St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of June 6-12

photo: Andre Pallante (St. Louis Cardinals)

The St. Louis Cardinals went 2-4 on the week but hold a small division lead as Milwaukee is slumping. The back end of the rotation remains in flux with rookie Andre Pallante pressed into duty. Our Blast from the Past recounts key events this past week in Cardinals history.



Game recaps

Monday, June 6 – Off day

Tuesday, June 7 – Cardinals 2 at Rays 4 (10 innings)

The St. Louis Cardinals fell to the Rays in the first of a three game series in Tampa. The Cardinals lost in extra innings on a walk off three-run home run after they took a 2-1 lead in the top of the inning.

Dakota Hudson

Dakota Hudson made the start and pitched very well. The right hander went seven innings, gave up one run on two hits, fanned six and walked one. Hudson was relieved by Giovanny Gallegos, who threw a scoreless eighth. Ryan Helsley tossed a scoreless ninth. Drew VerHagen gave up the winning runs with two outs in the bottom of the 10th.

The game was scoreless until the bottom of the seventh inning, when the Rays took a 1-0 lead. The Cardinals quickly tied it at 1-1 in the eighth. Lars Nootbaar drew a walk. Tyler O’Neill singled, and Harrison Bader plated Nootbaar on a single.

Neither team scored in the ninth. In the top of the 10th inning, with Tommy Edman on second, Paul Goldschmidt reached on a fielder’s choice. Nolan Arenado was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Nootbaar’s sac fly scored Edman and St. Louis took a 2-1 lead.

In the bottom of the 10th, VerHagen walked the first batter to join the ghost runner. With two men on and two outs, VerHagen gave up a home run to Rays shortstop Taylor Walls and the Rays won in a walk off.

O’Neill went 2-for-5. Bader was 2-for-4 with an RBI. Molina was 2-for-4.

In the field, Edmundo Sosa made a fielding error.

Wednesday, June 8 – Cardinals 3 at Rays 11

The Cardinals were the victims of a shellacking in the second game of the series with the Rays. St. Louis started some time starter, sometime reliever Packy Naughton in this contest, as the team struggles with injuries to the rotation.

Naughton didn’t last long, going 1 1/3 innings. The right hander gave up four runs on five hits in that span, with no walks and no strikeouts. Naughton took the loss, his second of the season.

Johan Oviedo came in to bail out Naughton and he surrendered one run in 2 2/3 innings. Next came Nick Wittgren, who allowed three more Rays runs in the fifth inning. Struggling reliever T.J. McFarland followed with three more runs relinquished in two innings. It was future Hall of Fame catcher Yadier Molina who was the only Cardinal hurler to have a scoreless inning. Molina gave up two hits and struck out one while pitching the eighth.

The Cardinals scored three runs in the game. The first was a fourth inning solo home run by recently-returned left fielder Tyler O’Neill. They added two runs in the sixth, once again driven in by O’Neill on a ground ball single up the middle.

Tyler O’Neill

O’Neill was 2-for-4 with three RBI. The six other hits by Cardinals were all singles from Harrison Bader, Brendan Donovan, Tommy Edman, Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Gorman, and Juan Yepez.

Thursday, June 9 – Cardinals 1 at Rays 2

The Rays completed the home sweep over the Cardinals on Thursday. This was the first time the Cardinals were swept in 2022.

Miles Mikolas

Miles Mikolas pitched an eight-inning complete game. The right hander did his best, but his offense didn’t support him. Mikolas gave up two runs on three hits and punched out nine Rays. The game lasted only 1 hour and 52 minutes.

The Rays took the 2-0 lead in the fourth. The Cardinals put up their only run in the sixth. Paul Goldschmidt drew a walk. Nolan Arenado singled. Albert Pujols reached on a throwing error by Rays starter McClanahan and Goldschmidt scored. The pitcher’s duel ended with a 2-1 win by Tampa Bay.

In addition to Arenado’s single, Pujols doubled. Those were the only two St. Louis hits. Ten Cardinals struck out. Only Pujols and Knizner did not strike out.

Friday, June 10 – Cardinals 2, Reds 0

The Cardinals returned to St. Louis after being swept in Tampa to a weekend series with the cellar dwelling Reds.

The Cardinals started Andre Pallante. Pallante has spent all of his prior time on the roster in the bullpen but is being put into the rotation, at least on a temporary basis. Pallante pitched 5 1/3 scoreless innings, gave up four hits, struck out four and walked two to earn his second win of the season, first as a starter.

Andre Pallante

Genesis Cabrera relieved Pallante and threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings. Giovanny Gallegos and Ryan Helsley each tossed a scoreless inning. Helsley earned his fourth save.

The Cardinals took the 2-0 lead in the first inning. Paul Goldschmidt drew a walk. Nolan Arenado singled and Goldschmidt scored on a throwing error. Tyler O’Neill singled, and another throwing error scored Arenado.

The scoring ceased over the final eight innings. Arenado and O’Neill each went 2-for-4. Tommy Edman and Dylan Carlson singled. There were no extra base hits on either side.

Saturday, June 11 – Cardinals 5, Reds 4

The Cardinals won the second game of the series in a ninth inning walk off. The Reds took an early lead and held on to the end, only to lose in the ninth.

This was an Adam Wainwright start. The right hander pitched seven innings, gave up three runs on eight hits, fanned seven and walked one. Drew VerHagen relieved in the eighth and surrendered one run. Nick Wittgren tossed a scoreless ninth to earn his first win of the season.

The Reds scored three runs off Wainwright in the third inning. The Cardinals didn’t score until the sixth. Tommy Edman singled and Nolan Gorman was hit by a pitch. A wild pitch advanced both runners. Nolan Arenado drew a walk. Edman scored on a sac fly by Tyler O’Neill.

The Reds added a fourth run to their tally in the eighth. The Cardinals answered with two runs in the home half of the inning to make it 4-3. Gorman was hit by a pitch for the second time. Arenado singled. O’Neill doubled to plate Gorman and Arenado.

In the bottom of the ninth with the Reds holding a one run lead, Dylan Carlson walked but was eliminated in a double play by Yadier Molina. With two outs and the bases empty, Juan Yepez singled. Edman then blasted a two-run home run to right center field for the 5-4 Cardinals walk off win.

Tommy Edman

Edman went 2-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored. Arenado was 2-for-3. O’Neill drove in three for the second time this week.

On the base paths, O’Neill was caught stealing for the second time.

Sunday, June 12 – Cardinals 6, Reds 7

The Cardinals failed to complete the sweep, falling to the Reds 7-6 on Sunday. A two out rally in the ninth fell short.

Dakota Hudson took the mound for this contest. The right hander pitched seven innings and gave up six runs on nine hits, struck out two and walked two. After two very good starts in his last two games, it was not Hudson’s best start, and he suffered his third loss of the season.

Johan Oviedo relieved in the eighth and surrendered one run. T.J. McFarland tossed a scoreless ninth, a bright spot in what has been an otherwise dismal performance by the left hander this season.

The Cardinals got on the board first with one run in the first inning. The inning began with back-to-back singles by Tommy Edman and Nolan Gorman. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch before Edman scored on a second wild pitch.

St. Louis increased the lead to 3-0 in the third on a two-run blast by Nolan Arenado.

What looked like a great start by Hudson started going south in the fourth inning. A single and two walks loaded the bases and the Reds scored on a hit by pitch. A double play led to two outs but a second run for the Reds. A single tied the game at 3-3.

The Reds took the lead in the top of the fifth 4-3. The Cardinals quickly tied it in the home half of the fifth on an RBI ground rule double by Albert Pujols.

Hudson faltered again in the seventh and the Reds made it 6-4. A solo home run in the eighth widened the Cincinnati tally to 7-4.

The Cardinals failed to score in the bottom of the eighth and the Cardinals were down to their final out in the ninth. The rookies made their presence known when Brendan Donovan drew a walk and Juan Yepez hit his fifth home run to left to bring the score to 7-6. Pujols struck out swinging to end the rally.

Yepez went 3-for-5 with two RBI. Edman and Gorman were 2-for-5. Donovan was 2-for-4. Arenado drove in two.

On the base paths, O’Neill stole his fourth base of the season. In the field, McFarland picked a runner off first base.

NL Central Standings

Team W L Pct GB
St. Louis 34 27 0.557
Milwaukee 34 28 0.548 0.5
Pittsburgh 24 34 0.414 8.5
Chicago 23 36 0.390 10
Cincinnati 21 39 0.350 12.5

The Big Picture

The Cardinals had a rough week, going 2-4. They were swept by the Tampa Bay Rays in three games and won 2 of 3 from the Reds. St. Louis still has a narrow division lead only because Milwaukee is slumping badly.

This writer predicted last week that the Rays series was going to be very difficult and that not being swept was a win. The win did not come. A sweep of the Reds would have at least prevented a losing week, but that was not to be, either.

A combination of an offense that couldn’t handle the pitching of the Rays, and a Cardinals pitching staff that is in flux and has no stability, doomed the team for the week. The offense is not the primary issue, though improvement is still needed. The pitching remains the weakness.

The back end of the rotation is unstable. The injuries to starters and the lack of reliable depth in the minors has led to holes being filled by the Memphis shuttle and the movement of one key piece of the bullpen to the rotation on a temporary basis. While the team awaits the return of Flaherty and Matz, Andre Pallante has been inserted into the rotation. Pallante has been one of only four reliable relievers in the bullpen. Matthew Liberatore has been up and down from Memphis to take starts and another Memphis pitcher who has been kept in the bullpen, Zack Thompson, will make his first start this week. Flaherty has been pitching well in his rehab starts and will hopefully return after one more minor league tuneup. Matz is going to be out longer.

The bullpen needs an overhaul. If and when that will happen is the question. The big three of Ryan Helsley, Giovanny Gallegos, and Genesis Cabrera are the stabilizers but their usage is limited. Pallante is now starting. The remaining pitchers in the bullpen are not reliable on any kind of regular basis. Thompson has been mostly held back, probably due to the need to keep him as a starting possibility, which will now be realized in the doubleheader on Tuesday. When Jordan Hicks returns, it will likely be in the pen.

The team cannot continue winning with the pitching in the shape it is in. This is a front office problem. The lack of depth that many saw at the beginning of the season is rearing its ugly head for the second consecutive year.

Juan Yepez

The offense has been holding its own other than the meeting with the brick wall that is the Rays’ pitching. As would be expected from that encounter this week, the team OPS has fallen. The top performers for the week are Juan Yepez (.971), Nolan Arenado (.935) and Tyler O’Neill (.846). Paul Goldschmidt took a massive tumble from the top perch with an OPS over the last seven games of .451. Molina jumped up from the bottom to an OPS this week of .625. Andrew Knizner remains at the bottom (.000) along with Edmundo Sosa (.000).

A four-game series with the Pirates that includes a doubleheader begins on Monday. This should improve the offensive numbers if nothing else. The Pirates remain in third place in the Division, but it is a result of beating other teams. The Pirates typically don’t play the Cardinals well, but that could certainly change on a dime. The team ends the week in Boston against the Red Sox. The Sox aren’t the Rays, but it is an interleague series, the Cardinals don’t play in that ballpark much, and it will not be easy. I won’t predict this one but just will just hope for the best.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.

Transactions

  • 6/7 The Cardinals optioned RHP Jake Walsh to the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 6/7 The Cardinals activated LF Tyler O’Neill from the 10-day injured list.
  • 6/7 The Cardinals sent RHP Jack Flaherty on a rehab assignment to the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 6/7 The Cardinals sent RF Dylan Carlson on a rehab assignment to the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 6/10 The Cardinals optioned OF Lars Nootbaar to the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 6/10 The Cardinals activated RF Dylan Carlson from the 10-day injured list.

Injury Report

  • RHP Jack Flaherty (right shoulder) was transferred from the 10-day IL to the 60-day IL to make room for the addition of Nolan Gorman to the big league roster. Flaherty made a rehab assignment for the Memphis Redbirds on June 10 and threw 59 pitches. The right hander will make at least one more rehab start (Wednesday in Memphis) before a decision is made to return him to the roster.
  • RHP Alex Reyes (frayed right labrum) remains on the 60-day IL. The right hander received a second opinion and has had surgery on the shoulder. Whether the injury is season-ending is yet to be determined.
  • LF Tyler O’Neill returned to the roster and started in the weekend series with the Reds.
  • RF Dylan Carlson returned to the roster and started in the weekend series with the Reds.
  • LHP Steven Matz (left shoulder stiffness) left his last start on May 22 with some stiffness in his pitching arm. He was placed on the 15-day injured list on May 23. Matz had a setback in his rehab as his arm recovery has been slower than expected. Matz had been expected to make a rehab assignment but that has been put off for now. He continues to throw off flat ground.
  • RHP Jordan Hicks (right forearm flexor) was placed on the 15-day injured list on May 26, retroactive to May 25. The right hander was scheduled to throw a bullpen session for the first time over the weekend. It is looking like Hicks will be ahead Matz in the expected return schedule and could be sent out for a rehab assignment within a week.
  • OF/DH Corey Dickerson (strained left calf) was placed on the 10-day injured list on June 5. Dickerson is expected to be out at least two weeks with the injury.

Looking Ahead

Following the weekend series with the Reds, the homestand will continue with a four game series with the Pirates, which includes a doubleheader on Tuesday. Zack Thompson will make the Monday start. Matthew Liberatore will start in Game 1 on Tuesday, with Miles Mikolas following in Game 2. Pallante will make Wednesday’s start.

Another road trip begins on June 17 with a three-game series in Boston followed by four in Milwaukee.

Following the Milwaukee series, the Cardinals return to St. Louis for a six game homestand, three games each with the Cubs and the Marlins.

Beginning July 1, the Cardinals travel to Philadelphia for a weekend series with the Phillies. The road trip concludes with four games in Atlanta against the Braves.

The regular season schedule can be found here.

Blast from the Past

This week’s Blast from the Past takes note of some significant events that occurred in Cardinals franchise history during the period June 6 through June 12. The following list contains important game events and accomplishments, team events of note, and significant transactions that occurred on those dates.

June 6, 1920 – The Cardinals played their final game at the ballpark that was their home field since 1893, Robison Field or Cardinal’s Park as it was renamed in 1917. The Cardinals defeated the Chicago Cubs by the score of 5-2. The team moved six blocks away to Sportsman’s Park, a field they shared with the other St. Louis team, the Browns. Money from the sale of the old park was used to finance the purchase of the Houston Buffaloes, the team that began the establishment of the first farm system, under the direction of Branch Rickey.

June 6, 1937 – The Cardinals were scheduled to play a doubleheader against the Phillies at the Baker Bowl in Philadelphia. The first game was played as scheduled and the Cardinals won 7-2. The second game was delayed by rain for 88 minutes. The game finally began but had to be finished by 7 pm local time due to a Philadelphia law. The Cardinals were leading 8-2 in the top of the fourth when the Phillies began stalling with mound conferences and pitching changes. Umpire Bill Klem took action and forfeited the game in favor of St. Louis. All the stats for the game were wiped out, including Joe Medwick’s 10th home run. The manager of the Phillies was fined for his actions.

June 6, 2014 – The Cardinals turned a triple play against the Toronto Blue Jays. The 4-6-3 began with a ground ball to Daniel Descalso then to Jhonny Peralta and Allen Craig.

Billy Southworth

June 7, 1940 – Cardinals owner Sam Breadon fired manager Ray Blades and hired Billy Southworth as manager. Back in 1929, Southworth had a brief stint as Cardinals manager, but it was not successful. This time, Southworth managed the Cardinals through the end of the 1945 season, winning two World Series.

June 7, 1960 – Bob Gibson tied a major league record with four strikeouts in one inning in a 9-1 loss to the Pirates. The fourth punchout was on a wild pitch.

June 8, 1959 – Catcher Tim McCarver was signed as an amateur free agent.

June 8, 1980 – Cardinals manager Ken Boyer was fired between the games of a doubleheader with the Expos in Montreal. Jim Krol took over as interim manager. Whitey Herzog was hired the next day.

June 9, 1947 – Red Schoendienst goes 0-for-12 in a doubleheader with the Phillies in Philadelphia.

Whitey Herzog

June 9, 1980 – Whitey Herzog becomes the manager of the Cardinals.

June 10, 2002 – The first time two Japanese players played in the same game occurred on this date. So Taguchi of the Cardinals and Ichiro Suzuki of the Mariners appeared at Safeco Field. The Cardinals lost 10-0.

June 10, 2011 – Tony La Russa managed his 5,000th game on this date. The Cardinals lost to the Brewers in Milwaukee 8-0.

June 11, 1917 – Against the Phillies at Robison Field, with the game tied 4-4 in the 15th inning, catcher Mike Gonzalez stole home to give the Cardinals a 5-4 win.

June 12, 1940 – The Cardinals traded Joe Medwick to the Dodgers for outfielder Ernie Koy, pitcher Carl Doyle, two minor leaguers, and $125,000. The trade was reportedly due to Medwick being unhappy with his salary. Six days later Medwick was beaned by Cardinal pitcher Bob Bowman, an incident that led to Dodger players and manager Leo Durocher charging the mound. The Cardinals accused the Dodgers of sign stealing. An investigation was conducted with the final conclusion being that the beanball was not deliberate.

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