez, starting for Glendale at first base, shined offensively with a 3-for-4 night at the plate. He drove in four of the nine runs for the Desert Dogs. In the first inning, Yepez doubled to left but was ultimately left stranded. He plated the first of four runs in the second on a sac fly to right field.

The first sacker then hit his first of two home runs in the fourth, a solo shot to start the inning for Glendale’s fifth score of the game. The second long ball for Yepez came in the eighth inning, a two-run shot to left to add the final two runs to the Desert Dogs’ tally. His one other at bat was a fly out in the sixth. Yepez is batting .319 with a 1.100 OPS.

Juan Yepez

Other contributors to the Glendale win were second baseman Jacob Amaya, whose solo home run in the first that put the Desert Dogs on the board. Third baseman Kody Hoese thumped solo home runs in the third and the fifth innings. Hoese was 3-for-4 on the night.

Glendale sent five pitchers to the mound, none of whom are Cardinals. Starter Robinson Pina pitched three innings and gave up three runs, two earned, on two hits. McKinley Moore surrendered one run in the fourth. Relievers Caleb Freeman, Coleman Crow, and Kyle Hurt combined to throw the final five scoreless innings. Pina got the win; Moore, Freeman, and Crow were awarded holds, and Hurt earned his second save.

Yepez committed a fielding error in the third inning that led to a Solar Sox run.

Glendale’s win over Mesa gives them a record of 15-9 and puts them in first place in the AFL West Division, a half-game ahead of Surprise.

Thursday’s game:  vs. Surprise, RHP Zach Haake vs. RHP Chad Donato, 1:35 CT.


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St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of November 1-7

photo: Harrison Bader (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports)

The St. Louis Cardinals’ week was busy with a new bench coach, free agents leaving, roster changes, Hall of Fame news and history-setting five Gold Gloves. Our history feature looks back on the career of homegrown Cardinal free-agent Carlos Martinez.



Former Cardinal Schumaker to become bench coach

According to multiple media reports, the St. Louis Cardinals are set to welcome a former team member back into the fold as part of the major league coaching staff. Rob Rains of STLSportsPage was first to share that the Cardinals plan to hire Skip Schumaker, a former outfielder/infielder as the new major league bench coach.

The bench coach position opened after the promotion of Oliver “Oli” Marmol to become the new manager of the Cardinals. Marmol replaced Mike Shildt, who was terminated last month. The official announcement of Shumaker’s hiring is expected within the next few days.

The 41-year-old Schumaker spent two seasons as the associate manager of the San Diego Padres but was allowed to seek new employment when manager Jayce Tingler was fired at the end of the team’s difficult 2021 season. Prior to that, Skip was the Padres first base coach, hired into that position in 2017.

His 11 seasons as a player began when he was selected by St. Louis in the fifth round of the 2001 draft. He made his MLB debut in 2005 and played eight seasons with the Cardinals before being traded to the Dodgers after the 2012 season. He played one season in Los Angeles, then signed a two-year contract with the Cincinnati Reds. His last major league season was 2015. Schumaker signed a minor league contract with the Padres in February 2016 but announced his retirement that March.

Schumaker returns to the Cardinals as the bench coach to a squad that still contains two of his former teammates from the 2011 World Series team, Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina.

Team declines options on two veterans

The end of the World Series signaled the beginning of the baseball offseason. Free agency is underway, and teams begin the process of adjusting rosters in anticipation of offseason transactions.

The first moves of the season start with player options, free agency, and Qualifying Offers. Teams and players had until Sunday, November 7 to exercise or decline contractual options for the next season. The Cardinals held 2022 team options on two veterans, Matt Carpenter and Carlos Martinez.

As expected, the Cardinals declined the options for both. The options came with a $2 million buyout for Carpenter and a $500,000 buyout for Martinez. Both players have elected free agency and will be available to be signed by other teams.

Matt Carpenter

Carpenter’s departure ends an 11-season career with St. Louis that began in June 2011. Carpenter was a 13th round draft pick by the Cardinals in 2009. His career slash line with St. Louis is .262/.368/.449 with 155 home runs and 576 RBI. Carpenter’s 2021 was spent in a bench role as the 35-year old’s performance showed a marked decline in his final two seasons in St. Louis.

Martinez missed the second half of the 2021 season with a torn ligament in his right thumb that required surgery. Up until the right hander was placed on the IL on July 9, his performance was underwhelming, with a record of 4-9 and an ERA of 6.23 in 82 1/3 innings pitched. Martinez leaves behind a nine-year Cardinals career with a final line of 62-53 and an ERA of 3.74.  He will enter the free agent market at the age of 30 and will likely garner significant interest from other teams.

Free agents to test market

In addition to Carpenter and Martinez, seven other Cardinals, all pitchers, enter the free agent market. They are left handers Andrew Miller, Kwang-Hyun Kim, Wade Le Blanc, Jon Lester, J.A Happ and T.J. McFarland, as well as right hander Luis Garcia. All but Miller and Kim seem to have the potential to return to the Cardinals on either a major or minor league deal should they not find better deals elsewhere.

Teams had until Sunday, November 7 to make a Qualifying Offer to free agents. The QO for 2022 is $18.4 million for a one-year contract. The Cardinals did not make the offer to any of their nine free agents.

Three leave 40-man roster

The Cardinals made three other roster changes this past week. Outfielder Justin Williams and infielder Max Moroff cleared outright waivers, were outrighted off the 40-man roster and assigned to the Memphis Redbirds. Outfielder Austin Dean was claimed off outright waivers by the San Francisco Giants.

Justin Williams

Williams started the 2021 season with the Cardinals as an extra outfielder. He played in 51 games in right field and left, due to IL stints by starters Tyler O’Neill and Harrison Bader, but struggled offensively. Williams went on the IL himself with neck stiffness on June 5 and was sent to Memphis after his activation. He played the remainder of the season in Triple-A.

Max Moroff

Moroff started the 2021 season in Memphis but was called up on May 14. He played in six games with St. Louis before suffering a season ending shoulder injury while in the batting cage.

Austin Dean

Dean, like Williams, began the season with St. Louis and played in 16 games in April. He was sent down to Memphis at the end of the month and dealt with injury from May until late August. He made a brief return to St. Louis in August for four games before returning to Triple-A, where he ended the season back on the IL.

The Cardinals’ 40-man roster currently stands at 31 players. Two players, Junior Fernandez and Ryan Helsley, will need to be returned to the roster from the 60-day IL within the next two weeks.

Cardinals make MLB history with five Gold Glove winners

The winners of the 2021 Rawlings Gold Glove Awards were announced on Sunday night and the Cardinals had five winners. The Gold Glove is given to the best defensive player at each of the nine positions in each league.

The five winners are Paul Goldschmidt at first base, Tommy Edman at second, Nolan Arenado at third, Tyler O’Neill in left field and Harrison Bader in center field. The Cardinals’ five Gold Glove winners in one season is the most by any team in MLB history. Also, Yadier Molina finished among the top three catchers, losing out to Pittsburgh’s Jacob Stallings.

Paul Goldschmidt

It is Arenado’s ninth consecutive Gold Glove and first as a Cardinal.  Goldschmidt won his first since 2017 and it was his fourth Gold Glove overall and first as a Cardinal. The last Cardinal first baseman to win the award was Albert Pujols in 2010.

Nolan Arenado

O’Neill was a back-to-back winner, having won the left field award in 2020. He is the first Cardinal with consecutive awards since Jim Edmonds won six straight from 2000-2005.

Tyler O’Neill

The award is the first for both Edman and Bader, though the latter finished among the top three at his position in 2019. O’Neill and Bader are the first pair of outfielders to win in the same season in franchise history.

Harrison Bader

Bader led all players in the NL in the SABR Defensive Index (SDI), with a 14.4 SDI score, which comprises 25% of the Gold Glove vote. He is the first Cardinals center fielder to win the award since Jim Edmonds in 2005.

Tommy Edman

Edman is only the third second baseman in Cardinals’ history to win the Gold Glove. He beat out former teammate Kolten Wong for the award, who won it the past two seasons as a Cardinal.

The Cardinals as a team led all 30 major league teams in Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) with 86.

All five are eligible for the Rawlings Platinum Glove Award, to be awarded on November 12. The winner is determined by a combination of a fan vote and the SDI. Voting commences on Sunday, November 7 and runs through November 10 at Rawlings.com.

Hall of Fame Committee ballots for 2022 announced

On Friday, November 5, the Baseball Hall of Fame announced the 10-person ballots for the Early Baseball Era Committee and the Golden Days Era Committee. The 10 men on each ballot will be considered by the committees for election to the Hall of Fame Class of 2022. The Committees will meet at the Winter Meetings on December 5 to make their selections.

The Early Baseball Era ballot contains one former Cardinal. Vic Harris played for the team in 1976 as a utility player. In 97 games he slashed .228/.275/.309 in 282 plate appearances.

Ken Boyer

Five of the 10 players on the Golden Days Era ballot are former Cardinals. They are Dick Allen, Ken Boyer, Jim Kaat, Roger Maris, and Minnie Minoso.

Allen, Maris, and Minoso were only briefly with the Cardinals. Allen was traded to the Cardinals as part of the Curt Flood trade with the Phillies in 1970. Allen earned a trip to the 1970 All-Star Game in his one season with the Cardinals.

As his career was nearing its end, Minoso played only the 1962 season in St. Louis. He came to the Cardinals in a trade with the White Sox and missed two months of the season due to injuries suffered in a crash with the outfield wall.

Maris played his final two seasons with the Cardinals, in 1967 and 1968. He came to the Cardinals in a trade with the Yankees and was a contributor to both pennant winning seasons.

Kaat pitched for the Cardinals in his final four seasons. The majority of Kaat’s 25-year career was spent with the Minnesota Twins. Kaat compiled a record of 19-16 with a 3.82 ERA with the Cardinals from 1980 through 1983 and also was known for his defensive prowess.

Boyer is the only candidate of the five to spend the majority of his major league career in St. Louis.  Boyer began his MLB career with the Cardinals in 1955 and played for 11 seasons before being traded to the Mets at the end of the 1965 season. Boyer went to the All-Star Game in seven of his 11 seasons in St. Louis. He won five Gold Gloves and was the NL Most Valuable Player in 1964.

The results of the Committee’s votes will be announced live on MLB Network at 5pm CT on December 5.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweeted that the Cardinals are one of four teams interested in free agent pitcher Andrew Heaney. The Yankees acquired Heaney in a mid-season trade with the Angels. Heaney pitched in 12 games with the Yankees, five as a starter. He was designated for assignment on October 5 and elected free agency two days later.

Transactions

  • 11/3 LHPs Kwang-Hyun Kim, Andrew Miller, Wade LeBlanc, J.A. Happ, Jon Lester, and T. J McFarland and RHP Luis Garcia elected free agency.
  • 11/4 Cardinals decline options on RHP Carlos Martinez and 3B Matt Carpenter and they become free agents.
  • 11/5 The Cardinals sent 2B Max Moroff and OF Justin Williams outright to the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 11/5 LF Austin Dean was claimed off waivers by the San Francisco Giants.

Injury Report

There are no new injuries to report.

Looking Ahead

The offseason has officially begun, and free agency is underway. Nine Cardinals have elected free agency.  They are LHPs Kwang-Hyun Kim, Andrew Miller, Wade LeBlanc, J.A Happ, Jon Lester and T.J McFarland, RHPs Carlos Martinez and Luis Garcia, and 3B Matt Carpenter. Some of these players could return to the Cardinals on either a major or minor league deal.

The annual MLB General Manager Meetings begin on Tuesday, November 9 and end on Thursday, November 11. The meetings cover mostly off field matters but can include some early-stage work on potential deals.

November is MLB awards month. Following are dates for the announcement of the winners of the major awards:

  • November 7 – Gold Glove
  • November 11 – Silver Slugger
  • November 15 – Rookie of the Year
  • November 16 – Manager of the Year
  • November 17 – Cy Young Award
  • November 18 – MVP

Other important dates include the release of the Hall of Fame ballot on November 15, and the deadline for players to accept or reject the Qualifying Offer, which is November 17.

Teams also must finalize rosters for the upcoming Rule 5 draft by November 19. Any players a team wishes to protect from the Rule 5 draft must be added to the 40-man roster by this date.

Blast from the Past

Last week Blast from the Past looked back at the 11-year Cardinal career of Matt Carpenter, who became a free agent this past week and is not expected to return to St. Louis in 2022.  The Cardinals declined their 2022 option, making him a free agent. This week we review the career of Carlos Martinez, who along with Carpenter had a 2022 option declined by the team and is also now a free agent.

Carlos Martinez

Martinez came to the Cardinals in 2010 as an international free agent. He had previously signed with the Boston Red Sox in 2009, but that contract was voided by Boston due to discrepancies with his name and date of birth. The issue was eventually cleared up and the Cardinals signed him.

Martinez spent his first three professional seasons in the minor leagues. He was called up to St. Louis on May 3, 2013. and pitched in 21 games, one as a starter. He also appeared in the postseason against the Pirates in the NLDS, the Dodgers in the NLCS and the Red Sox in the World Series. In 12 2/3 postseason innings out of the bullpen he gave up five earned runs in 12 games with an ERA of 3.55.

Martinez pitched in 57 games in 2014, seven as a starter. His record was 2-4 with an ERA of 4.03.  He returned to the postseason in the NLCS in 2014, again out of the bullpen. He pitched four innings and gave up one earned run and had an ERA of 2.25.

In October 2014, Cardinals outfielder and Martinez’ best friend Oscar Taveras was killed in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. Martinez honored his friend by changing his uniform number from 44 to 18, the number Taveras wore as a Cardinal.

Carlos became a starter in 2015. He made 29 starts for St. Louis with a record of 14-7 and an ERA of 3.01.  Martinez was selected to his first All-Star Game, winning the fan Final Vote. He suffered a shoulder injury on September 25 and missed the postseason as the Cardinals lost in the NLDS to the Chicago Cubs.

Martinez had a successful 2016 season, pitching to a record of 16-9 with an ERA 3.04 in 31 starts. Martinez’ year was marred by off field issues, including a civil suit filed against him in Florida.

The right hander signed a contract extension with the Cardinals in February 2017 for 5 years and $51 million. The extension ran through the 2021 season, with the team holding options for 2022 and 2023. In 2017, Martinez had a record of 12-11 with an ERA of 3.64 in 32 starts. He led the NL in complete game shutouts with two. Martinez was selected for the All-Star Game for a second time, via the player vote.

In the 2018 season, Martinez spent time on the disabled list twice, once with a lat strain and a right oblique strain. After Martinez was activated from the DL the second time he was moved to the bullpen. Carlos pitched in 33 games that season, 18 as a starter. He finished with an 8-6 record and an ERA of 3.11.  Off-field issues again plagued Martinez, as he was party to a second civil suit alleging he injured a man in a fight outside an East St. Louis bar.  The suit was eventually dismissed.

Carlos began the 2019 season on the injured list with a rotator cuff strain. He returned to the team on May 18 and pitched in 28 games out of the bullpen, mostly as the closer. He had an ERA of 3.17 and a record of 4-2 with 24 saves.

In the COVID shortened 2020 season Martinez was hit among the hardest of Cardinals players, including a hospital stay. Upon his return, he made five appearances, all as a starter, going 0-3 with an ERA of 9.90.

Carlos returned to the starter role full time in 2021 but made it only to mid-season before suffering a season ending injury to his right thumb that required surgery. He made 16 starts and had the worst outing of his career on June 2 against the Dodgers. Martinez gave up 10 runs in the first inning and was relieved after securing just two outs. His final line for the season was 4-9 with a 6.23 ERA.

In his nine seasons as a Cardinal, Martinez has a record of 62-52 and a career ERA of 3.74.  The 30-year-old will finish his major league career with another team and his Cardinals time can at best be looked at as successful but marred by inconsistency, tragedy and erratic behavior off the field.  Cardinals fans should wish him good luck and good health.


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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook – November 6, 2021

photo: Lars Nootbaar (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

The Glendale Desert Dogs defeated the Surprise Saguaros in a Friday afternoon contest. Five Cardinals saw action, three in the starting lineup and two pitchers. Lars Nootbaar had two hits and scored two of Glendale’s eight runs.

Result from the Arizona Fall League game played on Friday, November 5.

Desert Dogs 8, Saguaros 6

Glendale was victorious over Surprise on Friday afternoon at Camelback Ranch by the score of 8-6. Five Cardinals contributed to the win.

Surprise scored in the top of the first inning to take a quick 1-0 lead. Glendale answered in the home half of the first to knot it up 1-1. Lars Nootbaar, playing in right field and hitting leadoff, began the inning with a single to right field. The Angels’ Jose Rodriguez followed with a triple that scored Nootbaar. Designated hitter Brendan Donovan, hitting third, drew a walk, but was caught off first on a double play line out by teammate Juan Yepez, who hit fourth and as the first baseman.

Orlando Martinez of the Angels led off the second inning with a solo home run to give the Desert Dogs a 2-1 lead. The Saguaros came back to score three runs in the fourth inning to go ahead 4-2.

Glendale responded with two runs in the bottom of the fourth to tie the game. Yepez flied out to start the inning. Korey Lee of the Astros struck out swinging on a wild pitch third strike and advanced to first. Lee scored on a double by Pedro Leon of the Astros. Grae Kessinger of the Astros singled to plate Leon.

In the fifth, Yolbert Sanchez of the White Sox drew a walk. Nootbaar doubled to right, moving Sanchez to third. Rodriguez singled and Sanchez scored. Yepez plated Nootbaar on a ground out. Glendale regained the lead 6-4.

The Desert Dogs increased their lead to 8-4 in the sixth. Kessinger walked and Sanchez blasted a two-run home run to left field. The Saguaros got within two runs in the seventh on a solo home run and an RBI single, but Glendale held on to win 8-6.

Lars Nootbaar

Nootbaar was 2-for-4 with two runs scored. In addition to his two hits, he grounded out and lined out. Donovan was 1-for-3. He walked in the first, struck out swinging in the third, lined out in the fifth, and singled in the seventh. Yepez was 0-for-4 with an RBI ground out, the 23-year-old’s 19th RBI in 16 AFL contests and just one off a share of the league lead. Yepez lined into a double play in the first, flied out in the fourth, grounded out in the fifth to score Nootbaar, and struck out swinging in the seventh.

Cardinals Zack Thompson and Jake Walsh pitched out of the bullpen. Thompson started the sixth inning. He gave up a leadoff single, then retired the next two batters on a strike out and a pop out. The left hander surrendered a double next but retired the final batter on a pop out. Thompson returned to start the seventh and gave up a leadoff solo home run. Thompson came out of the game after the second batter reached on an error. That batter scored and Thompson was charged with two runs, only one earned. 32 of his 45 pitches went for strikes and he received his second AFL hold.

Jake Walsh of the Cardinals pitched the ninth. The right-hander walked his first batter but induced a double play from the next man up. He retired the third hitter on a ground out to earn his fourth save of the AFL season.

Glendale is 12-8 and this win over first place Surprise brought the Desert Dogs within one game of the Saguaros in the AFL West.

Saturday’s game:  vs Salt River, Johan Dominguez (1-1, 16.50) vs. TBD 8:35 CT.


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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook – November 4, 2021

photo: Andre Pallante (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

The Glendale Desert Dogs defeated the Peoria Javelinas in seven innings on Wednesday. Three St. Louis Cardinals were in action, including Andre Pallante, who started and pitched three scoreless innings. Brendan Donovan drew two walks in three plate appearances.

Result from the Arizona Fall League game played on Wednesday, November 3.

Desert Dogs 4, Javelinas 2 (seven innings)

The Glendale Desert Dogs defeated the Peoria Javelinas by a 4-2 score in a Wednesday afternoon contest at Camelback Ranch. St. Louis Cardinals prospect pitcher Andre Pallante started for Glendale and pitched three scoreless innings, allowed two hits, struck out five and walked one. The Cardinal Nation’s 12th-ranked prospect topped out at 99 mph on the gun, per Katie Woo of The Athletic and lowered his AFL ERA to 2.08.

Pallante gave up a leadoff single to start the first inning, then struck out the next batter. After issuing a walk, the right hander induced a ground out and struck the next hitter swinging to end the inning.

In the second, Pallante retired the first two hitters on ground outs. He gave up a single but struck out the next batter to end the inning. In his final inning of work, Pallante retired all three batters, two on strikeouts and one on a line out to left field.

Andre Pallante

Two Cardinals were in the starting lineup for Glendale. Lars Nootbaar hit leadoff and played in center field. He went 0-for-4, striking out in his first at bat, the lining out to second base in the third inning, and flying out to right in the fourth and sixth innings.

Brendan Donovan hit third in the lineup and was the right fielder. He walked in the first inning and flied out to left in the third. Donovan walked and was caught stealing in the fifth in his final at bat.

Brendan Donovan

The Desert Dogs scored all four of their runs in the fourth inning. The White Sox’ Orlando Martinez led off with a triple. The Astros’ Grae Kessinger drew a walk and Pedro Leon was hit by a pitch. A second hit by pitch to the Angels’ Jeremiah Jackson scored Martinez. The White Sox’ Yolbert Sanchez singled to score Kessinger and Leon. The Angels’ Anthony Mulrine plated Sanchez on a sac fly.

The Javelinas scored their two runs in the fifth.

Glendale is 10-8 and is in second place in the AFL West, three games back of first place Surprise.

Thursday’s game:  vs. Surprise, Coleman Crow RHP (1-0, 1.13) vs. Cole Henry RHP (1-0, 3.75) 2:35 CT


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St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of October 25-31

photo: Matt Carpenter (Patrick Gorski/USA TODAY Sports)

The St. Louis Cardinals formalized their new manager choice, promoting bench coach Oliver Marmol. Paul Goldschmidt and Tyler O’Neill won metrics-based fielding awards. Our history feature looks back on the career of homegrown Cardinal free-agent-to-be Matt Carpenter.

Marmol named new manager

St. Louis Cardinals Chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. and President of Baseball Operations’ John Mozeliak announced to assembled media in a Zoom press conference on Monday, October 25, the team’s new manager, Oliver “Oli” Marmol. Marmol replaces Mike Shildt, who was unexpectedly dismissed from the job on October 14.

Oliver Marmol via Zoom (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Marmol, 35, is the youngest manager in Major League Baseball and the 51st manager in franchise history. Marmol began as a player in the Cardinals minor leagues, after being selected in the sixth round of the 2007 draft. The infielder hung up his spikes after three seasons to become a coach in the system. He managed both the Rookie League Johnson City Cardinals, and the now Low-A Palm Beach Cardinals, before ascending to the major leagues, most recently serving as Shildt’s bench coach for the last three seasons.

Marmol’s promotion comes with the blessing of former manager Shildt, whom the former manager said, “has my deepest and most trusted respect.”  The two have a strong bond, as Shildt has mentored Marmol over his career.

The new manager inherits a coaching staff that remains almost completely intact from 2021, with the exception of a new bench coach needed to replace Marmol. That position is expected to be filled by the end of the World Series, with both internal and external candidates considered.

Marmol is a native Floridian with Dominican parents and is only the second manager of color for the Cardinals and the first such manager with full time status. Mike Gonzalez, a native of Cuba, managed the Cardinals on an interim basis twice, in 1938 and 1940.

Top three for Gold Glove, Silver Slugger awards and Fielding Bible winners

On Monday, October 25, the three top vote-getters at each position for the Rawlings Gold Glove Awards and Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger Awards were disclosed. Six Cardinals were named as “finalists” for the Gold Glove Award and three Cardinals were named “finalists” for the Silver Slugger.

The Rawlings Gold Glove Award recognizes the best defensive player at each of the nine positions in each league. The winners will be announced on Sunday, November 7 at 7:30 CT on ESPN.

The six Cardinals finalists are C Yadier Molina, 1B Paul Goldschmidt, 2B Tommy Edman, 2B Nolan Arenado, LF Tyler O’Neill, and CF Harrison Bader.

Molina has won the award nine times. Other past winners are Goldschmidt (3), Arenado (8), and O’Neill (1). Bader and Edman would be first time winners; Bader was also finalist in 2019.

Voting for the award is done by managers and coaches in each league. Voters are not permitted to vote for their own players. A sabermetric component, called the SABR Defensive Index, comprises 25% of the vote.

Finalists for the Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger Awards were also announced on Monday. The three Cardinals up for the award are 1B Paul Goldschmidt, 3B Nolan Arenado, and LF Tyler O’Neill. Like the Gold Glove, the Silver Slugger recognizes the best performer at each position in each league, but for offense. A difference with this award is that the three outfield winners are not position specific.

Managers and coaches vote for the award and may not vote for their own player. Several offensive categories are considered, including OBP, SLG and AVG.

The Silver Slugger winners will be announced on November 11 at 5 pm CT on MLB Network.

Paul Goldschmidt

The winners of the Fielding Bible Awards were announced at the same time as the finalists for the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger. The Fielding Bible Award is for the top defensive player at each position in the majors in total. This award is determined by a panel of baseball experts based on sabermetric analysis. There are no finalists involved – the winners are announced on the Fielding Bible website, and via social media.

Tyler O’Neill

Two Cardinals won Fielding Bible Awards in 2021. First baseman Paul Goldschmidt receives his fourth Fielding Bible Award. Left fielder Tyler O’Neill is a repeat winner, having won the award in 2020. In 2021, O’Neill had the highest vote total of any player.

Michael Girsch (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Girsch stays put

Cardinals Vice President and General Manager Michael Girsch reportedly declined to be interviewed for the open GM position with the New York Mets.

The 44-year-old was promoted into his current position from assistant GM in June 2017 and has been with the Cardinals organization since 2006.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.

Transactions

  • 10/25 The Cardinals designated RHP Justin Miller for assignment.
  • 10/25 The Cardinals activated RHP Jordan Hicks from the 60-day injured list.
  • 10/27 The Cardinals sent RHP Justin Miller outright to the Memphis Redbirds. Miller declared free agency.

Injury Report

There are no new injuries to report.

Looking Ahead

When the postseason ends, the offseason begins with the election of free agency for eligible players. This is official at 9 am on the morning after the end of the World Series. Following a five-day exclusive window to negotiate with their former team, all free agents can then sign with other teams.

The Cardinals have nine players set to become free agents absent being re-signed by the Cardinals. This list does not include Nolan Arenado, who has an opt-out clause in his contract but has notified the team he does not intend to exercise it. The nine are Matt Carpenter, Andrew Miller, Carlos Martinez, Kwang-Hyun Kim, J.A Happ, Jon Lester, T.J. McFarland, Luis Garcia, and Wade LeBlanc.

The team holds 2022 options for Carpenter and Martinez that they are not expected to pick up. Garcia and McFarland may be re-signed for 2022 if deals can be reached. Miller is not likely to be made an offer. The remaining players may or may not be returning to the Cardinals, either on a major league or a minor league deal.

Teams can also make Qualifying Offers to eligible free agents, a one-year contract at $18.9 million. The deadline for teams to tender the Qualifying Offer is 4 pm CT on the fifth day following the World Series. The Cardinals are not expected to make a qualifying offer to any of their free agents.

In other free agency news, former Cardinals’ reliever Justin Miller has elected minor league free agency. Miller was designated for assignment last week and exercised his right to leave the organization after no other organization claimed him off waivers.

Justin Miller

Blast from the Past

Once the postseason ends, the offseason officially begins. The first moves of the offseason come on the morning after the end of the World Series, when eligible free agents can officially elect free agent status.

The Cardinals have nine players set to enter free agency. Of those nine, two are long term Cardinals who will likely be moving on to other teams. The team has 2022 options on both, which they are not expected to exercise.

Blast from the Past looks at the careers of those two homegrown Cardinalss, beginning this week with 11-year veteran Matt Carpenter.

Matt Carpenter

Carpenter was selected by the Cardinals in 13th round of the 2009 MLB draft as a fifth-year senior, older than most draft picks at age 23. The native Texan had played baseball at Texas Christian University. He spent 2009, 2010 and parts of 2011 in the minor league system before being briefly called up on June 4, 2011. Carpenter appeared in seven games that season.

Carpenter made the Opening Day roster out of Spring Training in 2012. The infielder served as a backup third baseman and spot starter at other positions, including first base. He made his first appearance at second base in July 2012. He hit his first postseason home run in Game 3 of the 2012 NLCS against the San Francisco Giants.

After the 2012 season, Carpenter was asked to work out at second base in anticipation of him possibly playing there full time. Carpenter made the 2013 roster out of Spring Training as the starting second baseman. Carpenter was moved to the leadoff position that season and excelled at it. His offensive production earned him his first election to the National League All-Star team. He hit his 54th double on September 21st, breaking Stan Musial’s record for doubles by a left-handed batter in a season. He finished the 2013 season leading the NL in doubles, hits, and runs scored. His final slash line was .318/.392/.481.

Following the 2013 season, Carpenter received his first Silver Slugger Award, the first winner at second base in franchise history. He finished fourth in the NL MVP balloting. The Cardinals signed Carpenter in March 2014 to a six-year $52 million dollar extension to run through the 2019 season.

With the call up of second base prospect Kolten Wong from the minor leagues in 2014, Carpenter moved back to his natural position, third base. Carpenter earned his second All-Star selection that season and slashed .272/.375/.375 while leading the NL in walks with 95. Carpenter hit .375/.412/1.125 in 17 plate appearances in the NLDS against the Dodgers, including three home runs and 7 RBI. He hit a home run and a double in each of the first three games of the NLDS, becoming the first player to do so in the postseason.

Carpenter endured setbacks in 2015. He was moved out of the lead off position and endured a three-month slump. He also was diagnosed with “extreme fatigue” due to dehydration and an accelerated heart rate that took him out for a short time. Carpenter was returned to the lead off position on July 30 and had his first multi home run game of his career.

His transition from an on-base type to a power-hitting batter seemed underway. He finished the season with a line of .272/.365/.505 and had his first 20 home run season with 28 long balls. He also led the NL in doubles with 44.

Carpenter hit his first career walk off home run on May 7, 2016. His 1.008 OPS for the first half of the 2016 season earned him his third All-Star selection, as a reserve. He suffered an abdominal oblique strain in July and was out for a month. After he returned from the DL, his hitting suffered as he was still unable to swing properly. He hit only .229 with a .726 OPS after returning.

Carpenter was made the primary first baseman to begin the 2017 season. He suffered injuries during the season, including repeated occurrences of shoulder inflammation. Carpenter slashed .241/.343/.395. His diminished offense was blamed by some on being moved around in the lineup by manager Mike Matheny. Carpenter did have his third consecutive season with at least 20 home runs.

Matt Carpenter and Whitey Herzog (USA TODAY Sports)

Carpenter’s 2018 season began with a prolonged slump at the plate. From Opening Day through May 15, he hit only .140 with an OPS of .558. His offense picked up after that and on June 26 he became the first player in franchise history to have five hits, score five runs and hit two home runs in a single game. His offense improved enough by mid-season to be nominated for one of the Final Vote candidates for the All-Star Game, but he lost out to Jesus Aguilar of the Brewers. Carpenter finished 2018 with a line of .257/.374/.523 and hit a career high 36 home runs. He finished ninth in the MVP voting.

In April 2019, as part of a flurry of player extensions being granted across MLB, the Cardinals signed Carpenter to a two-year extension for $39 million, with a team option for 2022. The move, made a year before he would be eligible for free agency, turned out to be a poor decision.  Carpenter spent periods of time on the IL with back issues and an injured foot from a foul ball. His slash line for 2019 was a dismal .226/.334/.392. He also hit only 15 home runs in 2019.

In the shortened 2020 season, Carpenter played in 50 of the 59 games with a slash line of .186/.325/.314, a career low.

By 2021, Carpenter was relegated to a bench player and spot starter after the Cardinals acquired third baseman Nolan Arenado and Tommy Edman took over second base from the departed Kolten Wong. Carpenter made one appearance pitching in a blowout against the Padres on May 15. He finished the season hitting .169/.305/.275.

Carpenter’s 11-year career with the Cardinals may be ending with a whimper, but his offensive performances from 2011 through 2018 put him in the upper echelon of Cardinals hitters. The 35-year-old has said he wants to continue playing, but if so, it will most likely be with another team. One could safely say that Carpenter’s good years outweighed the bad and Cardinals fans would do well to wish him luck in the future.


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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook – October 31, 2021

photo: Juan Yepez and Lars Nootbaar (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

The Glendale Desert Dogs beat the Salt River Rafters in a one run contest on Saturday. Two Cardinals saw action, as Lars Nootbaar and Juan Yepez each drew a walk.

Desert Dogs 5, Rafters 4

The Glendale Desert Dogs edged the Salt River Rafters in a close game on Saturday night at Camelback Ranch.  Cardinals Lars Nootbaar, hitting lead off and playing in right field, and Juan Yepez, hitting cleanup as the designated hitter, were in the starting lineup for the Desert Dogs.

Salt River got on the board first with one run in the second inning.  Glendale tied the score in the bottom of the second on an RBI double by the Dodgers’ Jacob Amaya.

The Desert Dogs took a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning on a solo home run by the Dodgers’ James Outman. The Rafters jumped ahead with three runs in the top of the fifth, but Glendale brought one run home to cut the deficit to one in the home half of the fifth on an RBI ground out by Grae Kessinger of the Astros.

In the sixth, Amaya drove in a run on a double.  The White Sox’ Yolbert Sanchez plated a second run in the inning on a single as the Desert Dogs took a 5-4 edge they held the rest of the way.

Lars Nootbaar

Nootbaar (0-for-4) popped out, walked, grounded out twice, and struck out in his five plate appearances.  Yepez (0-for-3) flied out, lined out, popped out and walked in his four plate appearances. No St. Louis pitchers took the mound Saturday.

Juan Yepez

Nootbaar is hitting .341 with a 1.281 OPS in 11 games played in the AFL.  Yepez is hitting .311 with a 1.089 OPS in 12 AFL games.

Glendale is 8-7 and in second place in the AFL West, four games back of Surprise.

Sunday’s game:  No game scheduled.


Other AFL News

To replace Jordan Hicks on the Desert Dogs’ roster, the Cardinals have added Springfield reliever Garrett Williams.

Garrett Williams

The 27-year-old left-hander was selected in the minor league phase of the 2020 Rule 5 Draft from the Angels. Williams spent 2021 with Memphis until he was sent down to finish the season with Springfield after the Double-A club was hit by a rash of COVID cases on August 10.

Between the two stops, the Texan posted a 5.40 ERA in 37 outings covering 51 2/3 innings, all in relief.  Williams fanned 62 and held opposing hitters to a collective .223 average, but issued a whopping 43 passes and hit nine batters. Improving command should be his focus in the desert.


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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook – October 30, 2021

photo: Lars Nootbaar (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

On Friday, the Glendale Desert Dogs lost a nail biter to the Scottsdale Scorpions by a score of 6-5 in 11 innings. Three Cardinals were in the starting lineup and one came into the game out of the bullpen.  Lars Nootbaar had an outstanding day, hitting for the cycle in five at-bats with an RBI and three runs scored.

Desert Dogs 5 at Scorpions 6 (11 innings)

The Glendale Desert Dogs lost a heartbreaker to the Scottsdale Scorpions in an 11-inning contest on Saturday afternoon.  Four Cardinals saw action, with the offense of one standing out from among the others.

Scottsdale got on the board first, taking a 1-0 lead in the first inning.  Glendale scored two runs in the third inning to go ahead.  The Angels’ Anthony Mulrine reached on an error.  Lars Nootbaar, batting leadoff from the DH position, doubled to left, moving Mulrine to third.  Jose Rodriguez drew a walk and Cardinal 2B Brendan Donovan, hitting third in the lineup, grounded into a force out that scored Mulrine.  Rodriguez was out at second.  Juan Yepez, hitting cleanup and playing 1B, plated Nootbaar via a sac fly for the second run of the inning.

Lars Nootbaar

The score remained 2-1 until the seventh inning when Glendale increased its lead.  After the first two Desert Dogs batters were retired, Nootbaar tripled to right field.  Rodriguez followed with a single to score the designated hitter.

Scottsdale answered in the home half of the seventh with two runs to tie the game at 3-3.  Glendale regained the lead with one run in the eighth.

The Scorpions, undaunted, plated two runs in the bottom of the eighth against Cardinal Zack Thompson to go up 5-4.  The Desert Dogs knotted it up in the ninth on a solo home run to right from Nootbaar.  Scottsdale did not score in the home ninth and the game went into extra innings.  In the bottom of the 11th, Scottsdale scored on a walk off single to take home the hard-fought win.

Nootbaar completed the cycle in the 11th with an infield single to first base.  He was left stranded when Donovan lined out to center.

Yepez was 0-for-2 with two walks and the sac fly RBI.   Donovan was 1-for-6 with the third inning RBI.  His one hit was a single in the fifth.  He was left stranded when Yepez grounded into the final out of the inning.

Thompson entered the game with two outs in the seventh.  He gave up a single to the first hitter then induced a ground out for the final out of the inning.  He returned to start the eighth and walked the first hitter, then retired the next two.  Thompson then yielded a single, a walk and a two-run double.  He came out of the game with two outs in the eighth and was charged with the blown save. It was the left-hander’s first AFL runs allowed.

Donovan stole his second base of the AFL season.

Glendale has a record of 7-7 and is in second place in the three-team AFL West, four games back of the Surprise Saguaros.

Saturday’s game:  vs. Salt River, RHP Shumpei Yoshikawa vs. RHP Angel Macuare, 6:35 MST.


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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook – October 28, 2021

photo: Andre Pallante (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Desert Dogs 0 at Solar Sox 12

The Glendale Desert Dogs were walloped by the Mesa Solar Sox by a 12-0 score on Wednesday afternoon. St. Louis prospect pitcher Andre Pallante started but no other Cardinal saw action.

Pallante pitched three innings and gave up one run on four hits. The right hander struck out two and walked two and threw 58 pitches, 37 for strikes. It was Pallante’s first start of four appearances in the AFL and coincides with teammate Jordan Hicks leaving the AFL (and the Glendale rotation).

The one run charged to Pallante came in the first inning on three consecutive singles yielded by the right hander. The singles came after a leadoff walk followed by a double play. Pallante punched out the final hitter to end the first.

Andre Pallante

Pallante had a 1-2-3 second inning, inducing a line out to left, followed by two ground outs in the infield. In his third and final inning the right hander gave up a leadoff double, then retired the next two hitters on a ground out to third and a fly out to left. A stolen base, a walk, and a wild pitch followed, leaving runners on second and third with two outs. Pallante struck out the final hitter looking for a scoreless inning to finish his day.

The Solar Sox scored 11 runs on the Glendale bullpen. The Desert Dogs offense was held scoreless with only five hits recorded, all singles.

Glendale has a record of 7-5 in the AFL West Division and currently sits in second place, two games back of the Surprise Saguaros.

Thursday’s game:  at Peoria, Bobby Miller RHP (0-0, 6.75) vs. LHP MacKenzie Gore 2:35 CT.


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St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of October 18-24

photo: Jordan Hicks (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

The St. Louis Cardinals made a quick managerial change, reportedly promoting bench coach Oliver Marmol. After just two outings, Jordan Hicks is no longer pitching in the Arizona Fall League. Our history feature covers the World Series and St. Louis’ prior success in it.

Oliver Marmol (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Marmol to be named manager

After the St. Louis Cardinals invited media members to a 10:00 a.m. Monday Zoom call, numerous Sunday reports indicated the event is planned to announce the promotion of bench coach Oliver Marmol to the field manager position, replacing fired Mike Shildt.

Marmol, 35, will become the youngest manager in Major League Baseball. The other assistant coaches making up the 2021 staff have reportedly been asked to return, with the exception of a new opening to replace Marmol as bench coach.

The Cardinal Nation will have more on the story as it becomes official.

Hicks leaves Arizona Fall League

After making just two starts for the Glendale Desert Dogs in the Arizona Fall League, right-hander Jordan Hicks has left the AFL. Glendale was informed by Hicks’ agent of his decision to leave the league and return home for the offseason.

Jordan Hicks

President of Baseball Operations’ John Mozeliak confirmed Hicks’ decision to StL Sports Page. The reason given was that Hicks felt that he was at the point he needed to be with his pitching. The decision did not involve any injury concerns, according to Mozeliak.

Hicks pitched a total of 4 2/3 innings for Glendale in two appearances, and was not dominating, posting a 9.64 ERA. In his last start, he gave up three earned runs in 2 2/3 innings pitched and issued three walks. The Cardinal Nation’s Brian Walton covered his first outing.

The Cardinals sent Hicks to the AFL with the idea of possibly converting the right hander from a reliever to a starter in order to reduce stress on his arm.

Hicks is expected to have a normal offseason and be ready to pitch for Spring Training. In what role is unclear. The Cardinals will apparently send another pitcher to the AFL to replace Hicks.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.

Transactions

  • 10/22 The Cardinals claimed RHP Ljay Newsome off waivers from the Seattle Mariners.

Cardinals Claim Rehabbing RHP Ljay Newsome

Injury Report

There are no new injuries to report.

Looking Ahead

When the postseason ends, the offseason begins with the election of free agency for eligible players. This is official at 9 am on the morning after the end of the World Series. Following a five-day exclusive window to negotiate with their former team, all free agents can then sign with other teams.

The Cardinals have nine players set to become free agents absent being re-signed by them. This list does not include Nolan Arenado, who has an opt-out clause in his contract but has notified the team he does not intend to exercise it. The nine players are Matt Carpenter, Andrew Miller, Carlos Martinez, Kwang-Hyun Kim, J.A Happ, Jon Lester, T.J. McFarland, Luis Garcia, and Wade Le Blanc. Carpenter and Martinez have 2022 options that the Cardinals are not expected to pick up. Garcia and McFarland may be re-signed for 2022 if deals can be reached. Miller is not likely to be made an offer. The remaining players may or may not be returning to the Cardinals, either on a major league contract or a minor league deal.

Teams can also make Qualifying Offers of $18.9 million for a one-year contract to eligible free agents. The deadline for teams to tender the Qualifying Offer is 4 pm CT on the fifth day following the World Series. The Cardinals are not expected to make a qualifying offer to any of their free agents.

Blast from the Past

In the final installment of our postseason series, the week’s Blast from the Past focuses on the prior World Series in which the Cardinals have played, with specific emphasis on the team’s 11 World Series Championships. St. Louis has played in 19 World Series in total. The 11 titles will be mentioned first, followed by a brief summary of the eight losses.

The first modern MLB World Series was held in 1903 between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Boston Americans (which became the Boston Red Sox in 1908). Boston won the series five games to three. There was no World Series in 1904, as one of the teams, the New York Giants, refused to participate. The Series resumed in 1905 and continued on each year until the present day, except for 1994 when the labor strike cancelled the postseason.

The first World Series in which the Cardinals participated was in 1926. This was the Cardinals’ first title in the modern era, as they defeated the New York Yankees four games to three from October 2 through 10, 1926. The Cardinals won games 2, 3, 6, and 7, with three of the four wins coming in Yankee Stadium.

1926 St. Louis Cardinals

St. Louis won its second World Series in 1931 over the Philadelphia Athletics four games to three. This series featured Hall of Famers Jim Bottomley, Frankie Frisch, Burleigh Grimes, Chick Hafey, and Jesse Haines. The Cardinals won games 2, 3, 5, and 7.  Games 2 and 7 were played in Sportsman’s Park.

In 1934, the Cardinals won their third World Series, four games to three against the Detroit Tigers. All four of St. Louis’ wins were on the road. The series featured Hall of Famers Joe “Ducky” Medwick and Dizzy Dean. Game 7 was an 11-0 walloping of the Tigers, and the Detroit fans took their frustrations out on Medwick for making a hard slide by throwing fruits, vegetables, bottles, and other things at him.

1934 St. Louis Cardinals

The Cardinals next prevailed in the World Series of 1942. St. Louis won three titles in this decade of World War II.  The 1942 series was a Cardinal win in five games over their 1926 opponent the New York Yankees and featured Hall of Famers Enos Slaughter and Stan Musial. The Cardinals won three of four games in Yankee Stadium. Their only loss was Game 2 in Sportsman’s Park.

Two years later, the Cardinals took the 1944 World Series over their cross-city AL rivals the St. Louis Browns, four games to two. Slaughter and Musial were again the future Hall of Famers featured. The series was given three different nicknames, “The Trolley Series,” “Streetcar Series,” and “The St. Louis Showdown.” All six games were played in Sportsman’s Park since both teams shared the ballpark during the season. The Cardinals won games 2, 4, 5, and 6.

In 1946, the Cardinals earned their sixth title, defeating the Boston Red Sox four games to three. Hall of Famers Slaughter and Musial were joined by Red Schoendienst. St. Louis won games 2, 4, 6, and 7.  Game 7 was made famous by the “mad dash” of Slaughter in the eighth inning of the 3-3 contest. Game 4 was played in Fenway Park, with the first three in Sportsman’s Park.

Enos Slaughter’s Mad Dash

St. Louis did not win another World Series title until 1964, a four games to three win over the New York Yankees for the third time. This series featured Hall of Famer and World Series MVP Bob Gibson as well as HOFer Lou Brock. The Cardinals won games 1, 4, 5, and 7, two in Busch Stadium and two in Yankee Stadium.

The Cardinals’ second World Series title in that decade was in 1967 as St. Louis defeated the Boston Red Sox four games to three. The Cardinals won games 1, 3, 4, and 7, two in Fenway and two at Busch Stadium. Gibson was again the World Series MVP, and he and Brock were joined by Hall of Famers Steve Carlton and Orlando Cepeda.

The Cardinals earned their ninth title in 1982 over the Milwaukee Brewers in seven games. The Brewers were in the American League until shifting to the National League in 1998. Hall of Famers featured were Ozzie Smith and Bruce Sutter as well as Manager Whitey Herzog. The MVP was Darrell Porter. The Cardinals won games 2, 3, 6, and 7, three in Busch Stadium and one in County Stadium.

2006 World Champions (St. Louis Cardinals)

World Series Title number 10 came in 2006. The Cardinals beat the Detroit Tigers in five games, losing only Game 2 in Comerica Park. David Eckstein was the MVP. This was the first World Series played in Busch Stadium II. Hall of Famer Tony La Russa was the manager. La Russa was only the second manager in MLB history to win a World Series title in both leagues.

The 11th World Series title came to the Cardinals ironically in 2011. St. Louis won over the Texas Rangers in seven games. Game 6 has gone down in World Series lore as one of the best ever played. The Cardinals were behind and down to their last strike twice yet rallied to win the game in a walk off in the 11th inning. David Freese was the World Series MVP and was also the NLCS NVP in the win over the Brewers. St. Louis won games 1, 3, 6, and 7.

David Freese (USA TODAY Sports Images)

In addition to the 11 titles, the Cardinals played in eight World Series in which they were the loser. The following are the eight World Series losses with each team played and in how many games.

  • 1928:  New York Yankees swept the Cardinals in four games.
  • 1930:  Philadelphia Athletics, lost four games to two.
  • 1943:  New York Yankees, four games to one.
  • 1968:  Detroit Tigers, four games to three.
  • 1985:  Kansas City Royals, four games to three.
  • 1987:  Minnesota Twins, four games to three.
  • 2004:  Boston Red Sox, swept in four games.
  • 2013:  Boston Red Sox, four games to two.

The Cardinals’ 11 World Series titles are the most in the National League and the second most in MLB, behind the Yankees at 27. Their most frequent opponents were the Yankees, followed by the Red Sox. The Cardinals are the only one of the NL’s original eight teams that have an overall World Series lead over the Yankees.


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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook – October 24, 2021

photo: Lars Nootbaar (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

The Glendale Desert Dogs lost to the Mesa Solar Sox on Saturday night at Camelback Ranch. Batting first, Lars Nootbaar walked and singled and no. 2 hitter Juan Yepez had a hit but neither scored nor drove in runs.

Desert Dogs 4, Solar Sox 9

The Glendale Desert Dogs were defeated by the Mesa Solar Sox by a 9-4 score Saturday night. Mesa took the first lead and maintained it throughout the nine-inning game.

The Solar Sox put up four runs in the second inning and the Desert Dogs answered with one run in the home half of the second on consecutive singles by the Dodgers’ James Outman, the Astros’ Pedro Leon, and the Angels’ Jeremiah Jackson, the latter who drove in Outman for the run.

Mesa added single runs in the third and fourth to increase the lead to 6-1. In the bottom of the fourth, Glendale scored three runs to get within two, but it was the closest they got. White Sox prospect Yoelqui Cespedes was hit by a pitch and Outman walked. Jackson hit a three-run home run to right field.

The Desert Dogs did not score after the fourth. The Solar Sox added three runs in the eighth for the final score of 9-4.

Lars Nootbaar

Lars Nootbaar led off for Glendale and played in right field. He drew a leadoff walk in the first inning but was stranded. The left hander flew out to center in the third and popped out for the last out of the fourth. He singled in the sixth but was left on base when his teammate Yepez struck out. Nootbaar’s last at bat was a line out to left in the ninth.

Yepez hit second and manned first base. He struck out swinging in the first inning and grounded out to second in the third. He grounded out to first base in the fifth and struck out for the last out of the sixth. In his final at bat in the ninth, Yepez singled to left but was thrown out at second attempting to stretch it out to a double. He made the last out of the game.

Sunday’s game:  No game scheduled.


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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook – October 23, 2021

photo: Juan Yepez and Lars Nootbaar (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

The Glendale Desert Dogs defeated the Surprise Saguaros by a 9-2 score at Camelback Ranch on Friday. Three Cardinals saw action, two in the starting lineup and one pitcher out of the bullpen.  Lars Nootbaar and Juan Yepez drove in seven runs between them.

Desert Dogs 9, Saguaros 2

The Glendale Desert Dogs blew past the Surprise Saguaros by the score of 9-2 on Friday at Camelback Ranch.  Lars Nootbaar and Juan Yepez were in the starting lineup and Zack Thompson finished the game out of the bullpen.

Right fielder Nootbaar hit leadoff for Glendale and first baseman Yepez batted second in the lineup.

The Desert Dogs scored first with one run in the first inning.  Nootbaar led off the game with a double, and later scored on a single by the Angels’ Orlando Martinez.

Glendale added to its lead with four runs in the fourth inning.  Dodgers’ prospect James Outman hit a solo home run.  The Angels’ Jeremiah Jackson and the Dodgers’ Jacob Amaya singled.  Nootbaar drew a walk to load the bases.  Yepez followed with a bases clearing double to center field. The first sacker leads the AFL with 11 RBI.

Juan Yepez

The Desert Dogs went up 6-0 in the seventh on a solo home run by Yepez.  The Saguaros finally got on the board with two runs in the eighth.  Glendale answered in the home half of the frame with three more runs.  Outman doubled, and Amaya singled.  Nootbaar followed with a three-run home run to right field, his league-leading fourth.

Lars Nootbaar

Nootbaar went 2-for-4 with a walk, three RBI and three runs scored.  Yepez was 2-for-5 with a run scored and four RBI.

Zack Thompson took the mound in the ninth inning.  The left hander logged a scoreless frame, but it took 23 pitches and it was busy on the bases with one hit and two walks allowed along with one strikeout. With the bases loaded and one out, Thompson induced two infield pop outs to escape unscathed.

Saturday’s game:  vs. Solar Sox, Chad Donato RHP (1-0, 9.00) vs. Jeff Criswell RHP (1-0, 4.91) 8:35 CT.


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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook – October 21, 2021

photo: Brendan Donovan and Juan Yepez (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

The Glendale Desert Dogs lost to the Peoria Javelinas by a one run margin at Camelback Ranch on Wednesday night. Four Cardinals played, three in the starting lineup plus the starting pitcher. Brendan Donovan walked, doubled and scored. Juan Yepez plated one of the Glendale’s four runs.

Results of the game played Wednesday, October 20.

Desert Dogs 4, Javelinas 5 (seven innings)

Glendale was edged by Peoria by a 5-4 score on Wednesday night.

Jordan Hicks started for the Desert Dogs and pitched 2 2/3 innings, giving up three runs on three hits. The St. Louis right hander struck out two and walked three. Peoria runs came across in the first on a wild pitch and a double. The third inning run was the result of a free pass. With two out, Hicks was pulled at 52 pitches with the inherited runner coming across when the Desert Dogs’ first reliever couldn’t secure an out while yielding a stolen base, two singles and a hit by pitch.

Three Cardinals were in the starting lineup. Lars Nootbaar started in center and led off.  He went 0-for-2, grounding out and popping out, but reached base twice with free passes. First baseman Juan Yepez hit third. Brendan Donovan was the right fielder, hitting seventh.

Glendale scored three runs in the second inning to take a 3-2 lead. Astros’ prospect Grae Kessinger led off with a single, and Donovan followed with a double that moved Kessinger to third. Kessinger scored on a sac fly by the Angels’ Jeremiah Jackson. Dodger Jacob Amaya and Nootbaar followed with walks. When White Sox prospect Jose Rodriguez also walked, Donovan scored. Yepez walked to plate Amaya.

Brendan Donovan

After the Javelinas regained the lead in the third, scoring two to make it 4-3, they added a fifth run in the fourth.

The Desert Dogs brought it to within one run in the sixth. Donovan walked. Jackson grounded into a force out and Donovan was out at second. Amaya singled, advancing Jackson to third. A wild pitch sent Jackson home.

Donovan and Yepez were 1-for-3. Donovan’s double was the only extra base hit for Glendale.

Thursday’s game:  at Salt River, Landon Knack RHP (0-0, 0.00) vs. Wilmer Flores RHP (0-0, 4.50) 8:35 CT.


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St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of October 11-17

photo: Mike Shildt via Zoom (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

The St. Louis Cardinals made a surprise managerial change, with a number of rumored replacement candidates for Mike Shildt having internal connections. Our history feature covers the NLCS and St. Louis’ prior success in it.

Shildt fired in surprise announcement

Mike Shildt (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

The St. Louis baseball world was abruptly greeted on Thursday afternoon with news that Cardinals manager Mike Shildt had been terminated from his position, effective immediately. After the news broke on social media, a press conference via Zoom was announced to begin right away.

President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak, and Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. greeted the assembled press online with the announcement that the organization had made the decision to cut ties with Shildt due to “philosophical differences.”  Though exact details were not forthcoming, Mozeliak told the media that during a series of end of season meetings that had taken place over the last 5 or 6 days, it became clear that Shildt and the front office could not “get on the same page” concerning the direction of the team for 2022.

Shildt, 53, had one year remaining on his current contract, and there had been talk that the two sides would come together to work out an extension. Instead, the differences that developed between the skipper and the front office were such that the organization felt it was best to cut the cord immediately.

Mozeliak stated in the Zoom that the firing was not a reaction to the season that had just ended but was more forward looking as to the where the team was headed in the near future. Mozeliak declined to specify the exact nature of the philosophical differences but did outline to the media that the organization’s philosophy is and has always been under his tenure to have a pipeline of talent flowing from the farm system to the major leagues to fill out the roster, and that philosophy was not open for debate. One could infer that perhaps Shildt had attempted to debate it.

Mozeliak informed the media that Shildt was “very shocked” when he was notified of his dismissal. The Cardinals must now seek a replacement. Mozeliak said that there were internal candidates that would be considered but did not rule out a replacement from outside the organization. He stated that they should have a new manager chosen by mid-November. Bench coach Ollie Marmol and first base coach Stubby Clapp are likely on the short list of internal candidates.

Mozeliak went on to state that no further changes to the 2022 coaching staff were anticipated.

At the time of the announcement, Shildt was not available for comment, but he issued a statement via Zoom on Monday in which he thanked by name those in the organization from top to bottom as well as those who have moved on.

The former manager chose not to get into details behind the differences that led to his firing, asking to move on rather than speculating.

“Clearly there were differences in philosophies,” Shildt said. “What differences there were will remain unsaid publicly.”

Skip Schumaker

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

Following the surprise dismissal of Shildt, rumors of who will replace him have emerged. Jon Morosi of MLB Network tweeted that current coaches Oliver Marmol and Stubby Clapp are expected to be considered for the managerial vacancy.

Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union Tribune tweeted that some players in San Diego are hearing that former Cardinal Skip Schumaker could be a candidate for the manager job as well.

Transactions

There are no transactions to report.

Injury Report

There are no new injuries to report.

Looking Ahead

When the postseason ends, the offseason begins with the election of free agency for eligible players. This is official at 9 am on the morning after the end of the World Series. Following a five-day exclusive window to negotiate with their former team, all free agents can then sign with other teams.

The Cardinals have nine players set to become free agents absent being re-signed by the team. This list does not include Nolan Arenado, who has an opt-out clause in his contract but has notified the team he does not intend to exercise it.

Nolan Arenado

The nine impending free agents are Matt Carpenter, Andrew Miller, Carlos Martinez, Kwang-Hyun Kim, J.A. Happ, Jon Lester, T.J. McFarland, Luis Garcia, and Wade Le Blanc. Carpenter and Martinez have 2022 team options that the Cardinals are not expected to pick up. Garcia and McFarland may be re-signed for 2022 if deals can be reached. Miller is not likely to be made an offer. The remaining players may or may not be returning to the Cardinals, either on a major league deal or a minor league deal.

Teams can also make Qualifying Offers to eligible free agents. The deadline for teams to tender the Qualifying Offer is 4 pm CT on the fifth day following the World Series. The Cardinals are not expected to make a qualifying offer to any of their pending free agents.

In other free agency news, former Cardinals’ reliever Tyler Webb has elected minor league free agency following his 2021 season with the Memphis Redbirds. Webb was designated for assignment in midseason after a poor showing in the St. Louis bullpen and pitched out of the Memphis bullpen for the remainder of the season.

Tyler Webb

Blast from the Past

This week’s Blast continues the series on Cardinals postseason history with a look at the NLCS and the history of the Cardinals teams that have participated. We start with a brief history of the genesis of this level of the postseason.

The National League Championship Series (NLCS) began in the 1969 season due to a restructuring of the two leagues. Prior to 1969, there were no divisions in either league; instead, the World Series was played by the “pennant winner” in each league, which was the team with the best win-loss record at the end of the season. In 1969, MLB reorganized both leagues into two divisions in each, an East and a West division. At the end of the regular season, the two Division winners played each other in a best of five series to determine who would be the pennant winner and thus move on to the World Series. This Championship Series changed to a best of seven format in 1985.

In 1994, the Division Series came to be, and another reorganization added a third division to each league, plus a Wild Card team to play one of the three Division winners. The winner of each of the Division Series advanced to the Championship Series.

The NLCS was in existence for 13 seasons before the Cardinals made their first appearance in it. The Cardinals teams of the 1970s failed to win their division in any year of that decade. The first season in which the Cardinals advanced to the NLCS was 1982. They won the NL East Division that season with a record of 92-70. They played the NL West winning Atlanta Braves in the NLCS. The Cardinals under Whitey Herzog swept Joe Torre’s Braves in three games, 7-0, 4-3, and 6-2. They went on to the defeat the AL’s representative, the Milwaukee Brewers, in the World Series.

Following are the seasons in which the Cardinals played in the NLCS after 1982, who they played, and the winner and scores of each game won.

1985 season – The Cardinals played the Los Angeles Dodgers and won 4 games to 2. This was the first season the series was a best of seven format. The Cardinals lost the first two games in Los Angeles, but defeated the Dodgers in the final four games, 4-2, 12-2, 3-2, and 7-5. The Cardinals went to play the Kansas City Royals in the World Series but were defeated in seven games.

1987 season – St. Louis met the San Francisco Giants in the 1987 NLCS and were the winners of that series 4 games to 3. The Cardinals won Games 1, 3, 6, and 7.  The scores of those games were 5-3, 6-5, 1-0, and 6-0. St. Louis went to the World Series and lost to the Minnesota Twins in seven games.

1996 season – After eight seasons with no NLCS appearance, the Cardinals returned to play the Braves in the 1996 NLCS. Tony La Russa’s first season as the manager of the Cardinals ended with a 4-3 series loss to Bobby Cox’s Braves. The Cardinals three wins in the series were games 2, 3, and 4, and the scores of those games were 8-3, 3-2, and 4-3.

2000 season – The Cardinals met the New York Mets in the 2000 NLCS. St. Louis won only one game of this best of seven series, Game 3 by the score of 8-3 in Shea Stadium.

2002 season – The 2002 season saw the Cardinals once again in the NLCS, and once again they lost. This series, like the 2000 series, was lost 4 games to 1. The single game the Cardinals won was Game 3 again, and in the road park as well, just like in 2000. The score of Game 3 was 5-4.

2004 season – The Cardinals beat the Houston Astros 4 games to 3 in the 2004 NLCS. St. Louis prevailed in Games 1, 2, 6, and 7, all at Busch Stadium. The scores were 10-7, 6-4, 6-4, and 5-2. The Cardinals advanced to the World Series against the Boston Red Sox and were swept in four games.

2006 season – Perhaps the most iconic of all the Cardinals NCLS wins was the 2006 series win over the Mets, 4 games to 3. The most memorable moment of this series was arguably the final out of Game 7 when rookie pitcher Adam Wainwright struck out Carlos Beltran with a curveball in the ninth inning. St. Louis won games 2, 3, 5, and 7 of the series by the scores of 9-6, 5-0, 4-2, and 3-1. The Cardinals defeated the Detroit Tigers in the World Series 4-1.

2011 season – The Cardinals won the 2011 NLCS over their NL Central rivals the Milwaukee Brewers 4 games to 2. In the last NLCS played by Albert Pujols in a Cardinals uniform, the team won games 2, 3, 5, and 7.  The scores of the four games were 12-3, 4-3, 7-1, and 12-6.

2012 season – The Cardinals faced the Giants in the 2012 NLCS, the first postseason for new manager Mike Matheny. St. Louis lost the series 4-3. They won Game 1 (6-4), Game 3 (3-1) and Game 4 (8-3).

2013 season – The Cardinals prevailed over the Dodgers 4 games to 2. St. Louis won Game 1 by the score of 3-2 in 13 innings. They then won Game 2 (1-0), Game 4 (4-2), and Game 6 (9-0). The Cardinals lost to the Boston Red Sox in the World Series 4-2.

2014 season – St. Louis went down in defeat once again to the Giants, this time 4 games to 1. The Cardinals lone win was Game 2 by the score of 5-4.

2019 season – The Cardinals went to the NLCS after a four-season hiatus in 2019, under the management of Mike Shildt, in his first full season as the Redbird manager. St. Louis lost the series in a four-game sweep at the hands of the Washington Nationals. The Cardinals scored only six runs over the four games, getting shutout in Game 1, and scoring one run each in Game 2 and 3.

Next week we end the series with a look back at all 11 of the Cardinals World Series Championships.

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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook – October 17, 2021

photo: Brendan Donovan (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

The Glendale Desert Dogs prevailed over the Surprise Saguaros in a Saturday night contest at Surprise Stadium. Three Cardinals were in the starting lineup for Glendale. Brendan Donovan had three hits and drove in a run.

Results of the game played Saturday, October 16.

Desert Dogs 6 at Saguaros 4

The Glendale Desert Dogs defeated the Surprise Saguaros on Saturday night at Surprise Stadium. The win was the third in four games in the AFL season to date for Glendale.

Three Cardinals were in the starting lineup for the Desert Dogs. Lars Nootbaar hit leadoff and played in right field. Nolan Gorman manned second base and hit in the cleanup spot. Third baseman Brendan Donavan hit seventh.

Surprise scored first with two runs in the third inning. Glendale tied it up 2-2 in the in the fifth. Astros prospect Grae Kessinger led off the inning with a walk. Donovan followed with a double to left that advanced Kessinger to third. Kessinger scored on a ground out by the Angels’ Jeremiah Jackson. Donovan came home for the tying run on a fielding error on a ball in play by the Angels’ Anthony Mulrine.

The Saguaros answered with a run in the home half of the fifth to retake the lead, 3-2. Glendale responded in the sixth with two runs to flip the edge. Gorman drew a walk. Yoelqui Cespedes of the White Sox singled, then Gorman scored on a single by Kessinger. Donovan drove in Cespedes on a single.

The Desert Dogs increased their lead to 6-3 in the seventh. Astros prospect Pedro Leon walked and later scored on a fielding error by the second baseman on a ground ball by Gorman. Gorman scored one batter later on a balk.

Surprise added a final run in the eighth to make it 6-4, but Glendale held on to win.

Brendan Donovan

Donovan was 3-for-4 with an RBI. He struck out in his first at bat but followed that with a double and two singles. Nootbaar was 0-for-5 with a pop out, two fly outs and two ground outs. Gorman was 0-for-3 but was on base twice and scored twice. He grounded out, popped out, walked, and reached on an error.

Nootbaar made a fielding error.

Sunday’s game:  No game scheduled.


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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook – October 16, 2021

photo: Juan Yepez (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

On Friday, St. Louis Cardinals’ slugger Juan Yepez played right field and from the cleanup spot, drove in one of Glendale’s three runs in the Desert Dogs’ first loss of the young AFL season.

Results from the game played Friday, October 15.

 

Desert Dogs 3, Scorpions 4

The Desert Dogs were edged by the Scorpions in a one run contest on Friday afternoon at Camelback Ranch.  Juan Yepez was the only Cardinal who saw action in this game, playing right field and hitting fourth in the lineup.

The Scorpions got on the board first on a solo home run.  To start the home half of the first, Astros prospect Pedro Leon reached on a fielding error and Dodgers prospect James Outman drew a walk.  Orlando Martinez from the Angels singled to load the bases.  Yepez’ sac fly drove in Glendale’s first run of the day.

Juan Yepez

The Desert Dogs scored again in the fourth, and a third run in the eighth, but the Scorpions’ three-run seventh gave them the one run edge.

Juan Yepez (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Yepez was 1-for-3 on the afternoon with one RBI.  In addition to the sac fly, Yepez grounded out in the fourth, struck out swinging in the sixth, and singled in the eighth (and was stranded).

Saturday’s game:  at Surprise, Robinson Pina RHP (0-0, 0.00) vs. James Marinan RHP (0-0, 0.00) 8:35 CT.

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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Interview – Lars Nootbaar

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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook – October 14, 2021

photo: Nolan Gorman (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

The Glendale Desert Dogs began their AFL season with an evening game at the Scottsdale Scorpions. The Desert Dogs prevailed in large part thanks to a three-run home run by St. Louis Cardinals top prospect Nolan Gorman.

Results for the game played on Wednesday, October 13.

Glendale 4 at Scottsdale 3 (link to box score)

On Opening Day of the Arizona Fall League, the Glendale Desert Dogs topped the Scottsdale Scorpions by a 4-3 score at Scottsdale Stadium on Wednesday evening.

Three Cardinals were in the starting lineup. Lars Nootbaar played in right field and hit second. Nolan Gorman was the second baseman and hit fourth, and first baseman Juan Yepez hit fifth.

Glendale scored first in the second inning. Dodgers prospect Kody Hoese led off with a single and scored on a ground out by White Sox prospect Yoelqui Cespedes. Scottsdale tied it up in the home half of the second.

In the third, Nootbaar drew a walk and Astros prospect Korey Lee singled. Nolan Gorman followed with a three-run blast to right field to put the Desert Dogs up 4-1.

Nolan Gorman

The Scorpions cut the lead to 4-2 in the bottom of the third, then added a run in the fifth. Neither team scored for the remainder of the game and Glendale held on for the win.

In addition to the long ball, Gorman also walked and flied out a mile high to center field. Nootbaar walked and struck out twice. Yepez went 0-for-3 with a ground out, a hit by pitch, and a pop out to the catcher in foul territory.

Two Cardinals pitchers saw action, both who started in the regular season but are working in relief in the AFL. Andre Pallante relieved starter Johan Dominquez and pitched three innings. The right hander gave up two runs on five hits, fanned five and walked one. Left hander Zack Thompson threw the final three scoreless innings and was sharp with no hits allowed, five punchouts and no walks. Thompson (center in photo below) earned his first save.

Glendale Desert Dogs (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Thompson made the Desert Dogs’ only error, a fielding miscue on the first play of the ninth inning.

Thursday’s game:  at Peoria, Jordan Hicks RHP (0-0, 0.00) vs. William Woods RHP (0-0, 0.00) 2:35 CT.

What is next?

Look for these free AFL game recap articles in the morning following all 30 Desert Dogs games.

Also, Nolan Gorman’s  Wednesday interview with Brian Walton will be posted today (Thursday) for members of The Cardinal Nation.


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Now 20% Off – 2021 Cardinals Prospect Guide

Now available, The Cardinal Nation 2021 Prospect Guide is back for a fourth year. It includes over 250 pages of in-depth commentary about the very best St. Louis Cardinals minor leaguers, including dozens of color photos.

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St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of October 4-10

photo: Tyler O’Neill (Michael McLoone/USA TODAY Sports)

The St. Louis Cardinals finished their late-charging season with a disappointing ninth-inning Wild Card Game loss to the Dodgers. Tyler O’Neill is the National League’s final Player of the Month in 2021. Our history feature covers the NLDS and St. Louis’ prior success in it.

Postseason Recap – Wild Card Game

Wednesday, October 6 – Cardinals 1 at Dodgers 3

The St. Louis Cardinals entered the postseason on the strength of a historic 17-game win streak that only recently ended. The met the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium for the NL Wild Card Game on Wednesday. The pitching matchup was Adam Wainwright for the Redbirds against Max Scherzer for the Dodgers.

The Cardinals manufactured a run in the first inning to take 1-0 lead against Scherzer. Tommy Edman led off with a single to right field and stole second base with Paul Goldschmidt at the plate. Goldschmidt drew a walk. Tyler O’Neill flied out to right field for the first out and Edman advanced to third base. He scored on a wild pitch from Scherzer.

Tommy Edman

The game remained 1-0 in favor of the Cardinals until the fourth inning, when Justin Turner smacked a hanging curveball from Wainwright for a solo home run.

Through the next 4 ½ innings, neither team was able to score. St. Louis’ offense had opportunities but did not capitalize. Edman had three hits including the first inning single, and Harrison Bader was on base three times with a walk and two hit by pitches. Bader was left stranded all three times, as was Edman twice. O’Neill was on base in scoring position but was stranded as well. Dylan Carlson singled in the eighth but was left on first base. Goldschmidt singled and walked twice, but all for naught.

Entering the bottom of the ninth with the game still tied 1-1, T. J. McFarland induced line outs from Albert Pujols and Steven Souza to center field. McFarland walked Cody Bellinger with two outs and was replaced by former closer Alex Reyes. Reyes was 2-1 on the next hitter, Chris Taylor, and threw him an 88-mph slider that hung in the middle of the zone. Taylor sent it over the fence in left center field for a two-run home run to give the Dodgers the walk off 3-1 win.

Edman was 3-for-5. Goldschmidt and Carlson each had a hit for five hits total. Goldschmidt also walked twice. There were runners on base in every inning, via a hit, a walk, an error, or a hit by pitch, but the Cardinals went a pitiful 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position.

Adam Wainwright

Wainwright went toe to toe with Scherzer and outlasted him by one inning. Over 5 1/3 innings, the 40-year-old gave up the one home run and three other hits, struck out five and issued two walks. Luis Garcia relieved Wainwright and tossed 1 2/3 scoreless innings. Giovanny Gallegos threw a scoreless eighth but could not return for the ninth due to a fingernail issue. McFarland started the ninth, retired two batters and walked one. Reyes gave up the walk off home run, with one run charged to McFarland and the other to Reyes. McFarland took the loss.

There were two stolen bases, one by Edman, and the other by O’Neill, who reached on a walk.

The offense of the 17-game winning streak failed to show up for the postseason and the Cardinals’ season ended as a result.

The Big Picture (End of season)

The Cardinals were a whirlwind in the final weeks of the season, pitching, scoring, and playing defense right into the second wild card spot with five games left on the schedule. It was wild ride that many expected would continue well into the postseason. The expected outcome did not materialize as the St. Louis offense that was a juggernaut during the 17-game winning streak, flew the coop for the Wild Card Game.

The game ended in a fashion similar to a number of heartbreaking regular-season games, with a ninth inning walk off home run. No doubt Cardinals fans had flashbacks to the ninth inning grand slam by Daniel Vogelbach of the Brewers in the September 5 game. While many fans are inclined to blame reliever Alex Reyes (who also gave up the Vogelbach grand slam) for the Wild Card loss, the blame falls squarely on the offense.

The offense, facing a clearly diminished Max Scherzer, could only scratch out one run in the first inning. The Cardinals had at least one runner on base every inning, and had two runners on in the fifth, but each inning ended in a wasted opportunity.

Tommy Edman came to play, getting three hits and scoring St. Louis’ only run. Paul Goldschmidt reached base three times, as did Harrison Bader (without benefit of a hit). Dylan Carlson singled and reached on an error. Tyler O’Neill walked and stole second. In each case the hitters following did not capitalize. The offense struck out 10 times and was 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position.

What Cardinals fans saw in the Wild Card game they had seen for much of the season, with the team scoring early but failing to add on. It was a reasonable expectation that the improved offense of the final weeks of the season would carry over to the Wild Card Game. It did not, and that is why the postseason ended early for St. Louis.

On a high note, there is much to look forward to for 2022. The majority of the 2021 roster will be returning, including Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina. It will be the final season for Molina, and perhaps for Wainwright as well. The young outfield, who provided a combined 11.6 WAR for the season, will also be back.

Stronger left-handed hitting and more production from shortstop are other potential needs with the potential addition of the designated hitter offering possibilities. This offense, which provided fans a wild and exciting final month of the season, can do even bigger and better things in 2022.

There are pitching holes to be filled, especially with the rotation. Eight of the nine eligible free agents are pitchers. The pitching depth of 2021 proved to be insufficient, requiring a half-dozen in-season moves. The Cardinals must add some pitching for the 2022 season, perhaps one or two pitchers from outside the organization, at least one of whom should be a starter. Some holes can be filled internally, but not all. With some more pitching, the elite defense, and the potential of the offense, the Cardinals could be a formidable presence in the NL for the 2022 season.

Final NL Central Standings

Team W L Pct GB WCGB
Milwaukee 95 67 0.586
St. Louis 90 72 0.556 5
Cincinnati 83 79 0.512 12 7
Chicago 71 91 0.438 24 19
Pittsburgh 61 101 0.377 34 29

O’Neill named NL September Player of the Month

Cardinals left fielder Tyler O’Neill was named the National League Player of the Month for September and the first three days of October, MLB announced on October 4.

O’Neill, 26, had a breakout 2021, ending the season with a slash line of .286/.352/.560 with 34 home runs and 80 RBI.

Tyler O’Neill

The right-handed hitter slashed .328/.377/.731 with 13 home runs, 30 RBI and an OPS of 1.108 for September and Oct. He led the NL in HRs, RBI, runs scored, and SLG for that period.

O’Neill was joined by teammates Tommy Edman and Harrison Bader for Player of the Week honors this season. Bader was named NL Player of the Week the week following O’Neill.

Cardinals’ local TV ratings rank No. 1 in MLB

For the third time in the last four seasons, the St. Louis Cardinals’ local television ratings ranked #1 among all major league teams for the 2021 season. This is according to Nielson Media Research Data.

This was the 22nd consecutive year the team placed in the top four in the TV ratings. The Cardinals are primarily broadcast by Bally Sports Midwest, their regional carrier. Bally Sports Midwest carried 149 of the Cardinals 162 games in 2021. The Cardinals averaged a 6.2 household rating in St. Louis, an increase from 5.4 in the shortened 2020 season.

During the 17-game winning streak in September, Cardinals baseball games were the #1 prime time program in St. Louis.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.

Transactions

  • 10/4 The Cardinals recalled OF Austin Dean from the Memphis Redbirds
  • 10/6 The Cardinals reassigned RHP Jake Woodford to the minor leagues. This was a temporary paper transaction to remove the right hander from the roster for the Wild Card game only.
  • 10/6 The Cardinals designated RHP Seth Elledge for assignment.
  • 10/6 The Cardinals selected the contract of 1B Juan Yepez from the Memphis Redbirds. The first baseman did not make his MLB debut in the Wild Card Game but now has a 40-man roster spot.

Juan Yepez

  • 10/6 The Cardinals reassigned LHPs Jon Lester and J.A. Happ to the minor leagues. As with Woodford, this was a temporary paper transaction. Other taxi squadders with the team in Los Angeles were infielders Kramer Robertson and Brendan Donovan, outfielder Nick Plummer, fourth catcher Ali Sanchez and injured pitchers Justin Miller and Wade LeBlanc.
  • 10/7 The Cardinals activated RHP Jake Woodford and LHPs Jon Lester and J.A. Happ.
  • 10/8 The Cardinals activated RHP Justin Miller from the 10-day injured list.
  • 10/8 The Cardinals sent RHP Seth Elledge outright to the Memphis Redbirds.

Injury Report

  • RHP Jordan Hicks (right elbow inflammation) remains on the 60-day injured list. Hicks made three rehab assignments for the Memphis Redbirds and is set to pitch in the Arizona Fall League which begins on October 13. The team is also looking for a winter ball opportunity for the right hander to get him ready to pitch in Spring Training 2022.
  • 2B Max Moroff (left shoulder subluxation) remains on the 60-day injured list after suffering a shoulder injury in a batting practice session. Moroff had season ending surgery on June 6 with a recovery time of about seven months, which puts him on track to return healthy for Spring Training in 2022.
  • RHP Carlos Martinez (right thumb ligament sprain) had surgery on July 16 to repair his thumb ligament and is out for the season. Martinez is on the final year of his contract, and though the team holds options for 2022 and 2023, they are not expected to pick them up.
  • LHP Wade LeBlanc (left elbow pain) remains on the 10-day injured list. Le Blanc will be a free agent the day after the World Series ends. The Cardinals may offer Le Blanc a minor league deal to return in 2022 if he does not sign a major league deal elsewhere.
  • RHP Ryan Helsley (right elbow stress reaction), was placed on the 60-day injured list on September 1. Helsley is expected to be healthy and ready to pitch for Spring Training in 2022.
  • RHP Junior Fernandez (right lat strain) was transferred to the 60-day injured list on September 12. The right hander is expected to be healthy and ready to pitch for Spring Training in 2022.
  • RHP Justin Miller (right elbow strain) was activated from the 10-day injured list for the Wild Card game but did not see action. Miller remains under the Cardinals control for one more season.

Looking Ahead

The 2021 season is at an end for the Cardinals, as they were defeated by the Dodgers 3-1 in the Wild Card Game on Wednesday, October 6. The postseason continues without the Redbirds. The AL and NL Division Series are in progress this week and the AL and NL Championship Series are set to begin next weekend.

The complete postseason schedule can be found here. Cardinals fans can enjoy Adam Wainwright as a FOX Network analyst for some postseason games. His stint began with the Astros vs. White Sox series on FS1.

When the postseason ends, the offseason begins with the election of free agency for eligible players. This is official at 9 am on the morning after the end of the World Series. Following a five-day exclusive window to negotiate with their former team, all free agents can then sign with other teams.

Matt Carpenter

The Cardinals have nine players set to become free agents absent being re-signed by the Cardinals first. This list does not include Nolan Arenado, who has an opt-out clause in his contract but has notified the team he does not intend to exercise it. The nine players are Matt Carpenter, Andrew Miller, Carlos Martinez, Kwang-Hyun Kim, J.A. Happ, Jon Lester, T.J. McFarland, Luis Garcia, and Wade Le Blanc.

Carlos Martinez

The contracts of Carpenter and Martinez include 2022 options that the Cardinals are not expected to pick up. Garcia and McFarland may be re-signed for 2022 if deals can be reached. Miller is not likely to be made an offer. The remaining players may or may not be returning to the Cardinals, either on a major league or a minor league deal.

Teams can also make Qualifying Offers to their eligible free agents. If accepted, the player would remain with the team for 2022 on a one-year contract for around $19 million. The deadline for teams to tender the Qualifying Offer is 4 pm CT on the fifth day following the World Series. The Cardinals are not expected to make a qualifying offer to any of their free agents.

Players under the Cardinals control but who will be arbitration eligible for 2022 under the current rules are Alex Reyes, Harrison Bader, Justin Miller, Jack Flaherty, Jordan Hicks, Giovanny Gallegos, Dakota Hudson and Tyler O’Neill. Some big raises are likely coming.

Blast from the Past

The 2021 postseason has begun, and though St. Louis has been eliminated, we will continue with a series that remembers past Cardinals’ postseasons at each level. Last week the Wild Card and its genesis was the focus, so we move on this week in Blast from the Past to the National League Division Series (NLDS) and look at its beginning as well as the years in which the Cardinals took part in this next level of the MLB playoffs.

As with the Wild Card, the NLDS grew from, temporarily at first, a baseball labor strike. As a result of the midseason labor strike in 1981, MLB implemented for that season only, a format in which the first-place teams before the strike, took on the first-place teams after the strike. This best of five format took an unusual turn because of the strike, in that the two teams with the first and second highest overall record in the NL in 1981, the Reds and the Cardinals, did not participate in the NLDS because their standing in each of the separate halves of the season were not good enough.

The Division Series returned for good following the 1994 strike. The first NLDS was played at the end of the 1995 season. The Braves defeated the Rockies three games to one, while the Reds swept the Dodgers in three games.

From 1998 through 2011, when there was only one Wild Card, the winner of the Wild Card would take on the NL team with the best regular season winning percentage in the NLDS and the other two Division winners would play each other. The exception was when the Wild Card winner and the team with the best record were from the same Division. In that case the Wild Card winner would play the team with the second-best record. During this period, the Wild Card winner won this round nine times, ending with the Cardinals in 2011.

In 2012, MLB added a second Wild Card to each league and the rule was changed. The Wild Card team that advanced to the NLDS would play the team with the best record regardless of Division. In that year only, the usual 2-2-1 home and away format was temporarily changed to 2-3.

Since the NLDS was introduced, the Cardinals have won the most Division Series, with 10 of 13 played. A brief summary of each of these 13 NLDS series follows.

1996 NLDS – The Cardinals, under manager Tony La Russa, defeated the San Diego Padres, led by manager Bruce Bochy, in a three-game sweep. The scores were 3-1 in Game 1, 5-4 in Game 2, and 7-5 in Game 3.

2000 NLDS – The Cardinals swept the Braves 3-0. The Game 1 score was 7-5. The Cardinals won Game 2, 10-4 and Game 3, 7-1.

2001 NLDS – The Cardinals lost this series 3-2 to the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Cardinals won Game 2 (4-1) and Game 4 (4-1). The Diamondbacks went on to win the World Series.

2002 NLDS – The Cardinals gained revenge for the 2001 loss by sweeping the Diamondbacks in three games, 12-2, 2-1, and 6-3.

2004 NLDS – The Cardinals won 3-1 over the Dodgers. The scores were 8-3 St. Louis in Games 1 and 2, a 4-0 loss in Game 3, and a 6-2 win in Game 4.

2005 NLDS – The Cardinals swept the Padres 3-0. The Game 1 score was 8-5, the Game 2 score was 6-2 and Game 3 ended at 7-4.

2006 NLDS – The Cardinals met the Padres again and St. Louis prevailed in four. The three wins were secured in Game 1 (5-3), Game 2 (2-0), and Game 4 (6-2). The Cardinals dropped Game 3, 3-1. The Redbirds went on to win the World Series against the Detroit Tigers.

2009 NLDS – The Cardinals were swept by the Dodgers, 5-3, 3-2, 5-1. Game 2 featured the infamous fly ball error by Matt Holliday, who lost the ball in the lights, and it bounced off his lower body.

2011 NLDS – The Cardinals defeated the Phillies in five. The Cardinals won Game 2 (5-4), Game 4 (5-3), and Game 5 (1-0). Game 5 was the pitching gem by Chris Carpenter, who defeated his close friend, Roy Halladay. It was the only “winner take all” game in postseason history to end in a 1-0 score. The Cardinals eventually defeated the Texas Rangers to win their 11th World series title.

2012 NLDS – With new manager Mike Matheny, the Cardinals took the Nationals in five games. St. Louis won Game 2 (12-4), Game 3 (8-0), and Game 5(9-7). In the finale, the Cardinals came back from a 6-0 deficit in the first three innings. A wild ninth inning resulted in four runs and a win for the Redbirds.

2013 NLDS – The Cardinals beat the Pirates three games to two. St. Louis won Game 1 (9-1), Game 4 (2-1, and Game 5 (6-1). Following the rule change, this was the first season in which two teams from the same Division met in an NLDS. The Cardinals went on to lose to the Boston Red Sox in the World Series.

2014 NLDS – The Cardinals defeated the Dodgers 3-1. They won Game 1 (10-9), Game 3 (3-1) and Game 4 (3-2). In the wild opener, the Cardinals scored eight runs against Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw in the seventh inning. St. Louis fell to San Francisco in the NLCS.

2015 NLDS – The Cardinals lost to the rival Cubs 3-1. Their only win was by a 4-0 score in Game 1 in Busch Stadium. This was an NLDS to forget.

2019 NLDS – The Cardinals defeated the Braves in five, with wins in Game 1 (7-6), Game 4 (5-4 in extra innings), and Game 5 (13-1). The latter featured a 10-run first inning, setting the major league record for first inning runs in a postseason game. It was also the first (and only) Game 5 between the Cardinals and the Braves in NLDS history.

Next week, we will look at the NLCS and the history of the Cardinals in it.


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St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of September 27-October 3

photo: Adam Wainwright and son (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports)

The St. Louis Cardinals completed a historic win streak and clinched the second Wild Card berth while winning 90 games. Adam Wainwright’s 2022 contract was finalized and Mike Shannon said goodbye. Our history feature covers the team’s prior wild, Wild Card Games.

Game Recaps

Monday, September 27 – Off day

Tuesday, September 28 – Cardinals 6, Brewers 2

The St. Louis Cardinals won their 17th straight game in a 6-2 defeat of the division-winning Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday in the first of a three-game set at Busch Stadium.  It was Wainwright vs. Woodruff and Wainwright got the better of the Brewers right hander.  This win clinched the second wild card spot for the Cardinals.

Wainwright pitched six innings and gave up two runs on seven hits, fanned four and walked two.  It was a shorter outing than usual for the veteran starter, who still earned the win.  Following Wainwright, three relievers each pitched a scoreless inning, T.J. McFarland, Luis Garcia, and Giovanny Gallegos.

The game was scoreless for the first three innings. The Brewers scored first on a two-run home run by Luis Urias off Wainwright in the fourth.  The Cardinals quickly tied it in the home half of the inning with the first run scoring on a solo home run by Dylan Carlson.  Harrison Bader and Paul DeJong followed Carlson with singles.  Bader advanced to third on a fly out by Andrew Knizner.  Wainwright came to the plate and executed a squeeze play that scored Bader for the tying run.

The Redbirds took the lead 4-2 in the fifth.  Paul Goldschmidt doubled and scored on a single by Tyler O’Neill.  O’Neill advanced to third on a fielding error and scored on a sac fly by Nolan Arenado.  The Cardinals added to their lead with a solo home run by Jose Rondon in the sixth and another solo shot by Arenado in the seventh.

Nolan Arenado

Goldschmidt and O’Neill were both 2-for-4.  Arenado had two RBI.

Wednesday, September 29 – Cardinals 0, Brewers 4

The streak ended on Wednesday night against the Brewers as the Cardinals were shut out 4-0 at Busch Stadium.  As the proverb says, “All good things must come to an end”.

The Cardinals faced Brewers starter Adrian Houser, who has given the Redbirds fits this season.  Houser tossed a complete game shutout against them on September 4, by the same score, 4-0.  This night was no different as the improved offense still could get no traction against this right hander.  Only three Cardinals – Lars Nootbaar, Dylan Carlson, and Jose Rondon – were able to hit Houser. Carlson had the only extra base hit, a double.

Miles Mikolas took the loss after pitching 5 2/3 innings and giving up three runs on seven hits while fanning seven and walking one.  It was a good start for Mikolas, but the offense did not support him.  Andrew Miller surrendered one run in relief.  Jack Flaherty and Genesis Cabrera each threw a scoreless inning.

Thursday, September 30 – Cardinals 4, Brewers 3

On Thursday afternoon, the Cardinals bounced back from the shutout loss of the previous day to defeat the Brewers in the final game of the series and take two of three.

St. Louis got on the board first in the second inning.  Nolan Arenado singled and Paul DeJong followed with a double to center field.  Arenado scored on a sac fly by Jose Rondon.  The Brewers came back to tie it 1-1 in the third off Cardinals starter J.A. Happ.

The Redbirds answered in the home half of the third with their second run to take a 2-1 lead on a solo home run by Dylan Carlson.

Milwaukee was not done, however, as they responded by scoring two runs in the fourth to go ahead 3-2.  In the sixth, St. Louis regained the lead with a two-run inning on Carlson’s second long ball of the game, a two-run shot to right field.

Dylan Carlson

Carlson was 2-for-3 with three RBI and two runs scored, as the only Cardinal with multiple hits.

Starter Happ pitched 6 1/3 innings gave up three runs on nine hits and struck out seven to earn his 10th win of the season, fifth with St. Louis.  Kodi Whitley, T.J. McFarland, and Luis Garcia each tossed a scoreless inning of relief.

Friday, October 1 – Cardinals 4, Cubs 3

The Cardinals began their final series of the 2021 season at home against the rival Chicago Cubs.  St. Louis took the Game 1 by a 4-3 score on Friday night at Busch Stadium.

Dakota Hudson made his first MLB start of 2021 in his return from Tommy John surgery.  The right hander pitched five scoreless innings, allowed three hits, fanned four and walked one.  Genesis Cabrera relieved and surrendered two runs in 2/3 of an inning before leaving the game with a fingernail issue.  T.J. McFarland yielded one more run but got the final out of the inning. McFarland was tagged with a blown save.  Alex Reyes, Andrew Miller, and Giovanny Gallegos each pitched a scoreless inning.  Gallegos got the win, his sixth of the season.

The Cardinals scored the first run of the game on a first-inning solo home run by Tyler O’Neill.  O’Neill hit his second solo home run of the night in the fourth to increase St. Louis’ lead to 2-0.

Tyler O’Neill

The Cubs made a comeback in the sixth and scored three runs on a long ball by Trayce Thompson to take a 3-2 lead.  The Cardinals answered in the home half of the sixth with one run to tie. O’Neill doubled to start the inning, then scored on a single by Lars Nootbaar.

The game remained tied 3-3 until the bottom of the ninth.  Andrew Knizner drew a walk and advanced to second on a single by Edmundo Sosa. Knizner advanced to third on a ground out by Tommy Edman, then scored on a walk off single by Paul Goldschmidt.

It was a busy night on the base paths. Harrison Bader stole his ninth base of the season, Edman stole his 29th base and O’Neill purloined his 15th base.  Nootbaar was caught stealing for the first time.  Knizner was picked off first base.

In the field, O’Neill had an outfield assist at home.

Saturday, October 2 – Cardinals 5, Cubs 6

The Cardinals were edged by the Cubs in the second game of the final series. The lead changed hands a couple of times before the Cubs rallied in the ninth to win.

St. Louis scored first on a solo home run by Harrison Bader in the first inning.  Bader was hitting leadoff for the first time this season.  Given that the Cardinals had clinched a spot in the postseason on Tuesday, the lineups over these final few games were shuffled to give key players a day off.  This day was Tommy Edman’s turn to sit, so Bader was moved to the top of the lineup.

The 1-0 lead held until the fifth inning.  The Cubs scored four runs on a grand slam by Trayce Thompson.  The Cardinals answered in the home half of the fifth with a run on an RBI triple by Tyler O’Neill to cut Chicago’s lead to 4-2.

St. Louis mounted a comeback in the seventh. Bader reached base on an error and advanced to second on O’Neill’s single.  Edman singled and Bader scored.  Dylan Carlson singled to plate O’Neill and Edman, and the Cardinals took the 5-4 lead.

But in the ninth, the Cubs regained the lead on a two-run home run by Ian Happ.  The Cardinals failed to score in the bottom of the ninth.

O’Neill was 2-for-4 with an RBI.  Carlson drove in two. Yadier Molina and Edmundo Sosa returned to the lineup after missing multiple games with minor injuries.

Starter Jon Lester pitched five innings against his former team.  The left hander gave up four runs on six hits, struck out four and walked four.  Kwang-Hyun Kim tossed two scoreless innings in relief.  Kodi Whitley pitched a scoreless eighth. Luis Garcia surrendered the two-run home run to Happ and took the loss.  He was also charged with a blown save.

On the base paths, Edman stole his 30th base of the season.

Sunday, October 3 – Cardinals 2, Cubs 3 (seven innings)

St. Louis lost a rain shortened final game to the Cubs by the score of 3-2 at Busch Stadium.  The action was delayed for rain twice, and the game was called after the second delay due to unplayable field conditions.

Jake Woodford got the start in this Game 162 of the 2021 season.  Woodford pitched five innings and gave up three runs on six hits, struck out four and walked one.  Jack Flaherty threw one scoreless inning of relief.  T.J. McFarland followed with a scoreless frame. Alex Reyes was brought out to pitch the eighth but never threw a pitch as the rain came at that point and the game was eventually called.  Woodford took the loss, his fourth of the season.

The Cubs scored one run in the first inning off Woodford.  The Cardinals tied it in the home half of the first on a solo home run by Tommy Edman.  The Redbirds took a 2-1 lead in the second on a Dylan Carlson walk, a Yadier Molina single, and a double play by Edmundo Sosa.

The Cardinals held the 2-1 lead until the fifth, when the Cubs went ahead with two runs off Woodford on a double and a single.  The 3-2 lead held until the second rain delay after the seventh inning, and the Cubs became winners when the game was called.

The offense scored two runs on six hits.  No Cardinal hitter had multiples.  Edman’s long ball was the only extra base hit.  Carlson, Molina, Tyler O’Neill, Harrison Bader, and Matt Carpenter each singled.

In the field, Edmundo Sosa made a fielding error.

The Big Picture

The Cardinals finished the final week of the season with a record of 3-3. They took 2 of 3 from the Brewers and lost 2 of 3 to the Cubs.  The losses should be looked at in the context of the team having clinched the second Wild Card after the first game of the Brewers series, rendering the remaining five games essentially meaningless.  Manager Mike Shildt rightly rested many of his regulars at times during these last five games in preparation for the postseason.

The Cardinals will play the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Wild Card Game on Wednesday, October 6 in Los Angeles.  Adam Wainwright will get the start against Max Scherzer for the Dodgers.  Should the Cardinals win this game they will go on to play the West Division champion San Francisco Giants in the Division Series.

Scherzer will be a tough opponent for St. Louis’ offense.  The Cardinals have faced him twice this year, once each with the Nationals and the Dodgers.  They lost both times.  Scherzer has been essentially unhittable all season, though he has shown some wear recently, having given up 10 earned runs over his last two starts.  Whether this trend will continue remains to be seen, but perhaps there is a chink in the armor the Cardinals offense can exploit.

The offense must continue to score runs at the same pace as they have over the last several weeks. Because this is a one and done game, it must be an all-out effort.  The Dodgers offense is formidable, though they just lost one of their most productive hitters, Max Muncy, with an injury in the last game of the season.  There are plenty of other good hitters in the lineup, however, such as the Turners, Trea and Justin, as well as Corey Seager.

If Wainwright can pitch one of his best games, and the offense can stay hot, the Cardinals have a chance.

In the last week of the season, the best offensive performers were Dylan Carlson (1.500 OPS) and Tyler O’Neill (1.397 OPS).  Nolan Arenado set a new team record for third basemen with his 105th RBI, while Paul Goldschmidt finished one short of 100 driven in and six points short of a .300 average for the season.

Given that the team clinched early and was not in max effort mode for five of the last six games, the performances for the week are arguably not indicative of what the team can do against the Dodgers.  Perhaps the offense of the 17-game winning streak will be present for the game on October 6.

Final NL Central Standings

Team W L Pct GB WCGB
Milwaukee 95 67 0.586
St. Louis 90 72 0.556 5
Cincinnati 83 79 0.512 12 7
Chicago 71 91 0.438 24 19
Pittsburgh 61 101 0.377 34 29

Cardinals honor retiring Mike Shannon

Longtime voice of the Cardinals Mike Shannon was honored in a pre-game ceremony on Sunday before the final game of the season.  Shannon is retiring, ending a 50-year span of radio broadcasting of Cardinals games by the former St. Louis third baseman-outfielder.

The ceremony included speeches from friends, colleagues, and team owner Bill DeWitt Jr.  Shannon also made a short, tearful speech to fans before taking a spin in a golf cart around the field, driven by his wife.

Mike Shannon and wife (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports)

The KMOX broadcast booth was renamed the Shannon Broadcast booth in the broadcaster’s honor.  It was announced that Shannon paid for four seats to be reserved and donated to fans throughout next season.

If the Cardinals advance to the Division Series, Shannon may broadcast the home games, otherwise Sunday was his final call.  Shannon is one of only 14 broadcasters in baseball history to have done so for at least 50 years.

Should Sunday indeed be his time in the booth, the memories will linger for Cardinals fans who have enjoyed Shannon’s quirky remarks and his signature home run call, “Get up, get up baby!”

We will miss you, Mike.

Wainwright’s 2020 contract official

Formalizing a deal that both parties had already said they would make happen, the Cardinals announced that 40-year-old Adam Wainwright has agreed to terms on a one-year contract for 2022.

The AP reports the deal guarantees the pitcher $17.5 million and provides him no-trade protection. This is more than a 100% increase from Wainwright’s $8 million 2021 salary and reflects his workhorse 206 1/3 innings with a stellar 3.05 ERA this season.

Adam Wainwright

The 2022 season is now set to be a final goodbye for Wainwright and long-term batterymate Yadier Molina. The two have not finalized their future plans, but odds are high they will hang up their cleats in 12 months as career Cardinals.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.

Transactions

There are no transactions to report.

Injury Report

  • RHP Jordan Hicks (right elbow inflammation) remains on the 60-day injured list. Hicks has made two rehab assignments, with the last one occurring on September 29 at Memphis as he pitched one scoreless inning.  The right hander was the starter for the final Memphis Redbirds game on Sunday, yielding two runs in two innings.  Further, Hicks will be one of several players sent to the Arizona Fall League, which begins on October 13.  The right hander will not pitch for the Cardinals in 2021 but is on track to return for 2022.
  • 2B Max Moroff (left shoulder subluxation) remains on the 60-day injured list after suffering a shoulder injury in a batting practice session. Moroff had surgery on the shoulder and is out for the rest of the season.
  • RHP Carlos Martinez (right thumb ligament sprain) had surgery on July 16 to repair his thumb ligament and is out for the season. Martinez is on the final year of his contract, and though the team holds options for 2022 and 2023, they are not expected to pick them up.
  • LHP Wade LeBlanc (left elbow pain) remains on the 10-day injured list. The left hander is set to undergo a procedure on his left elbow, making a return this season impossible.  Le Blanc will be a free agent at season’s end.  The Cardinals may offer Le Blanc a minor league deal to return in 2022 if he does not sign a major league deal elsewhere.
  • RHP Ryan Helsley (right elbow stress reaction), was placed on the 60-day injured list on September 1. The move signaled an end to Helsley’s season.
  • RHP Junior Fernandez (right lat strain) was transferred to the 60-day injured list on September 12. Scans revealed a Grade 2 lat strain and the right hander’s season is over.
  • RHP Justin Miller (right elbow strain) was placed on the 10-day injured list on September 25. This is Miller’s second elbow issue in the second half of the season.  Miller will not be shut down from throwing but will rest in an effort to be ready for the postseason.
  • SS Edmundo Sosa (right wrist) was held out from the lineup for about a week but returned to the lineup to start at 2B in Saturday’s game against the Cubs.
  • C Yadier Molina (shoulder) returned to the lineup in Saturday’s game against the Cubs.
  • LHP Genesis Cabrera (left middle fingernail) left Friday’s game against the Cubs with a recurring fingernail issue. The left hander will have an artificial nail placed on the finger and is expected to be available to pitch in the postseason.

Looking Ahead

The Cardinals played their final regular season game on Sunday.  St. Louis will travel to Los Angeles to face the Dodgers in the NL Wild Card game on Wednesday, October 6.  Advancing to face San Francisco in the Division Series will go to the Wild Card winner.

The complete postseason schedule can be found here.

Blast from the Past

The Cardinals clinched the second wild card spot with a win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday night.  It was the last of the 17-game winning streak that began on September 11 with a 6-4 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.  This week’s Blast from the Past recalls the history of the MLB Wild Card and recounts the three instances since the Wild Card’s inception that the Cardinals held an NL Wild Card berth.

The Wild Card was instituted by Major League Baseball in 1994 but was not actually used that year because a labor strike ended the season early and the playoffs were cancelled. The Wild Card was added when each league was expanded from two divisions per league to three.  Because there were only three Division winners, the Wild Card was devised to even the number to four playoff teams in each league.  The 1994 season was also when the National League Division Series (NLDS) was added on a permanent basis, having been used once only in 1981 due to the labor strike that year. The Wild Card team in each league was the non-division winner with the best overall record for the season.

The first Wild Card teams were the 1995 Colorado Rockies in the NL and the New York Yankees in the AL.  Both lost in the NLDS.  The Rockies have been the Wild Card five times, the most of any NL team.  In the AL, the Yankees and the Red Sox are tied with eight wild card berths each, including when the two face off this Tuesday.

After the 2011 season, Major League Baseball added a second Wild Card per league and instituted the Wild Card game between each league’s the two Wild Card selections.  The first such Wild Card Game were in 2012 and the NL game was played by the Cardinals and the Braves.  St. Louis has been the NL Wild Card three times – in 2011, 2012, and now in 2021.

In 2011, the Cardinals became the winner of the NL Wild Card on the last day of the season. An entire book could probably be written about St. Louis’ 2011 postseason run.  Fans of the Cardinals may know that the team was 10.5 games back of the Wild Card-leading Atlanta Braves on August 25 and went on an historic September run to clinch on September 28, 2011.  They did so though the combination of beating the Houston Astros on that last day and being helped by the Phillies defeating the Braves.  That year the Cardinals became one of only five NL Wild Card teams to go on to win the World Series.  The others are Miami in 1997 and 2003, San Francisco in 2014 and Washington in 2019.

The very next season, St. Louis was again an NL Wild Card selection.  2012 was the first year of two Wild Cards in each league.  The Cardinals and Atlanta Braves met for the first Wild Card game on October 5, 2012, at Turner Field in Atlanta.  It was memorable for a controversial infield fly rule call.  In the eighth inning, with the Cardinals leading 6-3, Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons hit a fly ball into short left field.  The ball dropped between Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma and left fielder Matt Holliday. Umpire Sam Holbrook called the infield fly rule, which resulted in Simmons being automatically out.  Had he not been called out via the rule, the bases would have been loaded with only one out.

Matt Holliday/Pete Kozma (Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

Braves fans took umbrage with the call and began littering the field with trash.  The game was delayed for 20 minutes. A message over the public address system telling fans that a forfeit was imminent was the only reason the game finally continued.  The Cardinals prevailed 6-3.

The Cardinals have now clinched their third Wild Card berth and are headed to Los Angeles on Wednesday to play in their second Wild Card game.  This historic run of 17 straight wins that led to this moment is reminiscent of the September run of the Cardinals in 2011, which ended in a World Series title.  If the stars are aligned and the fates are with St. Louis, perhaps the ending will be the same as in 2011.

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Cardinals Minor League Notebook – October 3, 2021

photo: Cardinals Dominican Academy (St. Louis Cardinals)

The St. Louis Cardinals system was 1-1 in one Saturday contest. Memphis’ game was cancelled for the second consecutive day and the DSL season ended with a Blue win over the Red. TCN’s Player of the Day, Blue DH Leonardo Bernal, was 2-for-3 with an RBI.

Results from game played Saturday, October 2.

Memphis vs. Charlotte (cancelled)

The game at AutoZone Park was cancelled for the second consecutive day due to weather in the area.  No makeup is scheduled.  The last regular season game will be played Sunday.

Memphis is 3-4 in the Triple-A Final Stretch, 20th of 30 teams, five games back of first place Durham.

Sunday’s game:  vs. Charlotte, Johan Oviedo RHP (1-6, 6.27) vs. Alex McRae RHP (2-9, 5.38) 2:05 CT. (Or Saturday’s Jordan Hicks/Matthew Liberatore combination could go instead.)

DSL Cardinals Blue 9, DSL Cardinals Red 7 (seven innings)

On Saturday morning, the Cardinals Blue (21-38) topped its sister team the Cardinals Red (27-30) by the score of 9-7 in the final game of the Dominican Summer League regular season.

Red scored first with one run in the first inning on an RBI single by Felix Taveras.  Blue answered in the home half of the first with two runs to take the lead on an RBI triple by Maycol Justo and a single by Leonardo Bernal.

Red jumped ahead 6-2 with a five-run second inning on three long balls.  Jeremy Ramos hit a solo shot, and Carlos Linarez and Romtres Cabrera both had two-run blasts. Red added a run in the third on an RBI single by Miguel Vargas.

Luis Pino scored on a wild pitch for Blue in the bottom of the third to cut the lead to 7-3.  Blue then had its own big inning with five runs in the fourth.  Javier Bolivar walked and Robelyn Lopez walked.  Anyel Encarnacion singled and Bolivar scored.  Lopez scored on a single by Jose Cordoba.  Bernal reached on an error and Encarnacion scored.   Fernando Diaz singled to plate Cordoba and Bernal. Blue led for the first time, 8-7.

Blue added their ninth run in the sixth on a sac fly by Bryan Encarnacion.

For Blue, Bernal, Cordoba, and A. Encarnacion each had two hits.  Diaz drove in two.  For Red, Ramos and Jose Rodriguez were both 2-for-2.  Cabrera and Linarez each had two RBI.

Leonardo Bernal

Blue starter Antoni Cuello pitched one inning, gave up one run on two hits and walked one.  Alexander Beltre surrendered five runs, two earned in 2/3 innings in relief.  Marlyn Almonte yielded one run in 1 1/3 innings pitched.  Carlos De La Cruz tossed a scoreless fourth.  Miguel Martinez, Juan Salas, and Juan Peralta combined for the final three scoreless innings. De La Cruz got the win.

Red starter Fraimin Marte pitched three innings and gave up three runs on four hits, struck out two and walked two.  Juan Severino surrendered five runs, two earned, in 2/3 innings and took the loss. Engels Martinez yielded one run in 2 1/3 innings and was tagged with a blown save.

In the field for Blue, Bolivar made a throwing error and Beltre had a fielding miscue.  Cordoba had an outfield assist at second base.  De La Cruz picked a runner off second base.

On the base paths for Red, Cabrera stole his 11th base of the season.  Raul Guzman stole his fourth base.  Cabrera was also picked off and caught stealing.  In the field, Guzman made a fielding error.

Sunday’s game:  None. The DSL season has concluded.


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Cardinals Minor League Notebook – October 2, 2021

photo: Cardinals Dominican Academy (St. Louis Cardinals)

The St. Louis Cardinals system went 1-1 on Friday as Memphis’ game was cancelled. The Cardinal Nation’s Player of the Day, DSL Red DH Jose Rodriguez, slammed a bases-loaded triple in his club’s win over the Cubs Red.

Results from games played Friday, October 1.

Memphis vs. Charlotte (cancelled)

Friday’s contest at AutoZone Park was cancelled due to poor field conditions.  With only two games remaining in 2021, this game will not be played.

Saturday’s game:  vs. Charlotte, Zack Thompson (2-10, 7.06) or Matthew Liberatore LHP (8-9, 4.15) vs. TBD 3:15 CT.

 

DSL Cardinals Blue 4 at DSL Mets1 6 (six innings)

The Cardinals Blue (20-38) were defeated by the Mets1 in a weather shortened Friday morning contest. Starter Ronny Oliver pitched three innings and gave up five runs, four earned, on five hits, struck out two and walked four.  Frankely Guzman relieved Oliver and surrendered one run in his two innings of relief.  Oliver took the loss, his third of the season.

Down 6-0, the Blue offense was held scoreless until the fifth inning.  Diego Velasquez was hit by a pitch to begin the inning and advanced to second on a wild pitch.  Yancel Guerrero was hit by a pitch.  Anyel Encarnacion reached on an error and Velasquez scored.  Guerrero scored on a passed ball to cut the Mets’ lead to 6-2.

Diego Velasquez

Velasquez hit a two-run home run in the sixth to close the gap to 6-4.  The game was called due to weather after the top half of the sixth ended.

The Blue offense scored four runs on five hits.  The home run was the only extra base hit.

On the base paths, Encarnacion was caught stealing for the third time.  In the field, Velasquez made a fielding error and had a passed ball.

Saturday’s game: vs. Cardinals Red, TBD vs. TBD 9:30 am CT.

 

DSL Cardinals Red 8, DSL Cubs Red 4

The Cardinals Red (27-29) beat the Cubs Red by the score of 8-4 in a Friday morning contest. The Red took an early lead and never relinquished it.

The Red scored four runs in the first inning. Lizandro Espinoza led off with a single and Miguel Vargas followed with a single.  Romtres Cabrera reached on a fielder’s choice and Espinoza was out at third.  Samil De La Rosa singled, and Vargas scored.  Francis Reynoso was hit by a pitch to load the bases.  Jose Rodriguez tripled to clear the bases and Red took a 4-0 lead.

Jose Rodriguez

The Cubs got on the board in the second inning on a sac fly. The Red answered in the third with a run scored on a wild pitch to make it 5-1.  The Cubs cut the lead to 5-2 on a second run scored on a sac fly in the fourth.

Red answered in the home half of the fourth with three runs.  Raul Guzman singled and scored on a double by Alejandro Loaiza.  Espinoza was hit by a pitch.  Loaiza scored on a single by Vargas.  Espinoza scored on a ground out by De La Rosa.

The score remained 8-1 until the seventh, when the Cubs added a run. Another single tally in the eighth made the 8-4 final score.

Vargas was 2-for-4 with an RBI.  De La Rosa had two RBI and Rodriguez tripled and drove in three.

Red starter Brayan Ramirez pitched four innings and gave up two runs, one earned, on three hits, struck out two and walked two.  Samuel Fabian relieved and surrendered one run in three innings pitched.  Fabian got the win, his first of the season.  Bruno Lopez threw the final two innings and yielded one run.

On the base paths, Carlos Carmona stole his sixth base of the season.  In the field, Guzman had a fielding miscue and Fabian made an error on a pickoff.  Carmona and Vargas each had an outfield assist.

Saturday’s game:  at Cardinals Blue, TBD vs. TBD 9:30 am CT.


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