Photo: Tyler O’Neill (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports)
The St. Louis Cardinals finished the week 4-3 as they played the first seven games of a ten game road trip. Tyler O’Neill’s return from the injured list provided the Cardinal offense with a major boost, but the Cardinals’ defense has been struggling. In our history feature, we reflect on the major league debuts of each member of the regular starting eight position players.
The Cardinals began a three game series with the first place White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field on Monday. Former Cardinal pitcher Lance Lynn kept the Redbird offense hitless and off the board until the sixth inning.
The Cardinals finally broke through the Lance Lynn wall with a single by Paul Goldschmidt that scored Tommy Edman for the first hit and the first and only run. Edman led off the inning with a walk and then stole second base. Yadier Molina got the second of the Cardinals five hits in that inning but was left stranded. Edmundo Sosa singled in the seventh off Lynn. Molina and Goldschmidt both singled again off Michael Kopech for the last of the five hits.
Starter Kwang-Hyun Kim pitched 5 2/3 innings and took the loss. The left hander gave up three runs on five hits, fanned five and walked three. Daniel Ponce de Leon relieved Kim and yielded two runs, one earned in 2/3 innings. Kodi Whitley and Jake Woodford combined for the final 1 2/3 scoreless innings.
Matt Carpenter stole his first base of the season and Edman purloined his ninth. Sosa was caught stealing for the second time. Carpenter made a fielding error and Ponce de Leon made an error on a pickoff. Justin Williams had an outfield assist at third base.
A matchup between high school teammates Jack Flaherty and Lucas Giolito resulted in the first loss for Cardinals starter Jack Flaherty. It was arguably Flaherty’s worst start and definitely his shortest.
Flaherty was out after 3 2/3 innings. He surrendered seven runs, three earned, on six hits. The right hander struck out three and walked two and gave up one long ball. His poor showing was aided by some terrible defense in the infield. Tyler Webb added to the loss by yielding another run in his 1 2/3 innings of relief. Junior Fernandez tossed 2 2/3 scoreless innings.
The Cardinal offense scored three runs on 10 hits. A 3-for-14 showing with runners in scoring position tells the tale. The first of three runs scored in the third inning. Edmundo Sosa led off with a double and Lane Thomas reached on an error. Tommy Edman singled and Dylan Carlson plated Sosa on sac fly.
In the fourth, Nolan Arenado led off with a double, Carpenter singled, and Arenado scored on a wild pitch. The third and final run came home in the seventh. Carpenter doubled and Max Moroff singled to score Carpenter.
Arenado and Carpenter were most of the meager offense. Arenado was 2-for-4 and Carpenter was 2-for-3.
The Cardinal infield of Arenado, Sosa, and Edman made three errors, all fielding.
The Cardinals salvaged a win out of the series with a 4-0 blanking of the White Sox in the final game. Tommy Edman had a fine day at the plate with two solo home runs to aid in the winning.
The first of Edman’s long balls was in the third inning off starter Carlos Rodon. He hit the second one in the eighth off reliever Aaron Bummer (who was no doubt bummed, pun intended). Two insurance runs scored in the ninth when Paul Goldschmidt led off with a single, Nolan Arenado followed with a double, and Edmundo Sosa drove them both home on a hard single to center field.
Starter John Gant tossed five scoreless innings, yielded five hits, struck out three and walked three. Genesis Cabrera followed with 1 1/3 scoreless innings. Giovanny Gallegos pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings and Alex Reyes hurled a scoreless ninth. Gant earned his fourth win of the season.
Sosa stole his second base of the season. Gant and Max Moroff both made throwing errors. Justin Williams had an outfield assist at home.
The Cardinals continued their road trip out west with the first of four games in Arizona against the Diamondbacks. This first one started out well, but the Dbacks fought back to take it to extra innings.
Starter Carlos Martinez took a no hitter into the seventh inning but lost it in the first at bat of the seventh. The right hander tossed six scoreless innings, then gave up three runs in the seventh without recording an out. He fanned six and walked one.
Genesis Cabrera relieved Martinez but also could not record an out, so he was replaced by Ryan Helsley, who pitched a scoreless seventh in Houdini fashion. Giovanny Gallegos yielded a run in the eighth and blew the save. Alex Reyes hurled a scoreless ninth to earn the win, and Daniel Ponce de Leon pitched a scoreless 10 to record his first save.
The Cardinal offense got on the board with three runs in the second inning. Yadier Molina led off with a single and Tyler O’Neill drove him home on a two run home run to center field that hit the bottom of the scoreboard. In the fifth, back to back doubles by Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado made it 4-0.
The Cardinals took the 4-0 lead into the seventh. The Diamondbacks tied the game with three runs in the seventh and one in the eighth. The game went into the 10th inning tied 4-4 with Paul Goldschmidt at second base to start the inning. Molina hit a double to plate Goldschmidt and the Cardinals took the lead 5-4. Ponce de Leon kept Arizona from scoring in the bottom of the 10th.
Molina was 3-for-5 in the game and Arenado was 2-for-5. O’Neill had two RBI.
The Cardinals were the winners in a second close game in Arizona. The Diamondbacks again made it closer in the last innings.
The Redbirds put up four runs in the first inning off starter Madison Bumgarner. Tommy Edman drew a a leadoff walk, stole second base, and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Dylan Carlson walked and Paul Goldschmidt plated Edman on a sac fly. Yadier Molina doubled to score Carlson. Tyler O’Neill for the second time hit a two run home run to make it 4-0.
The Diamondbacks responded in the bottom of the first with a run off starter Johan Oviedo. They added a second run off Oviedo in the second to make it 4-2. The Cardinals added a run in the top of the third on a solo home run by Nolan Arenado on a pitch over a foot inside.
How did Arenado hit this ball out?! 😱 pic.twitter.com/BKcG5LSKK2
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) May 29, 2021
Arizona scored again in the bottom of the third. The Redbirds increased their lead to 7-3 with two runs in the top of the fourth. Lane Thomas walked and advanced on a throwing error on a fielder’s choice by Oviedo. Edman plated Thomas on a single and Carlson hit a ground rule double to score Oviedo.
The Diamondbacks cut the lead to 7-5 with two runs in the eighth off Ryan Helsley. The Cardinals added an insurance run in the ninth on a sac fly by Arenado. Arizona scored one run in the bottom of the ninth to make it 8-6.
Oviedo pitched 4 1/3 innings and gave up three runs, two earned, on five hits. He struck out three and walked six. Jake Woodford tossed 2 2/3 scoreless inning in relief. Helsley yielded two runs in his 2/3 innings and Daniel Ponce de Leon surrenderd one run in 1 1/3 innings to earn his second save. Woodford earned the win.
Edman stole his 10th base of the season and Goldschmidt snatched his third base. The Cardinals made three errors. Edman missed a catch, O’Neill made a throwing error and Molina dropped a foul ball.
The Cardinals won the series with a victory in the third of four games against Arizona. St. Louis has not been able to run away with any of the games against this 18-35 team that has fought back at every turn.
Adam Wainwright took the mound to win his third game of the season. The veteran right hander pitched five innings and surrendered four runs on five hits, punched out six and walked three. Genesis Cabrera, Giovanny Gallegos, Tyler Webb, and Alex Reyes each tossed a scoreless inning of relief. Reyes earned his 15th save.
The Redbirds got on the board with one run in the first inning. Tommy Edman was hit by a pitch. Paul Goldschmidt singled and Edman scored on a single by Yadier Molina.
The Cardinals jumped to a 6-0 lead with five runs in the third. Edman singled, Goldschmidt walked, and Arenado was hit by a pitch. Molina singled to plate Edman and Goldschmidt. Tyler O’Neill doubled, Arenado and Molina scored. Edmundo Sosa singled, and Justin Williams drove in O’Neill on a ground out. A solo home run by O’Neill in the fifth made it 7-0.
The Diamondbacks again fought back with two runs in the bottom of the fifth and sixth off Wainwright. The bullpen kept Arizona off the board for the rest of the game.
O’Neill was 3-for-5 with three RBI and and two runs scored. Molina was 2-for-5 with three RBI. Edman was 2-for-4 with two runs scored.
Both Sosa and Lane Thomas were caught stealing, Sosa for the third time and Thomas for the first time.
The Cardinals fell short of the sweep of the four game series with the Diamondbacks in a 9-2 loss on Sunday. The Diamondbacks ended their 13 game losing streak while the Cardinals head for Los Angeles to play the Dodgers.
The Cardinals got on the board early with one run in the first and second innings to take a 2-0 lead. From that point on the Redbirds failed to add on, as a shaky start from Kwang-Hyun Kim and poor defense doomed the effort.
The one bright spot was Dylan Carlson hitting his fourth home run, a solo shot in the first inning that brought a 44 game drought to an end. An RBI double by Andrew Knizner in the second inning put the final run on the board.
LET IT FLY INTO THE POOL! (almost) pic.twitter.com/zqHpwbX2nt
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) May 30, 2021
Kim lasted five innings and gave up four runs on nine hits. The left hander struck out one and walked one to suffer his third loss of the season. Tyler Webb replaced Kim and yielded three runs, two earned to increase his ERA to 12.33. Jake Woodford and Junior Fernandez combined for the final 2 2/3 scoreless innings.
Carlson, Knizner, Matt Carpenter, and Jose Rondon each had two hits in the game. The defense continues on a downward spiral with three more errors in this game. Edmundo Sosa made two errors, one fielding and one throwing, and Rondon had a throwing miscue.
The Cardinals ended the week with a 4-3 record. The team won 1 of 3 from the White Sox and took 3 of 4 from the Diamondbacks. They remain in first place in the NL Central with a record of 30-23, but are only half a game ahead of the surging Cubs.
The one consistent strength of the team, its defense, has taken a bad turn this week. There were seven errors in the White Sox series and six errors in the Arizona series. That is 13 errors in seven games which is almost 40% of the total errors thus far in the season. All but one of the errors happened in the infield. Errors are fairly subjective but nevertheless the defense obviously needs to be cleaned up.
The other sore spot for the Cardinals is pitching. The walks are still an issue. The Cardinal pitching continues to lead all of baseball in total walks and walk percentage. John Gant still leads the team in total walks with 31, with Alex Reyes right behind with 25. Reyes also leads the current staff in walk percentage at 20.7% To simply say “throw strikes” as a cure all for this problem is a little like telling an insomniac to get some sleep. It doesn’t appear to be working.
The offense has been the stabilizer. The return of Tyler O’Neill to the roster has helped boost the offense. O’Neill leads the team in OPS for the week with 1.448. Tommy Edman and Yadier Molina are right behind, both with .939.
Despite the issues with defense and pitching the Cardinals are seven games over .500 and still holding on to first place by a fingernail. How long this will continue remains to be seen as the Cardinals have a tough series coming up with the Dodgers and the Cubs and the Brewers are playing well.
The team travels to Los Angeles to play the Dodgers in three games to start the week. They end their week with three games against the Reds. The Dodgers have had some issues so far this season, but the team is very good and the Cardinals always have a hard time with them. The Reds have fallen off since the season began but they can still give the Cardinals headaches, especially with their offense. The Cubs and the Brewers don’t appear to be going away so the defense and the pitching needs to get better. A split of the six games at a minimum needs to happen.
NL Central Standings
Team W L Pct GB
Trade and Acquisition Rumors.
There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.
- 5/25 The Cardinals placed CF Harrison Bader on the 10-day injured list. Right rib hairline fracture.
- 5/25 The Cardinals sent LHP Andrew Miller on a rehab assignment to the Memphis Redbirds.
- 5/25 The Cardinals recalled 1B John Nogowski from the Memphis Redbirds.
- 5/27 The Cardinals optioned 1B John Nogowski to the Memphis Redbirds.
- 5/27 The Cardinals activated LF Tyler O’Neill from the 10-day injured list.
- 5/28 The Cardinals recalled RHP Johan Oviedo from the Memphis Redbirds.
- 5/28 The Cardinals optioned RHP Junior Fernandez to the Memphis Redbirds.
- 5/29 The Cardinals recalled RHP Junior Fernandez from the Memphis Redbirds.
- 5/29 The Cardinals placed 2B Max Moroff on the 10-day injured list. Left shoulder subluxation.
- 5/29 The Cardinals selected the contract of 3B Jose Rondon from the Memphis Redbirds.
- 5/29 The Cardinals placed RHP Miles Mikolas on the 60-day injured list. Right forearm tightness.
- 5/29 The Cardinals optioned RHP Joham Oviedo to the Memphis Redbirds.
- RHP Miles Mikolas (right forearm tightness), was placed on the 60-day injured list to make room on the roster for Jose Rondon. A second opinion by Dr. James Andrews revealed no structural damage to the UCL or a flexor tendon tear. Mikolas is receiving treatment for his right forearm injury and will not throw for the next four to six weeks, but is expected to return to pitch this season.
- LHP Andrew Miller (right foot toe blister) was sent on a rehab assignment to the Memphis Redbirds. The left hander has been given an orthotic to aid his landing foot. He is expected to return to the roster within the next week.
- RHP Jordan Hicks (right elbow inflammation) continues on the 60 day injured list with a return date sometime in July. Hicks received an injection and is expected to start some baseball activity by mid-June. It is anticipated Hicks will return to pitch in the second half of the season.
- SS Paul DeJong (left rib fracture) continues on the 10-day injured list. The shortstop joined the team in Chicago, but then returned to St. Louis before the west coast trip. DeJong has not yet swung a bat, but reports are a rehab assignment will be coming soon.
- LF Tyler O’Neill (left hand finger fracture) was activated from the 10-day injured list and is back in the starting lineup.
- CF Harrison Bader (right rib hairline fracture) was placed on the 10-day injured list. Bader was injured on Monday, May 24 in a game against the White Sox. He sustained the rib fracture while diving for a line drive and landing on the ball on his right side. Bader was removed from the game after the injury and returned to St. Louis for rehab. The Cardinals are hopeful the outfielder’s stay on the injured list will not be long.
- 2B Max Moroff (left shoulder subluxation) was placed on the 10 day injured list after suffering a shoulder injury in a batting practice session.
The Cardinals west coast road trip continues on Monday with a three game series against the Dodgers in Los Angeles. The pitching probables for the series are Jack Flaherty on Monday, followed by John Gant on Tuesday, and Carlos Martinez on Wednesday.
The Cardinals return home on Thursday for a four game series with the Reds. After an off day on Monday, June 7, the homestand ends with a two game series against the Cleveland Indians.
The Cardinals have an off day on Thursday, June 10 to travel to Chicago to play the Cubs in a weekend series at Wrigley Field. The team returns home to St. Louis to play a three game series at Busch Stadium against the Miami Marlins.
The Cardinals regular season schedule can be found here.
Blast from the Past
This week in Blast From the Past we take a trip to Memory Lane for a short series looking at the major league debuts of each of the Cardinals 26 man roster players, both active and injured. This installment looks at the purported regular starting eight position players, whether currently playing or on the injured list.
Yadier Molina, C—Molina made his major league debut on June 3, 2004 in a game against the Pirates at PNC Park. He was in the starting lineup and hit seventh.His first plate appearance was in the top of the second inning facing Pirates starter Oliver Perez. Molina hit a popup to short RF that was caught by Pirates 2B Abraham Nunez. Molina went 2-for-4 in the game with his two hits being a single to LF in the fifth inning off Perez for his first MLB hit, and a double to LF in the seventh. The Cardinals beat the Pirates 4-2.
Paul Goldschmidt, 1B—Goldschmidt made his major league debut with the Arizona Diamondbacks on August 11, 2011 in a game against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park. Goldschmidt started at 1B and hit seventh.He went 1-for-4 in the game. His first plate appearance came in the top of the second inning against Giants starter Matt Cain. He hit a single to RF, his first MLB hit. The hit moved catcher Miguel Montero, who reached on a forceout, to second base. The Diamondbacks beat the Giants 5-2.
Tommy Edman, 2B—Edman debuted with the Cardinals on June 8, 2019 in a game with the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Tommy made his first appearance as a pinch hitter in the top of the ninth inning in the fifth position spot. He led off the inning against Cubs pitcher Tyler Chatwood and struck out swinging. The Cardinals lost to the Cubs 9-4. Edman made his first appearance in the starting lineup on June 14 at 2B batting eighth. He went 1-for-3 in a 9-5 win over the Mets at Citi Field. His first at bat was in the top of the third, where he doubled to center field off Mets starter Steven Matz. This was Edman’s first major league hit.
Nolan Arenado, 3B—Arenado made his major league debut with the Colorado Rockies on April 28, 2013 in a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Arenado was in the starting lineup, playing 3B, batting seventh. The 3B went 0-for-3 in a 4-2 loss to Arizona. In his first MLB at bat, Arenado flied out to RF in the top of the second against Dbacks starter Patrick Corbin. Arenado’s first MLB hit came the next day, April 29 in a 12-2 win over the Dodgers at Dodger stadium. Playing 3B and batting sixth, he hit an infield single to Dodger 3B Luis Cruz off Dodger pitcher Josh Wall in the top of the 4th. The single loaded the bases for Josh Rutledge, who singled to score a run. Arenado scored two batters later on a single to CF by Tyler Chatwood. Arenado went 3-for-6 in that game. He hit a two run home run in the fifth inning and a single to CF in the ninth.
Paul DeJong SS (10-day IL)—-DeJong made his debut with the Cardinals on May 28, 2017 in an 8-4 loss to the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. DeJong’s first MLB plate appearance was as a pinch hitter in the ninth spot in the top of the ninth inning. DeJong led off the inning with a solo home run to LF off future teammate Greg Holland, his first MLB hit. He was in the starting lineup the next day at 2B in a game against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. DeJong hit seventh and went 2-for-4 with a single on a pop up to short RF in the fifth inning and a double to LF in the seventh. The Cardinals lost the game 5-1.
Tyler O’Neill LF—O’Neill made his MLB debut with the Cardinals on April 19, 2019 in an 8-5 loss to the Cubs at Wrigley Field. His first MLB plate appearance was pinch-hitting for Luke Weaver in the top of the fifth inning. He struck out swinging against Jon Lester. He made his first start on April 22 against the Reds at Busch Stadium. O’Neill played LF and went 0-for-3 in the Cardinals 9-2 win. His first MLB hit didn’t come until May 18 at Busch Stadium in a 12-4 win over the Phillies. O’Neill was double switched into the game in LF in the top of the 7th, then hit for Michael Wacha in the bottom of the seventh. He hit a single to LF off Phillies pitcher Yacksel Rios and later scored on a Jose Martinez double to RF.
Harrison Bader CF (10-day IL)—Bader made his debut with the Cardinals on July 25, 2017 in a 3-2 win over the Rockies at Busch Stadium. He started in CF and hit seventh. He went 1-for-4 in the game and his first MLB plate appearance was in the bottom of the second inning. He led off the inning with a ground out to Rockies SS Trevor Story throwing to 1B Ian Desmond. His first major league hit was a double to LF in the top of the ninth inning off Jake McGee. Greg Garcia bunted him to third base, and Jedd Gyorko drove him in on a sacrifice fly to short RF. Bader scored the winning walk off run.
Dylan Carlson RF—-Carlson made his major league debut on August 15, 2020 during the pandemic shortened season. The game was a 5-1 win against the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field in the first game of a doubleheader. Carlson started in LF and hit sixth. He went 0-for-3 in the game. His first MLB plate appearance was in the top of the first inning where he struck out swinging against Lucas Giolito. Carlson got his first MLB hit in the second game of the doubleheader. He started in RF and hit sixth in this game, doubled to RF off White Sox pitcher Evan Marshall in the top of the fifth inning but was left stranded. The Cardinals won the second game 6-3.
Next week we take a look at the debuts of the remaining position players on the roster.
Exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation
Now available, The Cardinal Nation 2021 Prospect Guide is back for a fourth year. It includes over 250 pages of in-depth commentary about the very best St. Louis Cardinals minor leaguers, including dozens of color photos.
Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system.
Follow Marilyn Green on Twitter @Marilyncolor.
© 2021 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.