St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of May 31-June 6

Photo: Paul Goldschmidt and Matt Carpenter (Michael McLoone/Imagn)

The St. Louis Cardinals won just one of seven games this week. The team is struggling on the mound and at the plate as the injuries are piling up. Paul Goldschmidt (.991 OPS), Dylan Carlson (.974 OPS), and Tyler O’Neill (.948 OPS) are leading the offense as each has an OPS near 1.000 for the week.

Game Recaps

Monday, May 31—Cardinals 4, at Dodgers 9

In the first game of a three game series at Dodger Stadium the Cardinals lost to the Dodgers 9-4.  Starter Jack Flaherty tossed five innings and yielded two runs on two hits.  The right hander fanned nine and walked one and got a no-decision.  Flaherty was removed from the game after five innings due to an oblique injury which will keep him out for a significant period of time.

The Dodgers took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning.  The Cardinals scored three in the top of the sixth to take a 3-2 lead on a solo home run by Justin Williams and a two-run long ball by Dylan Carlson.

The Dodgers retook the lead with four runs in the bottom of the sixth off a combination of Ryan Helsley and Genesis Cabrera. The Cardinals added a run in the top of the seventh on a solo home run by Tyler O’Neill.  The Dodgers increased their lead with three runs off Daniel Ponce Leon in the bottom of the eighth.

The offense scored four runs on five hits.  Williams was 2-for-3.  Tommy Edman was caught stealing and Yadier Molina had a passed ball.

Tuesday, June 1— Cardinals 3, at Dodgers 2

The Cardinals stole one from the Dodgers in the second game of the series on Tuesday.  The Dodgers didn’t have a regular starter but sent seven pitchers to the mound in a bullpen game.

The Cardinals started John Gant, who tossed five scoreless innings, allowed four hits, struck out four and walked three.

John Gant

Giovanny Gallegos yielded the two Dodgers runs in his two innings of relief. Alex Reyes pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his 16th save.  Gallegos was charged with a blown save but was also awarded the win.

The Cardinal offense took a 2-0 lead with one run in the first and one run in the second.  In the first, Tommy Edman led off with double, Dylan Carlson singled and Paul Goldschmidt hit a ground rule double to plate Edman.  In the second, Jose Rondon drew a walk, Edman singled, and Carlson singled to score Rondon

The Dodgers tied it 2-2 in the seventh on a two run long ball.  The Cardinals regained the lead in the ninth when Tyler O’Neill singled and stole second base, then scored on a single by Edmundo Sosa.  Alex Reyes pitched the ninth and kept the Dodgers off the board.

O’Neill stole his fifth base of the season.

Wednesday, June 2— Cardinals 3, at Dodgers 14

The Cardinals went down in a laugher in the the rubber game of the series on Wednesday.  Carlos Martinez got the start and didn’t make it out of the first inning.  In 2/3 of an inning the right hander gave up 11 Dodger runs.

The game started fine with the Cardinals scoring a run in the first inning on a Paul Goldschmidt solo home run.  Then the Dodgers came to bat with Martinez on the mound, and when the inning finally ended it was all over but the shouting.  Martinez faced 12 Dodgers and left with two outs and the bases loaded for Jake Woodford, who immediately gave up the grand slam.  He then got the final out of the inning.

The Cardinals added a second run in the third inning on a single by Dylan Carlson and an RBI ground rule double by Nolan Arenado to make it 11-2.  Tyler Webb pitched the fourth inning and yielded three more runs to the Dodgers to extend their already huge lead to 14-2.

Seth Elledge and Junior Fernandez managed to keep the Dodgers off the board for the final four innings.  In the meantime the Cardinals scored a third run in the fifth on a Carlson solo home run.

Seth Elledge

There were no position players pitching in this game.  The Cardinal defense did make three errors.  Tyler O’Neill and Edmundo Sosa made throwing errors and Tommy Edman had a fielding miscue.

Thursday, June 3—Cardinals 2, Reds 4

The Cardinals returned to St. Louis to play a four game series against the Reds at Busch Stadium.  The Cardinals had swept the Reds in a three game series at Busch Stadium in April.

The first game was a 4-2 loss for the Redbirds.  The Cardinals scored two in the first inning off Reds starter Vladimir Gutierrez in the first, but that was all they got.  The offense was shut down for the remainder of the game.  Tommy Edman singled, stole second base and scored on a Tyler O’Neill single.  Yadier Molina plated O’Neill on a single.

Adam Wainwright got the start and tossed seven innings.  The right-hander surrendered three runs on eight hits and fanned four to take his fifth loss of the season.  Daniel Ponce de Leon yielded a run in the eighth. Ryan Helsley pitched a scoreless ninth.

The Cardinal offense was just not there.  Edman had two hits, Molina, O’ Neill, Matt Carpenter, and Edmundo Sosa each had singles.  That was the entirety of the offense.

Edman stole his 11th base.  Dylan Carlson had an outfield assist at home plate.

Friday, June 4—Cardinals 4, Reds 6

The Cardinals lost again to the Reds in a 6-4 defeat on Friday.  There was a little more offense but the pitching didn’t come through.

Kwang-Hyun Kim got the start but it was a short one as he was taken out with an injury after three innings.  In those three innings he gave up three runs on two hits, both long balls.

Jake Woodford relieved Kim and tossed 1 2/3 scoreless innings. Seth Elledge surrendered one run in the sixth inning.  Andrew Miller pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings and Junior Fernandez yielded two runs in the ninth.

The Cardinals were kept off the board until the fifth inning.  The Reds were up 3-0 at that point and the Redbirds cut that lead to 3-1 on a solo home run by Edmundo Sosa.  The Reds got the run back in the sixth, then added to their lead with two runs in the ninth for a 6-1 lead.

The Cardinals battled back in the bottom of the ninth but fell short.  Tyler O’Neill drew a walk and Matt Carpenter doubled to score O’Neill. Andrew Knizner walked and Tommy Edman plated Carpenter and Knizner on a double.  The Redbirds got no farther than cutting the Reds lead to 6-4.

O’Neill had an outfield assist at second base.

Saturday, June 5—Cardinals 2, Reds 5

The Cardinals fared no better in the third game of the series, losing 5-2 in another game where the pitching failed to stop the Reds offense.

Johan Oviedo got the start and pitched better than he had in previous starts. The right-hander pitched four innings and yielded two runs on three hits, struck out four and walked two.  Ryan Helsley gave up two more runs in 1 1/3 relief innings.  Genesis Cabrera surrendered a run in his 1 2/3 innings.  Only Daniel Ponce de Leon kept the Reds off the board with two scoreless innings.  Helsley was tagged with the loss.

The Cardinal offense scored the first of two runs in the first inning on a Tommy Edman leadoff double and an RBI single by Nolan Arenado. The second run came in the fourth on a triple by Paul Goldschmidt and an another RBI single by Arenado.

Arenado went 3-for-4 with two RBI. Tyler O’Neill was 2-for-4.  Andrew Knizner replaced Yadier Molina in the the bottom of the fourth inning after Molina was hit in the left knee by a foul ball.  Knizner made the only error in the game, a throwing error.

Nolan Arenado

Sunday, June 6—-Cardinals 7, Reds 8

The Reds completed the four game sweep of the Cardinals with an 8-7 win on Sunday.  For the Cardinals there was more offense, but this was far and away the worst loss of the series, even though the score was close.  It was a brutal loss.

The game appeared to get away from the Cardinals completely when it began.  Starter John Gant was not good at all, going four innings and giving up seven runs on seven hits.  The right-hander struck out two and walked three.  By the third inning the Reds had a 7-0 lead.

Andrew Miller, Angel Rondon, and Giovanny Gallegos kept the Reds scoreless for the next four innings.

The Cardinal offense could not get anywhere with Reds starter Wade Miley who struck out the Cardinals eight times before he exited after the fifth inning.   It was after Miley’s departure that the Cardinals perked up.  In the sixth, down 7-0 the Redbirds scored seven runs on two relievers in that inning to tie the game 7-7.

The inning began with a single by Nolan Arenado.  Tyler O’Neill followed with a two run blast onto the center field grass.  Edmundo Sosa drew a walk, Jose Rondon and Andrew Knizner both singled and the bases were loaded with no outs.

The Reds changed pitchers and Matt Carpenter came in to pinch hit. He hit a double to right that scored Sosa and Rondon.  It was 7-4.  Tommy Edman then singled and plated Knizner.  Cardinals cut the lead to 7-5.

Edman successfully stole second. Dylan Carlson drew a walk but was subsequently eliminated on a lineout double play by Paul Goldschmidt.  With Carpenter on third and Edman on second, Arenado singled to center to score Carpenter and Edman.  The game was tied 7-7.

The game entered the ninth still tied 7-7.  Alex Reyes came into pitch the ninth and retired the first batter, Jonathan India, on a ground out.  The next batter was Jesse Winker, who had already homered twice in the game.  Reyes gave up the third home run, a solo shot that gave the Reds the 8-7 lead.

Reyes struck out Nick Castellanos, walked Tyler Stephenson, then struck out Shogo Akiyama to end the inning.

The Cardinals started something in the bottom of the ninth. Goldschmidt singled and Arenado smashed a ground rule double.  With a runner on second and third and no outs, O’Neill popped up to second, Sosa struck out on a foul tip, and Rondon struck out swinging on a very low and very outside pitch that no player should ever swing at.  The most promising of the four games became the most horrendous loss of the four games. Reyes, unsurprisingly, got the loss.

Big Picture

The Cardinals played seven games during the week, three with the Dodgers and four with the Reds and won only ONE.  The Cardinals barely beat the Dodgers in the second game of the series and was swept by the Reds. 1 out of 7.

The Cardinals fell from first place to third place in the NL Central as both the Cubs and the Brewers have been winning.  The Redbirds are now 2.5 games back of both the Cubs and the Brewers, who are tied for first place.

What can be said other than the Cardinals are playing bad baseball right now.  In all facets of the game the team has just played poorly.  The pitching has been worse, though that seems impossible since the pitching hasn’t been good for a while.

Carlos Martinez had the worst start arguably of his career against the Dodgers and both Flaherty and Kim are now on the injured list, with Flaherty likely out until late July or early August.  Mikolas already went down for the second time and is out until August.

The Cardinal rotation consists now of Wainwright, a worse John Gant, and Carlos Martinez who is a inconsistent at his best.  The last two spots are whomever is available and has a pulse.

The bullpen is in flux.  Andrew Miller came off the IL and has been fine in two appearances.  The Cardinals designated Tyler Webb for assignment and he will get sent to the minors to work out his issues.

Giovanny Gallegos continues to be the only really reliable reliever, as Genesis Cabrera has been shaky lately and Alex Reyes, who though he has 16 saves, can’t seem to pitch an inning without putting runners on.  The rest are a toss up, good some days, not good on other days.  The Cardinals called up Angel Rondon, who appeared on Sunday and was fine, but he doesn’t have a good track record at Memphis.

The defense was a little better this week, only five errors in seven games.  The baserunning has been the only area with few issues and continues to be so.  The Cardinals are blessed with some fast runners and good base stealers.

Now for the offense.  There was very little against the Dodgers.  Most especially, Nolan Arenado laid a giant goose egg in Los Angeles, going 1-for-10 in the three games.  He hit better in the Reds series so hopefully he is coming out of his mini-slump. The offense in the Reds series was better but still lacking.

Paul Goldschmidt, Dylan Carlson and Tyler O’Neill had the best offensive performances of the week. Goldschmidt has an OPS of .991, Carlson has an OPS of .974  and O’Neill’s OPS is .948.

The Cardinals mercifully have two off days in the coming week and they need them  The team plays two games against Cleveland, a good team, at home on Tuesday and Wednesday. They then go to Chicago to play the Cubs, who are in first place and even though they just lost 3 of 4 to the Giants, have been playing well and will be hyped up for this series.  The Cardinals have to get back on track with some wins against both teams.

NL Central Standings

Team                                        W                                     L                               Pct                                    GB

 

Chicago

 

           33

 

             26

 

         .559

 

          ——

 

Milwaukee

 

           33

 

             26

 

         .559

 

          ——

 

St. Louis

 

           31

 

             29

 

         .517

 

            2.5

 

Cincinnati

 

           28

 

             29

 

         .491

 

             4

 

Pittsburgh

 

           23

 

             35

 

         .397

 

            9.5

Trade and Acquisition Rumors.

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.

Transactions

  • 5/30 The Cardinals recalled RHP Seth Elledge from the Memphis Redbirds.’
  • 5/30 The Cardinals placed RHP Kodi Whitley on the 10-day injured list. Mid-back spasms
  • 6/1 The Cardinals recalled RHP Johan Oviedo from the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 6/1 The Cardinals placed RHP Jack Flaherty on the 10-day injured list. Left oblique
  • 6/3 The Cardinals activated LHP Andrew Miller from the 10-day injured list.
  • 6/3 The Cardinals designated LHP Tyler Webb for assignment.
  • 6/5 The Cardinals recalled 1B John Nogowski from the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 6/5 The Cardinals placed LHP Kwang-Hyun Kim on the 10-day injured list. Right lower back stiffness.
  • 6/5 The Cardinals sent SS Paul DeJong on a rehab assignment to the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 6/5 The Cardinals recalled Angel Rondon from the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 6/5 The Cardinals placed OF Justin Williams on the 10-day injured list. Neck stiffness.
  • 6/6 The Cardinals claimed LHP Brandon Waddell off waivers from the Baltimore Orioles.

Injury Report

  • RHP Miles Mikolas (right forearm tightness), was placed on the 60-day injured list. 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, perhaps by August.
  • LHP Andrew Miller (right foot toe blister) has been activated and appeared in the Red series.
  • 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 sometime in August.
  • SS Paul DeJong (left rib fracture) continues on the 10-day injured list. The shortstop was sent to Memphis on a rehab assignment and made his first start there on Saturday.
  • 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.  It was reported Bader has begun some light baseball activity but still has some discomfort.  A mid to late June return is expected.
  • 2B Max Moroff (left shoulder subluxation) was placed on the 10 day injured list after suffering a shoulder injury in a batting practice session. Moroff will have season-ending surgery on his shoulder on Tuesday.
  • RHP Kodi Whitley (mid back spasms) was placed on the 10-day injured list retroctive to May 27. The relief pitcher began experiencing the issue prior to the series in Arizona and was unavailable for that series.  No timetable for his return has been set.
  • RHP Jack Flaherty (left oblique strain) was injured in the game against the Dodgers on Monday, May 31. The right-hander felt tightness while pitching that was then exacerbated by swinging the bat.  He was removed from the game after five innings. Imaging revealed a Grade 2 oblique strain and Flaherty is likely to miss significant time.  John Mozeliak told the media a return in August is the most likely scenario.
  • OF Justin Williams (neck stiffness) was placed on the 10-day injured list retroactive to June 3. The outfielder reported his neck tensing up on the return flight from Los Angeles.  Williams was not medically cleared to return which necessitated the IL placement.  His expected return is to be determined.
  • LHP Kwang-Hyun Kim (right lower back tightness) was placed on the 10-day injured list. Kim reported being “jarred” by something while trying to beat out a ground ball.  The injury is the same injury that he had in spring training that kept him out for two weeks.  The team is hopeful only the 10 day minimum stay will be necessary.
  • C Yadier Molina (left knee bone contusion) was hit on his left knee by a foul ball in Saturday’s game against the Reds. He was removed from the game after the fourth inning.  Molina is considered day to day at this point and the team is hoping a few days out of the lineup will avoid a placement on the injured list.

Looking Ahead

The Cardinals have an off day on Monday, then play a two game series against the Cleveland Indians to finish off the homestand.  Carlos Martinez will start the Tuesday game followed by Adam Wainwright on Wednesday.

The Cardinals have another off day on Thursday, June 10 to travel to Chicago to play the Cubs in a weekend series at Wrigley Field.  The team then returns home to St. Louis to play a three game series at Busch Stadium against the Miami Marlins.

Following the Marlins series, the team travels to Atlanta for a four game series with the Braves. After an off day the Cardinals play two games in Detroit against the Tigers.

The Cardinals regular season schedule can be found here.

Blast from the Past

This week we continue our short series on the major league debuts of current Cardinals roster players.  In this installment we look at the bench players both stable and recurring that have been on the major league roster so far this season.

Andrew Knizner—The Cardinals current back up catcher and primary successor to Yadier Molina made his major league debut on June 2, 2019 in a 2-1 win over the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium.  Knizner made the start at catcher and hit eighth in the lineup.  The catcher went 0-for-3 in the game.

Knizner was optioned to Memphis shortly after and not recalled until a month later.  As a result, he did not get his first major league hit until July 17 in a 5-4 win over the Pirates at Busch Stadium. Once again Knizner started at catcher and hit eighth. His first hit was a double to CF in the bottom of the second inning off Pirates starter Chris Archer.  Knizner was 1-for-4 in that game.

Andrew Knizner

Matt Carpenter—Carpenter, who is the third longest serving player on the current roster behind Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright, made his major league debut on June 4, 2011.  He started at 3B and hit seventh in a 12 inning 5-4 win over the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium.  Carpenter went 1-for-5 with his first major league hit being a double to LF in the ninth inning off Kerry Wood.

His other plate appearances in the game resulted in a ground out to second, a ground out to first, a fly out to CF, and a strike out throw out double play with Molina caught stealing at 2B.

Edmundo Sosa—Sosa’s major league debut occurred on Sept 23, 2018 in a 9-2 win over the San Francisco Giants at Bush Stadium.  The infielder made a pinch hitting appearance in the pitcher’s spot in the eight inning and drew a leadoff walk.  Sosa scored when Matt Carpenter followed him with a two run home run to RF.  Sosa appeared in only three games in Sept 2018 and did not record a hit.

He did not reappear on the major league roster again until he was recalled on July 16, 2019.  His first major league hit occurred in a July 18, 2019 7-4 win over the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ballpark.  Again he was a pinch hitter for a pitcher, in the second lineup spot.  Sosa hit a bloop single to short CF-RF and was unfortunately the victim of a double play, as the runner in front of him, Harrison Bader, was thrown out at 3B and Sosa was out at 2B (8-5-4).

Sosa’s first start was on Sept 25, 2019, in a 9-7 loss to the Diamondbacks in Phoenix.  Sosa started at 2B and hit eighth.  He hit a single to CF in the top of the fourth inning, his first non-out producing hit.

Edmundo Sosa

John Nogowski—Nogowski made his debut on August 16, 2020 in a 7-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field.  He started at 1B and hit ninth, as Paul Goldschmidt was the DH in this game. (side note: for anyone who remembers, this was the 4 back-to-back White Sox home runs game).

Nogowski got his first major league hit, a single to CF, leading off the sixth inning.  He was thrown out at home on a fielder’s choice play on a Paul Goldschmidt ground ball to 1B. The Cardinals scored in that inning anyway, as Tommy Edman followed Goldschmidt with a walk and Matt Carpenter hit a single that scored the only two Cardinals runs in the game.

John Nogowski

Max Moroff—Moroff made his debut on July 31, 2016 when he was playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates.  The infielder pinch hit in the pitcher’s spot in a 4-2 loss for the Pirates to the Milwaukee Brewers.  He struck out swinging in the eighth inning. Moroff appeared in only two games in 2016. He was optioned out during 2017 spring training then recalled on May 8, 2017.

Moroff got his first major league hit on May 9, 2017 in a 4-3 loss to the Dodgers in Los Angeles. He pinch hit for the LF in the seventh spot and remained in the game to play 2B.  His first hit was a single to CF in the seventh inning that scored a run.  Moroff was optioned back to the minors on May 12, 2017 after David Freese was activated from the disabled list.  Moroff is currently on the IL and will have season ending surgery this week.

Jose Rondon—Rondon made his major league debut on July 29, 2016 when he was playing for the San Diego Padres.  He pinch hit for pitcher Edwin Jackson in the bottom of the fifth inning in a 6-0 loss to the Cincinnati Reds at Petco Park.  Rondon hit into a 6-4-3 double play.  He got his first major league hit the next day, July 30, in that same series, a 2-1 win for the Padres.  Rondon started at SS and hit seventh.  In his first plate appearance in the second inning he struck out swinging.  In his second PA, in the fifth, he hit a line drive single to CF.

Lane Thomas—Though Thomas was not a home grown Cardinal (he was acquired from Toronto in 2017 for international pool money), he made his major league debut as a Cardinal on April 17, 2019 in a 6-3 win over the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. Thomas pinch hit for Jose Martinez in the fifth spot as part of a double switch with Thomas going in at CF.  Though he is listed as a pinch hitter, he did not make a plate appearance because his turn never came up.

His first plate appearance, and first major league hit, came in the pitcher’s spot and he hit a two run home run to RF, scoring Dexter Fowler from second base.  On August 27 of that season, in another 6-3 win over the Brewers at Miller Park, he was hit by a pitch from Devin Williams in the ninth inning that fractured his hand and he was out for the remainder of the season.

Justin Williams—Williams made his debut as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays.  He was acquired by the Cardinals in the trade of Tommy Pham.  His debut came on July 21, 2018 in a 3-2 loss to the Miami Marlins.  Williams pinch hit for SS Adeiny Hechavarria in the seventh inning and ground into a 6-3 double play.  Williams appeared in only that one game in 2018 and did not resurface in a major league game until Sept 16, 2020 for the Cardinals.

His first major league hit came in that game, the first game of a doubleheader against the Brewers at Miller Park, a 4-2 win for the Cardinals.  Williams was the starting RF and hit seventh. His first hit was a single to RF in the second inning.  In his other plate appearances he struck out swinging and grounded out to second base.  Williams is currently on the IL.

Justin Williams

Ali Sanchez—Sanchez was playing for the New York Mets when he made his major league debut on August 10, 2020.  Sanchez replaced catcher Wilson Ramos in the seventh inning of a 16-4 loss to the Washington Nationals.  His only plate appearance was in the eighth inning and he ground into a 4-6-3 double play.

His first major league hit was in the second game of a doubleheader against the New York Yankees on August 28, 2020.  The Mets beat the Yankees 4-3 at Yankee Stadium and Sanchez started at C and hit ninth. He hit a ground ball single to CF in the third inning, but was left stranded.  In his other PA he hit into a 5-3 double play in the fifth inning of a seven inning doubleheader.  Sanchez was optioned to the Memphis Redbirds on May 8, 2021.

Austin Dean—Dean made his debut with the Miami Marlins on August 15, 2018 in a 5-2 loss to the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park.  Dean started in LF and hit sixth.  He did not record a hit in that game but instead flew out to CF in the second inning, grounded out to third in the fourth inning, and flew out to RF in the seventh.

He got his first major league hit two days later on August 17 in an 8-2 loss to the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park.  Dean again played LF  and hit sixth.  He hit a solo home run in the seventh inning for the first of the Marlins two runs, both of which came in that inning.  Dean played in 18 games for the Cardinals in April and was optioned to Memphis on May 3 when Adam Wainwright was activated from the injured list.  Dean is currently on the minor league injured list.

Scott Hurst—Hurst made his debut with the Cardinals on April 16, 2021 in a 9-2 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies.  Hurst pinch hit for Carlos Martinez and flew out to the SS in short CF.  Hurst appeared in seven games in April, all of them as a late inning defensive replacement in CF (Harrison Bader was on the IL during the month of April so Dylan Carlson played CF and then switched to RF in the late innings)  Hurst had only 5 PAs across the seven games and did not record a hit, so his first major league hit is TBD.  Hurst is currently on the minor league injured list.

Scott Hurst


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