photo: Kwang-Hyun Kim (St. Louis Cardinals)
The St. Louis Cardinals posted a 3-2 record in the shortened week and enter the All-Star break two games under .500 and tied for third place, eight games back. Carlos Martinez’ latest injury has the rotation down three starters. Kwang-Hyun Kim made two strong pre-break starts. Our history segment notes key events from team history on July 5-11.
The Cardinals defeated the West’s first place Giants 5-3 at Oracle Park in the first of a three-game series. The game was scoreless for the first six innings as the teams battled to score off the opposing pitcher. The Cardinals sent Kwang-Hyun Kim to the mound. The lefty tossed seven scoreless innings against the Giants offense, allowed only three hits, struck out two and walked two.
Cardinal relievers Giovanny Gallegos and Alex Reyes each gave up runs. Gallegos surrendered one run in the eighth, and Reyes yielded two runs in the ninth. Kim earned his third win of the season.
The Redbirds broke the scoreless tie with two runs in the seventh inning. Nolan Arenado and Tommy Edman each singled and Matt Carpenter smacked a triple to plate both runners. Arenado drove in the Cardinals third run in the eighth on a single. The Cardinals final two runs came home in the ninth on an RBI single by Harrison Bader and a sac fly by Jose Rondon.
Arenado and Edman each had two hits.
The Cardinals edged the Giants in the second of the three-game series at Oracle Park. Though it was not one of Adam Wainwright’s better starts, he did earn his seventh win. The right hander pitched five innings and surrendered three runs on seven hits. He struck out three and walked four.
Andrew Miller and Ryan Helsley combined to toss the next two scoreless innings. John Gant gave up a run in 2/3 innings as did Genesis Cabrera. Justin Miller pitched the final 2/3 scoreless innings to earn his first save.
The Cardinals got on the board first on a two-run home run by Nolan Arenado in the first inning. The Giants tied it 2-2 in the third. The Cardinals regained the lead 4-2 in the fourth on a two-run single by Paul DeJong.
The Giants cut the lead to 4-3 in the fifth. The Redbirds added a run in the seventh on a Yadier Molina RBI single to make it 5-3. They added a sixth run in the eighth on a solo home run by Edmundo Sosa.
In the home eighth the Giants rallied for two runs to make it closer. Neither team scored in the ninth and the Cardinals won 6-5. Arenado, Molina, and Sosa each had three hits. Goldschmidt was 2-for-5. Harrison Bader’s double was the only other extra base hit.
Arenado stole his first base of the season.
The Cardinals failed to complete the sweep of the Giants as they were defeated 5-2 in the third game of the series at Oracle Park. St. Louis started Johan Oviedo, who pitched four innings and gave up two runs on three hits, struck out three and walked four. Brandon Waddell surrendered a run in 2/3 innings pitched. John Gant and Andrew Miller combined for the next two scoreless innings of relief. Justin Miller yielded two runs in 2/3 of an inning and Junior Fernandez pitched the final 2/3 scoreless innings.
The Cardinals scored in the top of the first inning on an RBI double by Nolan Arenado. The Giants tied it up in the bottom half of the inning, then plated a second run in the second inning to take a 2-1 lead.
The Giants extended their lead to 3-1 in the fifth. The Cardinals cut the lead to 3-2 in the eighth on an RBI single by Paul Goldschmidt. But the Giants widened the lead to 5-2 in the home half of the eighth.
Dylan Carlson went 2-for-4 as the only Cardinal with multiple hits. Arenado, Matt Carpenter and Paul DeJong each doubled for the only extra base hits for the Redbirds.
Thursday, July 8 – Off day
St. Louis began a three-game series at Wrigley Field against the Cubs on Friday. The Cardinals lost the first game 10-5 in a shortened start by left hander Wade LeBlanc. LeBlanc, taking the spot of injured Carlos Martinez, went just three innings and gave up three runs on five hits, struck out one and walked three.
LeBlanc was relieved by new acquisition Luis Garcia, who surrendered one run in 2/3 of an inning. Andrew Miller, Justin Miller, and Ryan Helsley combined to pitch 2 1/3 scoreless innings. Genesis Cabrera and Junior Fernandez combined to yield five runs in the seventh. Brandon Waddell allowed one run in the eighth. LeBlanc took the loss, his second of the season.
The Cardinals fell behind 3-0 in the first inning but cut the lead to 3-2 in the third on RBI singles by Tyler O’Neill and Yadier Molina.
The Cubs extended their lead to 4-2 in the fourth inning. Then in the seventh the Cubs put up five runs against the St. Louis bullpen to put the game out of reach. They added an insurance run in the eighth.
The Cardinals attempted a comeback in the ninth but fell short, scoring three runs on a Paul Goldschmidt single and a two-run home run by Paul DeJong to make the final score 10-5 in the favor of the Cubs.
Dylan Carlson went 3-for-4 with two runs scored. Goldschmidt was 2-for-5 with an RBI. DeJong’s two run long ball came as a pinch hitter. Doubles by Goldschmidt, Carlson, and Harrison Bader were the only other extra base hits.
The Cardinals blanked the Cubs 6-0 in the second game of the series behind a pitching gem from starter Kwang-Hyun Kim. Kim tossed six scoreless innings, allowed five hits, fanned seven and walked one. Giovanny Gallegos, Genesis Cabrera, and Jon Gant combined to pitch the final three scoreless innings of relief.
St. Louis’ offense took the lead in the first inning on an RBI single by Matt Carpenter. The score remained 1-0 until the fifth inning, when the Redbirds put up five more. Paul Goldschmidt led off the inning with a solo home run. Tyler O’Neill singled, and Tommy Edman followed with a two-run home run. Harrison Bader then singled, and Paul DeJong followed with a two-run home run.
The three-home run inning is the Cardinals first since Matt Carpenter, Harrison Bader, and Paul Goldschmidt hit three home runs in an inning on September 12, 2020, in a game against the Reds. The last time the Cardinals hit three home runs in an inning at Wrigley Field was on August 18, 2006.
Goldschmidt, DeJong, and Bader each had two hits. DeJong and Edman both had two RBI.
Bader stole his fifth base of the season and Tyler O’Neill snatched his seventh base. Yadier Molina made a dropped foul ball error.
Sunday, July 11 – Cardinals at Cubs (postponed)
The final game of the series was postponed due to rain. It will be played as part of a doubleheader on September 24.
The Big Picture
The Cardinals ended the week with a record of 3-2 in five games played. Sunday’s game at the Cubs was postponed due to inclement weather.
The team enters the All-Star break tied with the Cubs for third place in the NL Central. In this final week prior to the break the Cardinals played better. They took 2 of 3 games from the first place Giants and won one of two games at Wrigley Field.
What the Cardinals do during the rest of July will be telling in terms of how the rest of the season unfolds. If they can gain significant ground in the final weeks of July, they can enter August in much better shape for a run at the Division. This will require help from both the Reds and Brewers as the Cardinals do not play the Brewers again until the middle of August. A series against the Reds takes place on July 23-25, which gives the Cardinals the opportunity to help themselves a bit.
Pitching injuries have once again hit St. Louis. Carlos Martinez has a significant injury to his right thumb, which may or may not end his season. At the very least he is out for a long period of time. Jack Flaherty could return by the end of July, if all goes well, but early August is a more realistic time frame. Miles Mikolas is likely out until mid-August. The rotation for the next several weeks will consist of two of the original rotation members plus what the manager and front office can cobble together. At this time, it looks to include Wade LeBlanc and Johan Oviedo plus whomever is chosen to replace Martinez. Jake Woodford is currently being stretched out in Memphis, so perhaps he will be the next temporary rotation member.
The offense has the burden of taking up the slack for the pitching woes. So far, this effort has been hit and miss. Perhaps the All-Star break can rejuvenate a wobbly offense. Top offensive performances over the last seven games are: Matt Carpenter (1.402 OPS), Paul DeJong (1.139 OPS), Paul Goldschmidt (1.065 OPS), and Harrison Bader (.920 OPS). Slumpers over the last seven games are Nolan Arenado (.692 OPS), Dylan Carlson (.618), Tyler O’Neill (.533 OPS), Yadier Molina (.500 OPS), and Tommy Edman (.458 OPS).
Whether the Cardinals front office will do anything at the trade deadline to help the team’s pitching woes remains to be seen. The return of Flaherty and Mikolas may be too late to help the team get back into playoff contention. The fiddling around the margins that has happened so far has done nothing significant for the cause.
The Cardinals return from the break to play three games against the Giants and four games against the Cubs. All seven games will be played at Busch Stadium. Winning both series is a must for any hope of a resurgence to playoff contention.
NL Central Standings
Trade and Acquisition Rumors
There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.
- 7/7 The Cardinals placed RHP Carlos Martinez on the 10-day injured list. Right thumb sprain.
- 7/9 The Cardinals transferred RHP Carlos Martinez to the 60-day injured list. Right thumb sprain.
- 7/9 The Cardinals signed free agent RHP Luis Garcia.
- 7/9 The Cardinals optioned RHP Johan Oviedo to the Memphis Redbirds.
- 7/11 The Cardinals optioned RHR Kodi Whitley to the Memphis Redbirds.
- RHP Miles Mikolas (right forearm tightness), remains on the 60-day injured list. A second opinion by Dr. James Andrews revealed no structural damage to the UCL or a flexor tendon tear. Mikolas is expected to begin a rehab assignment by the end of July, but the build up to a return will be slow and careful. A return date has now been reported as possibly by the second half of August.
- RHP Jordan Hicks (right elbow inflammation) continues on the 60-day injured list and the latest report is not good. Hicks has only returned to light catching as of Saturday, and a return to full baseball activities is not close. Manager Mike Shildt told the media that his return at all this season “remains to be seen”.
- 2B Max Moroff (left shoulder subluxation) was placed on the 60-day injured list after suffering a shoulder injury in a batting practice session. Moroff had surgery on the shoulder and is out for the rest of the season.
- RHP Kodi Whitley (mid back spasms) was placed on the 10-day injured list retroactive to May 27. Whitley has made several rehab appearances at Double-a Springfield. His last appearance was as a starter, and he was roughed up early. Originally Whitley was expected to return during the current pre-All Star break road trip, but that plan has been delayed. On Sunday, the Cardinals optioned Whitley to Memphis, so it appears he will not return to the big-league roster from the IL.
- RHP Jack Flaherty (left oblique strain) was transferred to the 60-day injured list to make room for newly acquired pitcher Justin Miller. Flaherty resumed light throwing on June 16 and will gradually increase the intensity of his baseball activities. He remains on track for a late July/early August return. A rehab assignment before he returns is likely.
- RHP Dakota Hudson (Tommy John surgery) is expected to be out all of the 2021 season. Hudson is tracking well toward an Opening Day 2022 return, though a late 2021 season return is not impossible, but unlikely.
- RHP Daniel Ponce de Leon is on the 10-day injured list with right shoulder discomfort. This is the same injury that put him on the IL earlier in the season, but the recovery is expected to take longer this time. Ponce de Leon will not pick up a baseball for at least three weeks and is expected to be out until late August/early September.
- RHP Carlos Martinez was removed early from his start a week ago Sunday against the Rockies with a thumb issue. After imaging, it was reported that Martinez has a tear in his right thumb ligament. Martinez is considering different treatment options, including surgery, any of which will keep him off the roster for most if not all of the remaining season. Martinez may have thrown his last pitch for the Cardinals, as his 2022 option is not expected to be picked up.
The All-Star break begins on Monday, July 12. St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina was named an injury replacement for Tuesday’s All-Star Game, but declined to participate due to a foot injury. Third base starter Nolan Arenado and closer Alex Reyes are expected to play in the Mid-Summer Classic from Denver.
The Cardinals return to action on Friday, July 16 with a three-game series at Busch Stadium against the Giants. The rotation will likely be changed post All-Star break, so no probable pitchers for the Giants series have been announced.
The Cardinals will continue the homestand with a four-game set with the Cubs beginning Monday, July 19 and will travel to Cincinnati for a weekend series against the Reds at Great American Ballpark. After a travel day on Monday, July 26, the Cardinals will have two games in Cleveland.
After a second travel day on Thursday, July 29, the team will return to St. Louis for a weekend series with the Twins.
The Cardinals regular season schedule can be found here.
Blast from the Past
July is notable events month for Blast from the Past, as we describe one or more remembrances from each day of the week the report covers. As everyone knows, July is a heavy trade month, so some of the notable events will be trades that are either important due to the players or features something unique.
July 5, 1954 – Stan Musial outpolls all other National League players in the All-Star balloting.
July 5, 2009 – Albert Pujols was the top vote getter for the 80th All Star Game.
July 6, 1929 – The Cardinals set the modern National League record for most runs scored in a game by defeating the Phillies 28-6. Two teams in the AL later scored 29 runs: Red Sox against the Browns 29-4 on June 8, 1950; and White Sox against the Kansas City A’s, 29-6 on April 23, 1955. The NL record was no broken until Sept. 9, 2020, when the Braves beat the Marlins 29-9. The MLB record is 30 runs by the Texas Rangers (30) against the Baltimore Orioles (3) on August 22, 2007.
July 6, 1990 – St. Louis manager Whitey Herzog resigns after 10 seasons as the Cardinals skipper. He was replaced on an interim basis by Red Schoendienst.
July 7, 1936 – The National League wins its first All-Star Game with St. Louis’ Joe Medwick driving in the winning run and pitcher Dizzy Dean picking up the win.
July 7, 1963 – Hall of Famer Red Schoendienst plays in his last major league game.
July 8, 1962 – Stan Musial hits three home runs in a 15-1 trouncing of the Mets at the Polo Grounds. Musial became the oldest player, at 41, to accomplish this feat.
July 8, 1969 – Bob Gibson pitches complete game number 150 in a 6-3 win over the Braves. His pitching line is 9IP/8H/3ER/7BB/6K.
July 9, 1929 – Chick Hafey ties an NL record with 10 consecutive hits over two games.
July 9, 1966 – Cardinals broadcaster Harry Caray is discovered calling a game against the Astros wearing only his underwear and socks. Caray was surprised by a photographer, who took his picture adjusting the waistband of his boxers.
July 10, 1911 – In a game between the Cardinals and the Phillies, an unruly fan was removed from a game for the first time in major league history.
July 11, 1911 – The Bridgeport Train Wreck occurs. This event was covered in a previous Blast from the Past. The Cardinals were traveling to a game in New York when their train jumped the track and went over an embankment. The team had been moved at the last stop to the last car of the train and that car did not go over the embankment. 14 people were killed in the wreck and members of the Cardinals were credited with helping to rescue some of the injured.
July 11, 1994 – Ozzie Smith moves into the top spot for most assists by a shortstop all-time.
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