St. Louis Cardinals Major League Notebook – Week of August 22-28

photo: Tyler O’Neill (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports)

In their 5-3 week, the St. Louis Cardinals took both series and have a six-game division lead. New center fielder Tyler O’Neill was a key part of the last two wins over Atlanta. Our Blast from the Past recounts Albert Pujols’ home run record in 2003 and 2004.

 

Game recaps

Monday, August 22 – Cardinals 1 at Cubs 0

The St. Louis Cardinals blanked the Chicago Cubs in the first of a five-game series on Monday at Wrigley Field. Starter Jordan Montgomery pitched a complete game shutout with only one hit allowed and seven punchouts. Montgomery earned his seventh win of the season.

Jordan Montgomery

The game was scoreless until the seventh inning, when Albert Pujols came to the plate and belted his 693rd career home run, a solo shot to left center field.

That was the only run of the evening. Pujols was 2-for-4 with an RBI. No other Cardinal had multiple hits. The other three hits for St. Louis were singles, from Pujols, Nolan Arenado and Dylan Carlson.

In the field, Paul DeJong made a missed catch error.

Tuesday, August 23 – Cardinals 0 at Cubs 2 (Game 1)

In the first game of a twin bill at Wrigley, the Cardinals returned the favor from Monday and blanked the Cardinals 2-0.

Adam Wainwright started and pitched six innings. The 40-year-old gave up two runs on five hits, struck out three and walked four. JoJo Romero relieved and tossed the final two scoreless innings. Wainwright took the loss, his ninth of the season.

The Cubs took the 2-0 lead in the third inning. The Cardinals scattered five hits over the nine innings. Three of the hits were doubles, two from Lars Nootbaar and one by Albert Pujols. Nootbaar was 2-for-4 and was the only Cardinal with multiple hits. The other hits were singles by Brendan Donovan and Paul Goldschmidt.

The Cardinals offense had opportunities, but went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left 11 men on base.

Nolan Arenado had a rare fielding miscue.

Tuesday, August 23 – Cardinals 13 at Cubs 3 (Game 2)

In the second game of the twin bill the Cardinals walloped the Cubs by the score of 13-3. Starter Jake Woodford pitched 5 1/3 innings, gave up one run on four hits, struck out one and walked one to earn his third win of the season.

Jake Woodford

Chris Stratton relieved Woodford and threw a scoreless inning. 27th man Matthew Liberatore surrendered two runs in the final 2 2/3 innings.

The game began as the opener did, with no scoring for the first three innings. In the fourth, the Cardinals took a 5-0 lead. It began with a solo home run by Nolan Arenado. Tyler O’Neill blasted a two-run shot into left field. Brendan Donovan plated the final two runs on a single to right.

Corey Dickerson doubled in a run in the fifth to make it 6-0. Tommy Edman thumped a solo home run in the sixth to increase it to 7-0.

The Cubs finally scored in the home half of the sixth to cut the lead to 7-1. Chicago plated two more runs in the eighth.

The Cardinals took a 7-3 lead into the ninth and widened it. To begin the inning Nolan Gorman drew a walk, then advanced to second on a wild pitch. O’Neill walked. Dickerson singled to load the bases. Andrew Knizner walked, and Gorman scored. Edman doubled to plate O’Neill and Dickerson. Dylan Carlson tripled to score Knizner and Edman. Albert Pujols was hit by a pitch. Paul Goldschmidt grounded into a double play and Carlson scored.

Corey Dickerson

Dickerson went 4-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored. Arenado was 3-for-4 with an RBI. O’Neill was 2-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored. Edman was 2-for-5 with three RBI and two runs scored. Carlson and Donovan each had two RBI.

Gorman made two errors, one throwing and one fielding.

Wednesday, August 24 – Cardinals 1 at Cubs 7

The Cardinals fell to the Cubs in the fourth game of the series on Wednesday at Wrigley Field. Starter Miles Mikolas pitched 6 2/3 innings, gave up five runs, three earned, on six hits, struck out three and walked one. Mikolas suffered his 10th loss of the season.

Genesis Cabrera relieved Mikolas and surrendered two runs in the final 1 1/3 innings.

The Cubs went up 3-0 in the second inning. The Cardinals scored their only run of the game in the fifth on a solo home run by Lars Nootbaar.

Chicago padded their 3-1 lead with two runs in each of the seventh and eighth innings for a final score of 7-1.

Corey Dickerson went 4-for-4 with a double and three singles. Albert Pujols also doubled. Brendan Donovan, Tommy Edman, and Tyler O’Neill contributed singles.

Donovan made a fielding error.

Thursday, August 25 – Cardinals 8 at Cubs 3

With the series tied 2-2, the Cardinals were victorious in the final game of the set on Thursday. Starter Dakota Hudson pitched seven innings, gave up two runs on five hits, struck out four and walked two to earn his seventh win of the season.

Dakota Hudson

Packy Naughton relieved Hudson and surrendered one run in 1/3 of an inning. Jordan Hicks replaced Naughton in the eighth and tossed the final 1 2/3 scoreless innings.

The Cardinals took a 3-0 lead in the first inning. Brendan Donovan and Paul Goldschmidt drew walks. Corey Dickerson singled and Donovan scored. Nolan Gorman plated Goldschmidt on a single. Dickerson scored on a sac fly by Tyler O’Neill.

The Cubs made it 3-1 in the second inning, then 3-2 in the third. St. Louis increased the lead to 5-2 in the fourth on a two-run single by Goldschmidt. Goldschmidt hit a solo home run in the sixth to make it 6-2.

Paul Goldschmidt

Goldschmidt homered again in the eighth, with the two-run shot padding the lead to 8-2. Chicago added one run in the home eighth for the final score of 8-3.

Goldschmidt went 3-for-4 with five RBI and three runs scored. Dickerson was 3-for-5 with an RBI. Tommy Edman was 3-for-5. Lars Nootbaar was 2-for-5. Donovan was 2-for-4 with two runs scored.

On the base paths, Edman stole his 25th base of the season. Andrew Knizner was picked off and caught stealing.

In the field, Edman made a throwing error.

Friday, August 26 – Cardinals 4, Braves 11

The Cardinals were shellacked by the Braves in the first of a three-game weekend set at Busch Stadium on Friday night. Starter Jose Quintana pitched five innings, gave up four runs, two earned, on seven hits, struck out three and walked two. The left hander took the loss, his sixth of the season.

Andre Pallante relieved Quintana and surrendered a run in the sixth. Chris Stratton allowed one run in 1 1/3 innings. Genesis Cabrera relinquished five runs in one inning pitched. Catcher Andrew Knizner finished the ninth inning on the mound without allowing any runs.

The Cardinals scored first with one run in the third inning. Tommy Edman was hit by a pitch, then stole second base. Lars Nootbaar singled. Brendan Donovan grounded into a double play and Edman scored.

The Braves scored two runs in the fourth to take the lead 2-1. Atlanta added three more in the sixth, and three each in the eighth and ninth to run up the score to 11-1.

The Cardinals attempted a rally in the home half of the ninth but were only able to score three additional runs. They came on a two-run long ball by Tyler O’Neill and an RBI single by Brendan Donovan.

Donovan was 2-for-5 with an RBI. Nootbaar was 2-for-5. Nolan Gorman was 2-for-4. O’Neill had two RBI.

On the base paths, Edman stole his 26th base of the season. In the field, Gorman made a throwing error. Nootbaar had two outfield assists, one at third base and one at home.

Saturday, August 27 – Cardinals 6, Braves 5

The Cardinals pulled off the upset of the Braves in a walk off win on Saturday night at Busch Stadium. Starter Jordan Montgomery had his first off night with the Cardinals. The left hander pitched five innings, gave up five runs on eight hits, struck out four and walked one. His offense saved him from his first loss as a Cardinal due to a ninth inning rally.

JoJo Romero relieved Montgomery and threw a scoreless sixth. Jordan Hicks hurled two scoreless innings. Ryan Helsley tossed a scoreless ninth to earn his eighth win.

The Braves opened scoring with four runs in the fourth. The Cardinals answered in the home fourth with a two-run home run by Andrew Knizner.

In the fifth, Atlanta scored one run to go up 5-2. Again the Cardinals responded in the bottom of the inning with two runs on a Nolan Arenado long ball.

Nolan Arenado

The game remained 5-4 until the ninth inning. The Cardinals took advantage of shaky closer Kenley Jansen to score two runs and win in a walk off. Brendan Donovan doubled to center. A wild pitch by Jansen sent Donovan to third. Paul Goldschmidt walked. Arenado was hit by a pitch. With the bases loaded, Corey Dickerson hit a chopper to the shortstop that became an infield single and scored Donovan to tie the game. With the bases still juiced, Jansen walked Tyler O’Neill to score the winning run.

New dad Arenado went 4-for-4 with two RBI. Knizner had two RBI. Dickerson and O’Neill each had an RBI.

Dickerson made a fielding error.

Sunday, August 28 – Cardinals 6, Braves 3

The Cardinals defeated the Braves 6-3 in a nationally-televised contest on Sunday night to win the series. Starter Adam Wainwright pitched 6 2/3 innings, gave up two runs on eight hits and struck out four.

Adam Wainwright

Ryan Helsley relieved Wainwright and surrendered one run in 1 1/3 innings. With two of Wainwright’s runners on, the closer yielded a three-run home run. Helsley was tagged with a blown save but then received the win, his ninth. Giovanny Gallegos tossed a scoreless ninth to earn his 13th save.

The game was a pitching duel between Wainwright and Jake Odorizzi until the sixth inning. The Cardinals had been no-hit up to that point. Lars Nootbaar broke up the no-no with a solo home run to left field. At that point, the dam broke. Brendan Donovan singled. Paul Goldschmidt singled. Nolan Arenado singled and Donovan scored. The Cardinals led 2-0.

In the seventh, Helsley entered with two men on and gave up a three-run home run to Dansby Swanson to give the Braves the lead. In the eighth, Tommy Edman hit a solo home run to tie the game. Nootbaar drew a walk. Brendan Donovan sac bunted and reached base on a fielding error. After Goldschmidt and Arenado struck out, Tyler O’Neill blasted a three-run home run to dead center field to give the Cardinals the 6-3 lead.

Tyler O’Neill

Gallegos shut the door on the Braves in the ninth.

No Cardinal player had more than one hit. O’Neill had three RBI. Nootbaar and Donovan each scored two runs.

NL Central Standings

Team W L Pct GB
St. Louis 74 54 0.578
Milwaukee 67 59 0.532 6
Chicago 55 73 0.430 19
Cincinnati 50 76 0.397 23
Pittsburgh 48 79 0.378 25.5

The Big Picture

The Cardinals won both series, ending the week with a record of 5-3. They won 3 of 5 from the Cubs and took 2 of 3 from the Braves. With a Brewers win on Sunday, the Cardinals remain six games ahead of Milwaukee in the NL Central with a record of 74-54.

The pitching remains on track, though both Jose Quintana and Jordan Montgomery had less than stellar outings during the week. Wainwright remains his normal self. Mikolas has struggled a little bit lately while Dakota Hudson had his best outing in a while. The bullpen has been inconsistent to a degree, and both Packy Naughton and Genesis Cabrera were optioned to Memphis after poor outings.

Jack Flaherty is set to return to the rotation as soon as Labor Day. How the rotation will shake out will be interesting. When/if Matz returns he will likely be sent to the bullpen, but there will still be six starters to deal with.

Jack Flaherty

The low offense during much of the Cubs series was a little perplexing given that the Cubs pitching staff is not particularly good. Perhaps it was just Wrigley Field and the conditions there that contributed. There wasn’t much wind during the series.

Nevertheless, other than that and the six no-hit innings on Sunday, the offense has been fine. Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado continue to hit well. Corey Dickerson had a hot stretch of games but appears to be cooling off. After a cold stretch Brendan Donovan has picked it up. Lars Nootbaar is doing his part to stay in the lineup. Andrew Knizner has improved his game at the plate lately.

On the downside, Dylan Carlson has really struggled, so much so that he has not played much over the last week. Manager Oli Marmol told the media he is not happy with Carlson’s performance against right- handed pitching and is only playing him against left-handed pitching for now. Paul DeJong continues to struggle but will get on base occasionally with a walk. Yadier Molina’s offensive doldrums continue.

Andrew Knizner

The top performers by OPS for the week are Andrew Knizner (1.472 in 9 ABs), Nolan Arenado (1.342), Corey Dickerson (1.292), Tyler O’Neill (.993), Paul Goldschmidt (.925), Lars Nootbaar (.872), Albert Pujols (.872), and Tommy Edman (.819)

On the low end of the performance scale is Paul DeJong (.235) and Nolan Gorman (.422).

The defense in the infield has been as good as usual, though Gorman made several errors. The outfield defense has declined on paper with Carlson not playing much and O’Neill out of position in center. Dickerson has been getting the innings in left and he is not much of a defender. Nootbaar has been solid in right.

This coming week brings a three-game series with the Reds in Cincinnati and three games at Busch Stadium with the Cubs. This is the time to really push hard to beat up on the lesser teams and widen the gap with the Brewers.

Cardinals induct three new members into the Hall of Fame

On Saturday, the annual induction ceremony for the Cardinals Hall of Fame took place at Ballpark Village, across the street from the stadium. Two former Cardinals and one St. Louis historical pick were added to the list of Cardinals Hall of Famers, Matt Holliday, Julian Javier, and Charles Comiskey.

Charles Comiskey, Julian Javier, Matt Holliday

Holliday was the leading vote-getter in the fan voting that took place this spring. Holliday, who left the Cardinals after the 2016 season as a free agent, was honored by fans and current Cardinals Hall of Famers in attendance. Holliday joined the Cardinals in a 2009 trade with the Oakland Athletics. The four-time All Star and 2010 Silver Slugger Award winner had plenty of stories to share with those in attendance at the ceremony, including an anecdote about how he dreamed of being a Cardinal from his first major league game at Busch Stadium as a member of the Colorado Rockies.

Javier was the choice of the 14-member Red Ribbon Committee. Javier was the first player in franchise history from the Dominican Republic. Javier came to the Cardinals in a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1956. He debuted with the Cardinals on May 28, 1960. The second baseman played for 12 seasons with St. Louis, a period that included two World Series championships in 1964 and 1967. He was traded to the Cincinnati Reds in 1972 and retired from baseball after he was released in October of that year. The 86-year-old Javier had more than 30 family members in attendance at the ceremony, including his son Stan, a former major leaguer, who was named after teammate Stan Musial.

The final inductee was Charles Comiskey, represented by his great-grandson Charles Comiskey III at the ceremony. Comiskey was an organizational selection to honor great figures in St. Louis baseball history. Comiskey was the first baseman for the first St. Louis Brown Stockings in 1882. He became the player/manager for the Browns in 1884 and led them to four straight pennants and one early World Series title. Comiskey went on to own the Chicago White Sox and was one of the founders of the American League in 1901.

Current Cardinals Hall of Famers in attendance at the ceremony included Baseball Hall of Famers Whitey Herzog, Ozzie Smith and Ted Simmons. Tim McCarver, Mark McGwire, Jim Edmonds, Chris Carpenter, John Tudor, Tom Herr, and Vince Coleman, all Cardinals Hall of Famers, were also present.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.

Transactions

  • 8/22 The Cardinals optioned C Ivan Herrera to the Memphis Redbirds
  • 8/22 The Cardinals activated C Yadier Molina from the Restricted List.
  • 8/22 The Cardinals placed RHP Ryan Helsley on the Restricted List.
  • 8/23 The Cardinals recalled LHP Matthew Liberatore from the Memphis Redbirds as the 27th man for the doubleheader.
  • 8/24 The Cardinals returned LHP Matthew Liberatore to the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 8/25 The Cardinals optioned LHP Packy Naughton to the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 8/26 The Cardinals activated RHP Ryan Helsley from the Restricted List.
  • 8/26 The Cardinals sent RHP Jack Flaherty on a rehab assignment to the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 8/26 The Cardinals recalled 1B Juan Yepez from the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 8/26 The Cardinals placed 3B Nolan Arenado on the Paternity List.
  • 8/27 The Cardinals optioned 1B Juan Yepez to the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 8/27 The Cardinals activated 3B Nolan Arenado from the Paternity List.
  • 8/27 The Cardinals recalled LHP Zack Thompson from the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 8/27 The Cardinals optioned LHP Genesis Cabrera to the Memphis Redbirds.

Injury Report

  • RHP Alex Reyes (frayed right labrum) remains on the 60-day IL. The right hander had surgery on the shoulder back in May. It is unlikely Reyes will pitch this season at this point.
  • LHP Steven Matz (left knee MCL tear) was placed on the 15-day injured list on July 24. The left hander threw 30 pitches from the mound at Busch Stadium on August 24 with no significant issues reported. Matz will throw a bullpen session and then follow up with pitching to live hitters. The Cardinals are confident Matz will pitch again this season. Due to the lack of time left in the season to stretch Matz out as a starter, he will likely pitch out of the bullpen for the remainder of the season.

Steven Matz

  • 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. The right-hander pitched a rehab start on Friday in Memphis. Flaherty is set to make one more rehab start, at Springfield on Wednesday, with his return to the rotation expected to be September 5 at home against the Nationals.

Looking Ahead

Starting Monday, the Cardinals will be in Cincinnati to take on the Reds in a three-game series. Miles Mikolas is scheduled to make the Monday start, with Dakota Hudson following on Tuesday and Jose Quintana on Wednesday.

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

After the homestand, the team makes a brief trip to Pittsburgh to play a three-game weekend series. The Cardinals return to St. Louis to begin a six-game homestand, two with the Brewers followed by four with the Reds.

The regular season schedule can be found here.

2023 Schedule Announced

Last Wednesday, MLB teams announced their 2023 schedules in concert. The Season Opener is scheduled for Thursday, March 30, against Toronto as part of a six-game homestand.

The Cardinals will host the Cubs in London, England for a two-game series June 24-25, the team’s first ever regular season “home” games outside of St. Louis.

With the introduction of MLB’s new balanced schedule for the 2023 season, the Cardinals will play all 15 American League opponents for the first time in the same season.

As a result, there will be fewer intra-division games. The Cardinals will still face their four National League Central Division opponents 13 times each—two series versus each both at home and on the road—for a total of 52 games.

The Cardinals will make future announcements regarding games times, ticket pricing and ticket availability for the 2023 season.  The complete 2023 regular season schedule can be viewed at cardinals.com/schedule.

Blast from the Past

This week’s Blast from the Past continues the series on the career home runs of Cardinals great Albert Pujols. Last week we covered the first two seasons of Pujols St. Louis career, 2001 and 2002. This week we look at the next two seasons of home runs – 2003 and 2004.

2003 season

2003 was the third season of Pujols’ major league career, during which he hit 43 home runs. Pujols had four two-home run games. The first home run of the 2003 season (#72 of his career), was hit on April 3 at Busch Stadium against the Milwaukee Brewers. Pujols’ two run shot came off Brewers starter Matt Kinney in the bottom of the fifth in a scoreless game. The Cardinals won, 6-4.

The last home run hit by Pujols in 2003 (#114 of his career) came against the Astros at Busch Stadium on September 30. It was a solo walk off shot against Dan Miceli in a 2-2 game.

Further details of Pujols’ 43 home run 2003 season.

  • Of Pujols’ 43 long balls, 32 were against right-handed pitching and 11 were against left-handed pitching.
  • 22 home runs were hit on the road, 21 at home.
  • Pujols hit the most home run against the Cincinnati Reds (7)
  • Pujols hit two home runs against seven pitchers: Kip Wells (PIT), Mark Prior (CHI), Matt Kinney (MIL), Paul Wilson (CIN), Pedro Astacio (NYM), Chris George (KCR), and Dan Serafini (CIN).
  • He hit the most home runs (4) at Great American Ballpark
  • The locations of the 43 home runs were: Pulled (22), Up the Middle (15), Opposite Field (6).
  • Home runs by month: April (5), May (10), June (8), July (6), August (8), and September (6).
  • Type of the home runs: Fly Ball (40), Line Drive (3)

2004 season

Yadier Molina and Albert Pujols (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Albert Pujols hit 46 home runs in his 2004 season, his fourth year in MLB. He had one three-home run game, and three games with two home runs. The three-home run game was on July 20 against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

His first 2004 home run was hit on April 8 at Busch Stadium against the Brewers. It was the first of his two home runs in that game. Home run #115 was a grand slam hit off Chris Capuano in the bottom of the fifth inning. Home run #116 was a solo shot in the bottom of the eighth off Dave Burba. The Cardinals lost to the Brewers 11-5. The grand slam was the first of his 16 career grand slams.

His final home run of the 2004 season (#160) occurred on September 26 at Coors Field. It was a two-run shot in the first inning as the Cardinals went on to win, 9-3. It came against Rockies starter Chris Gissell.

Further details of Pujols 46-home run 2004 season.

  • Of the 46 home runs, 37 were hit against right-handed pitching and nine were hit off left-handed pitching.
  • Pujols hit 28 home runs on the road and 18 at home.
  • He hit the most home runs against the Chicago Cubs (8). Cincinnati was second with seven.
  • The pitcher who served up the most Pujols home runs, three, was Wade Miller of the Astros. Pujols hit two home runs off Greg Maddux.
  • Wrigley Field was the park where he hit the most home runs with five. He hit four each at Turner Field, Great American Ballpark, and Minute Maid Park.
  • Locations of the 46 home runs: Pulled (28), Up the Middle (15), Opposite Field (3).
  • Home runs by month: April (7), May (8), June (5), July (9), August (12), and September (5).
  • He hit 36 Fly Ball home runs and 10 Line Drive home runs.

The next installment in the series will look at home runs by Albert Pujols in the 2005 and 2006 seasons.


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