St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook: Week of April 23-29

photo: Jedd Gyorko (Benny Sieu/USA TODAY Sports)

In this week’s St. Louis Cardinals news, the club lost its momentum in winning the Mets series by being swept in Pittsburgh over the weekend. Jedd Gyroko has hit well since coming off the disabled list. In our history feature, top home run hitting Aprils are remembered.


Game Recaps

Monday, April 23 – Off day


Tuesday, April 24 – Cardinals 5, Mets 6 (10 innings)

Kolten Wong (USA TODAY Sports Images)

In the first of a three game series at Busch Stadium, the Cardinals were defeated in extra innings.  Luke Weaver made the start, and it wasn’t a good one.  The righty pitched 4 2/3 innings and gave up four runs on two hits.  Six walks were Weaver’s undoing.  Weaver struck out four and gave up a three run home run to Yoenis Cespedes just prior to being removed in the fifth inning.  Dominic Leone finished the fifth inning and returned to pitch a scoreless sixth.  Jordan Hicks pitched the seventh, and began the eighth, but gave up the tying run and was charged with a blown save.  Luke Gregerson got the final two outs of the eighth without further damage.  Greg Holland added a scoreless ninth.  Matt Bowman pitched the 10th and gave up the winning run to take the loss.

The Cardinals took the lead in the first on a two-run home run by Tommy Pham, who went 3-for-3.  In the fourth, Kolten Wong hit an RBI double, and Weaver plated a second run on a single.  The fifth and final Redbirds run came home on a double by Paul DeJong in the fifth.  Wong went 2-for-4, both doubles.


Wednesday, April 25 – Cardinals 9, Mets 1

The Redbirds fared better in the second game of the home series against the Mets.  All St. Louis’ runs were bunched up in the third, fourth, and fifth innings.  The first run scored on a Dexter Fowler sac fly.  Marcell Ozuna plated two on a single to left.  In the fourth, Paul DeJong scored on a sac bunt by Michael Wacha.  Dexter Fowler drew a bases loaded walk for one more.  Jose Martinez grounded into a force out to score Wacha and Harrison Bader came home on a fielding error.  In the fifth, Jedd Gyorko blasted a two run home run to left center field.  DeJong and Kolten Wong were both 2-for-4.

Michael Wacha pitched a strong game, tossing six innings of one run baseball.  The right hander allowed five hits, fanned eight, and walked one.  John Brebbia added three innings of scoreless relief to earn his first major league save.  Wacha picked up his fourth win of the season.

In the field, Yadier Molina made a throwing error.


Thursday, April 25 – -Cardinals 4, Mets 3 (13 innings)

John Gant (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

The Cardinals edged the Mets in the rubber game in extra innings to take the series.  Carlos Martinez, like teammate Wacha the day previous, pitched six innings of one run baseball.  He did not, however, get the win.  Martinez allowed three hits, struck out three and issued no walks.  Dominic Leone surrendered one run in the seventh.  Bud Norris and Greg Holland pitched a scoreless eighth and ninth, respectively.  Luke Gregerson started the 10th, gave up one run and was removed with two outs.  Matt Bowman got the final out of the 10th.  Newly recalled John Gant then pitched three flawless innings to earn the win.

The offense didn’t score until the seventh inning as the Mets had a two run lead.  Marcell Ozuna’s RBI fly ball single to right field put the Redbirds on the board.  In the eighth, Tommy Pham singled to left to plate the tying run.  After the Mets regained the lead, Jose Martinez tied it up again in the 10th on an RBI double.  Finally, in the 13th, Dexter Fowler walked it off for the Cardinals with an RBI single to right field.

On the base paths, Pham was caught stealing for the fourth time in the season.


Friday, April 27 – Cardinals 5 at Pirates 6 (11 innings)

Miles Mikolas (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

The Cardinals opened a three game series in Pittsburgh on Friday. Though it began well for the Redbirds, their third extra innings game in the week ended badly.  The offense put up five runs by the fifth inning and took a 5-0 lead.   It started with a third inning solo home run by Jedd Gyorko.  Tommy Pham doubled in a run, and Marcell Ozuna plated a run on single.  In the fourth Kolten Wong’s sac fly put a fourth run on the board.  Ozuna singled again in the fifth for his second RBI and finished 3-for-5.

Starter Miles Mikolas pitched seven innings.  The right hander gave up two runs on six hits, while fanning seven and walking none.  Bud Norris tossed a scoreless eighth.  The wheels came off the bus in the ninth, when Greg Holland couldn’t record an out, and surrendered three runs, two earned, to send it to extra innings.  Holland was charged with the blown save.  Dominic Leone, Tyler Lyons, and Matt Bowman combined to get the Redbirds through the ninth without further damage.  Bowman returned to toss a scoreless 10th.  Jordan Hicks pitched the 11th and gave up the walk off single.

Kolten Wong was caught stealing for the first time in the season.  Jose Martinez and Tommy Pham each made fielding errors.


Saturday, April 28 – Cardinals 2 at Pirates 6

Things did not get better for the Cardinals in Game 2 of the series.   Starter Jack Flaherty pitched five innings and gave up three runs on four hits.  The young right hander struck out two and walked four.  It was not Flaherty’s best outing.  Dominic Leone pitched a scoreless sixth.  Luke Gregerson started the seventh and it did not go well.  Gregerson surrendered two runs without recording an out.  Tyler Lyons allowed the two inherited runners to score and did get an out. Mike Mayers gave up two singles but recorded the final two outs.  Mayers returned for the eighth and allowed an unearned run due to a fielding error by Jose Martinez.    Flaherty took the loss.

St. Louis’ offense scored one run in the third inning, and one run in the sixth.  The third inning run came home on a double by Tommy Pham.  In the sixth, Marcell Ozuna had an RBI single.  Paul DeJong was 2-for-4.

Pham and Martinez committed fielding errors for the second consecutive game.  Yadier Molina had a passed ball.


Sunday, April 29 – Cardinals 0 at Pirates 5

Luke Weaver (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

In the rubber game of the road series, St. Louis endeavored to avoid the sweep, but that failed miserably.  The Cardinals were kept off the bases entirely until the seventh inning by a Pirates pitcher making his major league debut, 26-year old Nick Kingham.  Paul DeJong ended the perfect game in the seventh with a single to left field.  Yadier Molina singled in the eighth and Kolten Wong’s pinch double in the ninth was the only extra base hit.

Luke Weaver pitched well and didn’t deserve his fate, the loss.  Weaver finally succumbed in the sixth, giving up three singles and a walk for two runs.  Jordan Hicks came in with two men on and one out and allowed both runners to score before getting the final two outs.  All four runs were charged to Weaver.  Luke Gregerson pitched a scoreless seventh.  Greg Holland surrendered another run in the eighth.


Big Picture

The week started out well, with the Cardinals taking two out of three in a close series with a strong Mets team.  The week ended badly, however, as the Redbirds traveled to Pittsburgh and were swept in three games.  The first was a bullpen fail, specifically by Greg Holland in the ninth inning.  The remaining two were a mixture of lackluster offense, poor defense, and pitching not quite up to par.  Both Tommy Pham and Jose Martinez had defensive issues.  Martinez is learning a new position and is struggling with it, but Pham is usually a top notch defender but had a bad weekend for some reason in the field.  The cold weather in Pittsburgh was no help for anyone.

Bud Norris (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

Starting pitching has been good for the most part, but the bullpen continues to have issues in the late innings.  Bud Norris has been a standout, but Greg Holland still has not pitched consistently.  The defense took a turn for the worse in the Pirates series.  Offense, especially in the last two games, was practically non-existent.   Matt Carpenter and Dexter Fowler continue to struggle, and Yadier Molina had a poor week offensively.  Pham and DeJong have been good, and Jose Martinez had some short struggles at the plate but is holding his own.  Marcell Ozuna is showing signs of snapping out of his funk.

The Cardinals ended the week 2-4 and have a record of 15-12 on the season.  The Pirates sweep dropped the team from first place to third place behind the Pirates and the Cubs (who swept the Brewers over the weekend).


NL Central Standings
W L % GB
Pittsburgh 17 11 0.607
Chicago 15 10 0.600 0.5
St. Louis 15 12 0.556 1.5
Milwaukee 16 13 0.552 1.5
Cincinnati 7 21 0.250 10

Who’s Hot

Over the past six games (does not contain recent Sunday game results):

  • Jedd Gyorko has an OPS of 1.455 in 11 plate appearances. He has two HRs and three RBI.
  • Tommy Pham has an OPS of 1.313. He has one HR, three doubles, and five RBI.
  • Paul DeJong has an OPS of .970. He has one HR, three doubles, and four RBI.
  • Carlos Martinez has an ERA of 1.50 and a WHIP of 0.67.
  • Michael Wacha has an ERA of 1.50 and a WHIP of 1.00.
  • Miles Mikolas has an ERA of 1.93 and a WHIP of 0.79.
  • Bud Norris has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.33.
  • Tyler Lyons has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.00.

Who’s Not

Over the past six games (does not contain recent Sunday games):

  • Yadier Molina has an OPS of .354.
  • Matt Carpenter has an OPS of .349.
  • Dexter Fowler has an OPS of .492.
  • Luke Weaver has an ERA of 7.71 and a WHIP of 1.71.
  • Jordan Hicks has an ERA of 9.00 and a WHIP of 2.50.
  • Luke Gregerson has an ERA of 20.25 and WHIP of 4.50.

A Look at Cardinals Lineups

The lineups over the last six games (does not contain recent Sunday game):

  • The leadoff hitter has been Matt Carpenter for three games and Tommy Pham for three games.
  • The number two hitter has been Pham for two games, Dexter Fowler for two games, Carpenter for one game, and Yadier Molina for one game.
  • The number three hitter has been Jose Martinez.
  • The cleanup hitter has been Marcell Ozuna for five games, and Fowler for one game.
  • The fifth hitter has been Molina for four games, Fowler for one game, and Paul DeJong for one game.
  • The sixth hitter has been DeJong for three games, Fowler for two games, and Tyler O’Neill for one game.
  • The seventh hitter has been DeJong for two games, Kolten Wong for two games, and Jedd Gyorko for two games.
  • The eighth hitter has been Wong for four games, Harrison Bader for one game, and Francisco Pena for one game.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.


Transactions

  • 4/25 The Cardinals sent RHP Sam Tuivailala on a rehab assignment to the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 4/26 The Cardinals optioned RHP John Brebbia to the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 4/26 The Cardinals recalled RHP John Gant from the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 4/27 The Cardinals sent LHP Ryan Sherriff on a rehab assignment to the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 4/27 The Cardinals optioned RHP John Gant to the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 4/27 The Cardinals recalled RHP Mike Mayers from the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 4/28 The Cardinals optioned OF Tyler O’Neill to the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 4/28 The Cardinals recalled RHP Jack Flaherty from the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 4/29 The Cardinals optioned RHP Jack Flaherty to the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 4/29 The Cardinals recalled LHP Austin Gomber from the Memphis Redbirds.

Injury Report

Sam Tuivailala (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

RHP Sam Tuivailala (left knee strain) continues on the 10 day DL.  The right hander was sent to the Memphis Redbirds on a rehab assignment early in the week.  Tuivailala is being stretched out in Memphis in order to be available if called upon to pitch multiple innings and has already made two appearances.

LHP Ryan Sherriff (fractured right toe) continues on the 10 day DL.  Sherriff was sent to Memphis on a rehab assignment and will likely remain in Memphis for the time being. He has pitched twice for the Redbirds

LHP Brett Cecil (left shoulder strain, right foot tendinitis) remains on the DL.  Cecil has sent to the Jupiter spring training facility to begin rehab.  No timetable for his return has been set.

Adam Wainwright (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

RHP Adam Wainwright was placed on the 10 day DL retroactive to April 20.  Right elbow inflammation.   Wainwright could return to the rotation next week.  His spot in the rotation will come up during the Cubs series over the weekend.

RF Dexter Fowler took a tumble into the stands in Saturday’s game.  The outfielder was attempting to catch a foul ball and tumbled over the railing.  Fowler is nursing a sore wrist and was out of the lineup for Sunday’s game.  The injury is not expected to be serious and Fowler is listed as day to day.

CF Tommy Pham suffered a contusion when he struck his head with his bat, missing one game and part of another.


Looking Ahead

The Cardinals have an off day Monday, and then begin a two game interleague series with the White Sox at Busch Stadium on Tuesday.  Michael Wacha is scheduled to make the Monday start, followed by Carlos Martinez on Wednesday.

After a second off day on Thursday, the Cubs come to St. Louis for a weekend series.  No pitchers have been announced, but Miles Mikolas should make the Friday start.   Either Adam Wainwright or a replacement starter will likely make the Saturday start followed by Luke Weaver on Sunday. On the following Monday, the Twins come to town.

Next Wednesday is a travel day for the Redbirds, as they fly to the West Coast for a four game series in San Diego.  After another off day on Monday, May 17, the Cardinals head to Minnesota for the second half of the home and home series against the Twins

The Cardinals’ regular season schedule can be found here.


Blast from the Past

With the off day Monday, April 30, the Cardinals have now completed the month of April.  For the month, the Cardinals as a team hit 33 home runs, which put them second in the NL behind the Colorado Rockies, who have hit 34.  At the same time last season, the Cardinals had hit 24 home runs.

One Cardinals team set the major league record for most home runs hit in April.  The 2000 St. Louis Cardinals set the record at 50 home runs on April 26, 2000.  They finished the month of April with 55 home runs, which remains the major league record.  The record will not likely be broken in 2018, as the current major league leader, the Yankees, have 41, with one game left to play in April.

That 2000 team had an offense that included sluggers Mark McGwire and Jim Edmonds.  On April 26, 2000, three Cardinals hit home runs in the 7-0 defeat of the Milwaukee Brewers.  Pitcher Rick Ankiel hit his second home run of the season, a three run blast in the fourth inning.  Jim Edmonds added his seventh of the season, a solo shot in the fifth. Finally, Fernando Tatis launched his sixth of the season, also in the fifth inning, a two run shot.  The team hit a total of 235 home runs that season, which put them fifth in the major leagues behind the home run leading Astros, who hit a team total of 249.  Those 235 home runs in 2000 is the current Cardinals team record for most in a single season.

That 2000 team ended the season in first place in the NL Central, won the NLDS 3-0 over the Braves, but lost the NLCS in four games to the Mets.


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