St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of August 5-11

photo: Lane Thomas (Billy Hurst/Imagn)

The St. Louis Cardinals went 3-3 last week, swept by the Dodgers and sweeping the Pirates. Sunday’s star, rookie outfielder Lane Thomas, drove in five. Our weekly history feature looks back at the August 2010 brawl with the Cincinnati Reds.


Game recaps

Monday, August 5 – Cardinals 0 at Dodgers 8

The Cardinals were blanked in the first of a three-game series at Dodger Stadium on Monday.  Michael Wacha continued to struggle as a starter, giving up six runs on seven hits in 3 2/3 innings pitched. The right hander struck out three and walked two.  Adalberto Mejia surrendered two runs in 1 1/3 innings of relief.  Ryan Helsley tossed the final three scoreless innings.

St. Louis’ offense was virtually non-existent against Dodgers starter Tony Gonsolin.  A double by Kolten Wong and a single by Dexter Fowler were the only hits and Cardinals hitters struck out nine times.

Marcell Ozuna stole his ninth base of the season.  Fowler had an outfield assist at second base.


Miles Mikolas (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Tuesday, August 6 – Cardinals 1 at Dodgers 3

The Cardinals fell in the second game of the Dodgers series but managed to score a run, via a single by Matt Carpenter in the second inning.   The offense scattered seven hits, including doubles by Dexter Fowler and Paul DeJong.  Fowler was 2-for-4.

Starter Miles Mikolas pitched 6 1/3 innings and gave up two runs on six hits.  The right-hander struck out seven and walked one.  Andrew Miiler relieved Mikolas in the seventh and surrendered one run.  Tyler Webb pitched a scoreless eighth.  Mikolas took the loss, his 12th of the season.


Wednesday, August 7 – Cardinals 1 at Dodgers 2

Jack Flaherty (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

The final game of the series was much like the others in that St. Louis’ offense remained meager.  The difference was the Cardinals were ahead 1-0 until the ninth inning when the bullpen gave the win away.

The Cardinals scattered seven hits while scoring only one run, a solo home run by Marcell Ozuna in the sixth inning.  Matt Carpenter was 2-for-4.  Dexter Fowler and Tommy Edman doubled.

Jack Flaherty continues to pitch well while his offense fails to support him.  Flaherty threw seven scoreless innings, allowed four hits, fanned 10 and walked one.  Giovanny Gallegos added a scoreless eighth.  Andrew Miller and Carlos Martinez combined to give up both Dodgers runs in the ninth including the walk off.  Martinez was charged with a blown save and the loss.


Thursday, August 8 – Off day

Friday, August 9 – Cardinals 6, Pirates 2

Marcell Ozuna (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

The Cardinals began a weekend series with the last place Pirates at Busch Stadium with a 6-2 win. The offense collected 10 hits.  Marcell Ozuna hit an eighth inning two-run home run as St. Louis pulled ahead with four runs in the eighth.  Paul Goldschmidt was 2-for-4 and drove in a run.  Tommy Edman was also 2-for-4 with a triple.  Dexter Fowler was 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored. A sac fly by Matt Carpenter and a single by Matt Wieters plated two runs.

Starter Dakota Hudson pitched four innings and gave up two runs on six hits.  Hudson struck out none and walked none.  Tyler Webb followed with 1 1/3 scoreless innings of relief.  John Brebbia tossed 1 2/3 scoreless innings.  Andrew Miller and Carlos Martinez combined for a scoreless eighth and ninth, with the latter receiving the win.


Saturday, August 10 – Cardinals 3, Pirates 1

Adam Wainwright (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

The Cardinals again defeated the Pirates in Game 2 of the series by a score of 3-1.  Starter Adam Wainwright pitched six innings and gave up one run on six hits.  The right hander fanned eight and walked two. Giovanny Gallegos added 2 1/3 scoreless innings of relief.  Carlos Martinez got the final two outs of the ninth to earn his 12th save.  Wainwright got the win, his eighth.

On offense, Tommy Edman was 2-for-4.  He scored in the sixth on a double with a throwing error.  Paul DeJong plated a run on a single in the sixth, as St. Louis pulled ahead.  A double play by Marcell Ozuna in the first inning resulted in the first run scoring.

Kolten Wong was caught stealing for the second time in the season.


Sunday, August 11 – Cardinals 11, Pirates 9

Lane Thomas (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

The Cardinals swept the Pirates on Sunday, with Game 3 a wild slugfest with the score of 11-9.  The game featured a game-saving grand slam by a rookie, plus two other long balls.   Paul Goldschmidt hit a two-run home run in the first inning to get the Cardinals on the board. With the Cardinals behind 8-4 in the bottom of the seventh, back to back hit by pitches on Yairo Munoz and Andrew Knizner brought a run home to make it 8-5.  Rookie Lane Thomas came to bat with the bases loaded and hit a grand slam to give the Cardinals the lead.  Dexter Fowler added a two-run home run in the eighth as needed insurance.

In addition to the grand slam, Thomas tripled to score a run earlier in the game.  He was 2-for-5 with five RBI.  Tommy Edman was 3-for-5, Goldschmidt was 4-for-5, and Marcell Ozuna was 2-for-4.

Starter Miles Mikolas pitched five innings and gave up six runs, five earned, on seven hits.  The right hander struck out four and walked one.  In his MLB debut, Junior Fernandez surrendered two runs in 2/3 of an inning, with Tyler Webb getting the last out of the sixth.  John Gant and John Brebbia pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth, respectively. Andrew Miller allowed one run in the ninth, but earned his fourth save.  Gant was the winning pitcher.

Edman stole his seventh base, Goldschmidt swiped his first bag, and Ozuna stole his 10th base.  Jose Martinez committed a fielding error, and Lane Thomas had an outfield assist at home.  Webb picked a runner off first base.


The Big Picture

The Cardinals ended the week with a record of 3-3, having been swept by the Dodgers, and sweeping the Pirates.  Offense in the Dodgers series was virtually non- existent; two runs in three games.  Despite splitting the week, the team’s run differential for the week was minus four.

It appears to be one step forward, two steps back for the offense.  All season the team has not been able to put up a sustained run of offense.  Even when they win several games in a row, they are usually low scoring games on both sides.  Dexter Fowler, Kolten Wong, Marcell Ozuna, and Tommy Edman have hit fairly well.  The rest of the lineup has not.  Paul Goldschmidt had a good Sunday but did not hit well prior to that.  Paul DeJong, Jose Martinez, and Matt Wieters have been slumping.  Matt Carpenter returned from the injured list but has shown no signs of being the Matt Carpenter of old, now, or all season.

The defense in the infield has been fine, but the outfield has been a hodge-podge of infielders and outfielders in and out.  Tommy Edman and Yairo Munoz have been getting starts in the outfield while natural outfielder Lane Thomas sat on the bench.  Thomas’ performance in Sunday’s game may change that.  The outfield could use some good defense in center field.

As for pitching, Jack Flaherty had been excellent, Adam Wainwright has been okay.  Miles Mikolas had one good start and one not good start.  Dakota Hudson has struggled.  The fifth rotation spot went back to Michael Wacha, who wasn’t good.  There needs to be some consistency in that fifth spot and Wacha hasn’t provided that.  Who, if anyone, will provide that is up in the air at the moment.

The bullpen has been mostly fine. Andrew Miller has been so-so and Carlos Martinez is not a sure thing.  The two of them together blew the game against the Dodgers on Wednesday.

The Cardinals hit the road to play two games with the Kansas City Royals, then play a three game series in Cincinnati.  The Royals are not a good team, but the Reds can be very difficult to beat at home.  The Cubs recently found that out.

The Cardinals are barely holding on to second place in the NL Central after being in first place before the disastrous 0-5 West Coast trip.  Wins must come against the Royals and the Reds.


NL Central Standings

Team W L Pct GB
Chicago 64 54 0.542
St. Louis 61 55 0.526 2
Milwaukee 62 57 0.521 2.5
Cincinnati 56 60 0.483 7
Pittsburgh 48 69 0.41 15.5

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.


Transactions 

  • 8/6 The Cardinals designated LHP Adalberto Mejia for assignment.
  • 8/6 The Cardinals sent RHP Mike Mayers outright to the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 8/6 The Cardinals selected the contract of RHP Junior Fernandez from the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 8/8 The Cardinals sent C Yadier Molina on a rehab assignment to the Springfield Cardinals.
  • 8/8 The Los Angeles Angels claimed LHP Adalberto Mejia off waivers from the St. Louis Cardinals.

Injury Report

  • LHP Brett Cecil (carpal tunnel syndrome left wrist) continues on the 60 day injured list. Cecil had been shut down from throwing for an indefinite period since spring training.  The left hander has had a setback in his rehab and it seems unlikely that Cecil will return in 2019.
  • RHP Jordan Hicks (torn right UCL) underwent Tommy John surgery on June 26 and is out for the rest of the season.
  • C Yadier Molina (right thumb) was placed on the 10 day injured list on July 11, retroactive to July 8. Molina is currently on a rehab assignment with the Springfield Cardinals and is expected to return to the roster as soon as Tuesday. Andrew Knizner will be returned to Memphis.
  • LF Tyler O’Neill (left wrist strain) was placed on the 10 day injured list retroactive to August 1. O’Neill is expected to begin a minor league rehab soon.
  • 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 left Sunday’s game with shoulder discomfort. As of this writing, Martinez is day to day. With the team off Monday, further information should be available on Tuesday.
  • Neither RHS Alex Reyes nor LHS Austin Gomber, both on the IL of Triple-A Memphis, have appeared in rehab games. As minor league seasons have just three weeks remaining, time is running out for them to contribute in 2019.

Looking Ahead

The Cardinals have an off day on Monday and begin a two game series in Kansas City against the Royals. Jack Flaherty is scheduled to make the Tuesday start and Dakota Hudson will start on Wednesday.

The team then proceeds to Cincinnati for a second four-game series with the Reds beginning August 15.  Afterward, they return home for a seven-game home stand with three against the Brewers and four with the Rockies.

The Cardinals take a short trip to Milwaukee to play a three game set beginning August 26. They end the month with a weekend series at home against the Reds.

The Cardinals’ regular season schedule can be viewed here.


Blast from the Past

This week’s Blast from the Past takes a look back on a significant clash with the Cincinnati Reds that happened nine years ago this past week.

On August 10, 2010 the Cardinals played the Reds in Cincinnati.  It was the second of a three-game series.  The game was marked in infamy by a brawl that occurred in the first inning.  Its roots were in a comment made by Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips to the media the day before.  The gist of the comment, cited here out of context, was that Phillips expressed the sentiment that he hated the Cardinals, and that they were “little bitches, all of them”.

Needless to say, the comment did not go over well in Cardinal Nation, and more specifically it did not go over well with St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina.  So, with that backdrop, this is what happened in the game the next day.

In the first inning, Phillips came to bat, and before taking his stance to receive a pitch from Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia, Phillips gave Molina a little tap on his shin guard.  Ordinarily such a tap might be regarded as a friendly greeting, but in this case, Molina was having none of it.  The exact words spoken are not entirely known, but Molina expressed that the tap was not welcome because Phillips was not his friend after the comments he made the previous day.  Molina and Phillips got in each other’s faces, and then it was on.

The benches and the bullpen cleared.  Shoving occurred and perhaps a few punches were thrown, but the worst part is that the sea of baseball players was shoved, en masse, up against the backstop.  In the ensuing melee, Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto, pressed up against the screen, began kicking players with his cleats.  Two of the Cardinals victims of this kicking were pitcher Chris Carpenter, and backup catcher Jason LaRue, a former Red.

Words were exchanged between managers Tony La Russa and Dusty Baker, and Jeff Suppan was shown crawling his way out from under a pile of players, but the significant matter was injuries to Carpenter and LaRue.  Carpenter reported some scratches and cuts, but LaRue received the brunt of the damage, with a concussion that ultimately ended his career.

Cueto received a seven-game suspension, which for a starting pitcher is a light sentence because he only missed one start.  Many in Cardinal Nation felt that was not a proper punishment for ending a career.

As far as the outcome of the game, it eventually resumed, and the Cardinals won 8-4.  Needless to say, fans in both stadiums booed Phillips and Molina for years after.  Molina is still booed to this day, but Phillips is no longer in baseball, so for him, the boos had an end.  Despite all that happened, there were no follow-on clashes of any significance between the two teams since that day.


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