photo: Michael Wacha (Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports Images)
In this week’s St. Louis Cardinals news, the club posted a 2-4 record against lesser competition, and dropped out of first place. Key members of the offense continue to struggle as Miles Mikolas and Michael Wacha deliver consistent starts. In our history feature, two record seven-home run games are remembered.
The St. Louis Cardinals took on the Twins in the opener of the Busch half of the two games home and home series. The Redbirds were shut out on Monday, as the offense unable to get any traction against a Twins rookie pitcher. Paul DeJong had a productive outing, going 3-for-4, with a double and two singles. Harrison Bader was the only other Cardinal with a hit.
Starter John Gant lost his first decision of the season, pitching 5 1/3 innings and giving up four runs on six hits. The right hander struck out five and walked two. Matt Bowman tossed 1 2/3 scoreless innings of relief. Ryan Sherriff took the eighth and surrendered two runs on four hits. Luke Gregerson finished with a scoreless ninth.
Bader had an outfield assist, throwing a runner out at home.
The Redbirds didn’t fare well in Game 2, though they did manage to score. The run came in the first inning on Jose Martinez’ solo home run. Though the offense scored one more run than in Game 1, it was on two less hits. Francisco Pena singled in addition to the Martinez long ball.
Carlos Martinez had an indifferent start, pitching five innings and giving up four runs, two earned, on four hits. The righty fanned only two and walked one. It was announced later in the week that Martinez was injured, suffering a right lat strain, and he was put on the 10 day DL retroactive to May 9. Sam Tuivailala followed with one inning of relief in which he surrendered one run on two hits. Tyler Lyons tossed an inning and allowed two more runs. Lyons, like Martinez, went on the disabled list with a back strain. John Brebbia finished with two scoreless frames.
Greg Garcia was caught stealing for the first time. Marcell Ozuna, Garcia, and Martinez each committed a fielding error.
Wednesday, May 9 – Off day
The Cardinals traveled to San Diego to begin a four game series against the NL West cellar dwelling Padres. The first game was a victory, but not an easy one. The Redbirds scored first in the first inning, on a sac fly by Jose Martinez. The offense didn’t score again until the fifth, when Tommy Pham hit a solo home run to left field. Pham went 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Marcell Ozuna and Paul DeJong were also 2-for-4.
Miles Mikolas got the start, and continued his winning ways, earning his fifth win of the season. Mikolas pitched 6 1/3 innings while allowing only one run on five hits. The right hander fanned four and walked one. Jordan Hicks pitched to one batter for the final out of the seventh inning. Greg Holland and Bud Norris each contributed a scoreless inning with Norris collecting his eighth save.
Ozuna stole his second base of the season while Martinez was caught stealing for the second time. Ozuna also had an outfield assist.
The Cardinals offense finally got going in the second game of the series, as they put nine runs on the board and defeated the Friars for the second straight game. It was the night of the long ball – five of them to be precise. Paul DeJong launched the first one in the second inning, a three run blast to give the Cardinals the lead. In the third, Harrison Bader, Marcell Ozuna, and Jedd Gyorko each hit solo shots. DeJong drove in a run on a single in the fifth. In the sixth, Tommy Pham hit the final home run, good for two runs. Pham went 3-for-5, Ozuna was 2-for-4 with three runs scored, Gyorko was 3-for-4 with two runs scored, DeJong was 2-for-5, and Greg Garcia was 2-for-2.
Luke Weaver had a much better showing than in recent starts, pitching five scoreless innings, allowing four hits, fanning four and walking one and earning his third win of the season. Matt Bowman surrendered one run in the sixth, and John Brebbia yielded two runs in the seventh. John Gant added a scoreless eighth. Luke Gregerson pitched the ninth and gave up two runs.
On the base paths, Pham was picked off, and caught stealing for the fifth time in the season.
The third game of the series was another close, but long one, with the Redbirds on the losing end. The game went four extra innings and the Friars finally prevailed. Starter Michael Wacha had a strong outing, tossing six innings and giving up one run on three hits. The right hander struck out five and walked one. Jordan Hicks, Greg Holland, and Bud Norris each contributed a scoreless inning. Sam Tuivailala started the 10th and pitched to three batters, allowing two hits, before Brett Cecil finished the inning without runs scoring. John Brebbia allowed one run in two innings pitched. Mike Mayers started the 13th, and gave up the winning hit, a double by Eric Hosmer, on the first pitch.
The offense scored their only run in the sixth inning, on a double by Jose Martinez to plate Paul DeJong. Martinez went 3-or-5 while DeJong was 2-for-5.
Martinez made a throwing error. Marcell Ozuna committed a fielding miscue. Francisco Pena had a passed ball.
It was another disappointing outing for the Cardinals in Sunday’s game, as they lost the second consecutive contest against the cellar dwelling Friars. It was Adam Wainwright’s first start back off the DL, and it was a poor one. The right hander essentially had nothing, and fought through 2 1/3 innings, walking six hitters and giving up two runs on three hits. Wainwright did manage to fan three. John Gant came on in relief, and tossed 3 2/3 innings, surrendering two more runs on four hits. Brett Cecil pitched a scoreless seventh. Matt Bowman took the eighth and allowed one run. Wainwright absorbed the loss, his third.
The offense struggled against Padres starter Clayton Richard, who entered the day with a 1-5 record and a 5.72 ERA. Finally, they broke through in the sixth inning when Harrison Bader smacked a triple into center field to plate Tommy Pham. Bader then scored on a Jose Martinez single to center. Bader added a solo home run to right field in the ninth and finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Marcell Ozuna was also 2-for-4.
Kolten Wong stole his first base of the season after he outran a pickoff attempt and the second baseman also made a fielding error.
The Cardinals went 2-4 for the week, losing a two game series with the Twins at home, and splitting the four game series with the Padres in San Diego. The Redbirds fell to second place behind the Brewers with a record of 22-16.
Offense was an issue for the week. The Cardinals scored nine runs in Friday’s game, but the rest of the week the offense was sparse. Dexter Fowler and Matt Carpenter continue to struggle. Matt Carpenter was out of the starting lineup for the last three games of the Padres series. Marcell Ozuna has picked it up of late. Kolten Wong got hot for a short time but has cooled off again. Tommy Pham, Harrison Bader, Jose Martinez, and Paul DeJong have been carrying the offense.
There have been some defensive issues as well, with five errors in six games. Jose Martinez in particular has been struggling defensively at first base. Base running has been inconsistent.
The starting pitching, other than Adam Wainwright, has been good. Wainwright made the start in Sunday’s game and did not pitch well. He is likely to return to the disabled list with a setback in his recovery from elbow soreness. Carlos Martinez went on the DL with a lat strain this week, and Tyler Lyons also was put on the DL with a back issue.
The Memphis shuttle has been busy, with John Brebbia, Mike Mayers, and John Gant making frequent back and forth trips. Jack Flaherty will be called up to make Martinez’ next start on Tuesday, and there will likely be a replacement pitcher for Wainwright’s next turn in the rotation, perhaps John Gant. Both the rotation and the bullpen remain in flux for the time being.
The Cardinals play the Twins again in Minneapolis this week, and they need to do a better job against the Twins than they did at home. The Redbirds meet the Phillies at home later in the week. Philadelphia has been playing surprisingly well, with a 23-16 record in the NL East, so that series will not be a cakewalk.
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Four teams remain clumped at the top of the standings and even Cincinnati is 11-12 since its managerial change.
Over the past six games (does not contain recent Sunday game results):
- Tommy Pham has an OPS of 1.108. He has two HRs and three RBI.
- Jedd Gyorko has an OPS of 1.093. He has two HRs, one double, and two RBI.
- Paul DeJong has an OPS of .968. He has one HR, one double, and four RBI.
- Miles Mikolas has an ERA of 1.35 and a WHIP of 0.90.
- Luke Weaver has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 1.00.
- Michael Wacha has an ERA of 1.59 and a WHIP of 1.15.
- Bud Norris has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 1.00.
- Jordan Hicks has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.00.
- Greg Holland has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.67.
- Brett Cecil has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.00.
Over the past six games (does not contain recent Sunday game results):
- Matt Carpenter has an OPS of .071.
- Carson Kelly has an OPS of .077.
- Dexter Fowler has an OPS of .377.
- Francisco Pena has an OPS of .421.
- Ryan Sherriff has an ERA of 18.00 and a WHIP of 4.00.
- Tyler Lyons has an ERA of 9.00 and a WHIP of 1.50.
A Look at Cardinals Lineups
The lineups over the last five games (does not contain recent Sunday game):
- The leadoff hitter has been Tommy Pham for three games, Matt Carpenter for two games, and Harrison Bader for one game.
- The number two hitter has been Bader for two games, Paul DeJong for two games, Carpenter for one game, and Dexter Fowler for one game.
- The number three hitter has been Jose Martinez for five games and Fowler for one game.
- The cleanup hitter has been Marcell Ozuna.
- The fifth hitter has been Jedd Gyorko for four games, and Fowler for two games.
- The sixth hitter has been DeJong for four games, Bader for one game, and Fowler for one game.
- The seventh hitter has been Kolten Wong for three games, Greg Garcia for one game, Carson Kelly for one game, and Francisco Pena for one game.
- The eighth hitter has been Kelly for two games, Pena for two games, Wong for one game, and Garcia for one game.
Trade and Acquisition Rumors
There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.
- 5/7 The Cardinals sent RHP Adam Wainwright on a rehab assignment to the Springfield Cardinals.
- 5/7 The Cardinals optioned RHP Mike Mayers to the Memphis Redbirds.
- 5/7 The Cardinals recalled RHP John Gant from the Memphis Redbirds.
- 5/8 The Cardinals sent LHP Brett Cecil on a rehab assignment to the Springfield Cardinals.
- 5/8 The Cardinals optioned LHP Ryan Sherriff to the Memphis Redbirds.
- 5/8 The Cardinals recalled RHP John Brebbia from the Memphis Redbirds.
- 5/9 The Cardinals sent RHP Alex Reyes on a rehab assignment to the Palm Beach Cardinals.
- 5/10 The Cardinals placed RHP Carlos Martinez on the 10 day disabled list retroactive to May 9, 2018. Right latissimus strain.
- 5/10 The Cardinals sent LHP Brett Cecil on a rehab assignment to the Memphis Redbirds.
- 5/10 The Cardials recalled RHP Mike Mayers from the Memphis Redbirds.
- 5/11 The Cardinals activated LHP Brett Cecil from the 10 day disabled list.
- 5/11 The Cardinals placed LHP Tyler Lyons on the 10 day disabled list retroactive to May 9, 2018. Mid back strain.
- 5/13 The Cardinals activated RHP Adam Wainwright from the 10 day disabled list.
- 5/13 The Cardinals optioned RHP John Brebbia to the Memphis Redbirds.
- RHP Dominic Leone (right upper arm nerve irritation) has been placed on the 10 day DL. No timetable for a return has been set.
- C Yadier Molina (pelvic injury with traumatic hematoma) continues on the 10 day DL. Molina was injured by a foul ball, had surgery and is expected to be out for 30 days.
- LHP Tyler Lyons (mid back strain) was placed on the 10 day DL retroactive to May 9. No timetable for his return has been set.
- RHP Carlos Martinez (right lat strain) was placed on the 10 day DL retroactive to May 9. It is possible Martinez will only miss one start.
- RHP Alex Reyes (Tommy John surgery) began a rehab assignment with the Palm Beach Cardinals last Wednesday and moves to Peoria on Monday. Reyes will be eligible to come off the 60 day DL at the end of May, and it is expected that will occur. His role upon his return has not been specified.
The Cardinals leave San Diego to travel to Minnesota to finish the home and home series with the Twins. Monday is an off day, then the Cardinals play the Twins on Tuesday and Wednesday. Jack Flaherty is expected to be called up from Memphis to make the Tuesday start. Miles Mikolas will make the Wednesday start.
The Cardinals return to St. Louis to begin a four game series at home against the Phillies on Thursday. Wacha and Weaver are up next in the rotation for the Thursday and Friday starts, but the last two game starters have not been announced.
The homestand continues the following Monday with a three game series against the Royals. After a Thursday off day, the Cardinals travel to Pittsburgh for a weekend series against the Pirates. Following that, the Cardinals will play a three game series at Milwaukee, with a weekend series at home against the Pirates next.
The Cardinals’ regular season schedule can be found here.
Blast from the Past
Though the Redbirds offense was sparse during this past week, Friday’s game against the Padres included five long balls by Cardinals hitters, as they went on to score nine runs and defeat the Friars by a score of 9-5. Tommy Pham, Harrison Bader, Jedd Gyorko, Marcell Ozuna, and Paul DeJong each hit a ball over the fences in Petco Park.
While five home runs in a game seems like a lot, it is not the most in a game in franchise history. The Cardinals have hit seven home runs in a game twice, most recently by the 1996 Cardinals, with seven home runs in the July 12 game against the Cubs, defeating them by a score of 13-3.
The first home run in that the game came off the bat of John Mabry, now the hitting coach of the Cardinals. It was his eighth of the season, a two run shot in the third inning. Gary Gaetti hit two home runs, a solo shot in the third, and a two run shot in the fifth. Those long balls were Gaetti’s ninth and 10th of the season. Ray Lankford added his 15th home run of the year, a solo shot in the fifth. Ron Gant mirrored Gaetti with a pair of long balls, a solo shot in the fifth and the eighth for his 13th and 14th home runs of 1996. Finally, Brian Jordan blasted a three run home in the sixth inning for his 10th of the year.
Four of the seven were hit off Cubs starter Steve Trachsel. One each came against relievers Rodney Meyers, Tanyon Sturtze, and Terry Adams. Cardinals starter Andy Benes gave up one home run to Cubs pinch hitter Dave Magadan in the eighth inning.
The Cardinals also hit seven home runs on May 7, 1940 against the Brooklyn Dodgers. They were launched by catcher Don Padgett, two by second baseman Eddie Lake, two by first baseman Johnny Mize, with the others by third baseman Stu Martin and left fielder Joe “Ducky” Medwick. The Cardinals beat the Dodgers by the score of 18-2.
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