photo: Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports)
Coming off the All-Star Break, the St. Louis Cardinals dropped 2 of 3 at last-place Cincinnati and head to Toronto with their two best players unavailable. Our history feature lists key events in team history during July 18-24.
Monday, July 18 through Thursday, July 21 – All-Star Break
In the 2022 Midsummer Classic, the American League won 3-2, recording their ninth straight win over the National League. The game was played at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Giancarlo Stanton of the Yankees was named the game’s MVP after his two-run home run in the fourth inning proved to be the game winning hit.
Paul Goldschmidt started the game at first base but was given just one at-bat. The cleanup hitter made the best of it with a solo home run off AL starter Shane McClanahan. He was pinch-hit for in the third inning.
Albert Pujols pinch hit in the fourth inning and flied out.
Ryan Helsley was impressive pitching in the eighth inning. The Cardinals closer yielded a single and fanned two. Teammate Miles Mikolas did not pitch.
The Cardinals dropped the first of the three-game series with the Reds in Cincinnati. Adam Wainwright started for St. Louis. The right-hander pitched 5 1/3 innings, gave up seven runs on five hits, struck out two and walked three. Wainwright took the loss.
Jordan Hicks relieved and surrendered one run in 2/3 of an inning. Johan Oviedo allowed one run in the seventh. Zack Thompson tossed a scoreless eighth.
The Cardinals took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning. Brendan Donovan singled and Lars Nootbaar drew a walk. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch. Tyler O’Neill singled to score Donovan and Nootbaar.
The Reds quickly turned the tables with four runs in the home half of the second off Wainwright. Cincinnati added a fifth run in the third inning.
St. Louis made it closer in the fifth with a two-run home run by Paul Goldschmidt to cut the lead to 5-4.
The Reds came back to plate three runs in the sixth and another run in the seventh to increase the tally to 9-4.
The Cardinals rallied for one more run in the eighth but could not muster any more offense.
Goldschmidt was 2-for-5 with two RBI. Nolan Arenado was 2-for-5. Dylan Carlson was 2-for-4. O’Neill had two RBI.
The Cardinals won the second game of the series by the score of 6-3. Steven Matz, in his first start back from an IL stint, pitched 5 1/3 innings, gave up two runs on three hits, fanned seven and walked one to earn his fourth win of the season.
Junior Fernandez relieved Matz and surrendered one run in one inning of relief. Giovanny Gallegos threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings. Ryan Helsley tossed the final 1 1/3 scoreless innings.
The Cardinals once again took a 2-0 lead, this time in the third inning. Dylan Carlson led off with a double. Tyler O’Neill followed with a single to score Carlson. O’Neill stole second base and scored on a single by Paul Goldschmidt.
The Reds tied it in the home half of the third. St. Louis put up three runs in the fourth to regain the lead 5-2. Carlson was hit by a pitch. O’Neill followed with a two-run home run to center field. Goldschmidt followed with a solo home run.
The Cardinals added a sixth run in the sixth on an RBI double by Tommy Edman. The Reds scored their final run in the seventh.
O’Neill was 2-for-5 with three RBI and two runs scored. Goldschmidt was 2-for-4 with two RBI. Nolan Arenado was 3-for-5. Albert Pujols was 2-for-5.
On the base paths, O’Neill stole his seventh base of the season. In the field, Matz made a fielding error on a play in which he injured his knee and had to leave the game..
The Cardinals lost the series to the last-place Reds by 6-3 score on Sunday. Starter Miles Mikolas pitched five innings, gave up six runs on seven hits, struck out four and walked two. Mikolas took the loss, his eighth of the season.
Packy Naughton relieved and threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings. James Naile hurled 2/3 scoreless innings. Zack Thompson tossed a scoreless eighth.
The Reds put up four runs in the third inning off Mikolas. The Cardinals came back in the top of the fourth via a two-run home run by Paul Goldschmidt.
The Reds immediately increased their lead to 6-2 in the home half of the fourth. St. Louis added their third and last run in the sixth on a second long ball by Goldschmidt, a solo shot.
Goldschmidt was 2-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored. The only other St. Louis hit in the game was single by Albert Pujols.
NL Central Standings
The Big Picture
The Cardinals went 1-2 in the shortened post All-Star Break week, losing two of three to the Reds in Cincinnati. The Brewers swept the Rockies, so the Cardinals are now 2.5 games back of Milwaukee.
This series was a failure of both pitching and offense. Adam Wainwright had a poor outing in Game 1. Steven Matz pitched well in the second game, the only game the Cardinals won. It came at a cost, as Matz injured himself and will be out for a significant time once again. Miles Mikolas had an uncharacteristic rough outing on Sunday, giving up six runs in less than six innings pitched.
The offense in Game 3 in particular was almost entirely absent. Paul Goldschmidt was responsible for all three Cardinals runs. Everyone else took a vacation.
The top performers by OPS for the last seven days are Goldschmidt (1.885), Albert Pujols (1.167 in 6 ABs), Nolan Arenado (.928) and Tyler O’Neill (.857). At the bottom are Lars Nootbaar (.167 in 5 ABs), Andrew Knizner (.393 in 7 ABs), and Brendan Donovan (.444 in 9 ABs).
The next several weeks at least will be crucial in observing whether the Cardinals can overcome adversity. They have lost one of their starting pitchers for the second time and continue to miss other players out with injury, such as Harrison Bader, who has had a setback with his foot, and Juan Yepez, out with a forearm strain.
The biggest adversity in the short term, however, is the self-imposed loss of the Cardinals’ two best players, Goldschmidt and Arenado. The two will not be traveling to Toronto for the two-game series because they chose to not be vaccinated for Covid-19 and will not be allowed into Canada due to that country’s entry restrictions (restrictions that it should be noted the US also has for players who are from countries other than the US).
Thus, the Cardinals will play in Toronto without their best offensive weapons and a roster hobbled with injuries. It is not a recipe for success at all. Following the Toronto series, the team plays the Nationals in Washington D.C. Already 2.5 games back, the Cardinals must struggle to keep up with the Brewers with at least one hand tied behind their back.
Three Cardinals players must sit out the Toronto series
On Sunday, the team announced that three Cardinals will be unable to travel to Toronto to play that two-game series due to their unvaccinated status.
They are Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, and backup catcher Austin Romine. These three players will be placed on the Restricted List for the period and will not be paid or earn service time for the period they are on the list.
The players’ decisions not to be vaccinated leave the team without arguably their two best players, one the potential NL MVP. The Cardinals will take additional players from Memphis to Toronto – infielder Cory Spangenberg, catcher Ivan Herrera and outfielder Conner Capel.
In addition to the three players mentioned, pitcher Johan Oviedo will also not be going to Toronto but for a different reason, an expired passport. The Cuban native is holding out hope this can be resolved on Monday, but the expedite process is unclear.
Trade and Acquisition Rumors
Many across the Cardinals fanbase are consumed by the Juan Soto trade situation. While rumors have the Nationals entertaining offers from multiple teams for their superstar outfielder, there are no concrete, reputable reports of the level of interest by the Cardinals and what players might be offered.
Given the expected high acquisition price for the 23-year-old and St. Louis’ well-known need for pitching strongly suggest any Soto-to-the-Cardinals scenarios have low odds of actually occurring.
- 7/22 The Cardinals sent CF Harrison Bader on a rehab assignment to the Memphis Redbirds
- 7/24 The Cardinals recalled RHP James Naile from the Memphis Redbirds.
- 7/24 The Cardinals returned LHP Steven Matz to the 15-day IL.
- 7/24 The Cardinals sent RHP Dakota Hudson on a rehab assignment to the Memphis Redbirds
- 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. Whether the injury is season-ending is yet to be determined.
- LHP Steven Matz made his first start back from the injured list on Saturday. The left hander injured his knee attempting to field a ground ball and is now back on the 15-day injured list. An MRI taken on Sunday revealed a torn MCL (medial collateral ligament) which will mean Matz will be out for a significant time. A surgery go-no go decision is pending.
- C Yadier Molina (right knee inflammation) was placed on the 10-day injured list on June 17, retroactive to June 16. Molina is rehabbing in Puerto Rico. The catcher is expected to begin a rehab assignment on July 25.
- RHP Drew VerHagen was activated from the 15-day injured list. After making two appearances out of the bullpen, the right hander was placed on the 15-day injured list again, retroactive to July 15. The placement was due to the same ailment for which he had gone on the injured list previously, right hip impingement.
- RHP Jack Flaherty (right shoulder strain) was transferred from the 15-day injured list to the 60-day injured list. The right hander is out for an indeterminate time.
- CF Harrison Bader was placed on the 10-day injured list on June 27. Right foot plantar fasciitis. Bader made one rehab start for Memphis and was bothered by continued soreness in his foot. The rehab assignment has been discontinued and the outfielder will seek a second opinion early this week.
- RHP Dakota Hudson was placed on the 15-day injured list on July 15 with a neck strain. The right hander made a start for the Memphis Redbirds on Sunday. Should all go well, Hudson may make a start in the Nationals series this coming weekend.
- 1B Juan Yepez was placed on the 10-day injured list on July 15 with a right forearm strain. Yepez incurred the injury on a throw from the outfield in a game against the Dodgers. No date for a return has been announced and no further updates on his status have been given.
After the Reds series ended on Sunday, the team goes to Toronto for two games. Andre Pallante and Adam Wainwright are scheduled to make the starts. The team will be without its top two stars, Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado, due to their inability to travel to Canada as they are both unvaccinated for Covid-19.
There is no game on Thursday as the team travels to their final destination in the month of July, Washington D.C., to play Soto and the Nationals in a weekend series.
A homestand begins the month of August with three games with the Cubs and a weekend series with the Yankees.
After an off day on Monday, August 8, the Cardinals make a brief road trip to Denver to play the Rockies in three games.
The regular season schedule can be found here.
Blast from the Past
In the intermittent and continuing series on significant events in franchise history during specific periods in time, this week’s Blast looks at events during the time of July 18 to July 25. Below is a list with day and year indicated.
July 18, 1952 – The Cardinals mount the largest come-from-behind win in NL history against the New York Giants. After trailing 11-0, the Cardinals rallied to score 14 run and win 14-12.
July 18, 1954 – The Cardinals forfeit a game against the Phillies by bringing in three pitchers during an inning to delay the game. The Cardinals were losing 8-1 and the game was not yet official as it was close to dark. All statistics for the game were erased, including a home run by the Cardinals Joe Frazier.
July 18, 1961 – The Cardinals’ Bill White tied Ty Cobb for the record of most hits in consecutive doubleheaders with 14.
July 19, 1924 – Cardinals pitcher Hi Bell pitched back to back complete games in a doubleheader against the Braves. He is the last MLB pitcher to accomplish the feat.
July 20, 2004 – Albert Pujols goes 5-for-5 with three home runs against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. This was Pujols’ first career three home run game. The Cardinals beat Chicago, 11-8.
July 21, 1975 – Cardinals catcher Ted Simmons had a home run taken away against the San Diego Padres. The Padres manager argued that Simmons’ bat was illegal, and after the home plate umpire examined the bat, he agreed it was illegal because of grooves cut into the bat more than 18 inches above the handle. The Cardinals won the game anyway, 4-0.
July 21, 2017 – The Cardinals traded LHP Marco Gonzales to the Seattle Mariners for outfielder Tyler O’Neill.
July 22, 2009 – The Cardinals traded first baseman-outfielder Chris Duncan to the Boston Red Sox for shortstop Julio Lugo.
July 22, 2016 – Matt Adams hit the walk off home run in the 16th inning against the Dodgers.
July 23, 1969 – Cardinal Steve Carlton is the starting and winning pitcher in the All-Star Game at RFK Stadium. Carlton doubled in the third inning, the last pitcher to get an extra base hit in an All-Star Game.
July 24, 1933 – Cardinals manager Gabby Street is fired and replaced by Frankie Frisch.
July 24, 2009 – The Cardinals acquire Matt Holliday from the Oakland Athletics for Brett Wallace, Clayton Mortensen, and Shane Peterson. On that day Holliday arrived at Citizen’s Bank Park, where the Cardinals were playing the Phillies, in a fast trip from New York. Holliday had to borrow a glove and shoes from teammates. The new Cardinal had four hits, and RBI, and a stolen base in the game the Cardinals won 8-1.
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