photo: Dakota Hudson (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports)
The St. Louis Cardinals went 6-1 on the week to extend their division lead to 2 1/2 games. Dakota Hudson is pitching very well along with Jack Flaherty at the head of the rotation. Our weekly history feature looks back at former franchise saves leader Lee Smith.
The Cardinals blanked the Brewers in the first game of a three game series in St. Louis on Monday. Starter Dakota Hudson pitched 6 2/3 scoreless, no-hit innings, striking out seven and walking four. Giovanny Gallegos tossed one scoreless inning of relief but gave up a hit to end the team no-hitter. Andrew Miller pitched the final 1 1/3 scoreless innings. Hudson earned his 12th win, and Miller his fifth save.
The Cardinals scored two runs in the fifth on a force out by Kolten Wong and single by Dexter Fowler. Paul DeJong hit a solo home run in the sixth for the third and final run. No Cardinal had multiple hits.
DeJong made a fielding error.
The Cardinals defeated the Brewers 9-4 in Game 2 to take the series. Dexter Fowler drove in four, on a three-run double and a bases-loaded walk. The Fowler double was a bloop to short left field that three Brewers converged on and none of them caught. Marcell Ozuna went 3-for-5 and Yadier Molina went 2-for-3 with an RBI. Harrison Bader tripled in his first at bat in his first game back from a stint with the Memphis Redbirds. He also had an RBI on a bases loaded walk and walked three times, the first time he had walked three times in a game. Kolten Wong drove in two on a seventh inning single.
Starter Michael Wacha pitched four scoreless innings, allowed three hits, struck out five and walked one. Ryan Helsley surrendered one run in 1 1/3 innings of relief. John Gant allowed one run in the sixth while recording only one out. Tyler Webb got the final out of the sixth and was awarded the win. Gant was charged with a blown save. Andrew Miller tossed a scoreless seventh. John Brebbia relinquished two runs in the final two innings of relief.
On the base paths, Wong stole his 17th base of the season.
The Cardinals did not complete the three game sweep, instead losing to the Brewers in a rain-shortened game 5-3. The game was called following a lengthy rain delay after 7 ½ innings had been completed.
The Brewers were up 5-0 going into the bottom of the fourth, requiring the Cardinals to play catch up. In the fifth inning, Dexter Fowler plated a run on a single, then Yairo Munoz, having reached on a single prior to Fowler’s single, stole third base, then scored on a throwing error. Yadier Molina doubled in a run in the sixth to make it 5-3. Neither team scored in the seventh, the Brewers went scoreless in the top of the eighth, and then the rain came.
Starter Adam Wainwright pitched five innings and gave up five runs on eight hits. The right hander struck out two and walked four. Junior Fernandez tossed two scoreless innings of relief. Tyler Webb pitched a scoreless eighth. Wainwright took the loss.
In the field, Fernandez made an error on a pickoff.
In the first of a four-game series, the Cardinals edged the Rockies 6-5 on Thursday. All six St. Louis runs came via two-run long balls. Marcell Ozuna hit his in the fourth, followed by Paul DeJong in the sixth, and Dexter Fowler in the seventh. Paul Goldschmidt and Tommy Edman were each 2-for-4.
Starter Miles Mikolas pitched six innings and gave up five runs on eight hits. The right hander struck out three. Dominic Leone tossed a scoreless seventh. Giovanny Gallegos and Andrew Miller combined to pitch a scoreless eighth, and Carlos Martinez hurled a scoreless ninth.
Harrison Bader and Kolten Wong each made throwing errors.
The Cardinals again defeated the Rockies in Game 2 of the series on Friday. Marcell Ozuna hit a two-run home run in the first inning for the only long ball of the game. Ozuna was 2-for-3 with three RBI. Kolten Wong got an RBI on a bases loaded hit by pitch. Harrison Bader singled in the fifth and two runs scored on a throwing error. Jack Flaherty’s sac fly scored Bader. Paul Goldschmidt was 2-for-5, Yadier Molina was 3-for-5, and Tommy Edman was 2-for-5. Paul DeJong singled to score a run in the sixth.
Starter Jack Flaherty pitched six scoreless innings, allowed three hits, fanned nine and walked one to earn his eighth win. John Brebbia pitched a scoreless seventh, and Tyler Webb tossed a scoreless eighth. John Gant surrendered three runs, two earned, in the ninth.
Molina was charged with a passed ball.
In the third game of the series, the Cardinals blanked the Rockies 6-0. Starter Dakota Hudson pitched six scoreless innings, allowed two hits, struck out two and walked three. Tyler Webb and Giovanny Gallegos combined for two scoreless innings. Dominic Leone closed with a run-free ninth.
Marcell Ozuna plated two runs on a single in the first inning and was 2-for-3 in the game. Harrison Bader hit a two-run home run in the second inning. In the fifth, Paul DeJong’s sac fly added another score. Paul Goldschmidt hit a solo home run in the seventh.
St. Louis completed the four-game sweep with an 11-4 victory over the Rockies on Sunday. Solo home runs by Matt Carpenter and Lane Thomas led the way. Dexter Fowler drove in three on a bases loaded walk and a two run double. Tommy Edman plated two on a double and was 3-for-4. Paul Goldschmidt was 2-for-4 with two RBI on a single. Carpenter, playing for injured Kolten Wong, was 3-for-4 with the home run and an RBI single.
Starter Michael Wacha pitched 4 2/3 innings and gave up three runs on six hits. The right hander fanned seven and walked two. Ryan Helsley surrendered one unearned run in 2 1/3 innings of relief and picked up his first MLB win. John Brebbia tossed two scoreless frames.
Tommy Edman and Harrison Bader each stole a base. Edman was also caught stealing. Bader committed a fielding error – a rare dropped catch.
The Big Picture
The Cardinals finished the week with a record of 6-1. The one loss was the rain-shortened game with the Brewers that was called after the top of the eighth. St. Louis won two of three from the Brewers and swept the Rockies in a four-game series. The Cardinals now sit in first place in the NL Central with a 2.5 game lead over the Cubs.
There is not a whole lot to complain about regarding the team’s performance during the week. The lone loss was not a complete game therefore it is unknown whether the Cardinals could have come back to win had the game not been called for rain. The offense performed well, and the starting pitching was fine as well. Jack Flaherty and Dakota Hudson pitched especially well during the seven-game stretch. Adam Wainwright had a shaky start in the loss on Wednesday. The bullpen continues to be good with the lone exception being John Gant, who has not looked right of late.
Defense continues to be a strength as is base running. There were uncharacteristic errors by Harrison Bader and Kolten Wong, the Cardinals’ best defensive players. Wong suffered a foot injury in the Rockies series, though not seriously enough for an IL stint. Bader returned from his demotion to Memphis on Tuesday, and his offense has been better. He has a home run and a triple and has gotten on base quite a bit via the walk, with three walks in his first game back. Matt Carpenter had a three hit game on Sunday. The improved offense from Bader and Carpenter, who have been struggling offensively all season, bodes well for the remainder of the season if they can keep it up.
The Cardinals travel to Milwaukee to play three games with the Brewers starting on Monday. The team then returns home to play the Reds over the weekend. Continuing the good play in all facets of the game with these two NL Central teams can go a long way to cementing the Cardinals as a viable playoff team, especially with the up and down season the Cubs are having.
NL Central Standings
Trade and Acquisition Rumors
There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.
There are no transactions to report.
- LHP Brett Cecil (carpal tunnel syndrome left wrist) continues on the 60 day injured list. Cecil had begun a throwing program but had a setback. He is unlikely to return to the roster this season.
- RHP Jordan Hicks (torn right UCL) underwent Tommy John surgery on June 26 and is out for the rest of the season.
- LF Tyler O’Neill (left wrist strain) was placed on the 10 day injured list retroactive to August 1. O’Neill was sent on a rehab assignment to Memphis on August 21.
- LHP Tony Cingrani (left shoulder labrum surgery) was acquired in a trade from the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 31. Cingrani is out for the season and will become a free agent at the end of the season. Cingrani will likely never throw a pitch for the Cardinals.
- RF Jose Martinez (Right AC shoulder joint sprain) was placed on the 10 day injured list on August 12. Martinez received a cortisone shot and is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment on August 26.
- Kolten Wong (right foot) was injured in the August 24 game when he fouled a ball off his right foot. Tests revealed no fracture and Wong is considered day to day. He was not in the lineup on August 25.
- LHP Austin Gomber (biceps) began his road back with a shaky 22-pitch outing at Palm Beach on Friday and will pitch next for Springfield. He could return to St. Louis when rosters expand on September 1.
Following the Rockies series, the Cardinals take a short trip to Milwaukee to play a three-game series beginning August 26. They end the month with a weekend series at home against Cincinnati.
Following the Reds series, the Giants come to Busch Stadium for a four-game set beginning Sept 2. The Cardinals then travel to Pittsburgh to play the Pirates in a weekend series starting Sept 6.
The Cardinals’ regular season schedule can be viewed here.
Blast from the Past
This week’s Blast from the Past takes a brief look at the career of former Cardinals reliever Lee Smith, newly inducted to the Hall of Fame this year, and who reached a milestone during this past week in 1991 while playing for the Cardinals.
Lee Arthur Smith had an 18-year major league career as a pitcher, primarily a reliever, for eight different teams. Smith debuted on September 1, 1980 with the Chicago Cubs, who drafted him in the second round in 1975. Smith pitched for the Cubs from 1980-87 before being traded to the Boston Red Sox in December 1987. He was with the Sox until he was dealt to the Cardinals on May 4, 1990.
Smith pitched for the Cardinals for slightly less than four full seasons, compiling a record of 15-20 with an ERA of 2.90. Most importantly, Smith posted 160 saves for the Cardinals.
On August 25, 1991, Smith reached the milestone of 300 career saves, at that time, the fifth major league pitcher to do so. Smith reached 40 saves during that 1991 season, for the first time in his career. He went on to break Bruce Sutter’s Cardinals record of 45 saves, and with a career high 47 saves, also claimed the league save record for a single season.
The Cardinals traded Smith to the New York Yankees on August 31, 1993. At the time, Smith was the all-time saves leader for the Cardinals, with 160 saves, which he held until Jason Isringhausen passed him with 161 on June 13, 2006.
Smith retired after he was released by his eighth team, the Montreal Expos, on September 25, 1997. When he retired he held the career major league saves record with 478 saves. That record was broken in 2006 by Trevor Hoffman, then with the San Diego Padres. Despite losing his Cardinals and major league saves records, Smith still holds the Cubs career saves record of 180 saves.
Smith was not voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame by the BBWAA after spending 15 years on the ballot. (He was grandfathered for 15 years eligibility in 2014 after the limit on the ballot was dropped to 10 years.) Smith was voted in to the Hall of Fame by the Today’s Game Committee in December 2018 and was officially inducted in July 2019.
Smith currently serves as a roving minor league pitching instructor for the San Francisco Giants.
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