St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of June 3-9

photo: Dakota Hudson (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports)

The St. Louis Cardinals split with the Reds before being swept out of Chicago in the 1-4 week. Dakota Hudson and Marcell Ozuna are about the only players not scuffling. In our weekly history feature, the sale of a ballpark funded what became a dominant Cardinals farm system.


Game recaps

Monday, June 3 – Off day


Tuesday, June 4 – Cardinals 1, Reds 4

In the first game of a three game-series, the Cardinals offense was once again sluggish.  A solo home run by Matt Carpenter in his first at bat was the only run the Cardinals scored.  The offense scattered five other hits, stranding eight men on base.  Harrison Bader had the only other extra base hit, a double.

Starter Genesis Cabrera, in his second major league start, pitched 4 2/3 innings and gave up four runs, three earned, on eight hits.  Cabrera struck out none but walked two.  Michael Wacha followed with 2 1/3 scoreless innings of relief.  Tyler Webb and John Brebbia combined to toss the final two scoreless innings.

Carpenter and Paul DeJong both made fielding errors.


Wednesday, June 5 – Cardinals, Reds (postponed)

The second game of the series was postponed due to rain.  The game will be made up as part of a doubleheader on August 31.


Thursday, June 6 – Cardinals 3, Reds 1

Dakota Hudson (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

The Cardinals split the two games with a win over the Reds on Thursday.  Starter Dakota Hudson pitched 6 1/3 innings and gave up one run on five hits.  The right hander struck out three and walked four.  Andrew Miller, John Gant, and Jordan Hicks combined to pitch the final 2 2/3 scoreless innings.  Gant was the winning pitcher; it was his fifth win.  Hicks earned his 12th save.

The Cardinals scored the first of three runs in the third inning.  Harrison Bader singled and advanced to third on a sac bunt by Hudson. Matt Carpenter singled to plate Bader.

The Reds tied it up in the fourth inning and the score remained 1-1 until the bottom of the seventh when Paul DeJong hit a two-run home run to put the Cardinals up 3-1.

Carpenter, Marcell Ozuna, Kolten Wong, and Dexter Fowler each stole a base.


Friday, June 7 – Cardinals 1 at Cubs 3

St. Louis began a three-game series at Wrigley against the Cubs, a week after sweeping the Cubs at Busch Stadium.  The offense was not there, as it hasn’t been for much of the last month or so.  One run was all the Cardinals could manage and was not until the ninth inning when Paul DeJong homered for the second game in a row, this one a solo shot.  The long ball was one of only four hits total.  The only other extra base hit was a Harrison Bader double.

Starter Miles Mikolas lasted only four innings and gave up three runs on four hits, leaving the game after taking a comebacker on the arm.  The right hander fanned four and walked two.  Giovanny Gallegos pitched two scoreless innings, followed by a scoreless frame each from Ryan Helsley and Tyler Webb.  Mikolas took the loss, his sixth of the season.

Dexter Fowler was picked off first base and Marcell Ozuna had an outfield assist.


Saturday, June 8 – Cardinals 4 at Cubs 9

Marcell Ozuna (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

The Cardinals dropped the second game of the series against the Cubs, due to pitching and offense.  Starter Jack Flaherty lacked command and had a short and rough outing on the mound.  The right hander lasted only 3 2/3 innings in which he gave up four runs on five hits.  For the first time in his major league career, Flaherty struck no one out but walked three.  John Brebbia relieved and pitched 1 1/3 innings. He surrendered two runs on one hit.  John Gant also faltered, allowing two runs while recording only one out in the sixth inning.  Andrew Miller got the final two outs of the sixth.  Tyler Webb allowed a run in the seventh. Ryan Helsley pitched a scoreless eighth.  Brebbia took the loss.

St. Louis’ offense did what it has done many times before, which is score early and fail to add on for the rest of the game.  All of the runs for St. Louis came in the first inning against Cubs starter Jon Lester. Marcell Ozuna hit a three run home run and Harrison Bader added a solo home run.  Out of the five total hits, the two long balls were the only extra base hits. In fact, the Cardinals did not get a ball out of the infield after the first inning.


Sunday, June 9 – Cardinals 1 at Cubs 5

Same song, different verse for the Redbirds as they are swept by the Cubs at Wrigley for the second time in two series in 2019.  The offense did manage nine hits, but only two resulted in a run.  In the second inning, Marcell Ozuna singled and Kolten Wong drove him home on a double.  Several Cardinals had multiple hits, but not timely ones. Matt Carpenter and Paul Goldschmidt each had two hits.  Ozuna had three.

Starter Adam Wainwright pitched 4 1/3 innings and gave up three runs on seven hits. He struck out two and walked one.  Wainwright left the game in the fifth with an injury, hamstring tightness, and was relieved by Giovanny Gallegos.  Gallegos tossed 1 2/3 scoreless innings. Tyler Webb pitched to one batter, Jason Heyward, and retired him.  Carlos Martinez entered the inning with one out and gave up two runs in 1 2/3 innings pitched.  Wainwright took the loss.

Ozuna was caught stealing for the first time in the season.  Carpenter committed a fielding error and Martinez made an errant throw to first base on a pickoff attempt.


The Big Picture

The Cardinals finished the week marked by one rained out game with the Reds and a series sweep by the Cubs.  For the week the Cardinals were 1-4. Not good.  St. Louis remains in third place in the NL Central but are now below .500 for the season.  They are 5.5 games back of both the Cubs and the Brewers, tied for the top spot.

The offense has taken an extended vacation.  Even in the sweep of the Cubs the previous week the offense barely squeaked by due to the even worse offense from the Cubs.  The run differential was -12 for the week.  The starting lineup hit as follows in the five games:  Matt Carpenter, 4-for-16, Paul DeJong, 4-for-19, Paul Goldschmidt, 4-for 17, Marcell Ozuna, 7-for-19, Dexter Fowler, 2-for-15, Kolten Wong 4-for-18, Harrison Bader 4-for-16, Matt Wieters, 0-for-15.  Essentially those eight players hit .250 or below except for Ozuna.

Starting pitching wasn’t any better.  Only one of the five starters, Dakota Hudson, had a quality start and he was the only one who pitched past the fifth inning.  This put a strain on the bullpen and it showed.  The always reliable John Gant had his worst appearance of the season Saturday against the Cubs. Dependable John Brebbia also faltered.

The Cardinals play seven more games on this road trip, three games in Miami with the Marlins and four games in New York with the Mets. There is an opportunity to bounce back this week if the Cardinals can find a way to take advantage of it.


NL Central Standings

Team W L Pct GB
Chicago 37 27 0.578
Milwaukee 38 28 0.576
St. Louis 31 32 0.492 5.5
Pittsburgh 30 34 0.469 7
Cincinnati 29 35 0.453 8

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.


Transactions

  • 6/5 The Cardinals optioned LHP Genesis Cabrera to the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 6/5 The Cardinals recalled RHP Ryan Helsley from the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 6/8 The Cardinals placed 3B Jedd Gyorko on the 10 day injured list. Lower back strain.
  • 6/8 The Cardinals designated RHP Merandy Gonzalez for assignment.
  • 6/8 The Cardinals selected the contract of SS Tommy Edman from the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 6/9 The Cardinals optioned RHP Ryan Helsley to the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 6/9 The Cardinals recalled RHP Daniel Ponce de Leon from the Memphis Redbirds.

Injury Report

  • LHP Brett Cecil (wrist) continues on the 60 day injured list. Cecil had been shut down from throwing for an indefinite period since surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome following spring training.  The left hander has begun a throwing program.  Cecil could return to the roster in early July.
  • RHP Mike Mayers (right shoulder lat strain) was placed on the 10 day injured list on April 16. Mayers has reportedly begun a throwing program.  Mayers was scheduled for a bullpen session last week.
  • C Yadier Molina (right thumb tendon strain) was placed on the 10 day injured list retroactive to May 29. Molina spent the weekend back in St. Louis but is scheduled to rejoin the team in Miami on Monday, June 10.  Molina could be back on the roster for the weekend series in New York against the Mets.
  • Miles Mikolas (right foream contusion) was hit in the right forearm by a comebacker in Friday’s game at Wrigley Field. Mikolas is day to day and will likely be available to make his next start.
  • 3B Jedd Gyorko (lower back strain) was placed on the 10 day injured list on Saturday. Infielder Tommy Edman called up from Memphis to replace Gyorko on the roster.  No timetable for Gyorko’s return has been announced.
  • 3B Matt Carpenter is playing through a sore shin. The bruise kept him out of Friday’s game, but when Gyorko went on the shelf Saturday, Carpenter returned to the lineup.

Looking Ahead

The Cardinals left Chicago on Sunday to travel to Miami to begin a three game series with the Marlins. Following that series, the Cardinals travel to New York to play the Mets in a four game set.

The Redbirds return home to take on the Marlins again in a four game series at Busch Stadium beginning on Monday, June 17.   On Friday, June 21, the Angels and Albert Pujols come to Busch Stadium for a weekend interleague series.

Monday June 24 is an off day for St. Louis.  On Tuesday, the Oakland Athletics come to St. Louis for a two game home and home series.  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 Cardinals’ regular season schedule can be viewed here.


Blast from the Past

This week’s blast from the past goes way back in time to the early 20th Century Cardinals.  During this week in 1920, the Cardinals made a move, literally, that led to a significant change in how major league baseball operated.

On June 6, 1920, the Cardinals faced the Chicago Cubs that would be the last game they played in the ball park that had been their home since April 27, 1893.  Robison Field was located on the southeast corner of Natural Bridge Road and Vandeventer Ave in St. Louis.  Prior to 1893, the Cardinals played at what was called “Sportsman’s Park”, located at the corner of Grand Ave and Dodier.  Robison Field was just few blocks northwest of this location. At the beginning the ball park was called “New Sportsman’s Park”, until the team was sold to the Robison brothers in 1899. The field was called “League Park” through the 1910 season.  When Helene Britton, daughter of Frank Robison, took over the ownership of the team in 1911 she renamed the park Robison Field.

Britton sold the team to Sam Breadon in 1917.  During those final three years at the location, it was sometimes called “Cardinal Field”.  When Breadon obtained majority ownership of the team in 1920 he decided it was time to move.  In the interim, the old Sportsman’s Park had been rebuilt and Breadon relocated the team back to that location at Grand and Dodier.  The move occurred after the June 6 game against the Cubs, a game the Cardinals won 5-2.

The Cardinals continued to own the Natural Bridge and Vandeventer site for a few more years after the move, then it was sold to developers who built Beaumont High School, which opened in 1926.  The High School remained at that site until it closed in 2014.

Branch Rickey

Breadon used the proceeds from the sale of Robison Field to aid new general manager Branch Rickey in purchasing an 18% stake in the Houston Buffaloes of the Texas League in 1921.  This was the beginning of major league baseball teams owing a minor league team.  The Cardinals went on to purchase the Syracuse Stars of the International League that same year.  The major league farm system was born.

The success of the farm system brought the Cardinals their first World Series title in 1926.  The significant benefits continued into the 1930s and 1940s.  World Series titles in 1931, 1934, 1942, 1944, and 1946 followed, but slowed after Rickey moved on to the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1942.

It all started with the sale of Robison Field and the ideas of Branch Rickey.


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