St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – May 16-22

photo: Nolan Gorman (Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports)

After a rough set in New York, the St. Louis Cardinals predictably fared better in Pittsburgh to salvage a 4-3 week. Rookie Nolan Gorman has been a productive addition. Our Blast From the Past recounts the biggest blowout win in Cardinals history.



Game recaps

Monday, May 16 – Cardinals at Mets (postponed)

The first game of the St. Louis Cardinals’ four-game series at the New York Mets was postponed due to rain in the forecast. It was made up in a doubleheader on Tuesday.

Tuesday, May 17 – Cardinals 1 at Mets 3 (Game 1)

The Cardinals lost to the Mets in the first game of the series, Game 1 of a doubleheader. Miles Mikolas made the start for St. Louis. The right hander pitched six innings, gave up three runs, two earned, on seven hits, fanned five and walked one. Mikolas took the loss, his second of the season.

The 27th man for the day, Packy Naughton, threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings of relief. Nick Wittgren got the final out of the eighth.

The Mets took an early 1-0 lead in the second, then added two in the third.. That score held until the eighth inning when the Cardinals scored their only run on a solo home run by Paul Goldschmidt.

The offense was held to one run on six hits. Dylan Carlson went 2-for-4 with a double and a single. Tommy Edman, Tyler O’Neill and Brendan Donovan contributed singles.

Donovan made a fielding error.

Tuesday, May 17 – Cardinals 4 at Mets 3 (Game 2)

The Cardinals were the victors over the Mets in the second game of the twin bill. Steven Matz took the mound for St. Louis. The left hander pitched five innings, gave up two runs on three hits and fanned seven.

Andre Pallante took over in the sixth but could only get one out before walking the bases loaded. Genesis Cabrera was able to get the final two outs without damage and returned to throw a scoreless seventh. Ryan Helsley surrendered one unearned run in the eighth. Giovanny Gallegos tossed a scoreless ninth. Helsley got the win but was also tagged for a blown save. Gallegos earned his seventh save.

The Mets got on the board first with one run in the first inning. The Cardinals tied it up 1-1 in the fourth. Brendan Donovan led off with a single, then scored on a double by Paul Goldschmidt.

The Mets answered in the home half of the fourth with one run to retake the lead. St. Louis put up two runs in the fifth. Andrew Knizner singled and scored on a Tommy Edman triple. Edman scored on a double by Goldschmidt.

Paul Goldschmidt

The Mets knotted the game up at 3-3 in the eighth. In the ninth, Brendan Donovan walked, stole second base, and advanced to third on a passed ball. Tyler O’Neill drove Donovan in on a single to put the Cardinals up 4-3. Gallegos held off the Mets in the bottom of the ninth.

Goldschmidt went 3-for-4 with two RBI. Knizner was 2-for-4.

On the base paths, Harrison Bader and Edman each stole their ninth base of the season. Donovan swiped his first bag of the season. In the field, Knizner had a passed ball.

Wednesday, May 18 – Cardinals 4 at Mets 11

The Cardinals were shellacked by the Mets in the third game of the series at Citi Field on Wednesday. Jordan Hicks started for St. Louis and lasted four innings. The right hander gave up two runs on three hits, struck out five and walked three.

Jake Walsh relieved in the fifth but surrendered four runs without recording an out. Nick Wittgren replaced Walsh and threw a scoreless inning. Drew VerHagen hurled two scoreless innings. T.J. McFarland coughed up five runs in the eighth to turn it into a blowout. Walsh took the loss.

The Mets took a 2-0 lead in the first inning. The Cardinals tied it in the second on a two-run single by Albert Pujols.

After the Mets put up four runs on Walsh, the Redbirds made it 6-4 on a two-run long ball from Nolan Arenado in the eighth. The Mets then hammered McFarland for five runs in the home eighth to blow the game open.

Arenado was 2-for-4 with two RBI. Dylan Carlson went 3-for-4 and Pujols was 2-for-4 with two RBI.

On the base paths, Pujols stole his first base of the season. Edmundo Sosa was caught stealing for the first time this season.

Thursday, May 19 – Cardinals 6 at Mets 7 (10 innings)

The Cardinals were edged by the Mets in final game of the four-game set. The two teams went back and forth but the Mets prevailed in 10th inning walkoff

Starter Dakota Hudson pitched 4 2/3 innings, gave up four runs on five hits, struck out two and walked two. Nick Wittgren surrendered one run in relief in the fifth. Andre Pallante followed with two scoreless innings. Genesis Cabrera and Ryan Helsley each threw a scoreless inning. Giovanny Gallegos surrendered two runs, one earned, in the 10th to take the loss, his second. He was also charged with the blown save.

The Mets scored first and took a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Juan Yepez hit a solo home run in the second inning, and Paul Goldschmidt hit a solo home run in the third to tie.

The Cardinals went up 3-2 in the fifth on doubles by Tommy Edman and Goldschmidt. The Mets jumped ahead 5-3 in the fifth.

St. Louis got one run back in the seventh. Edman walked and later scored on a sac fly double play by Goldschmidt. Goldschmidt tied it at 5-5 on an RBI single in the ninth.

The game went into the 10th and the Cardinals went up 6-5. Juan Yepez made the final out in the ninth and was pinch run for by Corey Dickerson as the ghost runner in the 10th. Dylan Carlson singled and Pujols hit into a double play that scored Dickerson.

In the home half of the 10th, with the ghost runner on second for the Mets, Gallegos gave up a two-run walk off home run to Pete Alonso on the second pitch he threw.

Goldschmidt went 3-for-4 with four RBI. Harrison Bader was 3-for-5 and Yepez was 3-for-5 with an RBI. Brendan Donovan was 2-for-4.

On the base paths, Bader stole his 10th and 11th bases of the season, tops in the NL.

Friday, May 20 – Cardinals 5 at Pirates 3

The Cardinals beat the Pirates on Friday night at PNC Park in the first of a three-game weekend series. Adam Wainwright started for St. Louis. The veteran right hander pitched seven innings and gave up one run on four hits, struck out three and walked three to earn his fifth win of the season.

Adam Wainwright

In the eighth, Genesis Cabrera got one out but surrendered two runs, one earned. Giovanny Gallegos took it from there to earn a five-out save, his eighth.

St Louis took a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Tommy Edman singled, Paul Goldschmidt singled, and Edman scored on a fly out double play by Nolan Arenado.

In the sixth, the Cardinals increased the lead to 5-0. Arenado drew a walk and Juan Yepez singled. Nolan Gorman walked to load the bases. Dylan Carlson singled to plate Arenado. Yadier Molina singled and both Yepez and Gorman scored. Harrison Bader singled and drove in Carlson.

The Pirates offense finally got into the game in the seventh and eighth. A solo home run in the seventh made it 5-1. Pittsburgh posted two more in the eighth to bring it to 5-3. Gallegos held the Pirates from there.

Molina went 2-for-4 with two RBI. Carlson was 2-for-4 with an RBI. Edman was 2-for-5. Bader drove in one run.

In the field, Arenado made a throwing error.

Saturday, May 21 – Cardinals 5 at Pirates 4

The Cardinals held off the Pirates for a one-run win on Saturday in the second game of the series. The Cardinals called up pitching prospect Matthew Liberatore to take the start. In his major league debut the left hander pitched 4 2/3 innings, gave up four runs on seven hits, struck out three and walked two.

Drew VerHagen relieved and threw 2 1/3 scoreless innings to earn the win, his first of the season. Andre Pallante and Ryan Helsley each tossed a scoreless inning. Helsley earned his second save.

The Cardinals put up four runs in the second inning. Juan Yepez walked, Dylan Carlson singled, and Yadier Molina reached on a fielder’s choice with a fielding error, which scored Yepez. Edmundo Sosa singled to plate Carlson. Paul Goldschmidt drove in Molina and Sosa on a double.

Paul Goldschmidt

The Pirates answered with two runs in the home second. In the fourth, the Cardinals increased the lead to 5-2 on an RBI single by Tommy Edman.

Pittsburgh added two runs in the in the fifth to cut the lead to 5-4. Both teams were held scoreless for the remainder of the game.

Goldschmidt went 4-for-5 with two RBI. Edman and Sosa each plated a run.

Sunday, May 22 – Cardinals 18 at Pirates 4

For the second Sunday in a row, the Cardinals blew out their opponent and a position player pitched the ninth. The Cardinals rocked the Pirates for 18 runs in a game that was a shutout until the final inning.

The Cardinals opened with a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Tommy Edman singled and scored on a Nolan Gorman double. St. Louis went to town offensively in the second with six runs on the board. Edmundo Sosa singled and Corey Dickerson walked. Harrison Bader plated Sosa on a single. Edman doubled to score Dickerson and Bader. Gorman singled and Nolan Arenado drove in Edman on a sac fly. Juan Yepez drew a walk. Brendan Donovan double to drive in Gorman and Yepez. The Cardinals went up 7-0.

In the fourth, St. Louis increased the lead to 11-0. Arenado singled, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and scored on a single by Juan Yepez. Brendan Donovan singled and Sosa walked. With the bases juiced, Dickerson doubled to plate Yepez and Donovan. Sosa scored on a single by Andrew Knizner.

Albert Pujols hit his 682nd home career home run in the fifth to make it 12-0. An RBI double by Sosa increased it to 13-0.

In the ninth, the Pirates brought in a position player, Josh VanMeter, to pitch. Knizner singled. After an 8 minute rain delay, Harrison Bader thumped a two-run home run to left field to widen the blowout to 15-0. Edman doubled, Gorman walked, and Pujols hit his 683rd home run, a three-run shot for an 18-0 edge by St. Louis.

In the home half of the ninth, the Cardinals sent Yadier Molina to the mound. Molina gave up a solo home run, one run on a double, single and RBI ground out. With two outs, Molina surrendered a two-run home run, then got the final out on fly out to center.

Albert Pujols

Edman went 3-for-6 with two RBI and three runs scored. Gorman was 3-for-3 with an RBI and three runs scored. Pujols homered twice with four RBI and two runs scored. Donovan was 3-for-6 with two RBI. Sosa was 2-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored. Knizner was 2-for-5 with an RBI. Bader was 2-for-5 with three RBI and two runs scored.

On the base paths, Edman stole his 10th base of the season. In the field, Edman made a throwing error.

NL Central Standings

Team W L Pct GB
Milwaukee 26 15 0.634
St. Louis 23 18 0.561 3
Chicago 16 24 0.400 9.5
Pittsburgh 16 24 0.400 9.5
Cincinnati 12 28 0.300 13.5

The Big Picture

The Cardinals lost 3 of 4 to the Mets to begin the period and ended with a series sweep of the Pirates, for a 4-3 record.

The three losses to the Mets were due to inconsistent offense and pitching failures. The offense couldn’t figure out Mets pitcher Trevor Williams in the first game of the doubleheader. They faced ace Max Scherzer on Wednesday and scored more runs againt him than Williams (2 vs 0) but lost big due to a mound failure. The offense did better against Chris Bassitt but a poor outing by Gallegos at the end doomed the Cardinals on Thursday. The only win for St. Louis in New York was a one-run decision in the second game of the Tuesday doubleheader.

The team bounced back against a weaker opponent in the Pirates with way more offense and less pitching issues. The blowout on Sunday inflated the Cardinals run differential and saved what began as a very poor week of offense and pitching.

Nolan Gorman

Paul Goldschmidt continues to be hot at the plate and ended the week with an OPS of 1.372.  The Cardinals called up Nolan Gorman for the Pirates series and he did not disappoint, either at the plate or in the field. In three games Gorman has an OPS of 1.283 and made some very good plays at second. Tommy Edman moved to shortstop to accommodate Gorman and was another top performer with an OPS of .923. Rounding out the top performers are Dylan Carlson (.895) and Brendan Donovan (.881).

Nolan Arenado has been in a deep slump, ending the week with an OPS of only .435. Yadier Molina entertained us all with a pitching appearance in the ninth inning of the Sunday blowout, but at the plate he has been a disappointment, with an OPS of just .352.

Injuries have also plagued the team. Tyler O’Neill is on the injured list with a shoulder impingement, and Carlson is set to have an MRI for a hamstring issue. The outfield has been hit the worst, with O’Neill out, Carlson maybe out, and Harrison Bader missing most of one game with a medication reaction. Bader came back but the issue caused Edman to have to play a few innings in center, which led to an inside the park home run that might not have occurred had O’Neill and Bader been there. To make matters worse, starter Steven Matz has a shoulder problem that caused him to exit Sunday’s game after throwing only four pitches.

Three members of the starting rotation, Mikolas, Wainwright and Hudson, continue to pitch. Hicks’ continuation in the rotation is a question and Matthew Liberatore is a new option. Now Matz appears to be injured.

The bullpen is in flux. Whitley, Woodford, and Walsh have been sent down to the minors. Angel Rondon was recalled and relieved Matz after his injury. Liberatore was sent back down after his start, but this was before Matz left the game on Sunday. The bright spot in the pen has been Ryan Helsley. He has pitched better than Gallegos, who has scuffled recently. Other members of the bullpen have been hit or miss.

Ryan Helsley

What could have been a dicey week of baseball was saved by the Pirates being the Pirates, which is not a good team. The Cardinals have managed to keep themselves within three games of the Brewers in the NL Central. How long that will last will depend on St. Louis getting their offense and pitching on track.

This coming week St. Louis plays two games against Toronto, then the Brewers for a four-game series. This week will be crucial for the Cardinals’ hopes to keep up with or pass the Brewers in the division.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.

Transactions

  • 5/17 The Cardinals recalled LHP Packy Naughton from the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 5/18 The Cardinals optioned LHP Packy Naughton to the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 5/20 The Cardinals selected the contract of 2B Nolan Gorman from the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 5/20 The Cardinals transferred RHP Jack Flaherty from the 10-day injured list to the 60-day injured list.
  • 5/20 The Cardinals placed LF Tyler O’Neill on the 10-day injured list. Right shoulder impingement.
  • 5/21 The Cardinals selected the contract of LHP Matthew Liberatore from the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 5/21 The Cardinals optioned RHP Jake Walsh to the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 5/21 The Cardinals designated RHP T.J. Zeuch for assignment.
  • 5/22 The Cardinals optioned LHP Matthew Liberatore to the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 5/22 The Cardinals recalled RHP Angel Rondon from the Memphis Redbirds.

Injury Report

  • RHP Jack Flaherty (right shoulder) was transferred from the 10-day IL to the 60-day IL to make room for the addition of Nolan Gorman to the big league roster. Flaherty continues to throw bullpen sessions and will throw a few more before facing live hitters. If all goes well with the live hitters, the right hander will progress to a rehab assignment. Flaherty’s return is expected some time in early June.
  • RHP Alex Reyes (frayed right labrum) remains on the 60 day IL. Reyes suffered shoulder soreness after throwing and has been shut down. The right hander had an MRI and is seeking a second opinion. The team awaits the results of the second opinion before deciding on a next move.
  • LF Tyler O’Neill (right shoulder impingement) was placed on the 10-day injured list. The outfielder had been struggling at the plate with a .195 average in 32 games. The projected return is early June.
  • RF Dylan Carlson (left hamstring tightness) was removed from Saturday’s game against the Pirates. The outfielder is reportedly scheduled for an MRI. At this time he is considered day to day.
  • CF Harrison Bader was a late scratch from Saturday’s lineup. The outfielder reportedly suffered a reaction to an anti-inflammatory he had taken for a sore heel. Bader made a two inning appearance in CF later in the game as a defensive replacement but did not take an at bat. He returned to the starting lineup for Sunday’s game.
  • LHP Steven Matz (left shoulder stiffness) was removed from Sunday’s game after throwing four pitches. Matz had reported some tightness in his shoulder prior to the game and showed discomfort while pitching to the first hitter. The left hander was removed from the game and replaced by newly recalled Angel Rondon. A Monday MRI is ahead.

Looking Ahead

Following the series in Pittsburgh, the team returns to St. Louis for two against the Toronto Blue Jays. Miles Mikolas gets the start on Monday. No pitcher has been announced for Tuesday.

After an off day, the homestand continues with a four-game series with the Brewers. The homestand ends with three against the Padres.

Following the homestand, the Cardinals travel to Wrigley Field to play the Cubs for the first time this season. After the four-game set ends on Sunday, June 5, the Cardinals travel to Florida to face the Tampa Bay Rays in a three game interleague series.

After the team leaves Florida they return to St. Louis for a six game homestand. The first three will be against the Reds.

The regular season schedule can be found here.

Blast From the Past

The Cardinals slugged their way to two blowout wins in a week, both on Sunday games and both with position players pitching in the ninth inning. In honor of the dual blowouts, this week’s Blast remembers the Cardinals biggest blowout win in franchise history, which occurred almost a century ago.

On July 6, 1929, the Cardinals played the Philadelphia Phillies in a doubleheader at the Baker Bowl in Philadelphia. St. Louis lost the first game of the twin bill 10-6. The second game was a 28-6 blowout of the Phillies. This game remains the biggest victory margin for the Cardinals in franchise history.

Billy Southworth

At this time, St. Louis was led by player-manager Billy Southworth. Southworth replaced Bill McKechnie, who left the Cardinals after the team lost the 1928 World Series to the Yankees. Southworth’s 1929 Cardinals won only 43 of their first 88 games, and two weeks after this doubleheader was played, Southworth was sent back to the team he managed the previous season, the Rochester Red Wings, and the Cardinals rehired McKechnie.

The Cardinals starting lineup for this second game was as follows:  CF Taylor Douthit, 2B Carey Selph, 3B Andy High, 1B Jim Bottomley, LF Chick Hafey, RF Wattle Holm, C Jimmie Wilson, SS Charlie Gelbert and P Fred Frankhouse.

The starting lineup for the Phillies was: CF Denny Sothern, LF Lefty O’Doul, RF Chuck Klein, 3B Pinky Whitney, 2B Fresco Thompson, SS Tommy Stevenow, C Spud Davis and P Claude Willoughby.

St. Louis starter Frankhouse pitched the entire game. The Phillies started with Willoughby but used three additional pitchers, Elmer Miller, Luther Roy, and June Greene. Willoughby and Miller both pitched in the first inning but recorded no outs. Roy and Greene tossed 4 1/3 and 4 2/3 innings, respectively.

The Cardinals offense pounded Willoughby, Miller, and Roy for 10 runs in the top of the first inning. The Cardinals sent all nine players to the plate and the top five hitters returned before the inning ended.

Jim Bottomley

Douthit and Selph walked. High, Bottomley, and Hafey each singled to the outfield. Douthit, Selph and High scored. Holm walked and Willoughby was out of the game. Miller entered in relief.

Miller walked Wilson and Gelbert, Bottomley and Hafey scored. Miller came out and Roy was brought in.

Frankhouse and Douthit singled, Holm and Gelbert scored. Selph made the first out on a sac bunt. High made the second out on a fielder’s choice. Bottomley singled to plate Frankhouse and High. Hafey made the third out on a ground out to third. When the inning ended, the Cardinals led 10-0.

The Phillies scored two runs on Frankhouse in the home half of the first on a single to Sothern, two walks to O’Doul and Whitney, and a two run single to Thompson.

The Cardinals and Phillies each scored one run in the second inning. In the fourth, the Cardinals scored two and the Phillies plated one.

In the fifth, the Cardinals busted out for 10 more runs. Roy was still on the mound for Philadelphia. The Phillies pitcher walked Bottomley, gave up a double to Hafey and got the first out on a sac fly by Holm that scored Bottomley. Roy then allowed a single to Wilson that scored Hafey and then a double to Gelbert. Roy was done and Greene came in to relieve.

Greene’s line began like this: Single to Frankhouse, Wilson and Gelbert scored. Single to Douthit, walk to Eddie Delker (pinch ran for Selph in the fourth). Hit by pitch of High, Frankhouse scored. Grand slam by Bottomley. Hafey doubled; Holm singled. Wilson made the second out on a ground out that scored Hafey. Gelbert made the final out on a ground out to short. The inning ended with 10 runs scored and the Cardinals leading 23-4.

Chick Hafey

Neither team scored for the next 1 1/2 innings. Greene gave up five runs in the eighth on an RBI single by High and a second grand slam, this one off the bat of Hafey.

Frankhouse gave up two more runs, one on a sac fly by O’Doul in the bottom of the eighth and the final one on an RBI double in the ninth by Thevenow. Final score: 28-6.

The Cardinals played the Phillies in two more games in that series. One was a 6-5 loss and the final one was a 7-4 win for St. Louis. The Cardinals finished that season in fourth place in the NL with a record of 78-74-2.

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