St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of September 7-13

photo: Matt Carpenter via Zoom (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

The St. Louis Cardinals finished a disappointing homestand with a 3-5 week. While the offense is coming to life, led by Matt Carpenter, the bullpen is showing significant wear – just as the schedule becomes more challenging. Our history feature revisits the longest MLB game that reached its conclusion in contiguous play, a 1974 Cardinals win over the Mets that lasted over seven hours.

Game Recaps

Monday, September 7, 2020 – Cardinals 1 at Cubs 5

In the Labor Day finale of the five-game series against the Cubs at Wrigley Field, the Cardinals fell to the Cubs 5-1. An inefficient outing from starter Johan Oviedo, plus defensive and baserunning miscues meant sloppy play by the Redbirds.

Oveido tossed 4 2/3 innings and gave up five runs, three earned, on eight hits.  The 22-year old right hander walked three and struck out one.  He threw 96 pitches, 63 for strikes.

Tyler Webb relieved with one out in the fifth and went on to hurl 1 1/3 scoreless innings.  He struck out two and walked one.  Seth Elledge and Rob Kaminsky pitched a scoreless inning each.

The Cardinals offense managed only seven hits and one run, which came home in the seventh inning. The frame began with a single by Paul Goldschmidt, who was then eliminated on a ground out force by Brad Miller.  With Miller on first, Paul DeJong singled to right to advance Miller.  Matt Wieters’ single to center plated Miller.

Goldschmidt and Kolten Wong each had two hits.  The only extra base hit was a double by Harrison Bader.

St. Louis’ defense committed two throwing errors, one each by Matt Carpenter and Wong.  Wong was caught stealing and picked off first base.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020 – Cardinals 3, Twins 7 (seven innings, Game 1)

The Cardinals played a twin bill at Busch Stadium against the Twins on Tuesday as a makeup of previously postponed games.  The Cardinals dropped Game 1 by the score of 7-3 behind a shaky first start off the injured list from Carlos Martinez.

Martinez hurled only 3 2/3 innings and took the loss.  The right hander yielded four runs on seven hits, fanned three and issued one free pass.

Jake Woodford relieved and surrendered one additional run on two hits in his 2 1/3-inning outing.  Ryan Helsley closed out the game in the seventh inning and allowed two runs on two hits.

St. Louis’ offense was held scoreless until the sixth inning. Kolten Wong led off with a walk and came in when Tommy Edman blasted a home run to right field.  Paul Goldschmidt singled to center and later scored from third on a wild pitch for St. Louis’ final run.  Goldschmidt was 2-for-3 as the only Cardinal with multiple hits.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020 – Cardinals 6, Twins 4 (seven innings, Game 2)

The Cardinals split Tuesday’s twin bill with the Twins with a 6-4 win behind a five-run inning that was all small ball.  Five Cardinals pitchers took the mound to secure the victory.

St. Louis’ offense fell behind 2-0 in the second inning.  In the third, some small ball and hitters getting on base in multiple ways led to a 5-2 lead for St. Louis.

Matt Carpenter

The inning began with a line drive single to center off the bat of Matt Carpenter.  Matt Wieters was hit by a pitch and Harrison Bader drew a walk to load the bases.  When Tommy Edman was hit by a pitch, Carpenter scored.

With the bases still juiced, Paul DeJong walked to plate Wieters.  Following a Paul Goldschmidt strike out, Brad Miller reached on a fielder’s choice and Bader scored.  Rangel Ravelo then singled to left and Edman came home.  In the next play, Paul DeJong was thrown out on a Tyler O’Neill ground out force out. The bases remained loaded and the lineup turned over to Carpenter, who drew a walk to plate Miller.

St. Louis added an insurance run on an RBI single by Kolten Wong to score Edman, who reached base via a walk.  The offense scored six total runs on only five hits, with no Cardinal having more than one hit.

Up from the alternate camp, Daniel Ponce de Leon got the start and tossed three innings, giving up two runs on five hits.  He struck out four and walked one, throwing 63 pitches, 43 for strikes.

Genesis Cabrera followed with a scoreless fourth inning appearance. John Gant allowed one run in the fifth.  Andrew Miller started the sixth and recorded the first two outs.  Giovanny Gallegos finished the sixth and tossed the seventh and final inning, yielding a solo home run.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020 – Off day

Thursday, September 10, 2020 – Cardinals 12, Tigers 2 (seven innings, Game 1)

The Cardinals bats came alive in the first game of a twin bill against the Detroit Tigers at Busch Stadium on Thursday afternoon.  The contests made up the postponed contests originally scheduled for August 5 and 6.

The day’s scoring began with a two-run home run off the bat of Yadier Molina in the second inning following a walk by Rangel Ravelo.   Molina, wearing the number 21 to celebrate his late countryman Roberto Clemente, took the fifth pitch he saw from Detroit starter Tarik Skubal and sent it over the left field wall.

Yadier Molina

The Cardinals’ big inning was the third.  Kolten Wong led off with a walk.  Tommy Edman doubled to left to bring in Wong.  Paul Goldschmidt drew a walk and Paul DeJong singled and scored Ravelo’s sac fly.  Tyler O’Neill blasted a two-run home run to left center field to bring the score to 7-0. Harrison Bader slapped a line drive single to left and Lane Thomas followed with a two-run long ball to left center to increase the lead to 9-0.

The Tigers got on the board with two runs in the top of the fourth inning.  The Cardinals responded by adding a 10th run in the bottom half of the inning on a solo home run by Goldschmidt.  The final two scores were added in the sixth on a two-run blast by Ravelo.

Starter Jack Flaherty pitched five innings and yielded two runs on four hits to earn his third win.  The right hander fanned six and walked two.  Flaherty was not efficient with his pitches, however, as he threw 95 pitches, 63 for strikes.

Seth Elledge and Nabil Crismatt each tossed one inning of scoreless relief.

O’Neill stole his first base of the season.

Thursday, September 10, 2020 – Cardinals 3, Tigers 6 (seven innings, Game 2)

The Cardinals led for much of the second game of the doubleheader, but things went south in the final inning.  Austin Gomber was the Game 2 starter and he tossed three scoreless innings.  The left hander allowed five hits, struck out six and walked one.

Alex Reyes relieved in the fourth, escaping a bases-loaded with no out jam.  The right-hander pitched two scoreless innings with one hit allowed and two strikeouts.  Genesis Cabrera yielded a solo home run in the sixth and with one out, Gant finished the frame with no further damage.

Giovanny Gallegos started the seventh.  The closer walked his first batter and gave up single to the second.  The third Tiger hitter, Jonathan Schoop, singled on a ground ball to center. Harrison Bader threw home and the throw was offline, allowing the runners to advance to second and third.  The game was then delayed as Gallegos was taken out due to a groin injury.

Ryan Helsley took over on the mound as Miguel Cabrera was intentionally walked to load the bases.  The next batter singled and two runs scored to give Detroit the 4-3 lead. After a double play off the bat of the next hitter, Helsley gave up a back-breaking two-run home run to Jeimer Candelario and the Tigers led 6-3.  The injured Gallegos took the loss.

The Cardinals scored their first run in the second inning.  Paul DeJong led off with a single and later scored on Matt Carpenter’s single.  DeJong crossed the plate again in the fourth when he drew a walk and was again plated by Carpenter, this time on a double to center field.

The third run was added in the fifth inning on a solo home run by Tommy Edman.  The Cardinals carried their 3-1 lead into the seventh inning when the wheels came off the bus.  Edman and Carpenter had two hits each.

Edman was caught stealing for the third time this season.  The aforementioned throwing error by Bader was his second of the season.

Friday, September 11, 2020 – Cardinals 1, Reds 3

The Cardinals fell to the Cincinnati Reds 3-1 in the first of a three-game weekend series at Busch Stadium Friday evening.  St. Louis’ offense was stymied by the pitching of Reds starter Luis Castillo, managing only one run on two hits.

The lone Redbirds run scored in the second inning.  Brad Miller drew a leadoff walk and Paul DeJong followed with a double to left.  Matt Carpenter drove in Miller from third on a ground out to first base.  The only other hit by a Cardinal batter was a single by Kolten Wong.  Cardinals hitters struck out six times and drew three walks.

Pitching with an extra day of rest, Adam Wainwright made the start for the Cardinals.  On a night the right-hander lacked his best stuff, the 39-year old tossed six innings and gave up three runs on eight hits.  He struck out four and walked two on the 15th anniversary of his MLB debut.  Wainwright threw 99 pitches, 63 for strikes.

Seth Elledge pitched a scoreless seventh. Tyler Webb and Nabil Crismatt followed with a clean inning each.  Wainwright took the loss, his first of the season after four wins.

The game lasted 2 hours and 24 minutes.

Saturday, September 12, 2020 – Cardinals 7, Reds 1

The Cardinals blew past the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday night in the second contest of the three-game weekend set at Busch Stadium.  The offense took off on the strength of long balls by four different St. Louis hitters, backed by a strong outing from starter Dakota Hudson.

Hudson earned the win, his third of the season, while lowering his 2020 ERA to 2.92.  The right-hander hurled six innings and yielded one run on just one hit.  Hudson fanned four and walked four, including three in the third inning, a jam he evaded with just one run with the help of an inning-ending double play.

Dakota Hudson

Genesis Cabrera went out to relieve Hudson in the seventh, but a fingernail came off before he threw a pitch, which sent him back to the clubhouse.  Tyler Webb followed and tossed 1 1/3 scoreless innings, with one hit allowed and two Reds strikeouts.  Andrew Miller got the final two outs of the eighth before Rob Kaminsky pitched a scoreless ninth.

The Reds took an initial 1-0 lead in the third inning.  Brad Miller led off the Cardinals fourth with a solo shot to deep center field to knot the score.  Paul DeJong drew a walk and Matt Carpenter singled to left center.  Austin Dean followed with a walk to load the bases.  Matt Wieters’ ground out brought DeJong home and the Cardinals led 2-1.

In the bottom of the sixth, the floodgates opened for St. Louis.  Carpenter thumped his team’s second long ball, this one to right center, to increase the lead to 3-1.  Dean walked and Wieters was hit by a pitch.  With two on, Harrison Bader blasted an on the black outside fastball over the right center field wall for the back-breaking three-run home run.  Two batters and an unassisted double play later, Paul Goldschmidt sent the fourth St. Louis long ball into their bullpen in right field.  The Cardinals led 7-1 and kept that lead until the end.

In his first start, left fielder Dean reached four times on a double and a trio of free passes. Tommy Edman and Carpenter had two hits apiece. Bader plated three. Edman and Kolten Wong each stole a base. It was Edman’s second of the season and Wong’s third.

Sunday, September 13, 2020 – Cardinals 5, Reds 10

An injury plagued and shaky Cardinals bullpen could not hold the lead in the rubber game of the three game set against the Reds at Busch Stadium on Sunday.  The Cardinals had a 5-3 lead heading into the sixth inning, but the Reds put seven runs on the board in the final four innings.

Carlos Martinez made his second start since returning from the COVID injured list, and it was an improvement on the first.  The right hander went four innings, and yielded three runs on six hits, but his stuff was good enough to fan eight Reds hitters.  He threw 90 pitches, 55 for strikes.

The bullpen took over in the fifth and six pitchers combined to allow seven runs over the next five innings.  First it was Genesis Cabrera, who gave up on run in 1 1/3 innings pitched.  Alex Reyes followed with an inning in which he relinquished one run.

John Gant relieved with one out in the seventh and faced one batter, who singled, and came out of the game due to an injured groin.  Andrew Miller secured the final two outs, but not before three runs scored, two inherited, that were charged to Reyes and Gant, and one additional run charged to Miller.

Jake Woodford tossed the eighth and yielded a run.  Nabil Crismatt gave up two more runs in the ninth.  All seven Cardinals pitchers allowed at least one run.

St. Louis’ offense took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a sac fly by Rangel Ravelo.  The Reds tied it in the top of the second.

Still in the second inning, Matt Carpenter led off with a ground rule double and Harrison Bader drew a walk. Kolten Wong’s single plated Carpenter before Bader scored on a sac fly by Paul DeJong.  St. Louis led 3-1.

The Reds knotted the game again with two runs in the third.  In the fifth, the Redbirds regained the lead.  Brad Miller walked, Yadier Molina singled and Miller scored on a single by Carpenter.  A baserunning blunder by Molina on a Tyler O’Neill single led to Molina being thrown out at home.  Harrison Bader singled and plated Carpenter for the 5-3 lead.

The Cardinals did not score again. Five runs came home on eight hits, two off the bat of Carpenter.

The Big Picture

The Cardinals ended a disappointing week at home with a record of 3-5.  The team ended a five-game series against the Cubs on Monday with a loss, thus taking two of the five games.  The Cardinals split doubleheaders with the Twins and Tigers and won only one of three from the Reds over the weekend.

St. Louis fell back to .500 with a record of 20-20 and are four games back of the Cubs with 18 left to play.  There are no remaining games on the regular season schedule with the Cubs or the Reds.

A mixture of factors led to the disappointing showing.  Injuries have plagued the pitching staff, and the bullpen in particular is showing signs of wear.  Four pitchers are out for the season, and four more are currently on the injured list, with another, John Gant, potentially going on the list, though initial reports have indicated his groin injury may not be serious.  Starter Kwang-Hyun Kim is scheduled to be activated on Monday in Milwaukee.

John Gant

Manager Mike Shildt cited lack of production from the outfield as a stumbling block.  Dexter Fowler remains on the injured list, and though Austin Dean was recently activated, he suffered an injury in Sunday’s game and his current status is unknown.  Of the remaining outfielders on the roster, not counting Tommy Edman or Rangel Ravelo, primarily infielders who have made starts in the outfield, only Harrison Bader has an OPS above .800.  There is a report that outfielder Justin Williams, who is currently at the Alternate Training Site, may be added to the taxi squad on the upcoming road trip.

Top offensive producers in the last seven days with at least 15 plate appearances are Matt Carpenter (1.222 OPS), Harrison Bader (.946), Paul Goldschmidt (.930), Kolten Wong (.818), and Tommy Edman (.870).

Harrison Bader

Several defense and baserunning issues surfaced this past week.  Carpenter, Wong, and Bader each made throwing errors.  Two runners, Paul DeJong and Yadier Molina, were thrown out at home trying to score in separate games, and Wong was picked off first base in Monday’s game against the Cubs.  Austin Dean misplayed a fly ball in the outfield in Sunday’s game.

The Cardinals travel to Milwaukee on Monday for a crucial five-game series.  The Brewers are only two games back of the Cardinals in the NL Central.  The Cards then face the last-place Pirates for a five-game set.  Both series feature doubleheaders.  Winning the majority of these 10 games is important for maintaining a playoff spot.

NL Central Standings

Team W L Pct GB
Chicago 28 20 0.583
St. Louis 20 20 0.500 4
Milwaukee 20 24 0.455 6
Cincinnati 21 26 0.447 6.5
Pittsburgh 14 30 0.318 12

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.

Transactions

  • 9/8 The Cardinals activated RHP Carlos Martinez from the Alternate Training Site.
  • 9/8 The Cardinals designated RHP Ryan Meisinger for assignment.
  • 9/8 The Cardinals optioned OF Dylan Carlson to the Alternate Training Site.
  • 9/8 The Cardinals recalled RHP Daniel Ponce de Leon from the Alternate Training Site.
  • 9/9 The Cardinals optioned RHP Daniel Ponce de Leon to the Alternate Training Site.
  • 9/10 The Cardinals placed RHP Johan Oviedo on the 10-day injured list.
  • 9/10 The Cardinals activated OF Austin Dean from the 10-day injured list.
  • 9/10 The Cardinals sent RHP Ryan Meisinger outright to the Alternate Training Site.
  • 9/10 The Cardinals recalled RHP Nabil Crismatt from the Alternate Training Site.
  • 9/11 The Cardinals placed RHP Giovanny Gallegos on the 10- day injured list. Right groin strain.
  • 9/11 The Cardinals optioned RHP Nabil Crismatt to the Alternate Training Site.
  • 9/11 The Cardinals recalled RHP Nabil Crismatt from the Alternate Training Site.

Injury Report

  • RHP John Brebbia underwent Tommy John surgery on June 1. He will miss the entire 2020 season.
  • RHP Jordan Hicks (Tommy John surgery) has opted out of the 2020 season.
  • RHP Miles Mikolas (right forearm strain) had arm surgery and will miss the remainder of the season.
  • RHP Carlos Martinez was activated from the injured list and started game one of Tuesday’s doubleheader.
  • RHP Kodi Whitley (COVID-19 positive) had experienced discomfort in his pitching elbow during throwing sessions at the Alternate Training Site. He was sent to St. Louis for an MRI and no structural damage was found. Whitley returned to the Alternate Training Site and continues to work out there.  No update on his possible return has been reported.
  • OF Austin Dean was activated from the injured list and started in Saturday’s game, but departed on Sunday with a sore elbow.
  • LHP Ricardo Sanchez was transferred from the 10-day injured list to the 45-day injured list. Left elbow pain.
  • LHP Kwang-Hyun Kim is on the 10-day injured list. Kidney ailment. Kim had returned to St. Louis but is making good progress in his recovery.  The left hander could return as early as Monday for one of the doubleheader games.
  • RF Dexter Fowler was placed on the 10-day injured list. Stomach ailment.  Fowler returned to St. Louis and is expected to be out indefinitely, but with a chance to return late in the season.
  • RHP Johan Oviedo was placed on the COVID-IL and is in quarantine due to an exposure to and individual who tested positive. Oveido continues to test negative and is asymptomatic.  The right hander could return to the roster some time during the week.
  • RHP Giovanny Gallegos was removed from Friday’s game and was placed on the 10-day injured list with a right groin strain. He will likely remain on the injured list for the full 10 days and perhaps beyond.

Looking Ahead

Following the weekend series against the Reds at Busch Stadium, the Cardinals travel to Milwaukee and play a doubleheader at Miller Park on Monday. Kwang-Hyun Kim is expected to be activated from the injured list to make the start in the first game of Monday’s doubleheader.  Daniel Ponce de Leon is scheduled to start the second game.

The series continues on Tuesday with a regulation game and ends on Wednesday with a second doubleheader.  Jack Flaherty will make the start on Tuesday, and Adam Wainwright will start the first game of Wednesday’s doubleheader.  No pitcher has been announced for the second game.

The team leaves Milwaukee and travels to Pittsburgh for a five-game series that begins on Thursday.  A doubleheader will be played on Friday and the series concludes on Sunday.

The road trip continues with three games in Kansas City against the Royals starting on Monday, September 21.  The regular season ends at home in St. Louis with a four-game set against the Brewers, unless a makeup doubleheader vs. Detroit is needed to be played in Monday the 28th to settle playoff seedings.

Blast from the Past

The week which just ended is most well known for one great momentous event in US history, when on September 11, 2001, terrorists flew planes into the Twin Towers of Manhattan, New York, killing more than 2,000 people.  In a much lesser sense, in a baseball context, September 11 also marks a day when in 1974, the Cardinals played a game that put the organization in the baseball history books.

On September 11, 1974, the Cardinals met the New York Mets at Shea Stadium for a regulation game that was anything but.  In a night contest that began at 8:08 p.m. ET, the Cardinals defeated the Mets 4-3 when the game came to an end at 3:12 a.m.  The 25-inning, 7 hour and 4 minute game became the second longest game by innings in major league history, and the longest continuous game by innings in wihch a winner was decided.

The longest game by innings (26) was a game between the Brooklyn Robins and the Boston Braves on May 1, 1920.  The game ended in a 1-1 tie when the game was called due to darkness.

The longest game by time (8 hours and six minutes) was played on May 8, 1984 between the Chicago White Sox and the Milwaukee Brewers that went 25 innings.  It was not continuous as it was stopped and restarted over two days.

Only the Cardinals and Mets game was a continuous game that finally decided a winner.

The Cardinals sent 26 different hitters to the plate, including seven pitchers, who took a total of 86 at bats.  The Mets sent 24 different hitters to the plate, including six pitchers, who took a total of 89 at bats.

Starting pitchers were Bob Forsch for the Cardinals and Jerry Koosman for the Mets.  The Cardinals used six more pitchers following Forsch:  Mike Garman, Al Hrabosky, Rich Folkers, Ray Bare, Claude Osteen, and Sonny Siebert.  Siebert was the winner.  Osteen pitched the longest, 9 1/3 innings.

The Cardinals scored first on an RBI single by Joe Torre.  The Mets tied it up in the bottom of the first, then took a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the fifth.  The game remained 3-1 in favor of the Mets until the top of the ninth inning.  A two-run home run by Ken Reitz off Koosman tied the game at 3-3.

From the end of the ninth inning until the top of the 25th inning, the closest either team came to scoring was in the 23rd and 24th.  The Mets loaded the bases in both innings, and the Cardinals filled the bags in the top of the 24th.

The game finally came to an end in the 25th when the Cardinals scored.. Bake McBride led off the inning with a single, but was picked off first base, or so it looked, until the throw by Mets pitcher Hank Webb went sailing past first baseman John Milner.  Milner retrieved the ball as McBride ignored the third base coach’s stop sign and headed home.  Mets catcher Ron Hodges dropped Milner’s throw as McBride scored the winning run with no outs in the top of the 25th.  The Mets were unable to answer in the bottom of the frame.

And so at 3:12 a.m. ET, 7 hours and 4 minutes after it started, the longest continuous major league game with a decided winner came to a close.


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