photo: Paul Goldschmidt (Joe Puetz/Imagn)
The St. Louis Cardinals went 2-3 last week against a pair of playoff-leading clubs and will visit the National League’s winningest team, the Dodgers, next. Paul Goldschmidt is the NL Player of the Month for July. Our weekly history feature looks back at trades between the Cardinals and A’s.
Monday, July 29 – Off day
The Cardinals took on their NL Central rivals Cubs in a three game series at Busch Stadium. In Game 1, St. Louis prevailed, 2-1.
St. Louis’ offense scored two runs on seven hits. Jose Martinez came in on a wild pitch in the fourth inning and Paul Goldschmidt hit a solo home run in the sixth. Martinez and Goldschmidt were both 2-for-4 on the night, as was Tommy Edman. Edman also stole his sixth major league base.
Adam Wainwright took the mound to start for St. Louis and pitched 5 2/3 innings, giving up one run on five hits. The right hander struck out five and walked three. Giovanny Gallegos followed with a scoreless inning in relief and earned the win. Andrew Miller and Carlos Martinez combined to toss the final 2 1/3 scoreless innings with Martinez earning his 11th save.
The Cardinals were blanked by the Cubs in Game 2 on Wednesday, the first home loss in 11 games between the two teams this season. St. Louis offense scattered nine hits but couldn’t get traction against Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks, who continues to flummox the Cardinal lineup. Paul Goldschmidt and Kolten Wong each went 2-for-4 and Wong stole his 15th base of the season.
The defense made two errors, a fielding miscue by Tommy Edman and a throwing error by Matt Wieters. Jose Martinez had an outfield assist.
Miles Mikolas pitched 5 2/3 innings and gave up one unearned run on six hits. The right hander struck out three and walked one. Giovanny Gallegos relieved with two outs in the sixth and retired the only batter he faced. John Gant pitched 2 1/3 innings and surrendered one run. Tyler Webb got the final out of the eighth and John Brebbia added a scoreless ninth.
Fortunes reversed in the rubber game of the series as the Cardinals left the Cubs in the dust with an 8-0 win. Starter Jack Flaherty had his way with the Cubs offense, and the Cardinals had their way with Jon Lester and the Cubs bullpen.
Flaherty pitched seven scoreless innings, allowed just one hit, struck out nine Cubs and walked two. Tyler Webb and Mike Mayers each pitched a scoreless inning. Flaherty earned his first win since mid-May.
Matt Wieters went 2-for-4, including a three-run home run in the sixth inning. Kolten Wong was 3-for-4 with an RBI, Paul DeJong was 3-for-4, and Yairo Munoz was 2-for-3 with two RBI. Jose Martinez drove in a run and stole his second base of the season.
Friday, August 2 – Off day
The Cardinals took on the Oakland Athletics in a two-game interleague series in Oakland. The Redbirds were defeated 8-3 behind struggling Dakota Hudson. Hudson lasted only 3 2/3 innings and gave up four runs, three earned, on five hits. The right hander struck out seven and walked five. Newly-acquired reliever Adalberto Mejia surrendered a run in 1 2/3 innings of relief. Mike Mayers also struggled and allowed two runs in 1 1/3 innings pitched. Tyler Webb gave up one run in the final 1 1/3 innings. Hudson took the loss.
The offense scored three runs on eight hits. Paul Goldschmidt and Paul DeJong each went 2-for-4. DeJong, Tommy Edman and Lane Thomas drove in the three St. Louis runs, with Thomas’ RBI via a solo home run in the ninth inning.
The Cardinals lost the two-game set in Oakland with a 4-2 defeat on Sunday. Adam Wainwright gave up three runs on six hits in his 5 1/3 inning start. The right hander fanned seven and walked three. John Brebbia finished the sixth without damage. Giovanny Gallegos pitched a scoreless seventh. John Gant surrendered a run in the eighth. Wainwright suffered his eighth loss of the season.
The Cardinals scored two runs on five hits. Paul DeJong hit a fourth inning solo home run. Kolten Wong drove in a run on a single in the eighth. Andrew Knizner and Dexter Fowler each stole a base.
The Big Picture
The Cardinals ended the week with a record of 2-3, taking the three-game series with the Cubs but losing both games to the Athletics in Oakland.
The Cardinals played well in two games against the Cubs but were overmatched against Oakland. Adam Wainwright and Dakota Hudson struggled. Jack Flaherty was masterful against the Cubs. Miles Mikolas also pitched well. The fifth spot in the rotation continues to be fluid. Daniel Ponce de Leon was optioned to Memphis following two bad starts. Michael Wacha will return to the rotation against the Dodgers on Monday.
The Cardinals failed to make a trade for a starting pitcher, so the rotation will continue to be an issue for the foreseeable future it seems unless someone steps up from the minor leagues or a starter can be found either in free agency or picked up on outright or release waivers.
National League Player of the Month Paul Goldschmidt appears to have finally found his gear offensively. Paul DeJong has also gotten hot. Over the weekend, Marcell Ozuna and Matt Carpenter returned to the roster from the injured list, so one or both of them picking it up would help considerably. The rest of the offense has been hit or miss.
The outfield has been in flux with Harrison Bader optioned to Memphis and Tyler O’Neill going on the injured list with a wrist sprain. Infielders are inexplicably making starts in the outfield. Tommy Edman made a start in right on Sunday, even with Lane Thomas, a natural outfielder, on the roster. Yairo Munoz continues to make starts in the outfield as well. This seems less than ideal.
A three-game set against the MLB-best Dodgers in Los Angeles begins on Monday. This will be a tough series. The team returns home on the weekend to play the struggling Pirates. That would be a good time to pick up some wins.
The Cardinals fell out of first place with the two losses in Oakland while the Cubs swept the Brewers. They are now 1.5 games back of the Cubs with two months left in the regular season but are a half-game ahead of the Phillies for the first wild card spot. It is time to pour it on.
NL Central Standings
The Cardinals whiff on the trade deadline
The July 31, 2019 trade deadline came and went, and the Cardinals basically came up empty. The only addition to the Cardinals major league roster was a left handed reliever, Adalberto Mejia, claimed off waivers from the Angels.
There was a subtraction from the roster, as the Cardinals dealt utility infielder Jedd Gyorko to the Dodgers for what appears to be salary and roster relief only. The Cardinals obtained two injured pitchers in the deal, LHP Tony Cingrani, out for the season with labrum surgery, and RHP Jeffry Abreu, who was placed on the Gulf Coast Cardinals 60-day injured list. The Cardinals also sent cash and international spending capacity to the Dodgers in the deal.
The Cardinals were reportedly seeking a starting pitcher, but “couldn’t match up with any team” in the words of President of Baseball Operations’ John Mozeliak. The team did not want to part with top prospects Nolan Gorman and Dylan Carlson, which limited their options, as those players were likely the most sought after by teams. Mozeliak said making an irrational deal, especially for a short term rental, was not something they wanted to do.
This year, Major League Baseball changed the trade deadline rules to make July 31 a hard deadline, eliminating the August waiver wire deals. Therefore, no further additions to the roster are possible except for any free agent players available, picking up a player on outright or release waivers, or minor league promotions.
The Cardinals will have to finish the season with pretty much what they have already.
Trade and Acquisition Rumors
There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.
- 7/29 The Cardinals optioned CF Harrison Bader to the Memphis Redbirds.
- 7/29 The Cardinals acquired minor league LHP Zac Rosscup from the Los Angeles Dodgers for cash considerations.
- 7/30 The Cardinals sent LF Marcell Ozuna on a rehab assignment to the Memphis Redbirds.
- 7/30 The Cardinals claimed LHP Adalberto Mejia off waivers from the Los Angeles Angels.
- 7/30 The Cardinals recalled CF Lane Thomas from the Memphis Redbirds.
- 7/31 The Cardinals activated LHP Adalberto Mejia.
- 7/31 The Cardinals optioned RHP Daniel Ponce de Leon to the Memphis Redbirds.
- 7/31 The Cardinals traded 3B Jedd Gyorko, international spending capacity, and cash considerations to the Los Angeles Dodgers for LHP Tony Cingrani and RHP Jeffry Abreu.
- 8/1 The Cardinals sent 3B Matt Carpenter on a rehab assignment to the Memphis Redbirds.
- 8/2 The Cardinals sent C Yadier Molina on a rehab assignment to the Memphis Redbirds.
- 8/3 The Cardinals placed LF Tyler O’Neill on the 10 day injured list retroactive to August 1. Left wrist strain.
- 8/4 The Cardinals designated RHP Mike Mayers for assignment.
- 8/4 The Cardinals optioned 1B Rangel Ravelo to the Memphis Redbirds.
- 8/4 The Cardinals recalled RHP Ryan Helsley from the Memphis Redbirds.
- 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 surgery. 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 began a rehab assignment on Friday, August 2 with the Memphis Redbirds.
- LF Tyler O’Neill (left wrist strain) was placed on the 10-day injured list retroactive to August 1. It is not expected that O’Neill will spend more than the required 10 days on the IL.
- 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 this fall. Cingrani will likely never throw a pitch for the Cardinals.
The Cardinals head to Los Angeles to play the Dodgers in a three-game series beginning August 5. Michael Wacha is scheduled to make the Monday start, followed by Miles Mikolas on Tuesday, and Jack Flaherty on Wednesday.
The Cardinals have a travel day on Thursday, August 8 and return home to a weekend series with the Pirates. It is a short home stand, as the Cardinals have an off day on Monday and begin a two game series in Kansas City against the Royals.
The team then proceeds to Cincinnati for a second four-game series with the Reds beginning August 15. They then return home to begin a seven game home stand with three games against the Brewers and four games with the Rockies.
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 the Reds.
The Cardinals’ regular season schedule can be viewed here.
Blast from the Past
The Cardinals played a two-game series with the Oakland Athletics over the weekend, losing both games to the American League West team. This week’s Blast from the Past looks at some recent trading history with the AL team from the Bay Area.
The most recent trade between the two was announced on December 14, 2017, when the Cardinals sent outfielder Stephen Piscotty to Oakland for infielders Yairo Munoz and Max Schrock. Piscotty is from the Oakland area, where his parents still resided. Prior to the trade, it was revealed that Piscotty’s mother, Gretchen Piscotty, was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) also colloquially known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. ALS is a rare and ultimately fatal neurological disease. The Cardinals attempted to trade the outfielder at the July 2017 trade deadline but couldn’t make a deal with Oakland at that time. However, a trade was worked out in the offseason and Piscotty was sent home to spend time with his mother in her final months. Gretchen Piscotty passed away on May 6, 2018, about a year after her diagnosis.
Another major trade with Oakland was the deal that brought Matt Holliday to St. Louis. Holliday was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in 1998 and made his major league debut with that team on April 16, 2004. Holliday played five seasons in Colorado, and then was dealt in November 2008 to the Oakland Athletics with one season remaining prior to free agency. Oakland traded Holliday to the Cardinals in July 2009 for Brett Wallace, Clayton Mortenson, and Shane Peterson. Wallace was the Cardinals first round draft pick in 2008. Wallace never gained traction with Oakland (or anywhere else) and was traded to Toronto in the 2009 offseason.
Holliday was granted free agency at the end of the 2009 season, but then ultimately signed a seven-year deal with the Cardinals. The deal was a win for the Redbirds, as Holliday played out the deal and was granted free agency at the end of the 2016 season. Holliday signed a one-year deal with the Yankees, was granted free agency again, and was signed to a minor league deal with his original team, the Rockies. Holliday played a half season with the Rockies and then entered free agency again. Holliday is now out of baseball and living in Oklahoma.
In July 1997, the Cardinals acquired Mark McGwire from the Oakland Athletics for Eric Ludwick (brother of Ryan Ludwick), T.J. Matthews, and Blake Stein. McGwire had played for then-St. Louis manager Tony La Russa, who managed the Athletics before being hired by the Cardinals. La Russa was instrumental in facilitating the trade for McGwire. McGwire was in his last year of his contract, so it was believed he would only be a rental. McGwire was a native of Southern California, and it was rumored he would seek to sign with a team there to be near his family. McGwire instead signed with the Cardinals and remained with the team until he retired in 2001. McGwire is most known for the single season home run record race with Sammy Sosa of the Cubs in 1998, a record McGwire broke. The record held only until Barry Bonds surpassed it in 2007.
McGwire returned to the Cardinals as a coach in 2009. He remained with the team through the 2012 season. He went on to coach with the Los Angeles Dodgers through the 2015 season, then accepted a coaching position with the San Diego Padres. He left the game again in 2018.
Other deals with Oakland included a 2004 trade for Mark Mulder and a February 1996 trade for pitcher Dennis Eckersley.
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