photo: Steven Matz (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports)
The St. Louis Cardinals split the weekend series in Milwaukee and hold a small division lead. Nolan Arenado and Tommy Edman are pacing the offense and Miles Mikolas and Steven Matz made strong starts. We highlight key events in this week in team history.
Regular season recaps
Monday, April 11 – Cardinals vs. Pirates (postponed)
The final game of the opening series at Busch Stadium was postponed due to rain. It will be made up on June 14 as part of a doubleheader.
The Cardinals topped the Royals 6-5 in the first of a two game home series. Dakota Hudson got the start for St. Louis. The right hander pitched four innings, gave up three runs on five hits and struck out four.
Jordan Hicks tossed two scoreless innings of relief with two strikeouts and one walk to earn the win. Nick Wittgren surrendered one run in seventh and Genesis Cabrera allowed one run in the eighth. Giovanny Gallegos threw a scoreless ninth to earn his first save.
Albert Pujols gave the home crowd what it was waiting for, his first home run in a Cardinals uniform since 2011. Pujols’ solo blast followed a two-run home run by Nolan Arenado in the first inning.
The Royals tied the game in the second on two home runs, a solo shot and a two-run blast. Andrew Knizner gave the lead back to the Cardinals with a three-run moonshot in the fourth.
Kansas City rallied with single runs in the eighth and ninth, but the attempt fell short. The Redbirds held on for the 6-5 win. Pujols went 3-for-4 with two singles in addition to the home run. Tommy Edman was 2-for-4. Arenado had two RBI.
Wednesday, April 13 – Cardinals vs. Royals (postponed)
The conclusion of the two-game series with the Royals was postponed due to rain. It will be made up on May 2, previously an off day for both teams.
The Cardinals fell to the Brewers in the opener of a four-game series at American Family Field on Thursday. Adam Wainwright made his second start of the season. The right hander’s outing did no go as well as his opening day start. He pitched 4 1/3 innings and gave up four runs on eight hits, fanned seven and walked two. Wainwright suffered his first loss of the season.
Drew Verhagen relieved Wainwright and threw 2 2/3 innings. He gave up one run in his Cardinals debut. Aaron Brooks tossed a scoreless eighth.
The Redbirds’ only run came via a solo home run by Tommy Edman in the eighth inning. The Cardinals managed only five total hits with Edman’s long ball the only extra base hit.
Albert Pujols was caught at third base in his first stolen base attempt of the season.
The Cardinals offense rebounded from the previous day’s loss with a 10-1 win over the Brewers on Friday at American Family Field. Miles Mikolas got the start for St. Louis. The right hander pitched 6 2/3 innings and gave up one run three hits, struck out seven and walked one to earn his first win of the season.
Nick Wittgren got the final out of the seventh. Rookie Andre Pallante tossed the final two scoreless innings.
St. Louis’ offense amassed 14 hits. In the first inning, Harrison Bader drove in two runs on a single. Andrew Knizner followed with a two-run single to give St. Louis a 4-0 lead.
In the second inning, Dylan Carlson was hit by a pitch and Paul Goldschmidt drove him in on a double. Nolan Arenado plated Goldschmidt on a single.
The Redbirds took a 6-0 lead into the fifth and added to it with a two-run home run by Tommy Edman. The Brewers finally got on the board with one run in the seventh to make it 8-1.
Arenado blasted a two-run home run in the ninth to increase the lead to 10-1. Knizner went 3-for-5 with two RBI. Tyler O’Neill was 3-for-5 with two runs scored. Arenado was 2-for-3 with three RBI. Bader was 2-for-5 with two RBI. Edmundo Sosa was 2-for-5. Edman had two RBI.
Bader stole his first base of the season.
The Cardinals won their second consecutive game against the Brewers in a close contest on Saturday. Steven Matz took the mound for St. Louis. The right hander pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings, allowed three hits and fanned six to earn his first win as a Cardinal.
Ryan Helsley relieved Matz and got the final out of the sixth inning. Genesis Cabrera surrendered one run in 1 2/3 innings. Giovanny Gallegos tossed the final 1 1/3 scoreless innings to earn his second save.
Every hitter in the starting lineup got one hit except Paul Goldschmidt, but no Cardinal had multiples. St. Louis scored its first run in the fourth inning on an RBI double by Paul DeJong. The second run came home in the eighth on a single by Corey Dickerson.
The Cardinals split the series with the Brewers due to the 6-5 loss on Sunday in Milwaukee. Dakota Hudson started for St. Louis. The right hander pitched three innings and gave up four runs, three earned, on four hits while striking out two and walking two. Hudson suffered his first loss of the season.
T.J. McFarland relieved and threw a scoreless fourth. Jordan Hicks followed and hurled two scoreless innings. Drew VerHagen surrendered two runs in the seventh. Kodi Whitley tossed a scoreless eighth.
Milwaukee scored three runs off Hudson in the first inning. In the third, Dylan Carlson reached on a fielding error and Nolan Arenado walked. Albert Pujols then blasted his 681st career home run into the upper deck in left field to tie the game at 3-3.
The Brewers regained the lead in the fourth with one run, then widened the lead with two in the seventh to make it 6-3. The Cardinals came back in the eighth with two runs to decrease the lead to 6-5 on Tommy Edman’s RBI single and a bases loaded walk by Corey Dickerson.
Brewers closer Josh Hader shut the Cardinals down in the ninth.
Arenado went 2-for-4 with a double and a single. Pujols drove in three.
On the base paths, Paul DeJong stole his first base of the season. In the field, Edman and Andrew Knizner both committed throwing errors.
NL Central Standings
The Big Picture
The Cardinals finished their first full week of the season with a record of 3-2. They won one from the Royals with the second game postponed. The Cardinals split the four-game series with the Brewers 2-2. The final game of the Pirates series on Monday was postponed.
The Cardinals are in first place in the NL Central with a record of 5-3. Chicago and Pittsburgh are a half game behind the Cardinals in this early season. The Reds are in last place with a record of 2-8, four games back of the Cardinals.
The offense has been mostly good, with Nolan Arenado and Tommy Edman leading the week with an OPS of 1.333 and 1.090 respectively in five games. Albert Pujols posted an OPS of 1.683 in three games. Paul Goldschmidt (.195 OPS) and Dylan Carlson (.212 OPS) struggled in the five games.
The starting pitching this past week was adequate. Steven Matz had the best start, allowing no runs in a 5 2/3 inning outing. Miles Mikolas gave up only one run in his 6 2/3 inning start. Dakota Hudson has struggled out of the gate with an ERA of 7.71 in two starts.
The back end of the rotation needs to improve. With Jack Flaherty out presumably for several weeks to a month, the rotation is in flux. Jordan Hicks is scheduled to get a start next week. The fourth starter, Hudson, has been unimpressive. With only three relatively stable starters, the rotation is the team’s current weak point.
The bullpen is much better, with Drew VerHagen being the weak link so far. VerHagen has an ERA of 7.36 in two games and three walks in 3 2/3 innings pitched. The season is early, however, so numbers in two outings don’t mean much.
Starting Tuesday, the Cardinals will play a three-game set against the Marlins in Miami and end the week with three versus the Reds in Cincinnati. The Marlins have a record of 4-5 and are in third place in the NL East. The Reds have played poorly in 10 games so far, but they always match up against the Cardinals well, so don’t count them out. Taking both series is the goal here.
Trade and Acquisition Rumors
There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.
There are no transactions to report.
- RHP Alex Reyes (frayed right labrum) has been shut down from throwing for four weeks and has received a stem cell injection in his shoulder. Reyes was placed on the 60-day injured list and will be unavailable until at least June.
- RHP Jack Flaherty (right shoulder) had imaging done on his shoulder which revealed inflammation as well as a small tear called a SLAP tear (superior labrum and posterior). Flaherty told the media the tear has been there for several years and is unrelated to the inflammation. Flaherty received a PRP injection in the shoulder. The right hander was placed on the 10-day injured list to begin the season. Flaherty had a throwing session from 120 feet over the weekend at American Family Field and will likely have several more before a rehab stint is considered.
- C Yadier Molina (right knee soreness) was kept out of the final three games of the Brewers season due to general soreness and pain in his right knee. Molina is considered day to day.
The Cardinals have an open day on Monday in Miami.
A three-game series with the Marlins begins on Tuesday. Jordan Hicks is scheduled to make the Tuesday start. No pitchers have been announced for the remainder of the series but will likely be Adam Wainwright and Miles Mikolas.
The Cardinals will then travel to Cincinnati for a weekend series with the Reds.
The following week, the Cardinals return to St. Louis to begin an eight-game homestand that includes three games against the Mets, four with the Diamondbacks, and one makeup contest with the Royals.
The full regular season schedule can be found here.
Blast from the Past
We continue our “remember when” series with notable events in franchise history during the period April 11 to April 17.
April 11, 1954 – The Cardinals traded Enos Slaughter to the Yankees for Bill Virdon. Slaughter was at the tail end of his career, but Virdon was named the National League Rookie of the year in 1956.
April 11, 1962 – The New York Mets debuted as a team and played their first game against the Cardinals, who beat the Mets 11-4 in Busch Stadium.
April 11, 2019 – Harrison Bader became the first Cardinal since RBI stats were recorded in 1920, to have two RBI on two hit by pitches in the same game.
April 12, 1960 – In the first ever game played at Candlestick Park, the Giants beat the Cardinals 3-1. During the third inning, the umpires filed a protest concerning the foul poles, which were completely within fair territory.
April 13, 1954 – Tom Alston became the first Black player to appear in a Cardinals uniform.
April 13, 1954 – Wally Moon became the second player in Cardinals history to hit a home run in his first major league at bat. Moon was named Rookie of the Year that season and also hit a home run in his last at bat in 1954.
April 14, 1936 – Eddie Morgan became the first player in Cardinals history to hit a home run in his first at bat. Pinch-hitter Morgan did it in the seventh inning of a 12-7 loss to the Cubs.
April 14, 1969 – The Montreal Expos played their first ever home game against the Cardinals. It was the first ever regular season game played outside the United States. Expos pitcher Larry Jaster threw the first pitch to Cardinals’ leadoff hitter Lou Brock. The Expos beat the Cardinals 8-7.
April 14, 1993 – Cardinals reliever Lee Smith broke the NL record for saves with his 301st save.
April 14, 1998 – Mark McGwire became the first Cardinal to have a three-home run game at Busch Stadium.
April 15, 1959 – Bob Gibson made his major league debut in Los Angeles. He gave up a home run to the first batter faced, Dodger third baseman Jim Baxes.
April 15, 2018 – The Cardinals swept the Cincinnati Reds in four games, the first time they swept the Reds in four games since 1949.
April 16, 1913 – A game between the Reds and the Cardinals was called in the seventh inning because the Reds had to catch a train to their next game in Pittsburgh.
April 16, 1962 – In a game between the Cardinals and the Phillies, both starters, Bob Gibson and Cal McLish, were pulled from the game in the first inning for allowing six runs.
April 16, 1978 – Bob Forsch threw a no-hitter against the Phillies. Forsch’s brother Ken, a pitcher for the Astros, tossed a no-hitter against the Braves, becoming the first siblings to throw no-hitters in the majors.
April 17, 1945 – Red Schoendienst made his major league debut in a game against the Cubs. He went 1-for-4.
April 17, 2010 – The Mets beat the Cardinals 2-1 in a 20-inning game.
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