photo: Kolten Wong (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports)
In this week’s St. Louis Cardinals news, the club logged a 5-0 week, sweeping both Chicago clubs at home in some very competitive games. Kolten Wong’s bat is heating up. In our history feature, 3,000-hit club member Albert Pujols is remembered.
Monday, April 30 – Off day
The St. Louis Cardinals edged the White Sox in interleague play at Busch on Tuesday. Starter Michael Wacha went five innings, giving up two runs on five hits. The right hander struck out three and walked three. Luke Gregerson, Jordan Hicks, Dominic Leone, and Bud Norris each pitched a scoreless inning. Norris earned the win, his first of the season.
The Cardinals got on the board in the first inning on a solo home run by Tommy Pham, but did not score again until the ninth, down 2-1. Matt Carpenter’s solo home run tied the game, and Yadier Molina singled to drive in the winning run. Carpenter and Molina were both 2-for-4.
Marcell Ozuna stole his first base of the season. Kolten Wong was caught stealing for the second time.
The Cardinals defeated the White Sox in Game 2 of the home and home series by the same score as the previous game. It was scoreless until the sixth when Jose Martinez hit a solo home run. Dexter Fowler added a two run shot in the seventh. Yadier Molina went 2-for-3.
Carlos Martinez won his third game of the season, pitching 7 1/3 innings and giving up one run on five hits. The right hander fanned five and walked two. Reliever Dominic Leone allowed one run. Bud Norris got the final out of the eighth and returned for a scoreless ninth to earn the four out save, his sixth.
Tommy Pham stole his sixth base of the season. Molina was caught stealing for the first time. In the field, Molina had a passed ball.
Thursday, May 3 – Off day
The Cardinals won their third consecutive 3-2 game, this time over the Cubs. Starter Miles Mikolas pitched brilliantly, tossing seven scoreless innings, allowing seven hits, striking out four and issuing no free passes. Tyler Lyons faced one batter and got the out. Dominic Leone suffered an injury while warming up and never faced a batter. Luke Gregerson secured the final two outs of the eighth. Bud Norris pitched the ninth and gave up two runs on three hits but earned his seventh save.
The Redbirds scored all three runs and took the 3-0 lead in the second inning via a three run home run by Tommy Pham. It was his only hit. Jose Martinez was 2-for-4. Marcell Ozuna went 3-for-3 and Jedd Gyorko was 2-for-4.
Paul DeJong made a throwing error and Martinez a fielding error.
The Cardinals blanked the Cubs in extra innings on Saturday to win the three-game series. The Cubs initially took a four run lead, but the Redbirds tied it up with four in the fourth. Greg Garcia drove in the first run on a sac fly. The second run scored on a force attempt and missed catch error by Addison Russell. Matt Carpenter then hit a double to left to score two. The Cubs retook the lead but Marcell Ozuna’s double in the ninth tied sent it into extra innings. In the bottom of the 10th Kolten Wong hit a two run home run for the walk off victory. Jose Martinez was the only Cardinal with multiple hits, as he was 2-for-5.
Starter Luke Weaver went only four innings, giving up four runs on six hits while fanning two and walking one. Ryan Sherriff followed with two innings of relief, surrendering one run on two hits. Matt Bowman allowed a run in his one inning pitched, while Greg Holland and Jordan Hicks each added a scoreless inning. Bud Norris tossed 2/3 scoreless but was taken out with an arm injury and replaced by Tyler Lyons, who finished the 10th to earn his first win.
Tommy Pham stole his seventh base of the season, and Harrison Bader stole his fourth base of the season.
Yadier Molina was hit by a foul ball in the ninth inning and had to come out of the game. The injury was in the groin area and he was taken to a hospital and underwent surgery to relieve pressure. Molina was placed on the DL on Sunday and is expected to be out for a month.
It was a long, tough slog and all seemed lost when the Cubs finally broke through to take the lead in the top half of the 14th inning. The Cardinals and the Cubs fought the good fight, the Redbirds to achieve the sweep, the Cubs to avoid it. 2-2 tie taken in to extras, both teams trying to gain the upper hand. It seemed like the Cubs were there, but Dexter Fowler, former Cub, shot down their dreams.
After a rain delay, the Cubs struck first. In the bottom of the second inning, Jedd Gyorko did what he does best and sent a Jon Lester pitch barely over the wall, but it was good enough to tie the score at 1-1. The Cubbies came back in the fourth and took the 2-1 lead. Two innings later, Kolten Wong sent a line drive to Jason Heyward in right field, the Jason Heyward who is a right field savant. Inexplicably, be it lights or something else, Heyward misplayed it, and the ball, just grazing the top of Heyward’s glove as he slid to the ground, went into the right field corner. Wong was awarded a triple and the RBI to tie the game. No more scoring occurred for the final three innings and the game went into extras.
Back and forth the teams grinded, until Javier Baez sent a ball over the right field wall in the top half of the 14th. Cardinals fans groaned, but the Redbirds had one more shot at the sweep. In home 14th, Francisco Pena struck out. Out of position players, Matheny sent pitcher Miles Mikolas to the plate. Mikolas also fanned. With two outs and the sweep seeming impossible, Harrison Bader hit a ground ball to the Cubs shortstop, and reached first base with an infield single. Former Cub Dexter Fowler came to the plate. Down to his last strike, Fowler hit the sweet, sweet home run beyond the reach of Heyward for the walk-off two-run home run. Cheering and mayhem ensued.
Michael Wacha had a decent start, pitching 5 1/3 innings, giving up two runs, one earned, on six hits. The righty fanned five and walked three. The parade of pitchers after Wacha were Luke Gregerson, Tyler Lyons, Jordan Hicks, Greg Holland, Sam Tuivailala, and Mike Mayers. All but Mayers combined for 5 2/3 scoreless innings. Mayers was the final one, pitching three innings. The newly recalled right hander gave up the Baez home run, but it didn’t matter, and Mayers collected the win, his first of the season.
It was a good week for the Redbirds, as they went 5-0, sweeping both Chicago teams. The Cardinals are in first place in the NL Central, ahead of the Brewers by 1.5 games. St. Louis takes on the Twins at Busch for two games, and then travels to San Diego for a four game series.
The 5-0 week wasn’t easy, as all were close games, and the last two went into extra innings. The Cardinals were short key people with injuries, losing Pham early in Saturday’s game, and Molina late in Saturday’s game. Molina will be gone for a significant period; Pham’s status is less certain. Matt Carpenter continues to struggle and didn’t start Sunday’s game. Players such as Gyorko, Wong, and Bader have taken up the slack for struggling players. All but Saturday’s game was low scoring, so the offense still has some issues, particularly with key players like Carpenter, Fowler, and Ozuna, who have been underachieving.
Pitching appears to have stabilized for now. The bullpen has been a merry go round with constant moves up and down to and from Memphis. Tuivailala and Sherriff have returned from injury, while Leone and Norris have suffered injury; Leone has gone on the DL and Norris is day to day. Starting pitching has been excellent to adequate. Weaver has been struggling a bit.
Defense has been fine, as has base running for the most part. The Cardinals take on an under .500 Twins team and a cellar dwelling Padres team this week. There is potential for increasing the lead in the Division if the Cardinals perform to expectations.
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Over the past four games (does not contain recent Sunday game results):
- Kolten Wong has an OPS of 1.232. He has one HR, one double, and two RBI.
- Tommy Pham has an OPS of .968. He has two HRs and four RBI.
- Carlos Martinez has an ERA of 1.23 and a WHIP of 0.95.
- Miles Mikolas has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 1.00.
- Tyler Lyons has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.00.
- Luke Gregerson has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.00
- Jordan Hicks has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 1.50.
Over the past four games (does not contain recent Sunday games):
- Paul DeJong has an OPS of .330.
- Harrison Bader has an OPS of .393.
- Luke Weaver has an ERA of 7.71 and a WHIP of 1.61.
- Dominic Leone has an ERA of 6.75 and a WHIP of 2.25.
- Matt Bowman has an ERA of 9.00 and a WHIP of 1.00.
A Look at Cardinals Lineups
The lineups over the last five games (does not contain recent Sunday game):
- The leadoff hitter has been Tommy Pham for four games and Matt Carpenter for one game.
- The number two hitter has been Carpenter for four games and Pham for one game.
- The number three hitter has been Jose Martinez for four games and Paul DeJong for one game.
- The cleanup hitter has been Marcell Ozuna.
- The fifth hitter has been Yadier Molina.
- The sixth hitter has been Dexter Fowler for four games and and Jedd Gyorko for one game.
- The seventh hitter has been DeJong for three games, Gyorko for one game, and Greg Garcia for one game.
- The eighth hitter has been Wong for three games, Harrison Bader for one game, and DeJong for one game.
Trade and Acquisition Rumors
There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.
- 5/1 The Cardinals optioned RHP Mike Mayers to the Memphis Redbirds.
- 5/1 The Cardinals recalled 1B Luke Voit from the Memphis Redbirds.
- 5/4 The Cardinals activated LHP Ryan Sherriff from the 10 day disabled list.
- 5/4 The Cardinals activated RHP Sam Tuivailala from the 10 day disabled list.
- 5/4 The Cardinals optioned 1B Luke Voit to the Memphis Redbirds.
- 5/4 The Cardinals optioned LHP Austin Gomber to the Memphis Redbirds.
- 5/6 The Cardinals placed C Yadier Molina on the 10 day disabled list. Pelvic injury with traumatic hematoma.
- 5/6 The Cardinals placed RHP Dominic Leone on the 10 day disabled list. Right upper arm nerve irritation.
- 5/6 The Cardinals recalled C Carson Kelly from the Memphis Redbirds.
- 5/6 The Cardinals recalled RHP Mike Mayers from the Memphis Redbirds.
LHP Brett Cecil (left shoulder strain, right foot tendinitis) remains on the DL. Cecil is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment in Jupiter, Florida the week of May 7.
RHP Adam Wainwright was placed on the 10 day DL retroactive to April 20. Right elbow inflammation. Wainwright has been been sent on a rehab assignment with the Springfield Cardinals to begin May 7.
RHP Dominic Leone (right upper arm nerve irritation) has been placed on the 10 day DL. No timetable for a return to the roster has been set.
C Yadier Molina (pelvic injury with traumatic hematoma) has been placed on the 10 day DL. Molina was injured by a foul ball in Saturday’s game. The catcher had surgery and is expected to be out for 30 days.
RHP Bud Norris (right shoulder soreness) left the May 5 game. Norris has not been placed on the DL and is considered day to day.
OF Tommy Pham (right groin tightness) exited the May 5 game early with a recurrence of groin discomfort. Pham has not been placed on the DL and is considered day to day.
Beginning Monday, May 7, the Minnesota Twins come to St. Louis for a two game interleague home and home series at Busch Stadium. The Cardinals have a travel day on Thursday and go to San Diego for a weekend series with the Padres. After an off day on Monday, the Cardinals travel to Minnesota to finish the home and home series with the Twins. The series is two days – next Tuesday and Wednesday.
Following the road trip, the Cardinals return to St. Louis to begin a four game series starting Thursday with the Phillies. The homestand continues when the Royals travel to St. Louis for a three game series beginning Monday May 21.
After an off day on Thursday, May 24, the Cardinals travel to Pittsburgh for a weekend series with the Pirates.
The Cardinals’ regular season schedule can be found here.
Blast from the Past
This past week a former but beloved Cardinal hit a milestone only accomplished by 32 players in the history of major league baseball. Former Cardinals star Albert Pujols became a member of the 3,000 hit club on Friday. Pujols’ 3000th hit came as a member of the Anaheim Angels and was a bloop single to right field.
Though Pujols is no longer a Cardinal, he spent the best seasons of his career in St. Louis. Drafted by the Cardinals in the 13th round of the 1999 MLB Draft, Pujols moved through the minor league system quickly, making his major league debut with the Cardinals on April 2, 2001. Building a sure Hall of Fame career in his first 10 seasons, Pujols hit 2,073 of those 3,000 hits wearing the Birds on the Bat.
The right handed slugger won the National League Rookie of the Year award in 2001, and went on to win three MVP awards, six Silver Sluggers, two Gold Gloves and appeared in nine All Star Games as a member of the Cardinals. He also played on both the 2006 and 2011 World Champion teams.
In addition to the awards, Pujols led the league in runs in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2009 and 2010. He led the league in Batting Average, Hits, and Doubles in 2003, SLG and OPS in 2006, 2008 and 2009, home runs in 2009 and 2010, and RBI in 2010.
Pujols joins Cardinals Stan Musial and Lou Brock as members of the 3,000 hit club. Congratulations to Albert Pujols, a former but certainly not forgotten St. Louis Cardinal.
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