photo: Jose Martinez (Aaron Doster/USA TODAY Sports Images)
The St. Louis Cardinals are making a September run, led by Jose Martinez and Yadier Molina offensively. In our history feature, the late-charging 1964 Cardinals are remembered.
In the first of a four game series in San Diego, the Cardinals shut out the Padres in a low scoring contest. Starter Carlos Martinez pitched a complete game, allowing only three runs, fanning 10 and walking three. Martinez won his 11th game of the season.
Both Cardinals runs were driven in on Yadier Molina’s single in the fourth inning, his only hit of the game. Tommy Pham was 2-for-4.
Harrison Bader stole his first major league base, and Pham stole his 18th base of the season. Paul DeJong committed a fielding error.
In Game 2 of the series, The Cardinals scored more runs, enabling them to claim a win over the Friars. A first inning two run home run off the bat of Jose Martinez got the scoring started. Martinez contributed a solo shot in the seventh as well. Harrison Bader had a three run blast in the second inning. Martinez was a perfect 3-for-3 with three runs scored. Bader was 2-for-5 with two runs scored. In the third inning, a run came home on a fielder’s choice. In that same inning, Stephen Piscotty plated a run on a single.
Starter Michael Wacha pitched six innings, giving up four runs, three earned, on seven hits. The right hander struck out six and walked three. Matt Bowman, Brett Cecil, and Tyler Lyons each pitched a scoreless inning of relief. Wacha earned his 11th win of the season.
Randal Grichuk stole his sixth base of the season. Piscotty was caught stealing for the sixth time in 2017. Bader made a throwing error and Piscotty had an outfield assist.
The Cardinals managed a victory in Game 3 of the series on a rally in the late innings. A Stephen Piscotty two run home in the seventh gave the Cardinals the lead. Another run came home in the eighth on a sac fly by Harrison Bader. Piscotty at 2-for-4 was the only Cardinal with multiple hits.
Jack Flaherty made his second big league start, but did not get the win. Flaherty pitched five innings, giving up one run on three hits. The righty fanned four and walked four. Ryan Sherriff followed with two scoreless innings of relief. John Brebbia tossed a scoreless eighth, and Tyler Lyons added a run-free ninth. Sherriff got the win.
On the base paths, Tommy Pham stole his 19th base of the season. Greg Garcia was caught stealing for the first time in 2017.
The Cardinals failed to get the sweep, as they were shut out by the Padres in the rubber game of the series. Starter Lance Lynn pitched well, tossing six innings while giving up only one run on six hits. The right hander struck out three and walked three. Zach Duke started the seventh, pitched to one batter and gave up a single. With no outs and a runner on, Seung-Hwan Oh came in. Oh gave up a two run home run, with one run inherited from Duke. Sam Tuivailala pitched a scoreless eighth. Lynn took the loss, his seventh of the season.
Cardinals bats managed 11 hits, but could not put a run across the plate. Harrison Bader, Paul DeJong, and Stephen Piscotty were each 2-for-4.
In the field, Alex Mejia made a throwing error, and Dexter Fowler had an outfield assist.
In Game 1 of the weekend series, the Cardinals defeated their NL Central rivals the Pirates at home. Unlike the previous day’s game against the Padres, Cardinals bats scored almost as many runs as they had hits. With only five Redbirds hits in total, four runs came across the plate. The first scored on a Luke Weaver ground out in the third inning. In the fourth, another ground ball out from Randal Grichuk plated one. The final two runs scored on an RBI single by Jose Martinez in the fifth. At 2-for-4, Martinez was the only Cardinal with multiple hits.
Starter Luke Weaver went 5 2/3 scoreless innings to earn his fifth win of the season. The rookie right hander allowed seven hits and struck out seven. Matt Bowman got the final out of the sixth inning in relief of Weaver. John Brebbia gave up the only Pirates run in the seventh. Ryan Sherriff and Juan Nicasio combined for a scoreless ninth.
In the second game of the series, the Cardinals squeaked by the Pirates to win. Yadier Molina’s two run home run in the second got the Redbirds on the board. Matt Carpenter’s solo home run in the seventh tied the score. In the eighth, Randal Grichuk’s ground out plated the winning run. Only Molina had multiple hits; he was 2-for-4.
Starter Carlos Martinez pitched six innings, giving up two runs on four hits. The hard throwing right hander fanned eight and issued two free passes. John Brebbia allowed a run in the seventh. Tyler Lyons tossed a scoreless eighth to pick up the win. Juan Nicasio followed with a scoreless ninth.
Matt Carpenter committed a throwing error.
The Cardinals completed the sweep of the Pirates with a 7-0 blanking of the Bucs on Sunday afternoon. Michael Wacha was brilliant, pitching eight scoreless innings and picking up his 12th win. The right hander allowed five hits, walked none and struck out seven. John Gant tossed a scoreless ninth in relief.
Yadier Molina shined again offensively, driving in five of the seven Redbirds runs. In the third, Molina hit a three run home run, his 17th. Molina had plated the first run in the first inning on an RBI single. A sac fly in the seventh gave Molina his fifth RBI and the final run of the game. Randal Grichuk hit a solo home run in fourth, and Wacha helped himself by plating a run in the sixth on a sac fly. Molina was 2-for-3 with the five RBI. Paul DeJong was 2-for-4.
The Cardinals ended the week 6-1, having taken three of four from the Padres, and sweeping the Pirates. The 8-2 streak in the last 10 games leaves them tied with the Brewers for second place and two games back of the Cubs. The Cubs have lost six of their last 10, and were swept by the Brewers over the weekend. The Cardinals have three games remaining with the Brewers, which occur in the last series of the season at home. The Cardinals have seven games remaining with the Cubs, three in Chicago and four at home. With the race tightening, the NL Central is up for grabs in the remaining weeks of the regular season.
The Cardinals have been playing well, with pitching being the main driver. The offense has been inconsistent, but has been good enough to support the pitching for the most part.
All of the remaining games in the regular season are with NL Central teams, including three more with the Pirates and six more with the last place Reds.
NL Central Standings
Over the past seven days (does not contain recent Sunday game results):
Jose Martinez is batting .440 with an OPS of 1.437. He has 3 HRs, 3 doubles, and 8 RBI.
Matt Carpenter has an OPS of 1.026 in 3 plate appearances. He has 1 HR.
Stephen Piscotty is batting .294 with an OPS of .871. He has 1 HR, 1 triple, and 2 RBI.
Harrison Bader is batting .280 with an OPS of .789. He has 2 HRs and 6 RBI.
Lance Lynn has an ERA of 1.50 and a WHIP of 1.50.
Luke Weaver has an ERA of 1.42 and a WHIP of 1.03.
Carlos Martinez has an ERA of 1.20 and a WHIP of 0.80.
Tyler Lyons has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 1.33.
Matt Bowman has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.00.
Sam Tuivailala has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 1.00.
Brett Cecil has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 1.00.
Ryan Sherriff has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 1.13.
Juan Nicasio has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.43.
Over the past seven days (does not contain recent Sunday games):
Alex Mejia is batting .059 with an OPS of .170
Dexter Fowler is batting .000 with an OPS of .167.
Kolten Wong is batting .000 and has an OPS of .286 in 7 plate appearances.
Zach Duke has an ERA of 27.00 and a WHIP of 3.00.
Seung-Hwan Oh has an ERA of 9.00 and a WHIP of 1.00.
Sandy Alcantara has an ERA of 13.50 and a WHIP of 4.50.
A Look at Cardinals Lineups
The lineups over the last seven games (does not contain recent Sunday game):
The leadoff hitter has been Matt Carpenter for three games, Dexter Fowler for two games, and Harrison Bader for two games.
The number 2 hitter has been Tommy Pham for three games, Harrison Bader for two games, Randal Grichuk for one game, and Stephen Piscotty for one game.
The number 3 hitter has been Paul DeJong for six games, and Pham for one game.
The number 4 hitter has been Jose Martinez.
The number 5 hitter has been Yadier Molina for five games, Fowler for one game, and Piscotty for one game.
The number 6 hitter has been Piscotty for three games, Bader for one game, Grichuk for one game, Molina for one game, and Greg Garcia for one game.
The number 7 hitter has been Greg Garcia for three games, Wong for two games, Carson Kelly for one game, and Breyvic Valera for one game.
The number 8 hitter has been Alex Mejia for five games, Grichuk for one game, and Bader for one game.
Trade and Acquisition Rumors
There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.
9/5 The Cardinals recalled 2B Breyvic Valera from the Memphis Redbirds.
9/6 The Cardinals acquired RHP Juan Nicasio from the Philadelphia Phillies for 2B Eliezer Alvarez.
OF Dexter Fowler injured his left knee in a collision with the outfield wall in Saturday’s game. An initial MRI came back clean, no structural damage. A full diagnosis and expected return will not be known until Tuesday.
RHP Adam Wainwright (right elbow impingement) threw off flat ground over the weekend and is expected to throw off the mound this week. A return date remains unknown.
3B Jedd Gyorko (right hamstring strain) did some light running and took batting practice this past week. Gyorko was expected to run the bases over the weekend. No expected return date has been announced.
Both Kolten Wong (back tightness) and Matt Carpenter (right shoulder bursitis) returned to the lineup over the weekend.
Tommy Pham (right shoulder tightness) also returned over the weekend, but was out of Sunday’s lineup due to recurring vision issues.
The Cardinals have an off day Monday. On Tuesday, the team begins a three game series at home against the Reds. No starters for the series have yet been designated, but if the rotation holds they will be Flaherty, Lynn, and Weaver. However, they may decide to skip Flaherty this time through.
The Cardinals travel to Chicago to take on the Cubs in a weekend series following the homestand. After another Monday off day, the team heads to Cincinnati for a three game set with the Reds. The Cardinals then travel to Pittsburgh for a weekend series with the Pirates.
The Cardinals return home and begin a four game series with the Cubs at Busch Stadium. The Brewers then come to St. Louis for a weekend series to end the regular season schedule.
The Cardinals’ regular season schedule can be found here.
Blast from the Past
The Cardinals are on a mini run of sorts in these last remaining weeks of the season. While the run cannot as yet be compared to the magical run of 2011, it has some of the makings of it. In addition to the comeback of the 2011 Cardinals, another team in Redbird history made a miraculous comeback to win it all. That team was the 1964 St. Louis Cardinals.
The 1964 Redbirds squad ended the season with a record of 93-69 and finished on top in the National League. In 1964, there were no divisions, only two leagues, the National League and the American League. The Cardinals were managed by Johnny Keane in 1964. The squad consisted of starting position players Tim McCarver behind the plate, Bill White at first base, Julian Javier at second base, Dick Groat at shortstop, Ken Boyer at third base, Lou Brock in left field, Curt Flood in center field, and Mike Shannon in right field. Brock joined the ‘64 Cardinals at mid-season. Shannon was a mid-season call-up from the minors. The rotation was headlined by Hall of Famer Bob Gibson.
The Phillies were the favorite to win the National League. The Cardinals struggled throughout the first half, and were at times close to the bottom in the league. By mid-August, the Redbirds were 9.5 games back of first place. The Cardinals’ struggles got GM Bing Devine fired. By August 23, the Cardinals were 11 games back.
After August 23, the Cardinals won six games in a row and moved up in the standings. At the same time, the Phillies began to falter, hampered in part by injuries. The famous “Phillies Phold” began on September 21. They were swept by Cincinnati in three games, and Milwaukee in four games. They lost crucial games to the Braves, and lost another series to Milwaukee. In the meantime, the Cardinals won five in a row against Pittsburgh, then met the Phillies and swept them in three games on Sept 28-30. The Cardinals played the Mets in the last series of the season, and though they lost the first two, they won the final game to win the pennant by one game.
The Cardinals then met the Yankees in the World Series, and won it four games to three.
The famous run in 2011 had its precedent in the 1964 team. It is too soon to predict what will happen in 2017, but the possibilities are exciting.
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