Cardinals MLB Notebook: May 29-June 4 Week

Game Recaps

Monday, May 29 – Cardinals 1, Dodgers 5

The Cardinals fell back to .500 with this defeat in Busch Stadium at the hands of the Dodgers.  In the first of a four game series, the St. Louis offense could not get traction against lefty starter Rich Hill and a tough LA bullpen.  The lone St. Louis run scored without benefit of a hit.  Tommy Pham drew a walk, then advanced to second on a failed pickoff attempt.  Matt Carpenter was hit by a pitch, and Pham stole third.  With runners on first and third, Jedd Gyorko hit a sacrifice fly to plate Pham from third.  The only Cardinal with multiple hits was Paul DeJong, who was 2-for-4.

Starter Mike Leake had a tough outing, pitching seven innings, but giving up four runs on six hits.  The righty fanned six and walked one.  Kevin Siegrist pitched a scoreless 2/3 of an inning, with Jonathan Broxton getting the last out of the eighth.  Brett Cecil tossed a scoreless ninth.  Leake suffered this third loss of the season.

 

Tuesday, May 30 – Cardinals 4, Dodgers 9

Although the Cardinals scored more runs, they fared no better against the Dodgers in Game 2.  In the final analysis, this game became a battle of bullpens, and St. Louis came out on the short end.  Starter Michael Wacha lasted only three innings and suffered his third loss of the season.  The right hander gave up four runs, three earned, on five hits, while striking out four and walking three.  Tyler Lyons followed with 1 1/3 innings of relief in which he surrendered three earned runs.  John Brebbia, Brett Cecil, and Kevin Siegrist then combined for 3 2/3 scoreless innings.  Enter Jonathan Broxton in the ninth, where he relinquished two runs on four hits.  This inning would be the last for Broxton as a Cardinal, as he was released the next day.

St. Louis’ offense managed to bring four runs across the plate, though it would not be sufficient.  Yadier Molina hit a two run single in the first, and a solo home run in the eighth inning, to end the day 2-for-4 with three RBI.  Matt Carpenter also singled in a run in the first and Dexter Fowler was 2-for-5.

 

Wednesday, May 31 – Cardinals 2, Dodgers 1

Game 3 was a low scoring affair, thanks to very good pitching by Carlos Martinez.  The hard throwing right hander pitched eight solid innings, giving up only one run on four hits, while fanning nine and walking three.  Martinez earned his fourth win of the season.  Seung-Hwan Oh pitched the ninth in scoreless fashion to garner his 12th save.

A double off the bat of Paul DeJong put the first Cardinals run on the board – a line drive to center that plated Tommy Pham from second base.  St. Louis didn’t score again until the eighth, when Dexter Fowler hit his seventh home run of the season, a solo shot, to break the 1-1 tie.  The long ball was Fowler’s only hit as only Stephen Piscotty had multiple hits, going 2-for-3.

 

Thursday, June 1 – Cardinals 2, Dodgers 0

In the conclusion of the four-game series, Adam Wainwright was the star of the show, both on the mound and at the plate.  The big right hander pitched six scoreless frames, allowing four hits while striking out six and issuing two free passes.   The win was Wainwright’s sixth.  Matt Bowman, Trevor Rosenthal, and Seung-Hwan Oh each pitched a scoreless inning, with Oh earning his 13th save.

It was the Wainwright show at the plate as well.  The veteran pitcher blasted a two run home run over the left field wall in the second.  While the home run was not the Redbirds’ only hit, it was the one that counted.  Cardinals with multiple hits were Jedd Gyorko, 3-for-4, and Paul DeJong, 2-for-4.

On the base paths, Dexter Fowler stole second base for the second time this season.  Stephen Piscotty was caught stealing, his fifth time caught.

 

Friday, June 2 – -Cardinals 2 at Cubs 3

The Cardinals began their first series against the Cubs at Wrigley Field this season.  It began well, but didn’t end well.  Dexter Fowler belted his eighth home run of the season leading off in the first inning.  The Redbirds added another in the second on an RBI single from Magneuris Sierra, recalled to replace Jedd Gyorko, who was on paternity leave.  Those would be the only runs the team would score.  Stephen Piscotty and Aledmys Diaz would also single, bringing the total St. Louis hits to four.

Starter Lance Lynn tossed 5 1/3 frames, giving up two runs on two hits, but walking four and striking out six.  One of the two hits was a third inning solo home run by Kris Bryant.  Tyler Lyons took over in the sixth with two runners on and one out, and gave up a double to allow an inherited runner to score.  He was charged with a blown save, and having gotten no outs, was replaced by Matt Bowman.  Bowman got the final two outs of the inning, and then returned to pitch a scoreless seventh.  Trevor Rosenthal took the eighth, gave up the winning run, and took the loss, his second of the season.

 

Saturday, June 3 – Cardinals 3 at Cubs 5

The second game of the series was much like the first, starting well and ending very badly. It began with a Jose Martinez RBI single in the first to put two runs on the board. The Cubs put up a run in the third on a Javier Baez home run, and the score remained 2-1 in the Redbirds favor until the sixth, when Yadier Molina hit a solo homer to add an insurance run.  It proved to not matter, however.  The offense managed six hits, five of which were singles.

Starter Mike Leake cruised through six innings, other than the Baez home run.  In the seventh, Leake got a line out and a strike out, but gave up two singles.  With two men on, the right hander hit pinch hitter Jon Jay with a pitch to load the bases.  At that point, lefty Kyle Schwarber was up, and though a left hander was warming up in the bullpen, manager Mike Matheny elected to allow Leake to pitch to Schwarber.  It proved fatal, and Schwarber’s grand slam gave the Cubs a 5-3 lead.  Leake walked the next batter, then was removed for Kevin Siegrist who got the final out of the inning.  Brett Cecil pitched a scoreless eighth.  Leake was the hard luck loser for his fourth loss of the season.

One other event of note was a pickoff of Tommy Pham by Jon Lester.  Lester is well known for not throwing to first, and Pham took advantage with a large lead in the fifth after drawing a walk.  In the end, Lester did throw to first and Pham was picked off.

 

Sunday, June 4 – Cardinals 6, Cubs 7

The Redbirds made an effort to avoid the weekend sweep, but that effort failed.  The Cubs got on the board first, but a four-run fourth inning put the Cardinals ahead.  Unfortunately, the Cubs came roaring back in the bottom frame, with the help of shaky pitching by Michael Wacha and sloppy defense by the Cardinals.

Wacha gave up six runs total. Five came home in the bottom of the fourth, including the second home run of the game by Ian Happ.  Wacha started the fifth by giving up a double to Anthony Rizzo, who was thrown out trying to extend it to a triple.  Wacha then walked the next batter and was removed and replaced by Tyler Lyons, who retired the next two batters.  Brett Cecil pitched a scoreless sixth.  Matt Bowman gave up the winning run in the seventh and took the loss. Trevor Rosenthal pitched a scoreless eighth.

The Cardinals four-run fourth began with walks to Dexter Fowler and Matt Carpenter.  Stephen Piscotty hit a three run home run to left center field to give St. Louis the lead.  A single by Jedd Gyorko and a stolen base put Gyorko in scoring position.  Paul DeJong singled to plate Gyorko.

After the Cardinals fell behind again in the bottom frame, they tied it up in the sixth when Yadier Molina singled, stole second, then advanced to third on a wild pitch with Tommy Pham at the plate.  Pham drew a walk, then Molina scored on a ground out by Paul DeJong.  Aledmys Diaz’ ground rule double scored Pham.  Diaz was 2-for-3 in the game, the only Cardinal with multiple hits.

 

Big Picture

The Cardinals ended the week at 2-5 and fell to two games below .500.  Lack of timely hitting is the major component of this slide, but sloppy defense and some bullpen woes continue.  The Cardinals made a significant change by releasing Jonathan Broxton, but the bullpen remains a concern.  Key issues with the offense is the deep slump of Matt Carpenter and inconsistent hitting of Aledmys Diaz.  The offense is not running on all cylinders and is spotty.

The last few starts by Michael Wacha have not been good, but otherwise the starting pitching is not a problem.

The Cardinals are 26-28 and sit in third place in the NL Central, 2.5 games behind the Brewers and 1.5 games behind the Cubs.

 

NL Central Standings

 

Who’s Hot

Over the past seven days (does not contain recent Sunday game results):

http://www.scout.com/player/68830-adam-wainwright?s=321

Adam Wainwright has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 1.00.

Carlos Martinez has an ERA of 1.13 and a WHIP of 0.88.

http://www.scout.com/player/204704-seung-hwan-oh?s=321

Seung-Hwan Oh has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 1.00.

Brett Cecil has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.33.

http://www.scout.com/player/157909-john-brebbia?s=321

John Brebbia has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.50.

Stephen Piscotty is batting .364 with an OPS of .988 and has one double.

http://www.scout.com/player/88993-dexter-fowler?s=321

Dexter Fowler is batting .296 with an OPS of .922 and has 2 HRs, one double, and 2 RBI.

Jedd Gyorko is batting .308 with an OPS of .949 and has one HR, one double and 2 RBI.

 

Who’s Not

Over the past seven days (does not contain recent Sunday game results):

Michael Wacha has an ERA of 9.00 and a WHIP of 2.67.

Matt Bowman has an ERA of 10.80 and a WHIP of 1.50.

Tyler Lyons has an ERA of 8.10 and a WHIP of 2.10.

Matt Carpenter is batting .125 and has an OPS of .285.

Aledmys Diaz is batting .167 and has an OPS of .367.

Jose Martinez is batting .167 and has an OPS of .333.

Jhonny Peralta is batting .154 and has an OPS of .368.

 

A Look at Cardinals Lineups

The lineups over the last seven games (does not contain recent Sunday game):

The leadoff hitter has been Dexter Fowler.

The number 2 hitter has been Tommy Pham for four games, and Matt Carpenter for three games.

The number 3 hitter has been Carpenter for three games, Stephen Piscotty for three games, and Yadier Molina for one game.

The number 4 hitter has been Jedd Gyorko for four games, Molina for two games, and Jose Martinez for one game.

The number 5 hitter has been Molina for three games, Aledmys Diaz for two games, Tommy Pham for one game and Jhonny Peralta for one game.

The number 6 hitter has been Diaz for two games, Peralta for two games, and Piscotty, Pham, and Greg Garcia for one game each.

The number 7 hitter has been Paul DeJong for six games, and Randal Grichuk for one game.

The number 8 hitter has been Diaz for three games, Jose Martinez for two games and Eric Fryer and Magneuris Sierra for one game each.

 

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.

 

Transactions

5/29 The Cardinals activated OF/1B Jose Martinez from the 10 day disabled list.

5/29 The Cardinals activated OF Randal Grichuk to the Palm Beach Cardinals.

5/29 The Cardinals sent RHP Miguel Socolovich outright to the Memphis Redbirds.

5/31 The Cardinals released RHP Jonathan Broxton.

5/31 The Cardinals recalled RHP John Gant from the Memphis Redbirds.

6/2 The Cardinals placed 3B Jedd Gyorko on the paternity list.

6/2 The Cardinals recalled OF Magneuris Sierra from the Springfield Cardinals.

6/4 The Cardinals activated 3B Jedd Gyorko from the paternity list.

6/4 The Cardinals optioned OF Magneuris Sierra to the Memphis Redbirds.

http://www.scout.com/player/171618-magneuris-sierra?s=321

Having filled in for Jedd Gyorko during his paternity leave, Sierra received another promotion in his return to the minors. The Triple-A assignment signals the conclusion of the Springfield phase of Sierra’s career after just 10 games and 39 plate appearances. The 21-year old’s slash line at Double-A was .263/.268/.357/.644.

 

Injury Report

Kolten Wong (left elbow strain) is expected to return from the DL sometime in the coming week.

 

Looking Ahead

Following the weekend series in Chicago, the Cardinals travel to Cincinnati to take on the Reds in a four game series.  Carlos Martinez is scheduled to pitch on Monday, followed by Adam Wainwright on Tuesday. Starting pitchers for Wednesday and Thursday will be Lance Lynn and Mike Leake.

Following the Reds set, the Redbirds return home to take on the Phillies over next weekend.  The team has an off day on the following Monday, before the Brewers come to Busch for a three game series.

The Cardinals will then travel to Baltimore to take on the Orioles in a weekend interleague series.  St. Louis will have another Monday off day to travel to Philadelphia for a three game series with the Phillies.

The Cardinals’ regular season schedule can be found here.

 

Blast from the Past

In Thursday’s game against the Dodgers, the Cardinals won 2-0.  The St. Louis runs came via a two run home run by starting pitcher Adam Wainwright.  Wainwright’s two RBI were the sum total of the scoring.  Thus, the pitcher controlled the outcome on the mound and the batter’s box.

Adam Wainwright (Scott Rovak / USA TODAY Sports Images)

Such a feat is not particularly uncommon, at least in the National League, where starting pitchers hit on a regular basis.  There are good hitting pitchers scattered all over baseball.  A pitcher driving in all the runs in a game is a little less common but not rare.  Prior to Thursday’s game, the last Cardinals starting pitcher to drive in all the runs in a game was Jaime Garcia, just last season.  Garcia’s RBI came on a single, in a game against Atlanta on August 5 that the Cardinals won 1-0.

Wainwright drove in his runs on a home run, which is somewhat less common for pitchers.  For his career, Wainwright has 10 home runs, the third most in baseball among active pitchers behind Madison Bumgarner with 16, and Yovani Gallardo with 12.  The last home run Wainwright hit was just last season, August 2, in Cincinnati against Dan Strailly.

Among Cardinals pitchers all-time, Bob Gibson has the most career home runs. Over his 17 year career with the Cardinals, Gibson hit 24, including five home runs in two different seasons, 1965 and 1972.

Wainwright has never hit a grand slam, but 11 Cardinals pitchers did.  Bob Gibson hit two, one in 1965, and another in 1973.  The last St. Louis pitcher to hit a grand slam was Jake Westbrook on August 31, 2011, off Randy Wolf.

What pitcher in all of major league baseball has hit the most home runs in his career?  That distinction goes to Wes Ferrell, who played from 1927 to 1941 for six different teams, but not including the Cardinals.  Ferrell hit 37 home runs as a pitcher, and one as a pinch hitter, for a total of 38 home runs over his career.

Thanks to researcher Tom Orf for his help with this segment.

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