St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – April 25-May 1

photo: Mike Maddux, Yadier Molina, Miles Mikolas (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

The St. Louis Cardinals had a disappointing 3-4 week at home, falling out of first place. The offense continued its inconsistency as the starting pitching of Miles Mikolas and Dakota Hudson remain a bright spot. The April home run hitting exploits of the 2000 Cardinals are remembered in our history feature.



Game recaps

Monday, April 25 – Cardinals 2, Mets 5

The St. Louis Cardinals took on the New York Mets in the first of a three-game series at Busch Stadium. Miles Mikolas took the mound for the Cardinals. The right hander pitched seven scoreless innings, allowed four hits, struck out five and walked one.

Genesis Cabrera threw a scoreless eighth. Giovanny Gallegos and T.J. McFarland combined to pitch the ninth. Gallegos surrendered four runs in the inning and McFarland relinquished one additional run. Gallegos took the loss and was charged with a blown save.

The game was a scoreless pitching duel between Mikolas and Max Scherzer until the eighth inning. Yadier Molina led off the home half of the inning with a single, and Harrison Bader followed with a single. Paul Goldschmidt drew a walk to load the bases. Tyler O’Neill singled and drove in Molina and Bader to give the Cardinals a 2-0 lead.

The Mets rallied in the ninth. Gallegos gave up two singles and a double that put the Mets on the board. Then the right hander allowed a two-run single to give New York a 3-2 lead. Key plays in the inning were a throwing error by third baseman Nolan Arenado and Gallegos being late to cover first base. Gallegos was replaced by McFarland, who gave up a two-run home run on his first pitch to Brandon Nimmo.

The Cardinals were unable to rally in the bottom half of the ninth. The offense scored two runs on five hits. Goldschmidt was 2-for 3. O’Neill drove in both Cardinals runs.

Tuesday, April 26 – Cardinals 0, Mets 3

The Cardinals were blanked by the Mets in the second game of the three-game series on Tuesday. Jordan Hicks got the start for St. Louis. The right hander pitched two innings and gave up two runs on two hits, struck out one and walked two. Hicks’ outing was cut short by a bruise caused by a comebacker to his right wrist area.

Andre Pallante threw three scoreless innings of relief on three hits allowed and one punch out. Nick Wittgren and Packy Naughton combined for the next two scoreless innings. Kodi Whitley tossed a scoreless eighth. Aaron Brooks surrendered one run in the ninth. Hicks suffered his second loss of the season.

The Cardinals offense managed only three hits in the game, singles from Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, and Paul DeJong.

Tommy Edman stole two bases.

Wednesday April 27 – Cardinals 10, Mets 5

The Cardinals were able to salvage the final game of the series and avoid being swept at home. Starter Steven Matz pitched four innings and gave up four runs on six hits, fanned six and walked two.

Jake Woodford relieved and surrendered one run in two innings pitched to earn his first win. Genesis Cabrera threw two scoreless innings and Ryan Helsley tossed a scoreless ninth.

The Cardinals offense got on the board first on an RBI single by Corey Dickerson. The Mets answered by scoring four runs in the second to make it 4-1.

The Redbirds got two runs back in the third. Tommy Edman and Paul Goldschmidt hit back-to-back singles. The runners advanced on a ground out by Tyler O’Neill. Nolan Arenado smacked a single to plate both.

The Cardinals took an 8-4 lead with a five-run fourth inning. Yadier Molina led off with a double and Edmundo Sosa was hit by a pitch. Tommy Edman doubled to score Molina. Nolan Arenado was intentionally walked, then Sosa scored on a wild pitch. Corey Dickerson singled to plate Edman. Dylan Carlson tripled, scoring Arenado and Dickerson.

Arenado made it 9-4 in the sixth with an RBI double. The Mets scored their final run in the seventh to make it 9-5. In the home half of the seventh, Goldschmidt drove in the Cardinals 10th run.

Tommy Edman

Edman went 3-for-5 with an RBI and three runs scored. Arenado was 3-for-3 with three RBI. Dickerson was 2-for-3 and drove in two. Carlson was 2-for-3 with two RBI.

On the base paths, O’Neill stole his third base of the season and Edman stole his fourth. In the field, O’Neill had an outfield assist at second base and Carlson threw a runner out at third.

The game was marred by an incident that resulted in the bases clearing. Nolan Arenado was brushed back by a high and inside pitch near his head. The pitch was likely intentional and in response to several Mets being hit by pitches in the series, including one to the helmet of Pete Alonso. Arenado took exception to the pitch and had words with and gestured at the pitcher. The benches cleared and in response to the incident Arenado was suspended. Genesis Cabrera, who had hit J.D. Davis in the foot in a prior inning, was also suspended. Each sat out one game. No Mets were suspended, though several players were fined.

Thursday, April 28 – Cardinals 8, Diamondbacks 3

The Cardinals beat the Diamondbacks in the opener of a four-game series at Busch Stadium. Dakota Hudson got the start for the Cardinals and pitched six scoreless innings, allowed one hit, struck out four and walked three to earn his second win of the season.

Dakota Hudson

Aaron Brooks relieved and surrendered three runs in 2 2/3 innings. Nick Wittgren got the final out of the ninth.

The Cardinals took an early 2-0 lead in the first inning on sac flies by Tyler O’Neill and Corey Dickerson. St. Louis increased the lead to 5-0 with three runs in the second. Tommy Edman and Paul Goldschmidt each plated a run on a single. O’Neill drove in his second run on a sac fly.

The score remained 5-0 until the sixth inning. Harrison Bader led off with a single and stole second base. Yadier Molina singled and he also stole second base. Edman singled to score Bader. Goldschmidt singled to plate Molina and Edman. The Cardinals led 8-0.

The Diamondbacks scored two runs in the eighth and one run in the ninth to bring the final score to 8-3 in favor of St. Louis.

Paul Goldschmidt

Goldschmidt went 3-for-3 with three RBI. Edman was 2-for-4 with two RBI and three runs scored. Arenado was 2-for-4. Bader was 2-for-3 with two runs scored. Molina was 2-for-4. The offense had 15 hits, all singles.

Bader stole his fifth base of the season and Molina stole his first.

Friday, April 29 – Cardinals 2, Diamondbacks 6

In the second game of the series with Arizona, the Cardinals fell to the Diamondbacks, 6-2. Adam Wainwright suffered his third loss of the season. The right hander pitched six innings, gave up three runs on four hits, struck out four and walked five.

T.J. McFarland and Andre Pallante combined to pitch the seventh. McFarland surrendered two runs and was replaced by Pallante with one out in the inning. The rookie got the final two outs with no further damage. Kodi Whitley allowed one run in the eighth. Nick Wittgren tossed a scoreless ninth.

The Cardinals took the lead in the first inning on a solo home run by Paul Goldschmidt. In the third, the Diamondbacks put up two runs. Arizona added a run in the sixth, and two more in the seventh to widen their edge to 5-1.

The Redbirds scored one more in the bottom of the seventh. Harrison Bader drew a walk and Yadier Molina singled. Bader went from first to third on the single. With Paul DeJong at the plate, Diamondbacks pitcher Luis Frias balked, and Bader scored.

Arizona added an eighth run in the eighth. St. Louis failed to rally in the final two innings.

The Cardinals offense put up two runs on five hits. Nolan Arenado doubled. Molina, Tommy Edman, and Albert Pujols all singled.

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

Saturday, April 30 – Cardinals 0, Diamondbacks 2

The Cardinals fell to the Diamondbacks in the third game of the series on Saturday. Miles Mikolas made his second start of the week. The right hander pitched 7 1/3 innings, gave up two runs on four hits and fanned seven.

Genesis Cabrera relieved Mikolas and got the final two outs of the inning. Jake Woodford tossed a scoreless ninth.

The game was scoreless until the eighth inning when Mikolas gave up solo home runs to Ketel Marte and Nick Ahmed to give Arizona a 2-0 lead. After the game, manager Oliver Marmol took responsibility for the loss, saying he should have gone to the bullpen for the eighth.

The Cardinals remained scoreless and managed only two hits for the game – singles from Yadier Molina and Harrison Bader.

Bader stole his NL-leading sixth base of the season. The defense made two errors in the field, throwing miscues by Brendan Donovan and Edmundo Sosa.

Sunday, May 1 – Cardinals 7, Diamondbacks 5

The Cardinals were able to pull out a win in the final game of the series on Sunday for a series split. Jordan Hicks made the start and pitched 3 1/3 innings. The right-hander gave up two runs on two hits, struck out four and walked two.

Andre Pallante relieved and surrendered one run in 1 2/3 innings. Nick Wittgren allowed one run in the sixth. Genesis Cabrera and Kodi Whitley combined to pitch the seventh. Cabrera relinquished one run in 2/3 innings. Whitley got the final out of the inning. Ryan Helsley hurled the final two scoreless innings and struck out four of the six batters he faced.

Ryan Helsley

The Diamondbacks scored first with one run in the first inning. The Cardinals briefly took a 2-1 lead in the third. Andrew Knizner singled but was eliminated on a force out by Paul DeJong. Tommy Edman drew a walk. Harrison Bader reached on a fielder’s choice error and DeJong scored. Edman scored on a force out by Tyler O’Neill.

Arizona quickly tied the game in the fourth, then added runs in the fifth and sixth for 4-2 lead. The Cardinals made it 4-3 in the home half of the sixth on an RBI single by Albert Pujols.

The Diamondbacks scored again in the seventh to make it 5-4. The Cardinals offense persisted and scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh. Knizner singled and DeJong doubled. Brendan Donovan grounded out and Knizner scored. Bader then hit a two-run moonshot to left center field to give the Redbirds a 6-5 lead. Nolan Arenado added a solo home run to make it 7-5.

Harrison Bader

The Diamondbacks were no match for Ryan Helsley in the final two innings. Helsley was throwing gas up to 103 mph and fanned four of the six hitters he faced to close out the win for St. Louis. It was his first save of 2022.

On the base paths, Tyler O’Neill was caught stealing. In the field, Paul DeJong was tagged with a throwing error.

Cardinals players cited for actions in benches clearing incident

The series between the Mets and the Cardinals concluded on Wednesday with a benches-clearing skirmish between the two teams that resulted in suspensions for two Cardinals players and fines for others.

The tension was brewing since the second game of the series when Mets first baseman Pete Alonso was hit in the helmet with an errant changeup from Kodi Whitley. Alonso did not leave the game.

Alonso was not the first Met hit by a pitch in the series but the third. Mark Canha was hit by Miles Mikolas in the first game of the series, and Dominic Smith had been hit two innings before Alonso. Starling Marte was hit by Aaron Brooks in the ninth. The helmet hit to Alonso was the most serious up to that point. Two Cardinals, Brendan Donovan and Tommy Edman, were also hit by Mets pitchers in Game 2. None of the hits to Mets players took any of those players out of the game.

Tensions reached their zenith in the final game of the series on Wednesday. In the eighth inning of the game, Genesis Cabrera hit J.D. Davis with a 96 mph fastball in his left ankle. The injury was enough to take Davis out of the game.

When Nolan Arenado came to the plate to bat in the bottom of the eighth, Mets reliever Yoan Lopez sent a 94 mph fastball up and in near Arenado’s head, brushing him off the plate. Arenado began yelling and gesturing to Lopez and the benches cleared.

The skirmish featured first base coach Stubby Clapp wrestling Alonso to the ground at one point. The tussle ended as quickly as it started, but it resulted in both Arenado and Clapp being ejected from the game.

The consequences of the “brawl” were that Cabrera received a one game suspension and Arenado was suspended for two games. No Mets were ejected or suspended. Lopez received an undisclosed fine for his part in the incident, and both Jack Flaherty and Mets pitcher Taijuan Walker were fined an undisclosed amount for joining the fray while being on the injured list.

Cabrera served his suspension on Friday. Arenado appealed and his suspension was reduced to one game and a fine. He served his suspension on Saturday.

NL Central Standings

The Cardinals have lost five of their last eight and have fallen out of first place, two games behind the Milwaukee Brewers, winners of 11 of their last 14.

Team W L Pct GB
Milwaukee 15 8 0.652
St. Louis 12 9 0.571 2
Chicago 9 13 0.409 5.5
Pittsburgh 9 13 0.409 5.5
Cincinnati 3 19 0.136 11.5

The Big Picture

The Cardinals ended a disappointing week at home with a record of 3-4. The Cardinals won just 1 of 3 from the first-place Mets from the East and split the four-game series with the last-place Diamondbacks from the West.

Nolan Arenado

The offense has shown sluggishness this past week. Two of their losses were shutouts and one was a two-hit shutout. The OPS leaders for the week were Nolan Arenado (1.077), Paul Goldschmidt (.962), and Harrison Bader (.851).

Corner outfielders Dylan Carlson (.308) and Tyler O’Neill (.321) continue to struggle. Paul DeJong (.411) has improved his offense a slight amount from last week but is still far below expectations. The designated hitters – Corey Dickerson (.516) and Albert Pujols (.500) – did not do much, either.

Miles Mikolas

Dakota Hudson and Miles Mikolas continue to be the top starting pitchers. Adam Wainwright hasn’t pitched to expectations since his Opening Day start. His last outing was not good, which included an uncharacteristic five walks. Steven Matz and Jordan Hicks have also been below average.

Ryan Helsley has been the top reliever. The right-hander pitched the final two innings of Sunday’s game and struck out four of the six batters he faced, throwing fastballs clocked at 103 mph. Rookie Andre Pallante has also been good.

Rosters will be cut from 28 to 26 players on Monday, May 2. Teams are allowed to keep 14 pitchers for another month. The likeliest players to be cut are the two most recent callups, pitcher Packy Naughton, and infielder Brendan Donovan, though a Sunday injury to Tommy Edman could change matters.

The Cardinals fell out of first place and have a record of 12-9, two games back of the Brewers. The season is early so it is expected there will be constant movement at the top. The Cardinals and the Brewers are really the only two teams likely to contend for the Division.

The Cardinals must improve in the rotation, and the offense needs to be more consistent. Carlson and O’Neill need to produce. DeJong is being given a long leash for now and is being helped by the fact that Edmundo Sosa has also struggled at the plate. Nolan Gorman is knocking at the door from Triple-A, and while it doesn’t appear the Cardinals are keen on moving Tommy Edman to shortstop for now, Gorman continuing to hit at Memphis could make the decision much harder.

The team plays the Royals for the next three games, a team that has always had extra incentive to beat the superior team from Eastern Missouri. The Cardinals then go to San Francisco to face the always tough Giants, who are only a half game back of the Dodgers and the Padres in the NL West. The Cardinals need to play better than they have the past week to not lose more ground to the streaking Brewers.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.

Transactions

  • 4/25 The Cardinals optioned OF Lars Nootbaar to the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 4/25 The Cardinals recalled 3B Brendan Donovan from the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 4/28 LHP Genesis Cabrera suspended one game.
  • 4/29 The Cardinals activated LHP Genesis Cabrera.
  • 4/30 3B Nolan Arenado suspended one game.
  • 5/1 The Cardinals activated 3B Nolan Arenado.

Injury Report

  • 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 has been throwing at increasing distances on flat ground. On Sunday, John Mozeliak told Bally Sports Midwest that Flaherty is about a week away from his first bullpen session and that the club is optimistic about his recovery.
  • 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 June. On Sunday, Mozeliak said Reyes is about two weeks behind Flaherty with more news expected mid-May.
  • RHP Drew VerHagen was placed on the 10-day injured list due to a right hip impingement. He received an injection in the hip and is expected to have minimal time away. The right hander will begin a 1-2 start rehab stint with Memphis on Monday night.
  • 2B Tommy Edman was removed from Sunday’s game due to a tight left hip flexor. The move was described as precautionary and not serious with more information expected Monday.

Tommy Edman

Looking Ahead

On Monday afternoon, May 2, the team will play a makeup of a rained out home game against the Royals, then head to KC to play the Royals at Kauffman Stadium in a two- game series. Steven Matz is scheduled to start on Monday. Dakota Hudson gets the start in Kansas City on Tuesday, with Adam Wainwright going on Wednesday.

The Cardinals will extend the road trip on Thursday, heading to San Francisco to play the Giants for four games.

After a travel day on Monday, May 9, the team returns to St. Louis to begin a six-game homestand. The Cardinals will play the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday through Thursday for three, followed by a weekend series against the Giants.

The regular season schedule can be found here.

Blast from the Past

Jim Edmonds (Getty Images)

This week’s Blast from the Past commemorates the most home runs hit in a month by the Cardinals in franchise history. This feat occurred in April 2000 when the Cardinals ended the month with 55 home runs, which tied the April National League record at that time.

In contrast, the 2022 Cardinals hit just 14 home runs in April.

The following is a breakdown of the April 2000 home runs by game.

April 3 – Craig Paquette (3 runs), Shawon Dunston (solo), Eric Davis (solo)

April 5 – Jim Edmonds (2 runs), Ray Lankford (solo)

April 6 – Fernando Tatis (3 runs), J.D. Drew (solo and grand slam), Mike Matheny (solo)

April 8 – Mark McGwire (solo)

April 9 – Mark McGwire (2 runs), Craig Paquette (solo), Jim Edmonds (solo), Edgar Renteria (solo), Shawon Dunston (solo), J.D. Drew (2 runs)

April 10 – Mark McGwire (2 runs), Edgar Renteria (2 runs), Ray Lankford (solo), J.D. Drew (2 runs)

April 11 – Jim Edmonds (solo), Thomas Howard (grand slam), Edgar Renteria (3 runs)

April 12 – Jim Edmonds (solo), Thomas Howard (2 runs)

April 13 – Placido Polanco (solo), Fernando Tatis (solo), Jim Edmonds (solo)

April 14 – Eric Davis (solo)

April 16 (Game 1) – Placido Polanco (solo), Thomas Howard (solo)

April 16 (Game 2) – Jim Edmonds (3 runs), Eli Marrero (solo)

April 18 – Edgar Renteria (solo)

April 19 – Fernando Tatis (solo), Shawon Dunston (solo)

April 20 – Eli Marrero (solo, grand slam), Rick Ankiel (solo)

April 21 – Fernando Tatis (2 run)

April 22 – Mark McGwire (2 runs), Fernando Tatis (2 runs)

April 23 – Mark McGwire (solo), Placido Polanco (grand slam)

April 25 – Edgar Renteria (solo), Mark McGwire (solo), Ray Lankford (3 runs)

April 26 – Rick Ankiel (3 runs), Jim Edmonds (solo), Fernando Tatis (2 runs)

April 27 – Eric Davis (solo), Mark McGwire (2 runs)

April 29 – Craig Paquette (2 runs)

April 30 – Jim Edmonds (solo), Mark McGwire (2 runs)

In only two games in April were there no home runs, April 7 and April 28.

Mark McGwire (Getty Images)

14 Cardinals went deep that month, led by Jim Edmonds and Mark McGwire with eight each. Fernando Tatis hit six and Edgar Renteria added five.

The current record for home runs in a month in either league is 74 by the Yankees in August 2019. The current NL record is 57 by the Dodgers in August 2020.

The Cardinals tied the 1947 New York Giants for the NL record in 2000. The Braves tied the record with 55 in May 2003, then broke it with 56 in June 2019. The Dodgers broke it again in August 2020 and continue to hold the NL record.


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