photo: Yadier Molina (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)
The St. Louis Cardinals went 3-4 in spring training action last week as Yadier Molina appeared in his first games. In our weekly history feature, Hall of Fame manager Whitey Herzog is remembered.
Spring game recaps
In the first of a three-game road trip to the west coast of Florida, the Cardinals were soundly defeated by the Tigers. Adam Wainwright pitched three innings, giving up two runs on five hits while fanning three and walking one. Austin Gomber surrendered three runs in 2 2/3 innings pitched and took the loss. Mike Mayers gave up one run in 2/3 innings, and Ryan Helsley allowed three runs in 2/3 of an inning.
The Redbirds offense put up five runs on nine hits. Kolten Wong hit his first spring home run, a solo shot in the first inning. Rangel Ravelo had a two-run blast in the sixth. Ravelo was 2-for-4. Ramon Urias and Drew Robinson each drove in a run.
Randy Arozarena was caught stealing and had an outfield assist, throwing a runner out at home. Robinson made a throwing error.
The Cardinals lost a close contest to the Phillies on Tuesday. The sole run for the Redbirds scored on a single from Max Schrock in the eighth inning. There were only four St. Louis hits. Edmundo Sosa doubled, while Paul Goldschmidt and Evan Mendoza each singled.
Jack Flaherty pitched four scoreless innings, allowing only two hits and striking out nine. Flaherty issued no walks. Andrew Miller and Jordan Hicks followed with a scoreless inning each. Alex Reyes allowed one run in the seventh. Dominic Leone pitched a scoreless eighth. Genesis Cabrera gave up the winning run in the ninth.
Minor leaguer Alberto Triunfel, pinch running for Schrock, who pinch hit for Ozuna, was caught stealing. Goldschmidt made a fielding error and Leone picked a runner off first base.
The Cardinals ended the three-game road trip on Wednesday with a victory over the Yankees. John Gant took the mound and pitched three innings. The right hander gave up three runs on four hits while fanning two and walking one. The damage came on a three-run home run by Austin Romine in the second inning. Chris Beck, Connor Jones, Ryan Meisinger, and Tommy Layne each added a scoreless inning. Mike Hauschild pitched the final two innings and surrendered two runs on three hits.
Tyler O’Neill hit a solo home run in the second inning, his fourth of the spring, to put the Cardinals on the board. The Redbirds scored four in the third inning, beginning with an RBI double by Jose Martinez. O’Neill doubled to score Martinez. A ground out by Matt Wieters plated a third run, then Paul DeJong doubled home another. Kolten Wong plated a run on a bunt single in the sixth, and DeJong hit a two-run home run in the seventh. Drew Robinson singled in the final run in the eighth.
Harrison Bader stole his first base of the spring, and DeJong did the same. Rangel Ravelo was picked off first base. Catcher Joe Hudson had a passed ball.
Thursday, March 7 – Off day
The Cardinals edged the Nationals in the Friday afternoon split-squad contest in Jupiter. The Redbirds offense scored three runs on seven hits, with all three runs coming home in the first inning. The Nationals scored both of their runs in the first inning also. Jose Martinez doubled in the first St. Louis run. Rangel Ravelo followed with an RBI single and Matt Wieters singled in Martinez.
Starter Michael Wacha gave up solo home runs to Matt Adams and Jake Noll. Wacha pitched four innings, giving up the two runs and allowing six hits. Wacha struck out two. John Brebbia and Andrew Miller followed with a scoreless inning each. Mike Mayers pitched two scoreless innings, and Ryan Meisinger added a scoreless ninth.
In the night game of Friday’s split-squad day, many of the Cardinals regulars traveled to West Palm and they defeated the Astros, 6-3.
Starters Dakota Hudson and Gerrit Cole were both dominating, with the Cardinal throwing one-hit ball for four innings and the Astros star doing the same for three. St. Louis got to the Houston pen in the fourth, plating three. After Andrew Knizner drove in a run, Dylan Carlson plated two more on a double.
Matt Carpenter was busy in the fifth as he launched a solo home run. The home club halved the gap in the bottom half of the inning against Hunter Cervenka when a groundball shot between third baseman Carpenter’s legs for a two-run error.
Daniel Ponce de Leon yielded a run in the sixth, but Scott Hurst plated two on a double to set the final score in the seventh. Hudson earned the win and Ponce de Leon was given a save after yielding the lone run over the final four frames. Knizner had two of St. Louis’ eight hits, drove in one and scored twice.
The Cardinals were walloped by the Astros in the Saturday contest in Jupiter. St. Louis initially took a 3-0 lead in the second inning on Harrison Bader’s RBI single and a two-run home run by Tommy Edman, who went 2-for-3 in the game. This lead would hold until a Cardinal pitching meltdown in the sixth inning.
Starter Adam Wainwright pitched four scoreless innings, allowing only two hits, fanning two and walking one. Alex Reyes followed with a scoreless fifth. Then came the sixth inning. Connor Jones proceeded to give up four runs while recording only one out. Genesis Cabrera entered and surrendered three more. After the bloodbath was over, the score was 7-3 in favor of the Astros. Chasen Shreve and Dominic Leone pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth, respectively. Tyler Webb yielded two more runs to the Astros’ tally in the ninth, one unearned due to a fielding error by Tommy Edman.
Ramon Urias also committed an error, an unfortunate throw to second base.
The Cardinals ended the week with another walloping, this one at the hands of the Mets in Port St. Lucie. Austin Gomber made the start and it went badly. The left hander couldn’t finish three innings, and by then he had given up five runs on six hits, including two home runs. Tommy Layne came in to stop the bleeding but ended up making it worse. Two more Mets runs scored, so the combined 3 2/3 innings of Gomber and Layne resulted in a 7-0 Mets lead. Chris Beck and Brett Cecil combined for 2 1/3 scoreless innings. Ryan Meisinger handed the Mets another run in the seventh, and Hunter Cervenka did the same in the eighth.
The Cardinals finally scored a run when Dylan Carlson hit a solo home run in the eighth. Matt Carpenter, Paul Goldschmidt, Tyler O’Neill, and Yairo Munoz scattered singles.
The Big Picture
This past week, the Cardinals played seven games, including a three-game road trip to the west coast of Florida. The period did not go particularly well for the Redbirds overall, as they went 3-4. Their overall spring record sits at 6-8-2. The starting pitching has fared well, but a number of the younger relievers have faltered. The offense remains spotty, with many players in and out of the lineups.
News and Notes
A summary of various reports coming out of Spring Training 2019:
- Left hander Brett Cecil lost a considerable amount of weight since the end of last season. However, the weight loss, approximately 42 pounds, has apparently affected his pitching, according to Cecil. The lefty was kept out of the lineup at the beginning of the season in an effort to correct some bad mechanics. Cecil made an appearance in Sunday’s loss against the Mets and though he did not yield a run, did not pitch well. Cecil now believes the weight loss was too much and has affected his mechanics; therefore the left hander seeks to work with a nutritionist to regain some of the lost weight.
- Marcell Ozuna, who is recovering from shoulder surgery, has spent the initial weeks of spring out of the field and making appearances at the plate as a DH. That plan is set to change as Ozuna is expected to make his first appearance in left field on Monday.
- Yadier Molina (knee) made his first spring training appearance at the plate as DH Friday’s game against the Nationals. Molina went 1-for-2 with a run scored in the 3-2 win. On Saturday, Molina returned behind the plate to catch long time battery mate Adam Wainwright.
- The Cardinals renewed the contracts of 20 pre-arbitration members of the 40-man roster, while pitchers Jack Flaherty and Jordan Hicks protested by not agreeing. However, they are signed anyway. More details here:
Trade and Acquisition Rumors
There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.
- 3/9 The Cardinals optioned RF Adolis Garcia, RHP Giovanny Gallegos, LHP Genesis Cabrera, RHP Ryan Helsley and SS Edmundo Sosa to the Memphis Redbirds.
- 3/9 Five non-roster invitees were also re-assigned to minor league camp – pitchers Evan Kruczynski, Seth Elledge and Williams Perez plus catchers Dennis Ortega and Julio Rodriguez.
- The Cardinals have 55 players remaining in camp – 35 40-man players and 20 non-roster invitees. See the details at The Cardinal Nation’s Roster Matrix.
- RHP Carlos Martinez (right shoulder) had an injection of platelet-rich plasma a week ago. As a result, Martinez’ rehab program was extended for another week. The right-hander will not throw until at least March 12. Martinez will likely not be ready to open the season in the rotation and could begin on the injured list.
- RHP Luke Gregerson (right shoulder) will likely open the season on the injured list. Gregerson played catch off the mound on Friday, but no bullpen session is scheduled for the near future.
- IF/UT Jedd Gyorko is nursing a minor calf injury. Gyorko has been out of the lineup for the last week and could be out of commission for another week or so.
- C Francisco Pena suffered an oblique injury in the game against the Phillies on Tuesday. The injury is characterized as a mild oblique strain and Pena is expected to miss about a week.
- Outfielder Lane Thomas returned over the weekend after missing more than a week due to discomfort in his side.
- Outfielder Justin Williams has yet to appear in spring action as he recovers for a broken right hand suffered in the off-season.
The new week opens as the Cardinals take on the Nationals again in Jupiter on Monday. Jack Flaherty is scheduled to make the start against Max Scherzer of the Nationals. The Cardinals travel to Lake Buena Vista on Tuesday to play the Braves. The Cardinals return to take on the Marlins in Jupiter, with the Cardinals the visitor. The Cardinals remain in Jupiter to play the Mets on Thursday and the Astros on Friday. The Redbirds then travel down to West Palm Beach to play the Nationals again, then end the week playing the Marlins on Sunday.
Opening Day of the 2019 regular season begins on the afternoon of March 28 as the Cardinals will begin the season in Milwaukee. The four-game series against the Brewers includes a 7:10 CT game on Friday, 6:10 CT on Saturday, and 1:10 CT on Sunday
The Cardinals continue on the road to Pittsburgh to play two games against the Pirates beginning on April 1. There will be no game on Tuesday, April 2. The second game of the series takes place on Wednesday, April 3.
The Cardinals home opener will be on Thursday, April 4 against the San Diego Padres. Friday will be an off day, and the Cardinals will resume the series with games against the Padres on Saturday and Sunday.
Blast from the Past
This week’s history segment looks at another Cardinals Hall of Fame manager. This one reigned over a decade of delightful Cardinal baseball that resulted in three World Series appearances and one World Series title.
Dorrel Norman Elvert Herzog, better known as “Whitey” was born on November 9, 1931 in New Athens, Illinois. Herzog played both basketball and baseball at New Athens High School. His professional baseball career started with the New York Yankees and he played minor league ball in the Yankees organization from 1949-1955, with an interruption in 1953 when Herzog joined the Army Corps of Engineers during the Korean War. A Yankees sportscaster gave Herzog the nickname “Whitey” because of his light blonde hair and resemblance to Yankees pitcher Bob “The White Rat” Kuzava.
The Yankees traded Herzog to the Washington Senators in 1956, where he made his major league debut on April 17 at the age of 24. The Kansas City Athletics purchased Herzog in May of 1958. Kansas City traded Herzog to the Baltimore Orioles in 1961. At the end of the 1962 season, the Orioles traded Herzog to the Detroit Tigers. In his eight seasons as a major leaguer, Herzog batted .257 with 25 home runs, 172 RBI, 213 runs scored, 60 doubles, 20 triples, and 13 stolen bases. Herzog played his last game in September of 1963 at the age of 31. During his career, Herzog played the outfield and first base.
Herzog became a scout for the Athletics in 1964 and a coach in 1965. In 1966 Herzog went to work for the Mets as third base coach. He moved to the front office in 1967 as Director of Player Development, where he remained for six years. Herzog left the Mets to sign on as the manager of the Texas Rangers for the 1973 season. He lasted only the one season in Texas, then moved on as interim manager for the Angels in 1974.
Herzog was hired in 1975 to manage the Kansas City Royals. In his five seasons as the Royals manager, his clubs won three straight AL West division titles.
Whitey moved to the Cardinals in June 1980, replacing manager Jack Krol. Herzog also acted as the Cardinals’ general manager from 1980-82. Herzog remained the team’s field manager until resigning on July 7, 1990, stating he was “embarrassed” by his team’s play.
The style of play Herzog brought to St. Louis, focusing on pitching, speed, and defense, received the moniker of “Whiteyball”. Herzog preferred high on-base hitters in his lineups, which featured Keith Hernandez, Jose Oquendo, and Ozzie Smith.
Herzog led the Cardinals to the World Championship in 1982. The Cardinals reached the World Series in 1985 and 1987, but lost both, the first to Herzog’s prior team, the Kansas City Royals, and then to the Minnesota Twins. The 1985 World Series became infamous for one of the worst blown calls in the history of baseball, a crucial out turned safe call at first base by umpire Don Denkinger. The blown call turned a potential Game 6 win and World Series title into a loss followed by a Game 7 defeat to the Royals.
Herzog finished his decade as Cardinals manager in 1990, with a mark of 822 wins and 728 losses. After his managerial career ended, Herzog went into the front office of the Angels for a short time and became the GM in 1993. This stint as GM went badly and he resigned in January 1994.
Herzog was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame as a manager by the Veterans Committee in 2009. He was inducted in 2010. That same year the Cardinals retired Herzog’s uniform number 24. Herzog was inducted into the Cardinals Hall of Fame in the inaugural class of 2014.
Whitey, who remains a St. Louis resident with his wife, Mary Lou, can still be seen at Cardinals games and serves on the team’s Hall of Fame nominating committee.
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