St. Louis Cardinals Major League Notebook – Week of August 29-September 4

photo: Albert Pujols (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports)

The St. Louis Cardinals continue to win series and extend their division lead. Albert Pujols closed the sweep over the Cubs with his 695th career home run. Our Blast from the Past recounts Pujols’ home run record in 2005 and 2006.

 

Game recaps

Monday, August 29 – Cardinals 13 at Reds 4

The St. Louis Cardinals pounded the Reds for 13 runs in the first of a three-game series in Cincinnati. Miles Mikolas started for St. Louis. The right hander pitched 4 1/3 innings, gave up four runs on six hits, struck out three and walked one.

Chris Stratton relieved Mikolas and threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings to earn his seventh win, second as a Cardinal. Zack Thompson hurled two scoreless innings. Jake Woodford tossed a scoreless ninth.

Following a scoreless first inning, the Cardinals put up six runs in the second inning. Tyler O’Neill hit a solo home run to get it started. Albert Pujols and Corey Dickerson singled. Andrew Knizner walked to load the bases. Tommy Edman doubled, Pujols and Dickerson scored. Lars Nootbaar plated Knizner on a single. Edman and Nootbaar scored on a single by Brendan Donovan.

St. Louis added two more runs in the third inning on the 694th career long ball from Pujols. The Cardinals led 8-0.

The Reds finally got on the board in the fifth inning, scoring four runs to cut the lead in half. The Cardinals widened the lead to 12-4 in the sixth on a two-run double by Nolan Arenado and a two-run home run by O’Neill.

Tyler O’Neill

Dickerson put the final nail in the coffin with a solo home run in the ninth. Dickerson was 3-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored. O’Neill was 2-for-4 with three RBI and three runs scored. Pujols was 2-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored. Arenado was 2-for-4 with two RBI. Edman was 2-for-5 with two RBI. Donovan had two RBI.

Tuesday, August 30 – Cardinals 1 at Reds 5

The Cardinals followed their slugfest on Monday with a tepid offensive performance in Game 2 on Tuesday as they lost 5-1 to the Reds. Starter Dakota Hudson pitched 4 2/3 innings, gave up five runs on nine hits, struck out two and walked one. Hudson suffered his seventh loss of the season. This may have been his final start for the foreseeable future as the right hander has been temporarily moved out of the rotation and into the bullpen due to the return of Jack Flaherty from the injured list.

Jake Woodford relieved Hudson and tossed the final 3 1/3 scoreless innings.

Jake Woodford

The Cardinals scored first in the third inning on a solo home run by Tommy Edman. It was the only run for St. Louis.

The Reds answered in the home half of the third with four runs. Cincinnati added their fifth and final run in the fifth.

The Cardinals offense scored one run on four hits. Edman had the only RBI. Brendan Donovan, Nolan Arenado, and Corey Dickerson singled.

In the field, Edman made a throwing error.

Wednesday, August 31 – Cardinals 5 at Reds 3 (13 innings)

The Cardinals salvaged the series with a 5-3 win in 13 innings over the Reds in the third game on Wednesday. Jose Quintana started. The left hander pitched 4 2/3 innings, gave up two runs on seven hits, struck out one and walked one.

Jordan Hicks relieved Quintana and threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings. Giovanny Gallegos, JoJo Romero, and Ryan Helsley combined for four scoreless frames. Andre Pallante kept the Cardinals in the game for three innings and surrendered only one unearned run.

Andre Pallante

The Reds took a 2-0 lead in the third inning. Nolan Arenado tied it in the fourth on a two-run long ball.

The game remained knotted up through regulation and into the 13th inning. In the top of the 13th, with Paul Goldschmidt on second base, Nolan Arenado grounded out sending Goldschmidt to third. Albert Pujols brought him home on a sac fly. Tyler O’Neill drew a walk. Lars Nootbaar hit a two-run home run to field to give the Cardinals a 5-2 lead.

The Reds pushed one run home in the bottom of the 13th, but Pallante held on and the Cardinals prevailed 5-3.

Arenado was 2-for-6 with two RBI. Edman was 2-for-5. Nootbaar had two RBI.

On the base paths, O’Neill stole his 10th base of the season. Nootbaar swiped his fourth bag. In the field, Romero picked a runner off first base.

Thursday, September 1 – Off day

Friday, September 2 – Cardinals 8, Cubs 0

The Cardinals blanked the Cubs in the first game of a weekend series at Busch Stadium. This is the final series between the teams this season. Starter Jordan Montgomery pitched six scoreless innings, allowed seven hits, struck out four and walked two to earn his eighth win.

Jordan Montgomery

Jordan Hicks threw a scoreless seventh. Chris Stratton tossed the final two scoreless innings.

The Cardinals scored their first two runs in the first inning. Brendan Donovan and Paul Goldschmidt walked. Nolan Arenado advanced both runners on a ground out. Tyler O’Neill singled, as Donovan and Goldschmidt scored.

St. Louis added a run in the sixth on a single by Corey Dickerson. A two-run home run by Lars Nootbaar in the seventh made it 5-0, and a three run bomb by Tommy Edman in the eighth ran up the score to 8-0.

Tommy Edman

Edman was 2-for-4 with three RBI. O’Neill was 2-for-4 with two RBI. Dickerson was 2-for-3 with an RBI. Yadier Molina was 2-for-3 with two runs scored. Nootbaar had two RBI.

On the base paths, O’Neill stole his 11th base of the season.

Saturday, September 3 – Cardinals 8, Cubs 4

The Cardinals beat the Cubs in Game 2 of the series 8-4 on Saturday. Adam Wainwright started but did not pitch well. Nevertheless, Wainwright was still awarded his 10th win of the season. The right hander pitched five innings, gave up four runs on nine hits, struck out two and walked two.

Andre Pallante relieved Wainwright and threw a scoreless sixth. Jake Woodford, JoJo Romero, and Giovanny Gallegos each tossed a scoreless inning.

The Cubs took the early lead, scoring three runs in the top of the first inning. The Cardinals immediately answered with two runs in the home half on a long ball by Paul Goldschmidt, his 34th of the season.

St. Louis took the lead with a six-run third inning. Tommy Edman and Tyler O’Neill hit solo home runs. Goldschmidt singled and Nolan Arenado walked. A double steal advanced both runners to second and third. Dylan Carlson walked. Yadier Molina thumped a bases clearing double to center field. Molina then swiped third base. Lars Nootbaar plated Molina on a sac fly.

Yadier Molina

The Cubs scored their fourth and final run in the fifth.

Molina was 2-for-4 with three RBI. Goldschmidt was 2-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored. Edman was 2-for-5 with an RBI. O’Neill had an RBI and two runs scored. Nootbaar drove in one.

On the base paths, Goldschmidt stole his sixth bag and Arenado swiped his fourth.

Sunday, September 4 – Cardinals 2, Cubs 0

The Cardinals blanked the Cubs 2-0 in the final game of the series and the final game against the Cubs for the season. The game was a pitching duel until the end, but the end was worth the wait.

Starter Miles Mikolas pitched eight scoreless innings, allowed only two hits, struck out three and walked one. Ryan Helsley came out in the ninth and secured his 13th save. Mikolas won his 11th game of the season.

Miles Mikolas

The game was scoreless until the bottom of the eighth inning. Tommy Edman doubled to left field. With a left hander on the mound for the Cubs, Albert Pujols pinch hit for Lars Nootbaar. On the second pitch of the at bat, Pujol sent a moonshot into left center field, into the deck above the bullpen. The Cardinals led 2-0. It was career home run 695, one shy of tying Alex Rodriguez for fourth on the all-time list.

Albert Pujols

Tommy Edman, at 2-for-3, was the only Cardinal with multiple hits. Pujols had the two RBI. Extra base hits were doubles by Edman, Paul Goldschmidt and Corey Dickerson.

World Baseball Classic plans

Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado are among the early commits to play for Team USA in the 2023 World Baseball Classic to be held next spring.

NL Central Standings

Team W L Pct GB
St. Louis 79 55 0.590
Milwaukee 70 63 0.526 8.5
Chicago 56 78 0.418 23
Cincinnati 53 79 0.402 25
Pittsburgh 49 84 0.368 29.5

The Big Picture

The Cardinals finished an exciting week with a record of 5-1. They took of 2 of 3 from the Reds and swept the Cubs over the weekend. St. Louis remains in first place in the NL Central. The Brewers have fallen farther and farther behind as they struggle to win games since the trade deadline and are now 8.5 games back of the Cardinals.

The situation with the pitching remains much the same as it has been for several weeks. Starters have good outings and not so good outings, but with more of the former than the latter, and that has continued.

For instance, Miles Mikolas had a poor outing on Monday against the Reds and a terrific start against the Cubs on Sunday. Same with Wainwright, who pitched well against the Braves a week ago, and not well against the Cubs on Saturday. Wainwright described it as “the worst stuff I’ve had all season.”  His battery mate Yadier Molina agreed. Both Quintana and Montgomery have had very good outings when they began with the Cardinals, and a few not so good. Dakota Hudson’s last start was a clunker, and he is now out of the rotation for the foreseeable future. Jack Flaherty makes his first start off the IL on Monday against the Nationals.

Jack Flaherty

Nevertheless, the Cardinals are winning games. Wainwright’s “worst stuff” start was still a win for him. The bullpen has been helping a great deal over the last week or so. No blown games or meltdowns of late. It appears relief has stabilized for the time being.

The offense has been clicking for the most part. There were two low-scoring games over the week that were frustrating, but the team won one of them in spite of that. It has helped that they are playing bad teams, but they have found ways to lose to those same teams many times, so that explanation doesn’t really hold water.

Corey Dickerson

The top offensive performers by OPS over the week were Tommy Edman (1.462), Corey Dickerson (1.126), Albert Pujols (1.006), Tyler O’Neill (.942) and Yadier Molina (.842). The resurgence of Molina here at the end of the season is a welcome sight. The usual suspects in this list have cooled off a tad, but it is likely only a temporary glitch. Paul Goldschmidt (.697) looked better over the weekend, and Nolan Arenado (.738) has had these temporary lulls before and has come right back. Same with Goldschmidt.

The real worries on this team are Nolan Gorman (.286) and Dylan Carlson (.393). Both are being utilized right now as matchup starters rather than on an everyday basis. Gorman sits against lefties and Carlson sits against righties. This is made a little more difficult by the continuing struggles of Paul DeJong, making it necessary to play Edman at shortstop more often and second base is manned either by Gorman when the matchup is right and at other times by Brendan Donovan. DeJong is still being utilized but his ineffectiveness at the plate may change that in the coming days, sliding Edman to shortstop more and more often.

The Cardinals play four games with the Nationals this week, another bad team which can nevertheless win on any given day. They just recently took 2 of 3 from the first-place Mets, giving the Braves an opening to take the lead away from the New York team. The Cardinals must not let themselves be a victim as well.

After the Nationals series, the Cardinals make a quick trip to Pittsburgh for a weekend series against the Pirates. The Bucs like to play spoiler, so caution is warranted, especially at PNC Park where the Cardinals don’t play particularly well.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.

Transactions

  • 8/31 The Cardinals sent RHP Jack Flaherty on a rehab assignment to the Springfield Cardinals.
  • 9/1 The Cardinals recalled RHP James Naile from the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 9/1 The Cardinals selected the contract of CF Ben DeLuzio from 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.
  • LHP Steven Matz (left knee MCL tear) was placed on the 15-day injured list on July 24. The left hander will throw a final bullpen session Sunday and is set to go out on a rehab assignment with the Springfield Cardinals on Tuesday. When Matz returns he will pitch out of the bullpen.
  • 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 will be activated on Monday and will start in the game against the Nationals. Both 40-man and 26-man roster moves will required.

Looking Ahead

Following the weekend series at Busch Stadium with the Cubs, the Nationals come to town for a four-game series. Jack Flaherty is scheduled to make the Monday start. Jose Quintana will follow on Tuesday, Jordan Montgomery will take the Wednesday start and Adam Wainwright will go on Thursday.

After the homestand, the team makes a brief trip to Pittsburgh for 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.

After a Monday travel day on September 19, the Cardinals play three games in San Diego against the Padres. The team then goes to Los Angeles for weekend series against the Dodgers.

The regular season schedule can be found here.

2023 Spring Training schedule announced

This week, the Cardinals announced their 2023 Spring Training schedule of 29 games.

Blast from the Past

In this installment of our series on the career home run record of Cardinals great Albert Pujols, we look at the 2005 and 2006 seasons. The 2006 season was the first of two World Series titles the Cardinals won during the first 11 years of Pujols’ Cardinals career.

Following is each season with totals for each and further details about the home runs hit.

2005 season

2005 was Pujols’ fifth season in the major leagues. He hit 41 home runs including two games of two home runs.

His first home run of the 2005 season (career #161) was hit on April 10, 2005, at Busch Stadium. The solo shot was hit off Phillies starter Jon Lieber in the seventh inning. The Cardinals were beaten badly by the Phillies, 13-4.

Pujo;s’ final home run of the 2005 season came on October 1, 2005, at Busch Stadium. His 201st career long ball, a two-run shot, came in the bottom of the first inning off Reds starter Ramon Ortiz. The Cardinals won, 9-6.

Further details from Pujols’ 41 home run 2005 season.

  • Albert hit 33 of his 41 home runs against right-handed pitchers. Eight of them were off left-handed pitchers.
  • Of the 41, 23 were at home and 18 on the road.
  • Pujols hit five home runs against both the Cubs and the Brewers.
  • He hit two home runs each off 6 different pitchers. They were Lieber (PHI), Kris Benson (NYM), Doug Davis (MIL), Ben Sheets (MIL), Odalis Perez (LAD), and David Williams (PIT)
  • Five ballparks could not hold two of Albert’s home runs: PNC Park, Miller Park, Wrigley Field, Citizens Bank Park, and Minute Maid Park.
  • The locations of the 41 long balls: Pulled (12), Up the Middle (21), Opposite Field (8).
  • The home runs by month were April (6), May (6), June (8), July (8), August (7), September (5), October (1).
  • Home runs by type: Fly Balls (38), Line Drives (3).

2006 season

2006 was Pujols’ sixth season as a Cardinal. During that World Series Championship season, Albert hit 49 home runs. He had two three-home-run games and two two-homer contests. The first three-home-run  game was on April 16 against Cincinnati at Busch Stadium. The second was on September 3 at Busch Stadium against the Pirates.

The first of the 49 long balls was a part of a two-home-run game on April 3 at Citizen’s Bank Park with the Phillies. Home run #202 was a solo shot in the third inning, once again off starter Jon Lieber. Long ball #203 was hit in the fifth inning off Aaron Fultz and was of the two-run variety. The Cardinals defeated the Phillies 13-5.

His final home run of the 2006 regular season came on October 1 at Busch Stadium against the Brewers’ Carlos Villanueva. It was career home run #250. The solo shot was hit in the 9th inning, but the Cardinals lost 5-3.

Further details of the 49 home runs.

  • Pujols hit 39 of the long balls against right-handed pitchers and 10 off left-handed pitchers.
  • Twenty-five were hit on the road and 24 at home.
  • He hit seven home runs against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
  • Ian Snell of the Pirates gave up four of those home runs.
  • Pujols hit three home runs each at PNC Park, Citizen’s Bank Park, and Kauffman Stadium.
  • Albert’s locations were: Pulled (30), Up the Middle (14), and Opposite Field (5).
  • By month: April (14), May (11), June (1), July (7), August (6), September (9), October (1).
  • Type: Fly Ball (32), Line Drive (17).

In the next installment, we will look at Albert’s 2007 and 2008 seasons.


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