St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of July 2-8

photo: Jedd Gyorko (Benny Sieu/USA TODAY Sports)

The 4-3 week by the St. Louis Cardinals was dampened by the club falling two more games in the division standings. Jedd Gyorko is swinging a hot bat. In our history feature, the NLCS results between the Cardinals and Giants are remembered.


Game Recaps

Monday, July 2 – Cardinals 6 at D-backs 3

Carlos Martinez (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

The Cardinals defeated the Diamondbacks in the first of a three-game series in Phoenix.  Carlos Martinez started on the bump for the Redbirds and earned his fifth win of the season.  The right hander pitched six innings and gave up two runs on six hits.  He struck out seven and walked two.   Mike Mayers followed with a scoreless seventh.  Greg Holland took the eighth and surrendered one unearned run.  Bud Norris tossed a scoreless ninth to earn his 16th save.

St. Louis’ offense put four on the board in the first inning.  Yadier Molina singed to score Matt Carpenter and Tommy Pham.  Jedd Gyorko followed with a single to plate Tyler O’Neill.  Yairo Munoz doubled to right and Molina scored, but Gyorko was thrown out at home.  Molina and Gyorko hit back to back solo home runs in the sixth.

Kolten Wong made a throwing error, his third of the season.


Tuesday, July 3 – Cardinals 2 at D-backs 4

The second game of the series did not go the Cardinals’ way.  St. Louis scored two runs on seven hits, six of which were singles, with the only extra base hit a double by Jedd Gyorko.  Both runs scored in the second inning, on Yairo Munoz’ single and Kolten Wong’s sac fly.  Wong also had one of the seven base hits, along with Matt Carpenter, Jose Martinez, Yadier Molina, and Greg Garcia.

Starter Jack Flaherty pitched six innings, giving up four runs on four hits.  The young right hander struck out seven and walked one.  Flaherty was tagged for his fourth loss of the season.  Sam Tuivailala and Austin Gomber combined to toss the final two scoreless innings.


Wednesday, July 4 – Cardinals 8 at D-backs 4

Yadier Molina (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

The Cardinals were victorious in the rubber game of the series at the D-backs.  Starter Miles Mikolas won his ninth game of the season, pitching six innings and giving up two runs on seven hits.  He struck out three and walked four.  Greg Holland started the seventh but after surrendering a walk and a single, was replaced by Jordan Hicks with no outs.  Hicks allowed both inherited runners to score, but got through the inning.  Hicks returned to pitch a scoreless eighth and Bud Norris tossed a scoreless ninth.

The offense didn’t score until the fifth inning, when Tommy Pham singled to plate Matt Carpenter.  In the seventh, Yairo Munoz hit a solo home run, Pham hit a second RBI single, and Yadier Molina launched a three-run home run to right field.  Carpenter singled, and Pham doubled to plate two more in the eighth.  Carpenter was 3-for-4 and Pham was 3-for-5.  Molina was 2-for-4 and Harrison Bader was 2-for-5.

Bader stole his eighth base of the season.  Carpenter made two throwing errors.


Thursday, July 5 – Cardinals 11 at Giants 2

Luke Weaver (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

The Cardinals began a four-game series in San Francisco against the Giants, and the first game went their way – in fact, it was a blowout in their favor.  In the first inning, four runs scored, the first on a ground out by Marcell Ozuna.  Jedd Gyorko added a three-run bomb to right field.  Matt Carpenter hit a solo shot in the second inning.  The Cardinals scored again in the sixth on RBI singles by Tommy Pham and Ozuna and a double by Gyorko that scored two.  The final two scores came on a two-run long ball by Harrison Bader in the seventh.    Bader and Yadier Molina both went 3-for-5.  Pham and Kolten Wong were each 2-for-5. Ozuna was 2-for-4 and Gyorko was 3-for-4.

Luke Weaver started for the Redbirds and he went eight strong innings, giving up two runs on two hits.  The right hander struck out seven and walked none.  Brett Cecil pitched a scoreless ninth.


Friday, July 6 – Cardinals 2 at Giants 3

The Cardinals were the losers in the second game of the series in San Francisco.  Starter John Gant pitched six innings and gave two runs on five hits.  John Brebbia surrendered a run in the seventh.  Sam Tuivailala tossed a scoreless eighth.  Brebbia took the loss.

The offense scored two runs on five hits.  Kolten Wong drove in both, on a double in the second inning and on a triple in the seventh.  He was 2-for-3.  Jedd Gyorko was 2-for-4.


Saturday, July 7 – Cardinals 3 at Giants 2

The Cardinals turned the tables on the Giants, winning by the same 3-2 score.  Carlos Martinez helped himself with the bat by driving in the first run on a double in the third inning.  In the fourth, Dexter Fowler plated a run on a sac fly and Francisco Pena drove in another run of the inning on a single.  Kolten Wong went 2-for-4.

Martinez pitched seven innings, giving up one run on six hits while fanning three and walking one.  Jordan Hicks surrendered a run in the eighth.  Bud Norris added a scoreless ninth to earn his 17th save.

Wong stole his third base of the season.  Pena made a throwing error.


Sunday, July 8 – Cardinals 8 at Giants 13

The Cardinals had to settle for a series split, as they were defeated in a slugfest.  Jack Flaherty had a bad day, pitching only 2 1/3 innings, giving up three runs, two earned, on four hits and two walks.  Mike Mayers relieved in the third and got the next two batters out to end the inning.  Mayers returned to pitch a scoreless fourth.  John Brebbia surrendered three runs on four hits in the fifth inning.  Greg Holland did even worse by giving up five runs on four hits in the sixth.  Brett Cecil entered with two outs in the fifth and got Hunter Pence to fly out on the first pitch.  Cecil returned to pitch a scoreless seventh.  Sam Tuivailala gave up two runs, one earned, in the ninth.  Brebbia took the loss.

St. Louis’ offense scored first on a solo home run in the second inning from Yairo Munoz.  Munoz drove in two on a single in the fourth.  In the fifth, Jose Martinez plated a run on a single.  Marcell Ozuna hit a sac fly in the seventh to bring a run home.  Matt Carpenter hit a three-run home run in the eighth that left the park and splashed into McCovey Cove.  That was the end of the Cardinals scoring.  Munoz was on base four times, going 2-for-2 plus two walks.  Martinez was 3-for-5 and Jedd Gyorko was 2-for-5.

Harrison Bader stole his ninth and Yairo Munoz stole his fourth base of the season, respectively.  Paul DeJong committed two fielding errors.


Big Picture

The Cardinals ended the week 4-3, winning the series at the D-backs and splitting the series at the Giants.

Despite a positive won-loss record for the week, the Cardinals fell further behind the Brewers and the Cubs in the Division standings, from 5.5 games back this time last week to 7.5 games today, equidistant to last and first.

This is because both the Brewers and the Cubs have put together sustained winning streaks and the Cardinals have not.  In the last 10 games, the Brewers are 7-3, the Cubs are 8-2, but the Cardinals are 4-6.  The Cardinals win one, lose one, and so forth, and have been unable to take consecutive series for more than two months now.

In each game, the issues are something different.  One day it is lack of offense, the next day the starting pitching falters, or both the offense and pitching falters.  The defense continues to look good one day and terrible the next.  The inconsistencies of this team are glaring.

Off field problems also surfaced with reported issues between Dexter Fowler and management.  This may or may not be showing on the field.  It is unclear if/how this controversy has affected the rest of the clubhouse.  Fowler started once during the four-game Giants series.  He continues to struggle at the plate, but with little playing time it is difficult to mitigate those struggles.  Harrison Bader has played well in right field and is getting the majority of the playing time there.

St. Louis will face the White Sox and the Reds in this last week of play before the All Star break.  The Cardinals have played well against both teams.  A solid showing will be crucial.  St. Louis will then play eight games with the Cubs within the first 11 days after the break.  The Cardinals must emerge then.


Standings

NL Central Standings W L Pct                 GB
Milwaukee 54 36 0.600
Chicago 51 36 0.586 1.5
St. Louis 46 43 0.517 7.5
Pittsburgh 41 48 0.461 12.5
Cincinnati 39 51 0.433 15

 


Who’s Hot

Jedd Gyorko (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

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

  • Jedd Gyorko has an OPS of 1.364. He has two HRs, one triple, two doubles and seven RBI.
  • Yadier Molina has an OPS of 1.028. He has two HRs and six RBI.
  • Harrison Bader has an OPS of .978. He has one HR, two doubles, and two RBI.
  • Kolten Wong has an OPS of .988. He has one triple, two doubles, and three RBI.
  • Carlos Martinez has an ERA of 2.08 and a WHIP of 1.08.
  • Luke Weaver has an ERA of 2.25 and a WHIP of 0.25.
  • Brett Cecil has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.00.
  • Bud Norris has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.33.
  • Sam Tuivailala has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.43.

Who’s Not

  • Over the past seven games (does not contain recent Sunday games):
  • Jose Martinez has an OPS of .316.
  • Marcell Ozuna has an OPS of .379.
  • Mike Mayers has an ERA of 10.80 and a WHIP of 1.80.
  • John Brebbia has an ERA of 9.00 and a WHIP of 3.00.

A Look at Cardinals Lineups

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

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

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.


Transactions

  • 7/2 The Cardinals placed OF Dexter Fowler on the paternity list.
  • 7/2 The Cardinals recalled OF Tyler O’Neill from the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 7/5 The Cardinals activated OF Dexter Fowler from the paternity list.
  • 7/5 The Cardinals placed OF Tyler O’Neill on the 10 day disabled list. Left groin strain.
  • 7/5 The Cardinals optioned RHP Matt Bowman to the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 7/5 The Cardinals acquired LHP Elniery Garcia from the Philadelphia Phillies for cash considerations.
  • 7/6 The Cardinals activated SS Paul DeJong from the 10 day disabled list.
  • 7/6 The Cardinals sent RHP Luke Gregerson on a rehab assignment to the Springfield Cardinals.
  • 7/6 The Cardinals sent LHP Tyler Lyons on a rehab assignment to the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 7/6 The Cardinals optioned LHP Austin Gomber to the Memphis Redbirds.

Injury Report

  • RHP Dominic Leone (right upper arm nerve irritation) was transferred from the 10 day DL to the 60 day DL. Leone is expected to be out for an indefinite period.  Leone was expected to begin a throwing program the week of July 2.
  • RHP Alex Reyes (right lat strain) had surgery on June 6 to reattach a tendon in his right lat. The right hander was transferred from the 10 day DL to the 60 day DL.  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 was expected to begin a throwing program the week of July 2.
  • RHP Luke Gregerson (right shoulder impingement, knee surgery for torn meniscus) was sent on a rehab assignment and is expected to return to the roster soon.
  • RHP Matt Bowman (blisters on right middle finger) was sent on a rehab assignment to Memphis on June 29. Bowman was activated from the 10 day DL on July 5 and optioned to Memphis the same day.
  • LHP Tyler Lyons (left elbow sprain) was placed on the 10 day DL retroactive to June 6. Lyons was sent on rehab assignment to Memphis on July 6.
  • RHP Michael Wacha (left oblique strain) was placed on the 10 day DL on June 21. The pitcher will be reevaluated in mid-July.
  • Tyler O’Neill (left groin strain) was placed on the 10 day DL on July 5. No timetable for his return has been set.
  • Yadier Molina (right shoulder discomfort) missed Saturday and Sunday’s games against the Giant. Molina is considered day to day.
  • Tommy Pham appeared to injure an ankle on a foul ball in Sunday’s game against the Giants and was removed from the game. It was announced the injury was a left ankle contusion.  No further information is available.

Looking Ahead

The Cardinals have an off day on Monday following the weekend series in San Francisco.  The Cardinals travel to Chicago for a two game interleague series against the White Sox.  Miles Mikolas will make the Tuesday start followed by Luke Weaver on Wednesday.

St Louis will have a second off day on Thursday and return home for a weekend series against the Reds. No starters have been announced for that series but will likely be John Gant, Carlos Martinez and Jack Flaherty.

The All-Star Break begins on Monday following the Reds series.  The Cardinals will travel to Chicago to begin a five game series with the Cubs on Thursday.  The teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday to make up a previously rained out game from April.

Following the series in Chicago the Cardinals travel to Cincinnati for a three game series with the Reds.  After an off day on Thursday, the team returns to St. Louis for a weekend series with the Cubs.

The Cardinals’ regular season schedule can be found here.


Blast from the Past

In the prior two history segments, the author reminisced about postseason contests with the Phillies and the Braves.  This past week the Cardinals played a four-game series with the San Francisco Giants, a team the Cardinals have seen in the postseason numerous times.

What is unique about the Cardinals versus Giants in postseason is that neither team has played the other in a World Series or a Division Series.  Both teams have met in four NLCS, in 1987, 2002, 2012, and 2014.  The Cardinals won only the first of those series.  That year the team went to the World Series and was defeated by the Minnesota Twins.

The 1987 NLCS was won by the Cardinals in seven games.  The most memorable thing about that series at least to this author, was the performance of Giants outfielder Jeffrey Leonard.  Despite the fact that the Giants lost the series, Leonard was named the Series MVP.  Leonard would be the last Series MVP to come from the losing team.  Leonard was also known as “one flap down” for his ritual of running the bases on home runs with one arm pinned to his side.  During the NLCS, the action did not set too well with Cardinals players, especially pitchers who felt they were being shown up.  As a result, Bob Forsch hit Leonard in the back with a fastball in the fifth inning of Game 3.  This author particularly disliked Leonard, as did many Cardinals fans during that period.

The Cardinals lost the 2002 NLCS to the Giants five games.  The Cardinals had come to the NLCS having defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NLDS.  Ironically, the Cardinals’ four game series this past week was preceded by a three-game series against the Arizona.  The 2002 NLCS was not particularly memorable for Cardinals fans, as the club won only once.  The year 2002 was not kind to the Cardinals due to the deaths that year of well-loved broadcaster Jack Buck, and the unexpected death of pitcher Darryl Kile.  The Giants dropped the World Series that year to the Angels.

The Cardinals met the Giants again in the NLCS of 2012.  It was the first time in MLB history since the creation the NLCS in 1969 that the World Series champions of the previous two years met each in the NLCS.  The Giants had won the World Series in 2010, and the Cardinals in 2011.  This meeting would be a huge disappointment for the Cardinals, as they were leading the series 3-1, but completely collapsed in the final three games, scoring only one run.  The Giants went on to win the World Series.

The most recent NLCS between the Cardinals and the Giants was in 2014.  That series is forever entrenched in the mind of Cardinals fans because of what happened in Game 5. St. Louis led 3-2 until the eighth inning when the Giants tied it.  In the bottom of the ninth, manager Mike Matheny brought in Michael Wacha, who had missed a significant portion of the season due to injury.  He had come off the disabled list in September but had not pitched in 20 days.   Closer Trevor Rosenthal was available, but the manager chose Wacha instead.  Wacha put two runners on and then gave up a three-run home run to Travis Ishikawa.  The season was over for the Cardinals.  For the third time in five years, San Francisco went on to win the World Series.

The Cardinals have played the Giants more times in the NLCS than any other team.  Should the two teams meet again in that series in the future, all of Cardinal Nation would surely wish for a repeat of the outcome of 1987.


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