St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of July 16-22

photo: Matt Carpenter (Patrick Gorski/USA TODAY Sports)

The St. Louis Cardinals went just 2-3 in Chicago over the weekend, falling into fourth place. Despite Matt Carpenter’s record-breaking long-ball surge, timely hitting, defense and bullpen problems persist. In our weekly history feature, other Cardinals home run records are remembered.

Game Recaps

Monday, July 16- Wednesday, July 18 – All-Star break

Thursday, July 19 – Cardinals 6 at Cubs 9

In the only MLB game scheduled on Thursday after the All-Star break, the St. Louis Cardinals met the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field for the first of a five-game series, including a Saturday doubleheader.  The first game did not go well for the Redbirds.  Starter Carlos Martinez pitched five innings and gave up six runs, five earned, on seven hits.  Sam Tuivailala relieved in the sixth and tossed a scoreless inning.  Tyler Lyons took the seventh and surrendered a run.  Matt Bowman surrendered two more runs in the eighth.  Martinez suffered his sixth loss of the season.

The first run of the game came on an RBI single by Marcell Ozuna.  In the second inning Tommy Pham hit a solo home run.  Kolten Wong drove in a run on a single in the fifth.  Matt Carpenter launched a solo home run in the sixth.  In the eighth, Carpenter grounded into a force out and Pham scored on the play.  Wong singled in the final Cardinal run in the ninth.

Pham was picked off first base.  Jedd Gyorko committed a fielding error, his 10th of the season.  Paul DeJong made two throwing errors.  Tyler Lyons picked Ben Zobrist off first base.

Friday, July 20 – Cardinals 18 at Cubs 5

Matt Carpenter (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

It was an entirely different game for the Cardinals on Friday in Game 2 of the series as the bats came to life in a big way.  The offense failed to score in only two of nine innings, the third and the ninth.  It began with a solo home run by Matt Carpenter in the first inning.  In the second, Dexter Fowler had an RBI double, Pham hit an RBI single and Carpenter homered again, this time, a two-run shot.  The offense put up seven runs in the fourth, beginning with Marcell Ozuna’s single to plate Carpenter, followed by bases loaded walks from Jedd Gyorko and Kolten Wong.  Fowler hit a sac fly to score Ozuna, Pham singled in Gyorko and Wong, and Carpenter doubled to plate Pham.  In the sixth, Carpenter homered for the third time, a three run shot.   Greg Garcia added a long ball in the seventh, and Yairo Munoz launched a two-run shot in the eighth.  In the end, Carpenter had three home runs and two doubles, a franchise record, and only the second player in major league history to do so.  Carpenter’s 16 total bases are a record for a leadoff hitter and ties the Cardinal record set by Mark Whiten in his four home run game on Sept 7, 1993.  Carpenter was 5-for-5 with seven RBI and four runs scored.

In the midst of all the scoring, starter Jack Flaherty pitched five innings and gave up one run on two hits while fanning nine and walking four.  Luke Gregerson tossed a scoreless sixth.  Brett Cecil, on the other hand, did not pitch a scoreless inning, but instead surrendered three runs in the seventh and was replaced with one out in the inning by Matt Bowman. Bowman got the final two outs of the seventh, then returned for the eighth and gave up a run of his own.  Greg Holland finished with a scoreless ninth.

Jedd Gyorko committed a fielding error for his 11th of the season and second miscue in two days.

Saturday, July 21 – Cardinals 2 at Cubs 7 (Game 1 doubleheader)

In the first game of the doubleheader on Saturday, the Cardinals offense was practically non-existent.  They accumulated only two hits, but managed to score two runs, one via another home run by Matt Carpenter, a solo shot in the third inning.  Yadier Molina added a sac fly in the seventh.

Starter Luke Weaver suffered his ninth loss of the season, pitching four innings and giving up three runs on seven hits.  Weaver struck out two and walked five.   Mike Mayers tossed two scoreless innings of relief.   The game got away from Tyler Lyons, who surrendered four runs in the seventh and got two outs before being replaced by Luke Gregerson, who finished the inning.  Gregerson returned to pitch a scoreless eighth.

Highlights for the Cardinals included a stolen base by Yadier Molina and an outfield assist by Marcell Ozuna, who threw Javier Baez out at home.

Saturday, July 21 – Cardinals 6 at Cubs 3 (Game 2 doubleheader)

John Gant (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

Game 2 of the doubleheader ended better for the Cardinals.  John Gant pitched five scoreless innings to aid in the defeat of the Cubs.  Greg Holland only hindered a larger margin of defeat over the Cubs by giving up three runs – though only one was earned due to Paul DeJong’s fielding error.  Holland got only one out in the sixth and was charged with a blown save.  Jordan Hicks finished the inning, though he was responsible for two of Holland’s runners scoring.   Hicks returned to pitch a scoreless seventh.  Sam Tuivailala tossed a run-free eighth and Bud Norris added a scoreless ninth to earn his 18th save.  Tuivailala picked up the win.

A sac fly by DeJong in the first inning got the Redbirds on the board.  The Cardinals failed to score again until the seventh, when Matt Carpenter hit yet another home run, a solo shot.  In the eighth, Yairo Munoz singled in Tommy Pham.  Paul DeJong doubled in a run in the ninth, and Pham doubled in two.  Pham and DeJong both went 2-for-4.

Highlights included stolen bases by Munoz and Francisco Pena.  Another highlight was the ejections of Javier Baez and his manager Joe Maddon, Baez for throwing his bat and helmet after a checked swing strike call and Maddon for getting in the umpire’s face about it.  Not a highlight was DeJong yet again making a fielding error.

Sunday, July 22 – Cardinals 2 at Cubs 7

As the series began, so did it end, with a loss for the Cardinals.    The score was identical to Saturday’s first game, but with more hits this time.  The offense had eight hits to score its two runs.  Paul DeJong repeated Saturday’s Game 2 first inning with a sac fly.  In the fourth, Yairo Munoz doubled to score Dexter Fowler.    After that it was all Cubs.

Miles Mikolas pitched five innings and gave up two runs on six hits.  Mikolas fanned six and walked two.  Then came the bullpen and the Cubs went to town.  Two runs were allowed by Mike Mayers in two innings pitched.  The real scoring came when Brett Cecil made his appearance. After Cecil handed over three more runs to the Cubs while managing only one out, John Brebbia secured the final two outs of the eighth.

After sitting out Saturday due to illness, Jedd Gyorko again committed an error, this time a throwing miscue, for his 12th of the season and third in his three games played in the series.

Big Picture

The Cardinals played five games with the Cubs after the All-Star break and lost the series 2-3.  Lack of timely offense, defensive errors, and the bullpen were the issues in the losses – all continuing themes.  The Cardinals now stand in fourth place in the division due to a nine-game winning streak by the Pirates.

Tommy Pham (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

Despite the losses to the Cubs, the team has shown some improvement under new manager Mike Shildt.  The offense was lacking in two of the games but the resurgence of Tommy Pham and signs of life from Dexter Fowler’s bat are promising.  Matt Carpenter continues to be awesome, making history by hitting home runs in six straight games, with his three home runs and two doubles in Friday’s game setting a franchise record.  Base running has shown marked improvement so far under Shildt.

The defense continues to have issues, but they have been isolated to two infielders, Jedd Gyorko and Paul DeJong.  Jose Martinez playing less in the field has helped.

The bullpen has been a major problem.  The nearing trade deadline may bring some resolution to the bullpen issues to some degree.  Particular problems are Brett Cecil and Greg Holland, veterans with substantial contracts, unfortunately.

The Cardinals play three games at Cincinnati and three home games with the Cubs in the coming week.  A better performance against the Cubs at Busch Stadium needs to happen for the club to retain its playoff relevance.

NL Central Standings W L Pct GB
Chicago 58 40 0.592
Milwaukee 56 45 0.554 3.5
Pittsburgh 51 49 0.510 8
St. Louis 50 49 0.505 8.5
Cincinnati 43 56 0.434 15.5

Who’s Hot

Over the past five games (does not contain recent Sunday game results):

  • Matt Carpenter has an OPS of 2.650. He has seven HRs, two doubles, and 11 RBI.
  • Yairo Munoz has an OPS of 1.357. He has one HR and three RBI.
  • Tommy Pham has an OPS of 1.474. He has one HR, one double, and eight RBI.
  • Jack Flaherty has an ERA of 1.80 and a WHIP of 1.20.
  • John Gant has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 1.00.
  • Bud Norris has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 1.00.
  • Mike Mayers has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.00.
  • Sam Tuivailala has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 1.00.

Who’s Not

Over the past five games (does not contain recent Sunday games):

  • Jedd Gyorko has an OPS of .424.
  • Francisco Pena has an OPS of .400.
  • Carlos Martinez has an ERA of 9.00 and a WHIP of 1.60
  • Luke Weaver has an ERA of 6.75 and a WHIP of 3.00
  • Tyler Lyons has an ERA of 27.00 and a WHIP of 4.20.
  • Brett Cecil has an ERA of 81.00 and a WHIP of 15.00.
  • Matt Bowman has an ERA of 10.13 and a WHIP of 2.63.

A Look at Cardinals Lineups

The lineups over the last five games (does not contain recent Sunday game):

  • The leadoff hitter has been Matt Carpenter for four games and Harrison Bader for one game.
  • The number two hitter has been Yadier Molina for four games and Jose Martinez for one game.
  • The number three hitter has been Paul DeJong.
  • The cleanup hitter has been Marcell Ozuna.
  • The fifth hitter has been Jedd Gyorko for three games and Tommy Pham for two games.
  • The sixth hitter has been Kolten Wong for four games and Greg Garcia for one game.
  • The seventh hitter has been Dexter Fowler for four games and Yairo Munoz for one game.
  • The eighth hitter has been Pham for two games, and Garcia, Harrison Bader, and Franscisco Pena for one game each.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.


  • 7/17 The Cardinals removed OF Tyler O’Neill from the DL and optioned him to the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 7/18 The Cardinals placed RHP Miles Mikolas on the paternity list.
  • 7/18 The Cardinals recalled RHP Matt Bowman from the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 7/21 The Cardinals placed RHP Carlos Martinez on the 10 day disabled list retroactive to July 20, 2018. Right oblique strain.
  • 7/21 The Cardinals activated RHP Miles Mikolas from the paternity list.
  • 7/21 The Cardinals optioned RHP Matt Bowman to the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 7/21 The Cardinals recalled RHP John Brebbia from the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 7/21 The Cardinals recalled RHP Luke Weaver from the Memphis Redbirds as the 26th man for Saturday’s doubleheader only.

Injury Report

  • RHP Dominic Leone (right upper arm nerve irritation) remains on the 60 day DL. Leone has begun a throwing program and threw on flat ground on July 19. No announcement regarding a rehab assignment has been made.
  • RHP Alex Reyes (right lat strain) had surgery on June 6 to reattach a tendon in his right lat. Reyes is expected to be out for the remainder of the season.
  • RHP Adam Wainwright (right elbow inflammation) continues on the 60 day DL. Wainwright has begun a throwing program but is several weeks away from beginning a rehab assignment.
  • RHP Michael Wacha (left oblique strain) continues on the 10 day DL. Wacha underwent an ultrasound and the team in encouraged by his healing.  Wacha has not yet begun a throwing program.
  • RHP Carlos Martinez was placed on the 10 day DL retroactive to July 20 with a right oblique strain said to be minor.

Looking Ahead

The Cardinals begin a three-game series in Cincinnati beginning Monday with young pitchers slated to carry the load.  Daniel Poncedeleon will make the Monday start, in his MLB debut.  Austin Gomber will start on Tuesday, his first as a major leaguer, and Jack Flaherty will go on Wednesday.

The Cardinals have an off day Thursday.  The team will return to St. Louis for a weekend series against the Cubs.   No pitching probables have been announced but will likely be Luke Weaver and Miles Mikolas with the Sunday starter unknown at this time.

The homestand will continues with a four-game series against the Rockies at Busch Stadium starting next Monday.  The Cardinals then travel to Pittsburgh for a weekend series with the Pirates.

Following the Pirates series the Redbirds travel to Miami for a three-game set against the Marlins.  The team has a Thursday travel day as they fly to Kansas City for a weekend interleague series with the Royals.

The Cardinals’ regular season schedule can be found here.

Blast from the Past

This past weekend, Matt Carpenter set a franchise record with three home runs and two doubles in Friday’s game against the Cubs.  Carpenter finished the week with home runs in six straight games.  This article will look at some notable home run records for Cardinals.

This season, Carpenter has reached milestones in several categories.  In addition to the history made in Friday’s game, Carpenter established a new single season franchise record for leadoff homers with six.  Carpenter also tied Lou Brock for career leadoff homers with 21.

Albert Pujols (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Other notable records include multiple home run games in a season, a record which stands at nine and held by both Albert Pujols in 2009 and Mark McGwire in 1998.   Pujols holds the franchise record for multiple career HR games with 39.  Pujols also holds the franchise record for career extra inning home runs with 13 and most grand slams in a season, five in 2009, and most grand slams career with 12.

The franchise record for pinch hit home runs in a season is held by George Crowe, who had four in 1959.  Crowe also holds the franchise record for career pinch hit home runs with eight.

Most inside-the-park home runs in a season is a record held by Jesse Burkett, who had eight in 1901.  Most inside-the-park home runs career is a record held by Rogers Hornsby with 30.

Mark McGwire holds the franchise record for most home runs in a month, with 16 in May of 1998 and July of 1999.  The 16 home runs in 1999 tied the MLB July record.

In the last time it happened category for home runs, the last player to hit four home runs in a game was Mark Whiten on September 7, 1993 in Cincinnati.  Prior to Friday’s game, the last Cardinal with three home runs in a game was Albert Pujols on May 20, 2010 in Chicago.  The last Cardinal with two home runs in extra innings was Matt Adams on September 4, 2013 in Cincinnati.  The last time three Cardinals hit consecutive home runs was September 19, 2002, when Eli Marrero, Jim Edmonds, and Albert Pujols did it in the eighth inning.  The last Cardinal to homer from both sides of the plate was Carlos Beltran on June 15, 2013.

Finally, one of the most well known home run feats by a Cardinal occurred on April 24, 1999, when Fernando Tatis hit two grand slams in one inning.  Tatis remains the only MLB player to ever accomplish this feat.

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