St. Louis Cardinals Major League Notebook – Week of August 15-21

photo: Albert Pujols (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Last week, the St. Louis Cardinals took care of business, going 6-0 against the two bottom teams from the West. 42-year-old Albert Pujols continues to be an offensive force. Our Blast from the Past recounts Albert’s home run record in his first two seasons.



Game recaps

Monday, August 15 – Off

Tuesday, August 16 – Cardinals 5, Rockies 4

The St. Louis Cardinals edged the Colorado Rockies in the first of a three-game series at Busch Stadium. Starter Jose Quintana pitched five innings, gave up two runs on four hits, struck out three and walked two.

Jordan Hicks surrendered two runs in 1 2/3 innings of relief. Packy Naughton secured the last out of the seventh. Giovanny Gallegos and Ryan Helsley each tossed a scoreless inning. Helsley received the win, his seventh.

The game was scoreless until the Cardinals struck in the bottom of the fourth on a solo home run by Tommy Edman. St. Louis then added on in the fifth via a two-run long ball by Paul Goldschmidt.

Paul Goldschmidt

The Rockies got on the board in the sixth, scoring two. Colorado added two more in the seventh to take the lead, 4-3.

In the home half of the seventh the Cardinals tied the score. Yadier Molina and Dylan Carlson singled. Corey Dickerson pinch ran for Molina. Tyler O’Neill was hit by a pitch. Goldschmidt plated Dickerson on a sac fly.

In the bottom of the ninth, Andrew Knizner and Lars Nootbaar each drew a walk. Carlson singled. With the bases juiced, O’Neill was hit by a pitch a second time to walk it off 5-4.

Carlson went 3-for-5. O’Neill was 2-for-3 with an RBI. Goldschmidt had three RBI.

On the base paths, Paul DeJong was caught stealing for the first time.

Wednesday, August 17 – Cardinals 5, Rockies 1

The Cardinals defeated the Rockies in the second game of the series at Busch Stadium. Starter Jordan Montgomery pitched 5 2/3 innings, gave up one run on six hits and fanned eight.

Jordan Montgomery

Andre Pallante relieved Montgomery and threw 2 1/3 scoreless innings. Giovanny Gallegos tossed a scoreless ninth.

St. Louis got on the board in the first inning. Lars Nootbaar walked and later advanced to third on a double play. Nolan Arenado and Nolan Gorman hit consecutive ground rule doubles. Nootbaar and Arenado scored.

Colorado cut the lead to 2-1 in the third. The Cardinals scored one run in the fifth. Brendan Donovan and Paul Goldschmidt singled. Gorman plated Donovan on a force out.

Nolan Gorman

An RBI single by Donovan increased the Cardinals lead to 4-1. Gorman plated a fifth run on a double in the eighth.

Donovan was 3-for-5 with an RBI. Goldschmidt was 2-for-3. Gorman was 2-for-4 with three RBI.

Thursday, August 18 – Cardinal 13, Rockies 0

The Cardinals shellacked the Rockies in a 13-0 blowout in the final game of the series to complete the sweep on Thursday. Starter Adam Wainwright pitched a gem of seven scoreless innings, three hits, and seven punchouts to earn his ninth win of the season.

Adam Wainwright

St. Louis began with three runs in the first. Lars Nootbaar, Brendan Donovan, and Paul Goldschmidt singled. Nootbaar scored on Goldschmidt’s hit. Donovan came home on a ground out by Nolan Arenado. Goldschmidt scored on a single by Tyler O’Neill.

In the second, Tommy Edman doubled and was driven in on a single by Donovan. Goldschmidt plated Donovan with a double. The Cardinals led 5-0.

In the third, Nolan Gorman and O’Neill each drew a walk. Dylan Carlson singled to score Gorman. Lars Nootbaar walked. With the bases loaded, Albert Pujols hit a grand slam to left field and the Cardinals led 10-0.

Albert Pujols

Nootbaar hit a two-run long ball in the fifth to juice the score to 12-0. Pujols finished the Rockies off with a run in the seventh on a single.

Goldschmidt went 3-for-4 with two RBI. Pinch hitter Pujols was 2-for-3 with five RBI. Nootbaar was 2-for-3 with two RBI and three runs scored. Donovan was 2-for-2 with an RBI and two runs scored. O’Neill was 2-for-4 with an RBI. Carlson was 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored.

On the base paths, Carlson stole his fifth base of the season.

Friday, August 19 – Cardinals 5 at Diamondbacks 1

In the first of a three-game series in Arizona, the Cardinals beat the Diamondbacks by the score of 5-1. Starter Miles Mikolas pitched eight innings, gave up one run on two hits, struck out four and walked one to earn his 10th win of the season.

Miles Mikolas

Jordan Hicks tossed a scoreless ninth in relief.

The Cardinals got on the board in the first inning with one run on a solo long ball by former Diamondback Paul Goldschmidt.

The score remained 1-0 until the seventh. Yadier Molina singled and Lars Nootbaar walked. Dylan Carlson singled. Goldschmidt singled to score Molina. Nolan Arenado doubled to plate Nootbaar and Carlson. Goldschmidt scored on a passed ball. The Cardinals led 5-0.

Arizona scored their only run in the eighth

Arenado went 4-for-5 with two RBI. Goldschmidt was 3-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored. Molina was 3-for-4.

Saturday, August 20 – Cardinals 16 at Diamondbacks 7

The Cardinals walloped Arizona in one of the most exciting and entertaining games of the season. The game didn’t become lopsided until the very end, with both sides fighting hard until the final blow.

Dakota Hudson got the start, and as has become routine with Hudson, didn’t get far into the game. Hudson’s command has been shaky all season and the walks do him in every time. The right hander went 4 1/3 innings, gave up four runs on five hits, struck out four and walked three.

Genesis Cabrera got the final two outs of the fifth. Andre Pallante followed with two scoreless innings. Jordan Hicks, appearing for the second day in a row, couldn’t record an out and surrendered three runs before getting the hook.  Giovanny Gallegos threw a scoreless eighth. Newcomer JoJo Romero tossed a scoreless ninth.

The Diamondbacks got on the board first with two runs in the first inning. The Cardinals cut the lead to 2-1 in the second on a solo home run by Albert Pujols, who became the star of the show. In the third, Lars Nootbaar walked and later scored on a single by Paul Goldschmidt to tie the game 2-2.

Arizona regained the lead quickly with two runs scored in the home half of the third to go up 4-2. The Cardinals tied it again in the fourth on a second solo long ball by Pujols and an RBI single by Nootbaar. Pujols brought his career home run total up to 692 in this game.

Lars Nootbaar

In the sixth, the Cardinals once more took the lead with a three-run triple by Nootbaar to make it 7-4. Nolan Arenado plated a run on a sac fly in the seventh to increase the lead to 8-4.

The Diamondbacks made it close with three runs in the eighth off Hicks. Gallegos stopped the advance, and the Cardinals went into the ninth with a slim lead.

Arizona brought in their closer Mark Melancon and the Cardinals were off to the races. Goldschmidt singled. Arenado doubled. Nolan Gorman pinch hit for the 4-for-4 Pujols (two singles in addition to the home runs) against the right-handed Melancon. Gorman didn’t fail and singled to plate Goldschmidt. Tommy Edman drew a walk, and the bases were juiced.

The Diamondbacks replaced Melancon with Edwin Uceta. The struggling Paul DeJong came to the plate and blasted a grand slam to left center field to welcome Uceta. The Cardinals were up 13-7.

St. Louis wasn’t finished. Andrew Knizner singled. Nootbaar walked. Following outs from Dylan Carlson and Tyler O’Neill, Goldschmidt hit a massive line drive that went over the right field fence for three more runs. Arenado struck out and the Cardinals were finally done.

The Diamondbacks were also done. Romero set them down in order with two punchouts and a fly out in the ninth.

All total the damage was 16 runs on 18 hits for St. Louis. Pujols was 4-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored. Goldschmidt was 3-for-6 with four RBI and three runs scored. Nootbaar was 3-for-3 with three RBI and three runs scored. Knizner was 2-for-4 with three runs scored. O’Neill was 2-for-6. DeJong plated four.

On the base paths, O’Neill stole his ninth base of the season. Pujols was caught stealing for the second time.

Sunday, August 21 – Cardinals 6 at Diamondbacks 4

The Cardinals swept the Diamondbacks with a 6-4 win in the final game of the series on Sunday. Starter Jose Quintana did not have his best stuff. The left hander pitched only 2 2/3 innings, gave up four runs, two earned, on seven hits and walked three.

Chris Stratton relieved Quintana and threw 2 2/3 scoreless innings. Jake Woodford hurled 1 1/3 scoreless innings to earn the win. Genesis Cabrera and Giovanny Gallegos combined for the final 2 1/3 scoreless innings. Gallegos earned his 12th save.

The Cardinals took the initial lead, scoring three runs in the first inning. The first run scored on a solo home run by Lars Nootbaar. Brendan Donovan followed with a single. Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado singled, Donovan scored on the Arenado single. Nolan Gorman grounded into a double play and Goldschmidt scored.

The Diamondbacks quickly tied the game at 3-3 in the second, then took the lead 4-3 in the third. The score remained there through the middle three innings.

In the seventh, St. Louis regained the lead 5-4 on a two-run single by Arenado. Tommy Edman drove in the sixth run for the Cardinals in the eighth. The bullpen kept Arizona off the board after Quintana exited the game.

Nolan Arenado

Arenado was 2-for-5 with three RBI. Donovan was 2-for-2. Nootbaar and Edman each had an RBI.

On the base paths, Arenado stole his third base of the season. Paul DeJong was caught stealing.

In the field, Donovan made a throwing error. Knizner was tagged with catcher interference.

NL Central Standings

Team W L Pct GB
St. Louis 69 51 0.575
Milwaukee 64 56 0.533 5
Chicago 52 68 0.433 17
Cincinnati 48 71 0.403 20.5
Pittsburgh 47 74 0.388 22.5

The Big Picture

The Cardinals finished the week with a record of 6-0, by sweeping both the Rockies and the Diamondbacks in three-game series. The Cardinals are now five games ahead of the Brewers in the NL Central.

The starting pitching has stabilized for the time being, with the one weakness still being Dakota Hudson. One of Hudson’s starts was skipped so he could work on some issues, but he showed little improvement after. He still walks too many hitters and can’t go deep into games. Jack Flaherty is close to returning, and so it will be interesting to see what happens with the rotation when he is activated and available to pitch.

The bullpen has had some hiccups, but it did its job on Sunday when Jose Quintana was pulled early in the game. Chris Stratton, whose tenure with the Cardinals had a shaky beginning, was fantastic on Sunday in relief of Quintana. This bodes well for bullpen in the future if he can keep it up. It appears Jordan Hicks has issues with pitching two days in a row. He was very good on Friday, and very bad on Saturday. Other than some minor blips, the bullpen has been fine over the last week.

Brendan Donovan

The offense fired on all cylinders against Colorado and Arizona pitching. The top performers for the week by OPS are: Albert Pujols (1.975 in 13 ABs), Brendan Donovan (1.627 in 10 ABs), Paul Goldschmidt (1.613), Lars Nootbaar (1.431), Nolan Arenado (.840), and Andrew Knizner (.831 in 11 ABs). Nootbaar and Donovan have stabilized the first two spots in the lineup. At the bottom is Paul DeJong (.432) though DeJong had a big hit over the weekend.

The defense and baserunning remain fine for the most part. Arenado made a phenomenal barehanded play on Saturday, with Goldschmidt being stellar on the other end as well.

The Cardinals head to Wrigley Field to play five games in four days. The Cubs just won 2 of 3 from the Brewers, so they will be tough, as they always are at Wrigley. The weekend will be even tougher, as the red-hot Braves come to St. Louis for a three game series. The coming week will be a test of how resilient the Cardinals can be. There is little margin for error here as the season winds down. The five-game cushion will help, but that can evaporate quickly if the Brewers snap out of whatever funk they are in at the present time.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.

Transactions

  • 8/16 The Cardinals sent RHP Jack Flaherty on a rehab assignment to the Springfield Cardinals.
  • 8/19 The Cardinals activated 1B Juan Yepez from the 10-day injured list and optioned him to the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 8/19 The Cardinals recalled LHP JoJo Romero from the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 8/19 The Cardinals placed RHP Ryan Helsley on the paternity list.
  • 8/20 The Cardinals recalled C Ivan Herrera from the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 8/20 The Cardinals placed C Yadier Molina on the restricted list.

Injury Report

  • RHP Alex Reyes (frayed right labrum) remains on the 60-day IL. The right hander received a second opinion and has had surgery on the shoulder. No return date has been reported.
  • LHP Steven Matz (left knee MCL tear) was placed on the 15-day injured list on July 24. Some significant healing has already occurred in the knee. The left hander threw a 30-pitch low-intensity bullpen on August 19. The team plans to have Matz repeat this on August 22 and reevaluate from there.
  • RHP Drew VerHagen (right hip impingement) was transferred to the 60-day injured list. VerHagen had hip surgery and is out for the remainder of the season.
  • RHP Jack Flaherty (right shoulder strain) continues on the 60-day injured list. Flaherty was sent on a rehab assignment to the Memphis Redbirds and pitched one inning in a game on August 11. The right hander made starts in Springfield on Tuesday and Sunday. Flaherty is set to make one more rehab start in Memphis, likely this coming Friday.

Jack Flaherty

Looking Ahead

Following the weekend series in Arizona, the team is traveling to Chicago to play five games against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. The series includes a doubleheader on Tuesday. Jordan Montgomery is set to make the Monday start. Adam Wainwright will make one of the two Tuesday starts with the other TBA. The series will close with Miles Mikolas on Wednesday and Dakota Hudson on Thursday.

The Cardinals return briefly to St. Louis to play three games with the Braves, then end the month with three games against the Reds in Cincinnati.

To begin the month of September, the Cardinals play a weekend series in St. Louis against the Cubs. Following that, the Nationals will come to town for four games.

After the homestand, the team makes a brief trip to Pittsburgh to play a three-game weekend set.

The regular season schedule can be found here.

Blast from the Past

Cardinals fans are enjoying the historic final season for the best right-handed hitter of our generation and who happens to be in his final season. Albert Pujols, who began his career with the Cardinals 22 years ago, and is retiring as a Cardinal after this season, has put together a season for the ages. Pujols has hit 692 home runs over his career and is nearing a chance to hit 700 before he lays down his bat and glove for good.

Albert Pujols, spring 2001 (Getty Images)

This week’s Blast from the Past will look at the home run record for Pujols in his first two years, 2001 and 2002. The season totals and other details will be chronicled. This will be a continuing series until all seasons are covered, though it may not be consecutive weeks, depending on other events and circumstances from week to week. The following is a detailed description of Pujols’ home runs for first the 2001 season and following for 2002.

Pujols’ rookie season 2001

Pujols made his major league debut on April 2, 2001, against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. He did not hit a home run in this game, but did get his first major league hit, a single to left field, in the seventh inning. The Cardinals lost 8-0.

Pujols hit the first of his 600+ career home runs in Arizona against the Diamondbacks on April 6. In 2001, the stadium in Arizona, which was built in 1997 and held its first game in 1998, was called Bank One Ballpark. The name was changed to Chase Field in 2006. The Diamondbacks, which began as an expansion team in 1998, went on to win the World Series in 2001.

Pujols home run #1 was a two-run shot to left field in the fourth inning off pitcher Armando Reynoso. The Cardinals beat Arizona 12-9 as Pujols was 3-for-5 with a home run, double, and single and three RBI.

Pujols hit 37 home runs in 2001. He had two games of multiple home runs, against the Houston Astros on April 22 and versus the Milwaukee Brewers on May 24. Home run #37 was hit on September 30 against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Busch Stadium. It was a two-run shot to left center field in the first inning off starter Tony McKnight. The Cardinals won that game 7-3 as Pujols went 2-for-3.

Further details of Pujols’ 37 home run 2001 season.

  • Of Pujols 37 long balls, 29 were against right-handed pitching and eight were against left handers.
  • 19 home runs were hit at home, 18 on the road.
  • The teams Pujols hit the most home runs against were Colorado (5), Pittsburgh (5) and Houston (5).
  • Four pitchers gave up two long balls to Pujols, Wade Miller (HOU), Denny Neagle (COL), Mike Hampton (COL), and Omar Olivares (PITT).
  • Pujols hit three home runs each in three road stadiums, Minute Maid Park, Coors Field, and Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego.
  • The locations of Pujols 37 home runs were Pulled (18), Up the Middle (14), and Opposite Field (5).
  • Home runs by month were: April (8), May (8), June (5), July (4), August (6), and September (6)

2002 season

Pujols hit 34 home runs in 2002. Home run #38 occurred on April 6, 2002, against the Astros at Minute Maid Park. It came in the top of the fifth inning against pitcher Carlos Hernandez, a solo shot to right field. The Cardinals beat the Astros 8-4.

Home run #71 was hit on September 22 at Busch Stadium against the Astros. It was a three-run long ball to left field off Houston starter Kirk Saarloos. The Cardinals defeated the Astros 7-3.

Further details of his 2002 home runs:

  • Pujols had no multiple home run games in 2002.
  • 26 of the 34 home runs were off right-handed pitching, eight against lefties.
  • Pujols hit 20 home runs at home, 14 on the road.
  • The most home runs (8) came against the Pirates.
  • Pujols hit two home runs each off Josh Fogg (PITT) and Kris Benson (PITT)
  • Fans at PNC Park in Pittsburgh saw the most Pujols home runs in 2002 with 6. He hit 3 at Wrigley Field, and two each at Shea Stadium, Cinergy Field in Cincinnati, and Minute Maid Park.
  • Home run locations: Pulled (16), Up the Middle (14), and Opposite Field (4).
  • By month: April (5), May (5), June (6), July (7), August (9), and September (2).

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