St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of August 31-September 6

The St. Louis Cardinals won both road series this week to pull within a game and a half of the division lead. On Sunday, one of the greatest Cardinals ever, Lou Brock, passed away. Our history feature covers the story of the first woman to bat in a Major League game.



Cardinals legend and Hall of Famer Lou Brock passes away at age 81

Early Sunday evening, word came that an icon of St. Louis Cardinals baseball, and a beloved Baseball and team Hall of Famer, Louis Clark Brock, “Sweet Lou,” had passed away at the age of 81.

Brock has meant so much to the Cardinal family that it is difficult to summarize.  This author grew up in the 1960s when Brock, Bob Gibson, Curt Flood, Tim McCarver, and the World Series Champions of 1964 and 1967 were in their zenith.  Brock was the stolen base king to this child of the decade, best known for breaking the all-time stolen base record in 1977, a record held by the legendary Ty Cobb.

Brock came to the Cardinals in a trade many consider to be one of the worst in baseball history.  Worst for the Cubs, at least, as they dealt Brock to St. Louis in June 1964 for pitcher Ernie Broglio.  The Cubs had given up on Brock, thinking he would never hit, and off he went to St. Louis.  Broglio had won 18 games for the Cardinals the year before and the trade was initially seen as a heist for the Cubs.  Broglio did not produce for the Cubs, however, and was out of baseball two years later, the victim of a broken down pitching arm.  Brock would go on not only to break the stolen base record but would help lead the Cardinals to two World Championships and be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on the first ballot in 1985, his first year of eligibility.

Brock retired from baseball at the end of the 1979 season having reached the 3,000 hit plateau that August 13, ironically against the Cubs.  In his 19 years in the major leagues, the outfielder led the National League in stolen bases eight times.  His career batting line was .293/.343/.410 with 149 home runs and 900 RBI.  Not bad for a guy the Cubs thought couldn’t hit.

Inducted into the Cardinals Hall of Fame in its inaugural year in 2014, Brock was a fixture at Opening Day ceremonies in his red jacket.  Lou suffered from diabetes, and as a result his left leg was amputated below the knee in 2015.  That didn’t stop Brock from attending Opening Day thereafter, he showed up and proudly walked with his prosthetic leg and his cane.

Brock was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a blood cancer, in April 2017, but was reported to be cancer free by July of that year. This summer, when Brock turned 81, friends showed up at his home to sing him “Happy Birthday” as he stood on his porch to observe during this year of COVID-19.

As of this writing, cause of death has not been disclosed, but Cardinals fans who have loved and known Lou will never forget him.  He will be sorely missed wearing his red jacket, smiling and waving to fans during Opening Day ceremonies.  Those who knew him or met him talk about his kindness and generosity.  He was a great one indeed.

Rest in peace, Sweet Lou.

Cardinals and Baseball Mourn Passing of Hall of Famer Lou Brock

Game Recaps

Monday, August 31, 2020 – Cardinals 7 at Reds 5

The Cardinals defeated the Cincinnati Reds in the first of the three-game road set on Monday.  Dakota Hudson earned his first win of the season in a seven-inning outing. The right-hander gave up two runs, one earned on four hits.  He fanned seven and walked no one, tossing 95 pitches, 63 for strikes.

Dakota Hudson via Zoom (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Austin Gomber relieved in the eighth and yielded one run.  Jake Woodford began the ninth but allowed two runs while recording only one out.  Giovanny Gallegos retired the next two hitters to end the game and was rewarded with his second save of the season.

The Redbirds offense scored seven runs on 10 hits.  Paul Goldschmidt’s RBI double in the first inning put his team on the board. The Reds quickly tied it in the bottom of the frame.

In the second, following a Matt Carpenter walk and a Dexter Fowler single, Kolten Wong broke the tie with a ground ball single to plate Carpenter. Yadier Molina increased the lead to 3-1 with a sac fly in the third.

The Cardinals added on in a big way in the fourth inning.  Wong singled, and Goldschmidt and Brad Miller drew walks.  Paul DeJong followed with his first career grand slam to give the Cardinals a 7-1 lead.  The Reds would make it closer in the later innings, but the visitors held on to claim victory in the end.

Both Goldschmidt and DeJong claimed their first stolen base of the season.  The only blemish in the field was a passed ball by Molina.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020 – Cardinals 16 at Reds 2

Following a close win the previous night, the Cardinals offense took the ball and more than ran with it, pummeling the Reds for a 16-2 drubbing in Game 2 of the series.

It began immediately, with a six-run first inning by St. Louis’ offense. Opening singles by Kolten Wong and Tommy Edman and a walk by Paul Goldschmidt loaded the bases for Brad Miller.  Miller doubled to right field to score Wong and Edman.

Kolten Wong via Zoom (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

With two outs in the inning, Matt Carpenter drew a walk. Dexter Fowler singled to plate Goldschmidt and Miller. Lane Thomas walked, Wong then singled, and Carpenter and Fowler came home.  The Cardinals led 6-0.

In the second, Goldschmidt doubled, and Miller blasted a two-run long ball to make it 8-0.  Wong singled, and Edman doubled him home in the third inning for a 9-0 lead.

The Cardinals did not score in the fourth, but in the fifth, Wong doubled, Goldschmidt walked, and Miller drove Wong home on a single.  Yadier Molina singled to plate Goldschmidt. The lead increased to 11-0.

Lane Thomas doubled to right in the sixth inning and Wong was hit by a pitch.  A single by Andrew Knizner plated Thomas and Wong for a 13-0 lead.

The Reds finally got on the board with a run in the bottom of the sixth.  The Cardinals responded with an additional run in the seventh when Carpenter scored from third base on a passed ball.

The Cardinals took a 14-1 lead into the eighth and added on.  Knizner singled and Miller hit a two run bomb  to right to make the lead 16-1.  The Reds scored their second run in the bottom of the ninth for the final score of 16-2.

Wong went 4-for-4, Edman was 3-for-7, Miller was 4-for-6 and Molina was 3-for-6.  Knizner and Paul DeJong each had two hits.

Amid all the scoring there was Cardinals pitching.  Kwang-Hyun Kim tossed five scoreless innings to start.  The lefty allowed three hits, struck out four and walked two.  Ryan Helsley yielded one run in the sixth before Tyler Webb and Ryan Meisinger each pitched a scoreless inning. Seth Elledge allowed the second Reds run in the ninth.  Kim earned his second win.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020 – Cardinals 3 at Reds 4

The Cardinals failed to sweep the Reds, falling in the final inning of the final game of the series, edged 4-3.

Starter Johan Oviedo pitched 4 2/3 innings, giving up three runs on three hits.  The right-hander struck out five and walked one.

Genesis Cabrera tossed two scoreless innings of relief.  John Gant and Austin Gomber combined for 1 1/3 scoreless frames.  Giovanny Gallegos took the ninth but absorbed the loss, as he yielded the walk off RBI single by Joey Votto.

St. Louis’ offense got on the board in the second inning on a solo home run by Brad Miller.  The Reds tied it up in the bottom half.

In the fifth, Yadier Molina hit a bases-empty home run to regain the lead and Kolten Wong added an RBI double to make it 3-1.  The Red knotted it up again with two in the bottom of the fifth and the score remained knotted until Votto’s walk off in the ninth.

Miller went 2-for-3 as the only Cardinal with multiple hits.

Thursday, September 3, 2020 – Off day

Friday, September 4, 2020 – Cardinals 1 at Cubs 4

The Cardinals met the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Friday night for the opener of a five-game series.  The Redbirds offense could not figure out Cubs starter Yu Darvish, who tossed seven shutout innings, and were defeated 4-1 on just two hits.

The only scoring for the Cardinals came on a solo home run by Matt Carpenter in the sixth inning.  A single by Yadier Molina was the only other hit for St. Louis.  The offense struck out 14 times, including three times by LF Tyler O’Neill, and two times each by Carpenter, Tommy Edman, and Brad Miller.  Kolten Wong was the only Cardinal who drew a walk.

Jack Flaherty started and struggled with his command, but despite throwing over 40 pitches in the first inning, escaped with just two runs scored. Trouble returned in the third, however, and he was pulled with two outs in the frame. Flaherty allowed three runs on four hits, struck out four and walked two.   He threw 69 pitches, 42 for strikes.

Jake Woodford relieved Flaherty. He pitched a total of three innings and gave up one run on three hits.  Tyler Webb tossed a scoreless inning, and Alex Reyes finished the game with 1 1/3 scoreless frames.

Webb made a fielding error in the seventh inning on a dropped popup.  Dylan Carlson threw out Cameron Maybin at second base in the fourth inning for an outfield assist.

Saturday, September 5, 2020 – Cardinals 4 at Cubs 2 (Game 1, seven innings)

In the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader at Wrigley Field, the Cardinals defeated the Cubs 4-2, behind solid pitching from veteran right hander Adam Wainwright. Wainwright tossed 6 1/3 innings and yielded two runs on six hits for a quality start.  His only blemish was two long balls off the bat of Ian Happ, who has hit Wainwright well in the past.  The 39-year old fanned six Cubs and walked only one

Adam Wainwright via Zoom (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Giovanny Gallegos relieved with one out and one on in the seventh inning, beginning with Happ at the plate.  Gallegos retired Happ, and after a Tommy Edman fielding error put the next hitter on base, Gallegos fanned Anthony Rizzo to end the game.  Wainwright earned his fourth win of the season and Gallegos his third save.

Though the Redbirds initially fell behind 1-0, the offense surged in the third and fourth innings to take a 4-1 lead.  In the third, Kolten Wong and Edman led off the inning with singles.  Brad Miller walked to load the bases and Paul DeJong drove in Wong on a force out.  Yadier Molina drew a walk to reload the bases and Matt Carpenter walked to plate Edman for the second run of the inning.

In the fourth, Lane Thomas led off with a double and Wong followed with a single.  Edman plated Thomas on a sac fly. Wong later scored the second run on a single by DeJong.  Wong went 2-for-4 as the only Cardinal with multiple hits.

Saturday, September 5, 2020 – Cardinals 5, Cubs 1 (Game 2, seven innings)

In the second game of the twin bill, a makeup contest in which St. Louis was the home team, the Cardinals blew past the Cubs 5-1 on the strength of long balls by Paul DeJong and Tyler O’Neill.  Both home runs came in the second inning, as DeJong first blasted a solo shot to left field on the first pitch he saw.  After Lane Thomas drew a walk, O’Neill thumped a two-run home run to right center to give the Redbirds the 3-0 lead.

Tyler O’Neill via Zoom (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

The Cardinals added to their lead in the third inning on consecutive singles by Tommy Edman, Paul Goldschmidt, and Brad Miller.  In the fourth, O’Neill led off with a double to center, and advanced to third on a ground ball force out by Matt Wieters.  Harrison Bader’s sac fly to right plated O’Neill to increase the Redbirds lead to 5-0.  O’Neill was 2-for-3 as the only Cardinal with multiple hits.

The pitching in this second game was a bullpen effort.  Austin Gomber started and pitched 2 2/3 solid innings.  The left hander allowed only one hit, struck out five and walked three.  Ryan Helsley relieved with two outs in the third and tossed 1 1/3 relief innings.  Helsley gave up a leadoff single to Nico Hoerner in the fifth.  Genesis Cabrera relieved and sent Hoerner to third base on two wild pitches.  Hoerner later scored on a ground out with the run charged to Helsley.

Cabrera got two outs in the fifth before being pulled for John Gant, who fanned Javy Baez to end the inning.  Gant returned to toss a scoreless sixth.  Andrew Miller, fresh off the injured list, retired all three batters in the seventh to close out the day

Sunday, September 6, 2020 – Cardinals 7 at Cubs 3

Following a sweep of the Cubs in a doubleheader on Saturday, the Cardinals tasted victory again by a 7-3 score on Sunday night at Wrigley Field.

With an extra day of rest due to him taking Kwang Hyun Kim’s turn, Dakota Hudson made the start against Jon Lester for the Cubs.  Hudson tossed five innings and yielded three runs on five hits.  The right-hander fanned four and walked two to earn his second win of the season.

Alex Reyes took over mound duties in the sixth inning and hurled 1 2/3 scoreless innings of relief.  He allowed no hits and struck out three. Genesis Cabrera relieved Reyes with two outs in the seventh, pitching to Cubs switch hitter Ian Happ and retiring him on three strikes.  Cabrera returned to pitch the eighth and gave up a double to Kris Bryant then fanned the next three batters.

Giovanny Gallegos closed out the game.  The right-hander faced three hitters in the ninth and retired all three.

The Cardinals offense struck first via a solo home run by Tommy Edman in the first inning.  The Cubs responded to tie it in the bottom of the inning on a bases-empty shot by Anthony Rizzo.

Paul Goldschmidt via Zoom (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

The Cubs took a 3-1 lead in the second on a two-run home run by Jason Kipnis.  St. Louis pitching would shut the Cubs down from there, not allowing a runner past second base the rest of the evening.  In the top of the third, Harrison Bader led off with a hit by pitch.  Kolten Wong doubled and with a man on second and third, Tommy Edman hit a ground ball to short and Bader was thrown out at home.  Paul Goldschmidt blasted a three-run home run out of Wrigley Field and on to Waveland Ave.  The Cardinals led 4-3 but were not done. Tyler O’Neill singled, and Rangel Ravelo doubled to plate O’Neill for a 5-3 lead.

The Redbirds added on to their lead in the sixth inning. Lane Thomas singled and Bader doubled on a ground ball past the shortstop.  Wong followed with a single to short to score Thomas.  Paul DeJong singled to plate Bader and the Cardinals were ahead 7-3.

Every hitter in the Cardinal lineup had a hit except Yadier Molina, who drew a walk.  Bader was 3-for-3 including two doubles.  Wong was 2-for-5 including a double and DeJong was 2-for-4 with a walk.

The Big Picture

The Cardinals took 2 of 3 from the Reds to begin the week and have won 3 of 4 from the Cubs with one more game in the series on Monday.  The 5-2 record for the week puts the Cardinals in a good position against the Cubs with one more game to play in the series.  They are now only 1.5 games behind Chicago with a record of 17-15.

The offense has been good for the week with the exception of the Friday game against the Cubs that ended with 14 strikeouts and only one run scored, with Yu Darvish on top of his game.  Top hitters for the week were Paul DeJong, Paul Goldschmidt, Kolten Wong and Brad Miller.  Tyler O’Neill, who had been sidelined due to his struggles at the plate, re-emerged and has shown some improvement in a small sample size.  Dylan Carlson continues to struggle and has seen less playing time during the week.   Matt Carpenter also is in a rough period at the plate and has been for several weeks, though he continues to play most every day.

Pitching remained strong during the week.  Dakota Hudson earned his first two wins. Adam Wainwright has been very good, as was Kwang-Hyun Kim in his one start.  Kim is now on the IL and his spot in the rotation is unfilled at this time, though Carlos Martinez is expected to be activated from the IL on Tuesday.  The bullpen has been solid as well, though Ryan Helsley and Jake Woodford have had some struggles.

Kwang-Hyun Kim via Zoom (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Defense improved over the eight errors from the week before.  The outfield has been a revolving door of sorts, with Tommy Edman as a replacement for the ailing Dexter Fowler and the other two spots being occupied by O’Neill, Lane Thomas and Dylan Carlson.  Harrison Bader has mostly been a defensive replacement with the exception of the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader and Sunday’s game.  The infield has seen the struggling Carpenter at third, sending Edman to the outfield to keep his bat in the lineup.  Edman is primarily an infielder, so his occupation of an outfield spot is not ideal but has not been a serious problem so far.

The Cardinals play one more game against the Cubs on Monday, then return home for a doubleheader with the Twins on Tuesday.  A second doubleheader against the Tigers will be played on Thursday and then the Reds come to St. Louis for a three-game weekend series.  The schedule for the week is not easy, and wins against a tough Twins team would he helpful.

NL Central Standings

Team W L Pct GB
Chicago 23 18 0.561
St. Louis 17 15 0.531 1.5
Milwaukee 18 21 0.462 4
Cincinnati 18 23 0.439 5
Pittsburgh 13 26 0.333 9

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

The trade deadline came and went on August 31 with the Cardinals making no moves.

Transactions

  • 8/31 The Cardinals activated OF Lane Thomas from the injured list.
  • 8/31 The Cardinals transferred LHP Ricardo Sanchez from the 10-day injured list to the 45-day injured list.
  • 8/31 The Cardinals optioned 1B John Nogowski to the Alternate Training Site.
  • 9/1 The Cardinals activated RHP Ryan Helsley from the injured list.
  • 9/1 The Cardinals optioned LHP Rob Kaminsky to the Alternate Training Site.
  • 9/1 The Cardinals designated RHP Jesus Cruz for assignment.
  • 9/2 The Cardinals activated 1B Rangel Ravelo from the injured list.
  • 9/2 The Cardinals placed RF Dexter Fowler on the injured list.
  • 9/2 The Cardinals optioned RHP Ryan Meisinger to the Alternate Training Site.
  • 9/2 The Cardinals recalled LHP Rob Kaminsky from the Alternate Training Site.
  • 9/3 The Cardinals sent RHP Jesus Cruz outright to the Alternate Training Site.
  • 9/4 The Cardinals activated C Matt Wieters from the 10-day injured list.
  • 9/4 The Cardinals optioned C Andrew Knizner to the Alternate Training Site.
  • 9/5 The Cardinals placed LHP Kwang-Hyun Kim on the 10-day injured list retroactive to September 2, 2020.
  • 9/5 The Cardinals activated LHP Andrew Miller from the 10-day injured list.
  • 9/5 The Cardinals recalled RHP Nabil Crismatt from the Alternate Training Site (29th man).
  • 9/6 The Cardinals optioned RHP Nabil Crismatt 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.
  • RHP Miles Mikolas (right forearm strain) had arm surgery and will miss the remainder of the season.
  • RHP Carlos Martinez has been throwing to live hitters at the Alternate Training Site. The right hander is expected to be activated and make a start in Tuesday’s doubleheader.
  • RHP Ryan Helsley was activated from the injured list and appeared in Saturday’s doubleheader.
  • RHP Kodi Whitley (COVID-19 positive) had experienced discomfort in his pitching elbow during throwing sessions at the Alternate Training Site. He was sent to St. Louis for an MRI and no structural damage was found.  Whitley has returned to Springfield and has begun playing catch.
  • OF Austin Dean (COVID-19 positive) continues to work out at the Alternate Training Site. No timetable for a return to the roster has been announced.
  • OF Lane Thomas was activated from the injured list and has appeared in multiple games.
  • 1B Rangel Ravelo (COVID-19 positive) has been activated from the injured list and started on Sunday.
  • C Matt Wieters was activated from the 10-day injured list and started in Saturday’s doubleheader.
  • LHP Ricardo Sanchez was transferred from the 10-day injured list to the 45-day injured list. Left elbow pain.
  • LHP Andrew Miller has been activated from the injured list and appeared in Saturday’s doubleheader.
  • LHP Kwang-Hyun Kim was placed on the 10-day injured list. Kidney ailment. Kim has returned to St. Louis and his timing is unknown, but there is optimism he can be back in 2020.
  • RF Dexter Fowler was placed on the injured list. Stomach ailment.  Fowler has returned to St. Louis and will remain out for at least two weeks.

Looking Ahead

The Cardinals will finish the five-game series with the Cubs on Monday.  Johan Oviedo will make the start.

The team returns to St. Louis to play a doubleheader with the Twins on Tuesday at Busch Stadium.  No pitchers have been announced for the twin bill, but it is likely Carlos Martinez will be activated from the injured list to make one of the starts.

Following a Wednesday off day, the Tigers will come to Busch Stadium for a doubleheader on Thursday.

The Cardinals continue the homestand on Friday with a weekend series against the Reds.

Blast from the Past

The Cardinals and the Reds completed a three-game series in Cincinnati earlier in the week.  The two teams are set to play another series at Busch Stadium next weekend.  This week’s Blast From the Past tells the tale of an unusual event in a game between the two teams 85 years ago at Crosley Field in Cincinnati.

The date was July 31, 1935.  The Cardinals were facing the Reds in a night game at Crosley Field.  The first game in MLB history under the lights had taken place just two months earlier at Crosley.  The game was oversold that night, with 36,000 fans crammed into a ballpark with a capacity of 26,000.  The extra 10,000 fans were in a roped off area in foul territory between home plate and the outfield fences on both sides of the field.

Ducky Medwick

The Cardinals were leading the Reds 2-1 in the eighth inning.  Ducky Medwick stepped to the plate to bat, and a female fan named Kitty Burke, standing in the roped off area near home plate, yelled at Medwick.  Burke, a blues singer and rabid Reds fan, intensely disliked Medwick.  Burke yelled that Medwick “couldn’t hit the ball with an ironing board”.  Medwick replied to Burke that she couldn’t hit even if she was swinging an elephant.

Medwick took his at bat and grounded out to the pitcher for the final out of the inning. In the bottom of the eighth, as Reds LF Babe Herman came to the plate to take his at bat, Burke yelled to Herman to lend her his bat.  Herman decided to comply and called time to give his bat to Burke.

Burke, wearing a dress and high heels, took Herman’s bat and marched to the batter’s box.  Baseball commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis was in the stands that night and took no action to stop Burke.  The umpire also did nothing.  Burke shouted at Cardinals pitcher Paul “Daffy” Dean to throw her a pitch.  Dean stood there while the crowd roared with laughter.  Umpire Bill Stewart yelled, “Play ball!”

Dean threw an underhanded pitch to Burke.  Burke swung and hit a dribbler back to Dean.  Dean picked up the ball and threw Burke out at first base. Burke went back into the crowd and out of the annals of baseball history, though her at bat was never recorded in the box score.  Cardinals manager Frankie Frisch argued unsuccessfully that the Reds should be charged with an out.

The Cardinals went on to lose the game, 4-3.

Though Burke’s at-bat was never officially recognized, she went on the Burlesque circuit afterward and billed herself as the first woman to bat in a major league game.


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