St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of August 17-23

photo: Yadier Molina (Frank Ramirez/The Cardinal Nation)

This past week, the St. Louis Cardinals completed their compressed .500 road trip to Chicago and returned home to defeat Cincinnati in three of four games over the weekend. Regulars Yadier Molina and Paul DeJong were activated off the injured list and the catcher contributed immediately. Our Blast from the Past outlines memorable moments during this past week in team history.

Game Recaps

Monday, August 17, 2020 – Cardinals 3 at Cubs 1 (seven innings)

The St. Louis Cardinals began a five game series with the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on Monday.  The series featured two sets of doubleheaders.  This is the Game 1 of the first twin bill.  The Cardinals were the winners over their rival, 3-1.

Starter Kwang-Hyun Kim tossed 3 2/3 innings.  The lefty gave up one run on three hits, struck out one and walked three. John Gant took over with two outs in the fourth and pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings, including three punch outs for the righty reliever.

Giovanny Gallegos

Giovanny Gallegos took over in the sixth inning and hurled a scoreless frame, striking out two Cubs.  He picked up the win. Andrew Miller threw a scoreless seventh for his first save of the season.

The offense was light but sufficient for the win.  The Cardinals took a 1-0 lead in the third inning on a solo home run by Dexter Fowler.  The Cubs tied it up in the fourth and the score remained 1-1 until the seventh inning when Brad Miller thumped a two run double to left field.

Paul Goldschmidt contributed a double and Matt Carpenter hit a single to top out the meager four-hit output by the Redbirds. Tyler O’Neill drew the only free pass.

Monday, August 17, 2020 – Cardinals 4 at Cubs 5 (seven innings)

Game 2 of the twin bill was a loss for the Cardinals, who were the home team at Wrigley in a make-up contest for one in St. Louis that had been postponed.  A big sixth inning comeback by the Cubs gave them the winning edge.

Though the Cubs took the early 1-0, lead the Redbirds came back with two runs in the bottom half of the second inning.  Brad Miller was again the standout offensively, with a two-run home run in the second inning and a solo home run in the fourth. Max Schrock joined Miller in the long ball race with his bases-empty shot in the fourth.  The Cardinals had a 4-1 lead.  Tommy Edman and Harrison Bader each contributed a single to the effort.

Brad Miller

Game 2 pitching was a combined bullpen effort.  Starter Alex Reyes tossed the first inning and yielded a run on a solo home run by Ian Happ.  Reyes fanned two and walked three.

Following Reyes, four left handers took the next five innings, beginning with a two-inning scoreless outing by lefty Ricardo Sanchez.  Sanchez struck out three Cubs and walked two.   The second lefty, Rob Kaminsky, hurled another scoreless inning with one strikeout.  Genesis Cabrera gave up one run in 1 1/3 innings.  Left hander Tyler Webb finished the sixth inning by yielding three runs on two hits.  The Cubs took the lead in the sixth with four runs off Cabrera and Webb.

Right-hander Nabil Crismatt closed out the game with a scoreless seventh.  He allowed one hit, fanned two and walked one.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020 – Cardinals 3 at Cubs 6

The Cardinals were defeated again by the Cubs in the only nine inning contest in the five-game series.  Daniel Ponce de Leon started and lasted 3 1/3 innings. The right-hander gave up two runs on three hits, walked three, but also fanned seven Cubs.

The bullpen took over with one out in the fourth inning, beginning right hander Seth Elledge.  Elledge got the last two outs of the inning and yielded two additional runs on two hits, with two strikeouts and two walks.

Ryan Meisinger began the fifth and continued through the second out of the sixth.  The righty allowed no runs and only one hit.  He struck out two Cubs and walked two.  The seventh was handled by Jesus Cruz, who relinquished two runs on three hits.  Nabil Crismatt closed out the game with 1 1/3 scoreless innings.  Ponce de Leon took the loss.

The offense scored three runs on nine hits.  Paul Goldschmidt went 3-for-4, including an RBI single in the fifth inning for the first Cardinals run. The first baseman contributed two additional singles.

Paul Goldschmidt

The Redbirds added two runs in the eighth on a single by Matt Carpenter and as a result of a double play off the bat of Dylan Carlson.  Carpenter and Kolten Wong were each 2-for-4.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020 – Cardinals 9 at Cubs 3 (seven innings)

The Cardinals handily defeated the Cubs in the first game of the second doubleheader in three days.  This was the first start for right hander Jack Flaherty since the return of the Cardinals from their 17-day break.

The nine-run effort began with a grand slam by Matt Carpenter in the first inning.  It was set when Kolten Wong led off by being hit by a pitch from Cubs starter Alec Mills.  Tommy Edman followed with a single and Paul Goldschmidt drew a walk to load the bases.

Matt Carpenter

The Redbirds added a fifth run in the second on an Edman RBI single.  In the fourth, Goldschmidt singled to plate Wong, who reached via a single to left field.

Edman again contributed an RBI single and Brad Miller doubled to score two more runs in the sixth inning to bring the score to 9-1.  The Cubs added two in the bottom of the seventh for the 9-3 final score.

For the game, Edman was 3-for-4, with two runs scored and two RBI.

Flaherty was understandably a little rusty in his start.  He was on a pitch count and therefore was pulled after 1 2/3 innings.  The right-hander yielded a first inning solo home run to Ian Happ, struck out three and walked two.

Four relievers combined to pitch the remaining 5 1/3 innings.  Austin Gomber, Tyler Webb (win), and John Gant each contributed 1 1/3 scoreless frames.  Ricardo Sanchez yielded two Cubs runs in the final 1 1/3 innings.

Kolten Wong and Dylan Carlson each stole their first base of the season.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020 – -Cardinals 2 at Cubs 4 (seven innings)

The second game of the twin bill and the final game of the series ended with a St. Louis loss.  The game was a combined pitching effort from a rookie and three relievers.

Johan Oveido was added to the roster and called up from the Alternate Training Site in Springfield to make the start.  In his MLB debut, Oviedo pitched five innings and allowed two runs on two hits.  The right hander fanned four and issued two free passes.

Johan Oviedo

Genesis Cabrera tossed a scoreless sixth in relief.  Andrew Miller began the seventh but yielded two runs on three hits while recording only one out.  Giovanny Gallegos secured the final two outs without relinquishing additional runs.  Gallegos gave up one hit and struck out one.

The offense scored one run each in the fifth and sixth innings on only three hits.  Andrew Knizner drove in the first run on a sac fly in the fifth.  Brad Miller’s single in the sixth plated the second and final Redbird run. Kolten Wong and Matt Carpenter contributed the other hits, both singles.

An outfield assist by Harrison Bader at third base was the notable defensive play of the game.

Thursday, August 20, 2020 – -Cardinals 5, Reds 4

Opening the first series at Busch Stadium since the initial series of the season, the Cardinals defeated the Reds in a walk off win on Thursday.

Adam Wainwright made the start and tossed seven innings, yielding four runs on six hits.  The right hander struck out four and issued no free passes. Wainwright took a no decision as the Reds had the lead until the ninth inning. A messy first inning on the field, with errors by third baseman Brad Miller and first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, did Wainwright no favors.

Adam Wainwright

Following Wainwright in relief was Alex Reyes, who pitched a scoreless eighth, allowed one hit, fanned one and walked one.  Seth Elledge pitched the ninth, and though it was a lengthy inning with three walks and a bases loaded jam, he emerged unscathed to get the win as the offense mounted its comeback.

The Reds took an early 3-0 lead, but the Redbirds made a dent in the bottom of the second inning.  In his first game back from a positive test and a COVID-19 quarantine, Yadier Molina never missed a beat.  The veteran catcher singled with the bases loaded in his first at bat and brought two runs home to decrease the lead to 3-2.

The Reds added another run in the top of the third to make it 4-2.  The Cardinals were unable to penetrate that lead until the ninth inning.  Brad Miller led off the inning and was hit by a pitch.  Tyler O’Neill drew a walk.  Dexter Fowler singled on a ground ball to right field and the bases were loaded.

Once again it was Molina at the plate with the bases loaded.  He singled and plated Miller to make it 4-3.  Reds closer Raisel Iglesias balked and O’Neill scored to tie the game at 4-4.  Dylan Carlson struck out for the first out.  After a pitching change, and on a 2-1 count, Kolten Wong tattooed the pitch into the right center field gap to score Fowler for the walk off win.

Kolten Wong

There was a socially distanced celebration after.

Friday, August 21, 2020 – Cardinals 2, Reds 4

In the second game of the four game series, the Cardinals fell to the Reds 4-2.  St. Louis led 2-0 much of the way, but a key defensive error snowballed into a four-run sixth inning for the Reds that the Cardinals didn’t overcome.

St. Louis’ offense got on the board in the third inning to take a 1-0 lead.  Harrison Bader drew a walk and Kolten Wong followed with an infield single.  Tommy Edman was hit by a pitch to load the bases.  Matt Carpenter drew a walk and Bader scored.

In the fifth, Wong, Paul Goldschmidt, and Carpenter walked.  With the bases loaded, Brad Miller grounded into a force out and Wong scored to increase the lead to 2-0.

In the top of the sixth, with two outs on the board, Harrison Bader failed to catch a fly ball in center off the bat of Eugenio Suarez.  Suarez advanced to third on a missed catch error by Tommy Edman on a throw by Bader.  Reliever Genesis Cabrera walked the next batter and hit the subsequent batter with a pitch to load the bases.  Tyler Webb relieved Cabrera and gave up a grand slam to pinch hitter Matt Davidson to give the Reds a 4-2 lead.

The offense managed only three hits, singles by Wong, Goldschmidt and Dexter Fowler.

Dakota Hudson

Dakota Hudson made the start.  The right hander pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings and allowed one hit, struck out six and walked two.  Genesis Cabrera relieved with one out in the fifth, and returned to start the sixth.  Three of the four unearned runs scored in the sixth inning were Cabrera’s and he was tagged with the loss.  Tyler Webb relieved with two outs in the sixth and was charged with the last of the four runs scoring on his grand slam allowed. Webb pitched 1 1/3 innings.  Jake Woodford tossed the final two scoreless innings.

Saturday, August 22, 2020 – Cardinals 3, Reds 0

In the third game of the weekend series, the Cardinals bounced back from the heartbreaking loss in Game 2 to blank the Reds 3-0.

Kwang-Hyun Kim

Starter Kwang-Hyun Kim earned his first major league win. The left-hander hurled six scoreless innings, allowed only three hits, and struck out three.   Only one Reds batter reached second base against him.  Kim threw 83 pitches, 55 for strikes.

John Gant tossed a scoreless seventh, allowing no hits and walking one.  Andrew Miller started the eighth and faced three batters.  The left-hander yielded one hit and walked one.  Giovanny Gallegos got the final out of the eighth and returned to pitch the ninth.  The right hander allowed no runs, no hits, and struck out one to earn his first save of the season.

The Redbirds offense got on the board in the second with two runs scored.  It began with a bloop hustle double to shallow right by Harrison Bader.  Kolten Wong followed with a bloop single to left, with Bader advancing to third and Wong taking second on the throw home.  Tommy Edman singled on a line drive to left field to plate both Bader and Wong.

In the fifth, Harrison Bader’s solo home run to right field increased the lead to 3-0.  Bader went 2-for-3 as the only Cardinal with multiple hits. Tommy Edman drove in two.  All total, the offense had seven hits.

This game went at a quick pace, ending 2 hours and 15 minutes after the first pitch.

Sunday, August 23, 2020 – Cardinals 6, Reds 2

In the fourth and final game of the Reds series, the Cardinals blasted their way to 6-2 win.  Offense came from three players and pitching, both starting and relieving, held the visitors to two runs.

Daniel Ponce de Leon made the start, and though he was shaky at times, he kept the Cardinals in the game for 4 2/3 innings. The right hander allowed two runs on three hits, walked four and struck out two.  Because he didn’t go a full five innings, he didn’t get the win.

Genesis Cabrera relieved with two outs in the fifth.  The 23-year old lefty tossed two innings with one walk and not hits allowed.  John Gant retired the only batter he faced in the seventh.  Cabrera earned the win.

Andrew Miller pitched a scoreless eighth, striking out one and yielding no runs or hits.  Alex Reyes closed the game in the ninth with one walk and no hits allowed.

Harrison Bader, Yadier Molina, and Dylan Carlson were the RBI guys.  Bader hit a two-run home run in the second inning to tie the game at 2-2.  In the third, Molina plated a run on a single to center field to make it 3-2.

Yadier Molina

Molina singled again to score Matt Carpenter in the seventh for a 4-2 lead.  In that same inning Dylan Carlson hit his first major league home run, a two run shot, to bring the score to the final 6-2.

Molina went 4-for-5 on the afternoon.  Carlson was 2-for-4 and Bader was 2-for 3.  Bader hit a ground rule double in the seventh following Carlson’s long ball, but was left stranded.  Carlson singled in the fourth.

Kolten Wong stole his second base of the season.

Big Picture

The Cardinals went 5-4 for the week, taking 2 of 5 from the Cubs and 3 of 4 from the Reds.  They stand in second place in the NL Central with a record of 9-8, and are three games behind the Cubs.

Offense has picked up over the last week, with standouts being Brad Miller, Paul Goldschmidt, Kolten Wong, and most recently Harrison Bader and Yadier Molina.  Bader’s offense picked up significantly over the weekend and Molina, who was activated from the injured list on Thursday, has been gangbusters with the bat, including going 4-for-5 on Sunday, the same day Paul DeJong returned to the lineup.

In a special note, on Saturday, Molina passed Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith (1982-96) for third all-time in franchise history in games played with 1,991.

Most the of hitters have improved or remained steady, with the exception of Tyler O’Neill, who has hit a slump, and Dylan Carlson, who performed well in Sunday’s game but had been slow to adjust up to that point.

On the pitching side, Adam Wainwright, Dakota Hudson, and Kwang-Hyun Kim had very good starts this past week.  Jack Flaherty’s first start since the 17-day hiatus was a struggle and was shortened due to a pitch count.  He is scheduled to pitch again on Monday. Daniel Ponce de Leon started on Sunday and has yet to go five innings.

The bullpen has received a workout due to multiple doubleheaders during the week, necessitating two bullpen games.  Standouts have been Giovanny Gallegos and John Gant.  The bullpen has been a revolving door of callups from and returns to the Alternate Training Site in Springfield.  Johan Oviedo was added to the 40-man and active rosters this week and performed well in his one start.

John Gant

Along with Oviedo, Ryan Meisinger, Nabil Crismatt and Jesus Cruz increased the Cardinals total of big-league debuts this season to 13, most in MLB this season.

Defense and baserunning remain steady for the most part with a few hiccups along the way.  The defense made Adam Wainwright’s first inning on Thursday difficult, with errors by Paul Goldschmidt and Brad Miller that led to unearned runs.  An uncharacteristic misplay of a fly ball by Harrison Bader on Friday led to a grand slam and the one loss to the Reds.  The error was blunted somewhat by Bader’s uptick in offense on Saturday and Sunday.

The Cardinals open a three-game series with the Royals on Monday.  The Royals are in last place in their division and the Cardinals generally play them well.  A doubleheader with the Pirates is coming on Thursday, and a series with the Indians over the weekend. On paper, the Indians should be the Cardinals’ toughest foe in the upcoming week.

NL Central Standings

Team W L Pct GB
Chicago 17 10 0.630
St. Louis 9 8 0.529 3
Cincinnati 11 15 0.423 5.5
Milwaukee 11 15 0.423 5.5
Pittsburgh 7 17 0.292 8.5

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.

Transactions

  • 8/17 The Cardinals optioned RHP Roel Ramirez and 1B John Nogowski to the Alternate Training Site.
  • 8/17 The Cardinals selected the contracts of RHP Ryan Meisinger and RHP Nabil Crismatt from the Alternate Training Site.
  • 8/17 The Cardinals recalled RHP Jake Woodford from the Alternate Training Site.
  • 8/18 The Cardinals optioned RHP Jake Woodford and LHP Rob Kaminsky to the Alternate Training Site.
  • 8/18 The Cardinals selected the contract of RHP Jesus Cruz from the Alternate Training Site.
  • 8/19 The Cardinals activated LHP Austin Gomber from the injured list.
  • 8/19 The Cardinals optioned RHP Ryan Meisinger and RHP Jesus Cruz to the Alternate Training Site.
  • 8/19 The Cardinals selected the contract of RHP Johan Oveido from the Alternate Training Site.
  • 8/19 The Cardinals recalled RHP Jake Woodford from the Alternate Training Site.
  • 8/20 The Cardinals activated C Yadier Molina from the injured list.
  • 8/20 The Cardinals placed C Matt Wieters on the injured list.
  • 8/20 The Cardinals optioned RHP Jake Woodford and RHP Nabil Crismatt to the Alternate Training Site.
  • 8/21 The Cardinals sent RHP Alvaro Seijas outright to the Springfield Cardinals.
  • 8/23 The Cardinals activated SS Paul DeJong from the injured list.
  • 8/23 The Cardinals optioned RHP Seth Elledge to the Alternate Training Site.

Injury Report

  • RHP John Brebbia underwent Tommy John surgery on June 1. He will miss the entire 2020 season.
  • RHP Jordan Hicks (Tommy John surgery) has opted out of the 2020 season. Hicks, a Type 1 diabetic, made the decision to opt out and was placed on the restricted list.
  • RHP Miles Mikolas (right forearm strain) had surgery and will miss the remainder of the season.
  • RHP Junior Fernandez, and Kodi Whitley, SS Edmundo Sosa, and 1B Rangel Ravelo, are on the injured list due to positive COVID-19 tests. Fernandez, Ravelo, and Sosa have been sent to the Alternate Site with no return date yet announced.  Whitley was said to be “on his way” to the Alternate Training Site as of Friday and was playing catch at Busch Stadium.
  • RHP Carlos Martinez was initially placed on the injured list with no reason given. It was revealed this past week that he was one of the COVID-19 positives.  Martinez has been cleared for baseball activities and has been throwing bullpen sessions, but no return date has been reported.  He is scheduled to throw to live hitters on Monday.
  • OF Lane Thomas, OF Austin Dean, and RHP Ryan Helsley have been on the injured list due to positive COVID-19 tests. Helsley has been cleared for baseball activities and has done some “aggressive long toss”.  He will throw his first bullpen on Monday.  Dean and Thomas had not yet been cleared to return to baseball activity as of Sunday.
  • C Yadier Molina has been activated from the injured list and has been in the starting lineup since Thursday.
  • LHP Austin Gomber has been activated from the injured list and made a relief appearance in the first game of Wednesday’s doubleheader.
  • C Matt Wieters was placed on the 10-day injured list. Right great toe contusion.
  • SS Paul DeJong was activated from the injured list a day ahead of schedule. DeJong was in Sunday’s starting lineup.

Looking Ahead

The Cardinals continue their 12-game homestand against four opponents with a three-game series against the Royals beginning Monday.  Jack Flaherty is scheduled to make the Monday start, followed by Adam Wainwright and Dakota Hudson.

The Pirates will come to Busch Stadium for a doubleheader on Thursday for makeups of previously postponed games.

Following the Thursday twin bill, the Cleveland Indians visit Busch Stadium for a weekend set.

The Cardinals return to the road starting on Monday, August 31 for a three-game series in Cincinnati.

Blast from the Past

This week’s Blast from the Past takes a look at notable Cardinals happenings that took place from August 17-23 at various years in the history of the franchise.

  • August 17, 1937 – The Cardinals defeated the Reds 8-6 at Crosley Field in Cincinnati in a game that began at 9:36 p.m. ET. The game ended at 12:02 a.m. and was the first major league game to end after midnight.
  • August 17, 2005 – The Cardinals broke their single season attendance record of 3.43 million fans set in 1989.
  • August 18, 1965 – The Milwaukee Braves defeated the Cardinals in a 5-3 game at Sportsman’s Park. In the eighth inning, Braves RF Hank Aaron hit a home run onto the top of the pavilion.  Cardinals catcher Tim McCarver insisted to home plate umpire Chris Pelekoudas that Aaron stepped out of the batter’s box.  Pelekoudas called Aaron out, citing batter interference and Aaron was denied the home run.
  • Eddie Gaedel’s uniform from the St. Louis Cardinals Museum (Brian Walton photo)
  • August 19, 1951 – In an incident not related to the Cardinals at the time, Little Person Eddie Gaedel pinch hit for RF Ralph Saucier of the St. Louis Browns in a game against the Detroit Tigers in Sportsman’s Park. Current Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt Jr. was the Browns’ batboy, and lent Gaedel his uniform as it was the only one that would fit the 3-foot-7 Gaedel. DeWitt still owns the famous uniform today, having loaned it to Cooperstown and also exhibited it at the Cardinals Museum.
  • August 20, 1998 – In the first game of a doubleheader against the Mets in Shea Stadium, Mark McGwire hit his 50th home run of the season, making him the first major leaguer to do so in three consecutive seasons.
  • August 21, 1935 – In a 13-3 win over the Boston Braves at Braves Field, Cardinals first baseman Ripper Collins failed to make a single putout. Collins repeated this against the Dodgers in 1937 while playing first base for the Cubs, making him the only player to accomplish this rare feat twice in the major leagues.
  • August 22, 1982 – Against the Giants, catcher Glenn Brummer stole home in the 12th inning to give the Cardinals the 5-4 walk off win. Brummer recorded only four stolen bases in his entire major league career.
  • August 22, 1999 – Mark McGwire hit home runs 49 and 50 in a game against the Mets in Shea Stadium (see August 20, 1998 above) making this the fourth consecutive season in which McGwire hit 50 long balls.
  • August 22, 2011 – Left fielder Matt Holliday is forced to leave the game when a moth becomes embedded in his right ear. The moth is later extracted and pulled out still alive.
  • August 23, 1952 – The Cardinals defeated the New York Giants 3-1 in a day game at Sportsman’s Park. The day’s notable involved two Giants.  In the seventh inning, third baseman Bob Elliott was ejected by home plate umpire Augie Donatelli for arguing a strike two call.  Teammate Bobby Hofman replaced Elliott in the at bat and was also ejected for arguing the strike three call.
  • August 23, 2009—Long time Braves pitcher and Hall of Famer John Smoltz picked up his only win as a Cardinal. Louis beat the Padres 5-2 with Smoltz pitching five scoreless innings, allowing three hits, and striking out nine.

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