photo: Marcell Ozuna (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports)
The St. Louis Cardinals had a 4-3 week at home as Marcell Ozuna is one of the team’s few consistent hitters. Over the weekend, Albert Pujols returned, and our weekly history feature is on his former teammate, the late Darryl Kile.
After the Cardinals won a series last week in Miami, the Marlins came to St. Louis for a four game set. In the opener, the Cardinals blanked the Marlins 5-0.
Starter Miles Mikolas pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing six hits, and striking out four to earn his fifth win of the season. Giovanny Gallegos, John Gant, and Jordan Hicks each pitched a scoreless inning of relief.
Matt Carpenter thumped a solo home run in the third inning to give the Redbirds their first run and in the fifth, he scored again when Paul DeJong reached on a fielding error by Marlins 2B Starlin Castro.
In the eighth, Dexter Fowler added to the Cardinal lead with a three-run home run to right field that put the Cardinals ahead 5-0.
Carpenter was 3-for-4 with an RBI and three runs scored. Dexter Fowler had three RBI.
The Marlins returned the favor in the second game of the series by blanking the Cardinals 6-0. Starter Jack Flaherty had a quality start but was left hanging by his offense. Flaherty pitched seven innings and gave up three runs on four hits. The right hander struck out eight and walked one. Tyler Webb and John Brebbia combined to pitch the eighth. Webb allowed one run and Brebbia surrendered two runs, one unearned. Genesis Cabrera pitched a scoreless ninth. Flaherty took the loss, his fourth.
St. Louis offense took the evening off. The team managed only two hits with one, a double, by the pitcher Flaherty. Dexter Fowler added a single. No one else could make heads or tails of Marlins starter Jordan Yamamoto, even though they had seen him the week before.
Paul DeJong was caught stealing. Marcell Ozuna dropped a catchable fly ball in left field. Flaherty did his part though, as he picked a runner off first base.
The Cardinals barely won the third game, and it took extra innings to do it. Neither team scored until St. Louis put up a run in the sixth inning. Jose Martinez singled, and pinch-runner Harrison Bader went to third on a single by Rangel Ravelo and scored on Dexter Fowler’s single.
The Marlins scored in the eighth to tie the score. The game remained tied and went into extra innings. In the bottom of the 11th Paul Goldschmidt’s walk off solo home run ended it. The home run was the only extra base hit of six total hits for St. Louis.
Fill in starter Daniel Ponce de Leon pitched six scoreless innings, allowing only two hits while fanning six and walking one. Carlos Martinez and Andrew Miller combined for the next two innings. Martinez allowed one run in his 1 2/3 inning for a blown save and Miller retired the final batter in the eighth. Jordan Hicks followed with two scoreless innings. John Gant pitched a clean 11th to earn his seventh win.
Tommy Edman stole his second base, and Matt Carpenter his fifth.
The final game of the series was another 11-inning outing, but this time the Cardinals were not the victors. Adam Wainwright made his first start since returning from the IL and it was so-so. Wainwright pitched 5 1/3 innings, giving up three runs on six hits. The right hander struck out six and walked one. Giovanny Gallegos completed the sixth inning without damage. John Brebbia allowed two runs, one unearned, in his 1 2/3 inning appearance. Tyler Webb got the last out of the eighth. Jordan Hicks and John Gant each pitched a scoreless inning. Andrew Miller gave up two runs in the 11th and took the loss.
The Marlins scored first but the Cardinals tied it in the fifth on Paul DeJong’s double to left. The Marlins took the lead back in the sixth and increased it in the seventh, 4-1. The Cardinals reduced the lead to one run in the bottom of the seventh on a double off the bat of Paul Goldschmidt and a single by Marcell Ozuna.
The Marlins added solo home run in the eighth, but the Cardinals responded with two scores in the bottom of the inning to knot the score. Tommy Edman’s first major league home run was a two-run shot.
The Marlins went ahead 7-5 in the top of the 11th. The Cardinals rallied in the bottom frame, scoring one run on a Yadier Molina double. Jack Flaherty was the pinch runner for Molina, but inexplicably dozed off the second base bag and was picked off to end the game.
Ozuna made a fielding error. Harrison Bader had an outfield assist at first base.
On Friday, the Cardinals began a weekend series at home with Los Angeles Angels. It was much anticipated, as the first time former Albert Pujols played in Busch Stadium since signing with the Angels in December of 2011. The return did not disappoint. There was much fanfare and a tremendous standing ovation for Pujols when he took his first at bat.
Michael Wacha got the start, and pitched well, going six innings and giving up only one run on five hits. The right-hander struck out four and walked one. Giovanny Gallegos started the seventh, but after giving up two singles and retiring only one batter, Gallegos was replaced by Andrew Miller. Miller struck out both batters faced. Miller returned to start the eighth but left after one out. Carlos Martinez walked Mike Trout, but struck out the next two batters to end the inning. Martinez returned to pitch a scoreless ninth. Wacha got the win, his fifth.
The Angels took an early 1-0 lead, but the Cardinals tied it in the fourth on an RBI single by Marcell Ozuna. Ozuna’s solo home run in the sixth put the Redbirds ahead 2-1. In the seventh, Ozuna, Jose Martinez, and Kolten Wong each drove in a run on singles to make it 5-1.
Ozuna went 3-for-4 with three RBI and stole his eighth base of the season. Matt Carpenter and Paul DeJong each stole a base.
The Cardinals prevailed in another exciting game on Saturday. A home run by Albert Pujols in front of the St. Louis crowd sent them into a frenzy and ended in a curtain call from Pujols, a rare occurrence for a player from the opposing team.
The Cardinals scored first with two runs in the fifth. Yadier Molina singled and Kolten Wong drew a walk. Starting pitcher Dakota Hudson reached on a fielding error that scored Molina, and a throwing error on the same play sent Wong home.
Marcell Ozuna’s two-run home run in the sixth made the score 4-0. The Pujols solo home run occurred in the seventh and Justin Upton did the same in the eighth but received no applause or a curtain call. The 4-2 remained remained for the rest of the game.
Dakota Hudson pitched well, tossing seven one-run innings on five hits. The right-hander fanned six and walked one. Andrew Miller got the first out of the eighth, then Jordan Hicks struck out Mike Trout, but gave up the home run to Upton. Hicks returned for the ninth, but was removed after two outs with an arm issue. Tyler Webb replaced Hicks and though he walked his first hitter, he induced a ground out from Jonathan Lucroy to end the inning and the game. It was Webb’s first save. Hudson won his sixth game of the season.
The final game of this emotion-packed series was a letdown for eight innings as St. Louis’ offense was snoozing, and the pitching was not up to par. The Angels scored first, then scored again. The Cardinals went down inning after inning with no offense to speak of. The game cruised along 2-0 in favor of the Angels as the game reached the final innings. It looked like the weekend was going out with a whimper. Then the ninth inning happened.
Cardinals starter Miles Mikolas didn’t have his stuff, and though his line showed only one run on seven hits in five innings, it seemed much worse. It might have been if not for some dazzling defense from Kolten Wong. When Mikolas was pinch hit for in the fifth, it seemed the right thing to do. Mikolas struck out four and walked two in those five innings and seemed to labor heavily. The bullpen didn’t perform a lot better. John Brebbia couldn’t find the strike zone with a map yet surrendered only one run. He came out after throwing 23 pitches and getting only one out. Tyler Webb finished the inning and came back for a second, all 1 2/3 scoreless. Giovanny Gallegos pitched well, one scoreless inning.
Then came John Gant and the wheels came off the bus. The usual John Gant did not appear, but something not quite right did. Like Brebbia, he couldn’t find the strike zone, gave up four runs, walked two and after throwing 45 pitches, had recorded one out. So, with four more runs on the board and two outs to get in the ninth, Genesis Cabrera came in. He got the two outs, and the Cardinals came to bat in the ninth down 6-0.
The bottom of the ninth began like all the previous ones. Paul Goldschmidt grounded out weakly. Marcell Ozuna grounedd out a little less weakly. Down to the final out, Jose Martinez smacked a solo home run to center field. The shutout was gone at least. Yadier Molina singled to center, then trotted to second base without the Angels caring much. Harrison Bader drew a walk. With two men on, the Angels started to care a little. A new relief pitcher was summoned. Kolten Wong doubled to right field and Molina scampered home. Bader raced home. It was 6-3.
Dexter Fowler pinch hit for Cabrera. He singled to right and Wong scored. The Angels were anxious. The Cardinals fans were dancing. Matt Carpenter hit a little squibber past the pitcher and ran like the Devil was chasing him. Carpenter on first, Fowler on third. Then Paul De Jong grounded out and it was all over. The Cardinals lost 6-4, but at least there was no whimpering.
The Big Picture
The Cardinals ended the week with a record of 4-3. They split a four-game series with the Marlins, and won two of three from the Angels. The Cardinals remain in third place in the NL Central but are only two games back of the first place Cubs. A lot of losing by the Cubs and the Brewers had more to do with that accomplishment than anything else.
The offense continues to frustrate. The top three in the lineup, Matt Carpenter, Paul DeJong, and Paul Goldschmidt are not hitting like a top three in the lineup are supposed to hit. Marcell Ozuna is the only starting regular having much success with the bat at all. Dexter Fowler, Jose Martinez, and Kolten Wong have the occasional good day at the plate, but there is no consistency. Harrison Bader stopped hitting after the first game of the Mets series, though he does draw the occasional walk and continues to play good defense.
The starting pitching lacks consistency as well. Dakota Hudson has been the most consistent, while Michael Wacha has been the least consistent. Mikolas and Flaherty seem to be still looking for it, and the fifth starting spot has been a merry go round with the injury to Wainwright, who returned this week. There is not much pitching help available internally, and oops, Alex Reyes is injured again. So, it’s this band of merry pitchers or bust, it appears.
Consistency thy name is not the St. Louis Cardinals. That must change. The All-Star break is coming up soon, but the Cardinals have a grueling West Coast trip right before that. Another short two-game interleague series with Oakland is next and then it is off to San Diego. It’s past time for the Cardinals to get it going.
NL Central Standings
Trade and Acquisition Rumors
There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.
- 6/17 The Cardinals placed 2B Yairo Munoz on the paternity list.
- 6/17 The Cardinals transferred RHP Mike Mayers from the 10-day injured list to the 60-day injured list. Right shoulder lat strain.
- 6/17 The Cardinals selected the contract of 1B Rangel Ravelo from the Memphis Redbirds.
- 6/20 The Cardinals placed 2B Yairo Munoz on the restricted list.
- 6/20 The Cardinals activated RHP Adam Wainwright from the 10 day injured list.
- 6/20 The Cardinals optioned RHP Daniel Ponce de Leon to the Memphis Redbirds.
- 6/21 The Cardinals activated 2B Yairo Munoz from the restricted list.
- 6/21 The Cardinals optioned 1B Rangel Ravelo to 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 begun a throwing program. Cecil could begin a rehab assignment in early July and possibly return to the roster by the end of the month.
- RHP Mike Mayers (right shoulder lat strain) was transferred from the 10 day injured list to the 60 day injured list on June 20. Mayers has begun throwing activities, including bullpen sessions, and is expected to throw a live or sim game very shortly. Mayers may return sometime in July.
- 3B Jedd Gyorko remains on the 10-day injured list. Gyorko originally was placed there due to lower back issues, was then reported to have recurring calf issues, and at present is suffering from a wrist ailment for which he will have arthroscopic surgery on June 24. It is expected the infielder will not return to baseball activities for three weeks after the surgery.
- RHP Ryan Helsley (right shoulder impingement) was placed on the 10-day injured list on June 13. Helsley reportedly threw a bullpen session on June 20, and is expected to throw a live or sim game on June 23. No timetable for a return has been announced.
- RHP Jordan Hicks was taken out of the Saturday, June 22 game against the Angels with an arm issue. He has been diagnosed with right triceps tendinitis and is considered day to day.
Monday is an off day. On Tuesday, the Oakland Athletics come to St. Louis for a two-game home and home series. Jack Flaherty is scheduled for the Tuesday start, with Adam Wainwright to make the Wednesday start. The Cardinals will go to Oakland later in the season.
Thursday, June 27 is another off day for St. Louis. The team will travel to San Diego to play the Padres in a weekend series beginning Friday, June 28.
The team has an off day on Monday, July 1 and travel to Seattle to take on the Mariners in a three-game interleague series. The Cardinals move to San Francisco for a weekend set beginning Friday, July 5. This is the final series prior to the All-Star Game.
The Cardinals return from the break on Friday, July 12 to play the Arizona Diamondbacks in a weekend series at Busch Stadium. The home stand will continue with a three game series with the Pirates from July 15-17.
The Cardinals’ regular season schedule can be viewed here.
Blast from the Past
Saturday marked the anniversary of a tragedy in the St. Louis Cardinals family that occurred 17 years ago – the untimely death of Cardinals pitcher Darryl Kile. This Blast from the Past remembers the St. Louis career of Kile.
Kile was drafted by the Houston Astros in the 30th round of the 1987 draft. He made his major league debut in 1991 and had his breakout year in 1993 for the Astros, going 15-8 with an ERA of 3.51. That year featured a no-hitter against the Mets on September 8. Kile remained with Houston through the 1997 season, pitching primarily as a starter.
Kile signed with the Colorado Rockies as a free agent in 1998, but had a mediocre two seasons with Colorado and was traded to the Cardinals in November of 1999.
In Kile’s first season as a Cardinal in 2000, he went 20-9 with a 3.91 ERA. He was an All-Star and finished fifth in the Cy Young Award voting. Kile went 16-11 with a 3.09 ERA in 2001, but required surgery on his shoulder during the offseason, He returned healthy for 2002.
On June 18, Kile pitched a gem of a game against the Anaheim Angels, a 7 2/3 one run performance that the Cardinals won 7-2 and put them in first place in the NL Central. That day was the day longtime and beloved Cardinals broadcaster, Jack Buck, passed away.
Four days later, on June 22, the Cardinals were to play in Chicago against the Cubs. During pre-game warmups it was noticed that Kile was absent from the stadium. Staff from the hotel entered Kile’s room on request from the Cardinals and found Kile still in bed, dead from an apparent heart attack. An autopsy confirmed the cause, as he had 90% blockage in two coronary arteries.
That day in Wrigley Field, after both teams were notified of Kile’s death, Cubs catcher Joe Girardi was tasked with announcing the cancellation of the game. An emotional Girardi told the crowd that the game was cancelled, due to “a tragedy in the Cardinals family”. The crowd was not told of the death of Kile.
The game was later rescheduled and played on August 31, which the Cardinals lost 10-4. St. Louis won the NL Central that year, and Kile’s jersey #57 was carried onto the field by Albert Pujols in the celebration of the clinching game.
Kile was survived by his wife, a son, and twin daughters. The Cardinals later placed a “DK 57” sign in the Cardinals dugout, and it was moved to the dugout of the new Busch Stadium that opened in 2006, where it remains today. The number 57 has not since been assigned to any player for the Cardinals, Astros, or Rockies. The Astros and Rockies have memorials for Kile in their stadiums.
Both the Cardinals and Astros have a Darryl Kile Award, given annually to the player who best exemplifies the traits of Kile as a “good teammate, great friend, a fine father, and a humble man”.
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