St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of April 19-25

photo: Jack Flaherty (Jeff Curry/Imagn)

Game Recaps

Monday, April 19 – Cardinals 12 at Nationals 5

The St. Louis Cardinals were in Washington, D.C. on Monday for the first game of a three game series against the Nationals.  This set was the final meetings between the two teams in the regular season.

St. Louis’ offense took it to Nationals pitching with 12 runs on 12 hits.  Nine of the 12 runs came by way of the long ball.  Paul DeJong’s solo home run in the second inning got St. Louis on the board. In the next inning the Redbirds increased their lead to 4-0 with a two run blast by Tommy Edman and a solo shot by Paul Goldschmidt.

The lead increased by two in the fourth inning on an RBI single by Matt Carpenter and a sac bunt by Jack Flaherty.  The Nationals scored twice in the bottom frame to make it 6-2.

In the top of the fifth, the Cardinals offense responded by tacking on five more runs. After Goldschmidt singled to start the inning, Nolan Arenado doubled. Arenado was out on the basepaths after a fielder’s choice ground ball by Yadier Molina.  An intentional walk to Dylan Carlson loaded the bases and DeJong made the Nationals pay the price with a grand slam to left field.  Justin Williams followed with a solo home run to center.

Paul DeJong

The Nationals added three runs in the sixth inning but the Cardinals weren’t quite finished, as Goldschmidt plated the final run on a single in the eighth.

Jack Flaherty enjoyed the bounty of his offense with a six inning outing.  The right hander surrendered five runs, but only two were earned.  He allowed six hits, fanned five and walked two.  Genesis Cabrera and Daniel Ponce de Leon combined for three scoreless innings of relief.  Flaherty earned his third win of the season.

A fielding error by Arenado to begin the sixth inning led to the three unearned runs.  It was the third baseman’s second error of the season.

Tuesday, April 20 – Cardinals 2 at Nationals 3

The Redbirds bats were quieter in the second game of the series in Nationals Park. Adam Wainwright got the start but not the advantage of the offensive bounty of the previous game.  The right hander pitched seven innings and allowed one run on five hits while punching out 10 Nationals and issuing only one free pass.  It was the the longest outing by a Cardinals starter in the young season, but he was not rewarded with a win.

Giovanny Gallegos relieved and had his worst outing of the season.  The righty was tagged with a  blown save and the loss.  Gallegos gave up two runs on one hit and three walks and was taken out with two outs in the eighth. Alex Reyes got the final out of the inning.

The Cardinals offense did manage to score two runs and take a 2-1 lead in the seventh inning.  Dylan Carlson tripled to plate Yadier Molina and Austin Dean brought him home on a sac fly.  The offense was unable to rally in the ninth after the blown save in the eighth.  The two runs were scored on six hits, with the only extra base hits being the Carlson triple and doubles by Molina and Dean.

Wednesday, April 21 – Cardinals 0 at Nationals 1

The Cardinals were blanked by the Nationals in the third game of the series on Wednesday.  The St. Louis offense had six hits again but no runs were produced. There was only one extra base hit out of the six and it came off the bat of the pitcher, Carlos Martinez.  Paul DeJong went 2-for 3 with two singles.  Nolan Arenado, Justin Williams and Andrew Knizner also provided singles.

Martinez tossed six innings and gave up one run on four hits.  The game was not a barn burner on either side offensively. The right hander fanned three and walked one.  Ryan Helsley and Alex Reyes each pitched a scoreless inning of relief.

In an effort to not be outdone by the offense, the base running and defense weren’t stellar either.  Williams was caught stealing and DeJong made a fielding error.

Thursday, April 22 – Off day

Friday, April 23 – Cardinals 5, Reds 4

The Cardinals edged the Reds in the first game of a three game series that didn’t become a nail biter until the very end.

St. Louis’ offense scored five runs on six hits.  Yadier Molina got the Cardinals on the board with a solo home run in the second inning. The offense put up a four spot in the third with starter Kwang-Hyun Kim’s first hit of his major league career, an infield single to begin the inning.  Kim was eliminated on a force out by Tommy Edman.  Dylan Carlson singled and Paul Goldschmidt doubled to plate Edman and Carlson.  Goldschmidt scored on a single by Nolan Arenado and Arenado came home on a double by Molina.  The Cardinals led 5-0.

Kwang-Hyun Kim

Kim cruised into the sixth inning with his offense having given him a five-run lead.   Kim gave up a solo home run to Nick Castellanos and retired the next two hitters before Ryan Helsley was brought in to get the final out of the inning.  Kim pitched 5 2/3 with one run allowed on five hits and eight strikeouts.  Helsley tossed a full scoreless inning and was relieved by Genesis Cabrera with two outs in the seventh.  Cabrera pitched to one batter in the seventh and then to two batters in the eighth.  Giovanny Gallegos entered with one out in the eighth and struck out the only two hitters he faced. The Cardinals held on to the 5-1 lead through the eighth inning.

The ninth didn’t go well.  Jordan Hicks began with a leadoff walk to Alex Blandino. He then got Nick Senzel to ground out.  Jonathan India hit a catchable fly ball to right center field that neither the center fielder Carlson or the right fielder Justin Williams caught. They nearly missed colliding in the process.  The catchable fly ball turned into a triple and Blandino scored.  Hicks then proceeded to walk the next hitter, Tucker Barnhart. Alex Reyes walked the next two hitters and India scored. Reyes struck out Nick Castellanos on a wild pitch that scored Barnhart. With the score 5-4, Reyes struck out Eugenio Suarez on a called third strike, an 85 mph slider that ended the game and preserved the win. Hicks was tagged with three runs and Reyes with none.

The Cardinals made no errors because the catchable fly ball triple was not ruled an error.  Edman stole his fourth base of the season.

Saturday, April 24 – Cardinals 2, Reds 0

The Cardinals blanked the Reds in the second game of the series, 2-0, with little scoring and no ninth inning drama.

Starter John Gant pitched six sterling scoreless innings with three hits allowed, five strikeouts and two walks.  Geneis Cabrera hurled a scoreless seventh and Giovanny Gallegos tossed two final scoreless innings to earn his first save.  Gant picked up his first win.

John Gant

The Cardinals got on the board in the first inning.  Tommy Edman singled and Dylan Carlson singled.  Paul Goldschmidt grounded into a force out that eliminated Carlson.  Nolan Arenado singled to score Edman from third.

The score remained 1-0 until the sixth when Tyler O’Neill drew a walk with two outs and Andrew Knizner doubled to center field to drive him home.  The Cardinals had seven hits, with Dylan Carlson going 3-for-4 with three singles.

Sunday, April 25 – Cardinals 5, Reds 2

The Cardinals went into the third game of the series looking to sweep the Reds – and they did.  The offense got the scoring started early with one run in the first inning. Tommy Edman and Dylan Carlson hit consecutive singles.  With Edman on third and Carlson on first, Paul Goldschmidt grounded into a force out and plated Edman.

In the second inning, Tyler O’Neill blasted a solo home run to put the Cardinals in the 2-0 lead.  O’Neill repeated the feat in the fifth with his second solo long ball of the day.  Andrew Knizner followed with a single and Dylan Carlson drove him in on a single.  The Cardinals increased their lead to 4-0.

That score remained until the seventh, when Jesse Winker hit a leadoff solo home run.  A second Reds run in the eighth decreased St. Louis’ lead to 4-2.

Paul Goldschmidt gave the Cardinals an insurance run in the eighth with an RBI single that scored Dylan Carlson. Carlson reached via his third hit of the day, a double to right field.

Jack Flaherty

Starter Jack Flaherty tossed seven innings, surrendering one run on three hits. The right hander fanned six.  There was a scary moment in the sixth inning when a pitch got away from Flaherty and struck Reds second baseman Jonathan India in the helmet.  India remained in the game to finish the inning but came out at the end of the Reds half of the sixth.  Reds manager David Bell was ejected for arguing with umpires about what appeared to be a warning issued by the umpires after the hit by pitch.

Jordan Hicks took the eighth and gave up a run on a walk, a wild pitch, and a single.  Alex Reyes closed the game in the ninth, but not without drama, as he allowed a double and issued two walks to load the bases before securing the final out.

Paul Goldschmidt stole his first base of the season and Tommy Edman committed his first error of the season, a throwing error on a potential double play.

Big Picture

The Cardinals finished this week better than the last one, with a 4-2 record. A sweep of the Reds over the weekend after losing the series to the Nationals at the beginning of the week helped put the team on better footing.

Starting pitching has improved from what it had been in the previous weeks.  All five starters pitched past the fifth inning, with Kim having the shortest start of 5 2/3 innings.  John Gant and Carlos Martinez each went six innings.  Adam Wainwright had a seven inning start on Tuesday and Jack Flaherty pitched twice, going six innings on Monday and seven innings on Sunday.

The bullpen remains a little shaky at times.  Twice over the weekend Alex Reyes issued multiple walks in the ninth inning.  Jordan Hicks has had issues with free passes as well.  Giovanny Gallegos had a bad outing on Tuesday but pitched well in two appearances over the weekend. The remaining bullpen has pitched fairly well.

The offense continues to be inconsistent.  A 12-run game on Monday was followed by scoring only two runs in the next two games against the Nationals.  The offense performed somewhat better against the Reds in the weekend series at home.

Yadier Molina

Yadier Molina and Dylan Carlson were the top performers over the week, though Molina was injured in Friday’s game and sat out the next two games.  Carlson is on a tear, with a .900+ OPS.  His .383 BABIP should give one pause, however, as he appears to be hitting into some very good luck recently.  Nevertheless, his move to the second spot in the lineup has paid off for now.  Tyler O’Neill returned to the starting lineup this weekend and on Sunday launched two home runs. Paul DeJong has started to hit better of late. The rest of the lineup has cooled somewhat from the previous week.

Dylan Carlson

The defense is one area that needs improvement.  A bad play on a fly ball to the outfield in Friday’s game almost cost the team a win.  There continues to be too many errors.

The Cardinals have a record of 11-10 following the sweep of the Reds and are in second place in the division, two games back of the Brewers.  A four game series against the Phillies begins the week and the Cardinals have already lost a series to Philadelphia.  The team ends the week with a series in Pittsburgh. It is not going to be easy as the Pirates have been on a roll of late and are only a half game behind St. Louis.  The Cardinals need to maintain their momentum by taking both series.

NL Central Standings

Team W L Pct GB
Milwaukee 13 8 0.619
St. Louis 11 10 0.524 2
Pittsburgh 11 11 0.500 2.5
Chicago 10 11 0.476 3
Cincinnati 9 12 0.429 4

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.

Transactions

  • 4/23 The Cardinals activated LF Tyler O’Neill from the 10-day injured list.
  • 4/23 The Cardinals placed 1B John Nogowski on the 10-day injured list. Left hand bone bruise.

Injury Report

  • RHP Miles Mikolas (shoulder) continues his rehab at the Alternate Training Site. He will throw a couple of simulated games before heading to rehab in minor league games.  The minor league season begins on May 4.  A return by the end of May for Mikolas is a “fair bet” according to Cardinals President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak.
  • CF Harrison Bader (right forearm flexor tendon) remains on the 10 day injured list. The center fielder has recently started to face live pitching and is throwing from 120 feet.  It was reported on Sunday that Bader is at full speed with baseball activities at the Alternate Site and if he progresses as planned he could return to the roster in the next 7 to 10 days.
  • LF Tyler O’Neill {groin strain} was activated from the 10-day injured list and has returned to live game action with a start in Saturday’s game against the Reds.
  • 1B John Nogowski (left hand bone bruise) was placed on the 10-day injured list as a precaution for continued discomfort in his left hand after being hit by a pitch. The IL move was made retroactive to Tuesday and Nogowski will be eligible to return by Friday, April 30.
  • C Yadier Molina has been out of the lineup since the sixth inning of Friday’s game against the Reds with a foot injury. Imaging of the foot was favorable but Molina was not in the lineup on Saturday or Sunday.  Manager Mike Shildt said post game on Sunday that they are hoping to have Molina back in the lineup on Monday.

Looking Ahead

The Phillies come to St. Louis on Monday for a four game series at Busch Stadium.  Adam Wainwright is set to make the Monday start, followed by Carlos Martinez on Tuesday, Johan Oviedo on Wednesday and Kwang-Hyun Kim on Thursday.

The Cardinals travel to Pittsburgh to face the Pirates in a weekend series.  Next, the team returns to St. Louis to take on the Mets in a four game set.

The homestand continues with a three game weekend series starting Friday, May 7 against the Rockies. The Cardinals have an off day on Monday, May 10 and will then travel to Milwaukee for three against the Brewers.

The Cardinals regular season schedule can be found here.

Blast from the Past

In this week’s installment of the Cardinals Hall of Fame series, we look at another individual who contributed to the sport in a way that is seldom recognized.

Ernest M. “Ernie” Hays was born on January 1, 1935 in St. Louis, Missouri.  What we know about Hays prior to his becoming involved with the Cardinals is that when he was four years old his family moved to University City, and then later to Houston, Missouri, from where Ernie graduated from high school in 1952. Hays began playing the piano at the age of seven and after high school attended Drury College in Springfield where he majored in music.  Hays enlisted in the Navy for four years where he learned electronics.

After he returned from the Navy, Hays earned an engineering degree at the University of Missouri-Rolla and went to work for McDonnell Aircraft in St. Louis.  In 1966 Hays moved to Western Electric Co, where he remained until 1977.

Ernie Hays

After the Cardinals installed an organ at Busch Stadium in 1971, Hays, a classically trained pianist, was hired to play during games. During 40 years as the Busch Stadium organist, Ernie also played for the football Cardinals, the Blues, and several St. Louis soccer clubs.  He did all this while holding down a full time job.  It was while playing for the St. Louis Steamers that Ernie first played “Here Comes the King”, the Anheuser-Busch jingle, and it became a St. Louis tradition from then on.

In addition to his sports performances, Hays played in the Smithsonian Museum of American History in 1983 and made three solo guest performances for the St. Louis Symphony.  He released an “Organ for All Seasons” album in 1975.

Hays had a quirky personality and was known for some off-color jokes at times.  Hayes was known for never using sheet music.  Ernie also taught piano and continued to do so up until his death.

Ernie had open heart surgery in 2006 but continued to play for the Cardinals until 2010.  At that time the Cardinals joined other baseball clubs in using recorded music exclusively.  Hays never wanted to play more modern music, once quipping that Duke Ellington would never play Lady Gaga music.

Hays was presented with the Jack Buck Award in 2010 and is a member of the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame.  He passed away on October 31, 2012 at the age of 77 and is buried at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery.  He was survived by his wife Loreta, a daughter, two sons, and five grandchildren.

Ernie Hays was a fixture at Busch Stadium and in St. Louis sports for 40 years.  The memories he gave St. Louis sports fans during that time are no small accomplishment.  For that alone he deserves to be honored and his legacy memorialized in the Cardinals Hall of Fame.


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