News, Notes and Historical Information on the St. Louis Cardinals
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SI.com’s John Donovan has an interesting article about crowded MLB outfields and mentions Tony LaRussa and his 5-man St. Louis outfield rotation:
The Cardinals put the finishing touches on a fantastic month of April this afternoon with a 5-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds to put their record at 18-11. Braden Looper pitched a great game en route to his 4th win of the year and Aaron Miles and Rick Ankiel anchored the offense, each knocking home 2 RBI on the game.
Miles, playing 2nd base and batting 2nd in the lineup, went 2-4 on the day with the 2 RBI and 2 runs scored, while Ankiel was 3-3 with 2 RBI and a walk. Chris Duncan had a nice day at the plate, going 1-2 with a run scored and 2 walks. Meanwhile, Looper allowed 2 runs on 7 hits over 6 innings to put his record at 4-1 on the year with a 3.86 ERA, continuing the trend of surprising starting pitching from Dave Duncan’s staff. 4 pitchers combined to shut down the Reds’ bats from that point on, including a perfect inning from Jason Isringhausen, who secured his 9th save of the year.
The Cards will get a day off tomorrow before welcoming the Chicago Cubs to Busch Stadium for the first really big series of the young year as the two teams battle for 1st place in the NL Central. St. Louis sends ace Adam Wainwright (3-1, 2.79 ERA) to the hill against Cubs lefty Rich Hill (1-0, 3.79 ERA) Friday night at 7:15pm (Central time).
Joel Pineiro was stellar and the Cardinals’ offense jumped all over Cincinnati starter Johnny Cueto in the first 2 innings to take the second game of their series with the Reds 7-2 tonight.
Skip Shumaker, who has been up and down all year, hopefully pulled himself out of a recent slump with a great performance setting the table for the middle of the St. Louis lineup. Shumaker was 4-5 on the game with 2 runs scored and threw out a runner at 3rd base. Adam Kennedy also contributed to the table-setting, going 2-4 with a walk and 2 runs batting from the two spot in the lineup for the first time this year. Albert Pujols did not have a banner game, but 4 and 5 hitters Rick Ankiel and Troy Glaus picked up the slack. Ankiel went 3-5 with 2 runs and 2 RBI while Glaus went 2-4 with a run scored and 3 RBI. Cesar Izturis also chipped in from the bottom of the lineup with a 2-4 day.
The 7 runs was more than enough for Pineiro, who gave up only 1 hit over 7 innings to secure his second win of the year and drop his ERA to 3.75. The two runs were given up by Anthony Reyes on an Adam Dunn home run in the 9th.
These two teams will get right back at it tomorrow afternoon at 12:15pm (Central time), with Braden Looper (4-1, 4.05 ERA) taking on Reds righty Aaron Harang (1-3, 2.76 ERA).
Today marks the 1 year anniversary of the death of Cardinals relief pitcher Josh Hancock. Hancock was killed in a car accident in St. Louis last year in which it was found he was intoxicated at the time of the crash. As sad as his passing was, it lead to the Cardinals (and several other teams around the league) to change their clubhouse alcohol policies and, if nothing else, brought drunk driving into perspective for a lot of people both in and out of baseball. It is always a shame when someone dies too young, but there was some good to come out of the aftermath of this tragedy. R.I.P., Josh Hancock (1978-2007).
With former Cardinals’ General Manager Walt Jocketty in the house, the Cards could not complete a comeback after falling behind by 4 runs early and lost to the Cincinnati Reds 4-3 last night.
Todd Wellemeyer did not have his best start of the year but pitched well enough to win, giving up 4 runs-all by the 3rd inning-on 7 hits over 6 innings. St. Louis was done in by their offense, however, as the Cardinals’ hitters stranded 10 runners on the game. Troy Glaus walked with the bases loaded to bring home the first run of the game, Rick Ankiel blasted a solo homer in the 5th, and Cesar Izturis knocked home an RBI single in the 6th to pull the Cards close, but they could never close the deal.
Ankiel was 2-5 on the game with a double and his 5th home run of the year, while Albert Pujols went 2-4 with a walk to push his average to .382 on the year. Chris Duncan was also 2-5 on the game but committed a costly error with 2 outs in the 3rd that allowed what ended up being the winning run to score.
Despite dropping their 3rd straight series opener, the Cards have won the previous 2 series and look to get back on track tonight at 7:15pm (Central time), sending Joel Pineiro (1-2, 5.29 ERA) to the hill against Reds righty Johnny Cueto (1-2, 4.05 ERA).
There may not have been any fireworks between Brandon Backe and Albert Pujols, but the Cardinals’ offense did show some life against the Houston starter in the 4-1 win this afternoon as Kyle Lohse continued to show that he may have been the biggest steal of the off-season.
Lohse, who got off to an incredible start but slowed down a bit over his last two starts, got himself back on track, giving up only a run on 4 hits and a walk over 6 innings. The Cardinals did most of their offensive damage in the 5th inning, where Ryan Ludwick knocked in 2 runs with a double and Troy Glaus added 2 more on his first home run as a St. Louis Cardinal. The Cards added a run in the 7th as Pujols managed to push a run across on solo home run. Pujols was 1-2 with 2 walks and got an RBI and one of his 2 runs scored on his 5th homer of the year. Aaron Miles was the only St. Louis hitter to get multiple hits, going 2-4 on the game. Kyle McClellan pitched all 3 innings of relief to earn his first save of the year.
Following yet another series win, the Cardinals will welcome the Cincinnati Reds to town tomorrow night at 7:15pm (Central time). St. Louis will send Todd Wellemeyer (2-0, 3.77 ERA) to the hill against struggling Reds righty Bronson Arroyo (0-3, 7.56 ERA).
Clearly there is no love lost between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Houston Astros. Flaring tempers between the two briefly interrupted a dynamite game between the team’s two ace pitchers which was decided in the bottom of the 9th, with Skip Shumaker coming through big to give the Cards a 4-3 win this afternoon.
Adam Wainwright had an odd but solid day, getting the complete game win yet giving up 3 runs on 3 solo home runs. He allowed only 5 hits and struck out 6 on the day. With the game tied in the 9th, Wainwright was unable to advance Brian Barton with the bunt, reaching on a fielder’s choice, instead. Cesar Izturis, pinch running for Wainwright, reached 3rd on a Brendan Ryan single and scored on Skip Shumaker’s first hit of the game.
For the second straight game, no Cardinal hitters were able to collect multiple hits. The Cardinals early offense seemed to be fueled by an incident between Adam Wainwright and Astros catcher Brad Ausmus in the top of the 3rd. After Cardinals’ catcher Jason LaRue was hit by a pitch in the bottom of the 2nd, Wainwright threw behind Ausmus, clearing the benches. The altercation never turned physical but the Cardinals responded in the bottom half of the inning as Albert Pujols started the scoring with a 2-run double and scored on a Troy Glaus sacrifice fly.
The 15-10 Cardinals will send Kyle Lohse (2-0, 2.54 ERA) to the mound tomorrow afternoon at 1:15pm (Central time) to face Astros rightly Brandon Backe (1-2, 4.45 ERA). If Backe is willing to pitch to Albert Pujols, the fans in the left field stands might want to bring their gloves. There is some history between the two and King Albert tends to come out on top in those types of situations. Then again, not many people have been willing to pitch to Pujols this year, so we will see.
A great outing by starter Braden Looper was wasted last night as closer Jason Isringhausen continued to struggle early in the year, blowing a save opportunity and coming up with a 3-2 loss to the Houston Astros last night.
Looper was phenomenal, allowing no runs, 2 hits, and only 1 walk over 7 innings. Unfortunately, Isringhausen came undone in the 9th, giving up 3 runs to allow the Astros to steal game 1 of the series in St. Louis. No Cardinal hitters were able to connect on multiple hits, and Adam Kennedy was the only hitter credited with an RBI.
Joel Pineiro bounced back from rough outings in his first two starts of the year to help lead the Cardinals to a 6-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates and salvage a split in their short series.
Pineiro allowed just 1 run on 4 hits over 7 innings to pick up his first win of the year. That one run came in the bottom of the 4th inning, but the Cardinals immediately responded as Pirates lefty Tom Gorzelanny walked the bases loaded and gave up back-to-back singles to Brian Barton and Albert Pujols to make it a 3-1 game. The Cards would score 2 more off the Pittsburgh bullpen in the 6th, as Brendan Ryan (fresh off the disabled list) knocked home an RBI single and Skip Shumaker added and RBI double. Both teams would add a run in the 9th inning to make it a 6-2 final.
Barton, who got the start in right field, was 2-4 with a walk and 2 RBI on the day. Albert Pujols was 2-2 with 2 walks and an RBI, Troy Glaus was 2-5, Yadier Molina went 3-5, and Ryan, filling in for the injured Cesar Izturis, came in at 2-3 with 2 runs scored, a walk, and an RBI. Jason Isringhausen came in after Russ Springer gave up a run in the 9th to get the final 2 outs and secure his 8th save of the year.
The Cards will return to St. Louis tonight at 7:15pm (Central time) to take on the Houston Astros. St. Louis will send Braden Looper (3-1, 5.49 ERA) to the hill against Astros righty Shawn Chacon (0-0, 2.77 ERA).
The Cardinals came out firing, but the offense flamed out and the Pittsburgh Pirates came on late to win the game 7-4 last night.
The Cardinals jumped all over Pittsburgh starter Ian Snell in the 1st inning, with Troy Glaus knocking in 2 runs on a double and Adam Kennedy following him up with a 2-run single. The way Todd Wellemeyer has pitched so far this year you might have thought that would be enough, but the Pirates strung together 3 straight hits and a sacrifice fly in the 4th inning to cut the lead to 4-2, then Jason Bay blasted a 2-run homer off Wellemeyer in the 5th to tie the game. The Pirates put the game away in the 8th, as Jose Bautista knocked in an RBI single off Anthony Reyes after an errant throw by Reyes earlier in the inning prevented the Cards from turning an inning-ending double play. The Pirates would tack on 2 more runs in the inning to put the Cardinals away.
Wellemeyer, while not bad, was not at his sharpest, giving up 4 earned runs on 7 hits over 6 innings. Reyes took the loss on the game after giving up 3 earned runs in his 1 inning of work. Skip Shumaker continued to solidify his spot as the St. Louis leadoff man, going 2-5 with a run scored. Albert Pujols was 2-4 with a run scored, pushing his batting average to .360 on the year, and Adam Kennedy continued to come back strong from a rough start with a 2-4, 2 RBI game.
The Cardinals will try to kick it back into gear tonight at 6:05pm (Central time), with Joel Pineiro (0-2, 8.20 ERA) trying to put his post-injury struggles behind him against Pirates lefty Tom Gorzelanny (1-2, 9.35 ERA).
Came across and interesting blog comparing the Cardinals’ lineup to characters from the movie The Sandlot:
The Cardinals lost another opportunity to sweep the Milwaukee Brewers, despite coming back from a late 5-run lead, losing in 13 innings 9-8 to close out the series at Miller Park.
Kyle Lohse struggled for the first time this season, giving up 4 runs on 8 hits over just 4 innings, leaving the game down 4-2. The Cardinals scored a run to cut the lead to 1 in the 5th, but Brad Thompson struggled again in relief and left the 6th inning down 8-3. St. Louis mounted a furious comeback over the 8th and 9th innings, tying the game and sending it into extra frames, only to see Gabe Kapler, who was managing the Boston Red Sox Class A affiliate at this time last year, hit a line shot off Jason Isringhausen to knock in the winning run in the bottom half of the 13th.
This was a strange game, indeed, with two St. Louis pitchers coming through with and RBI-Kyle Lohse helping his own cause with and RBI single and Adam Wainwright knocking in a run as a pinch hitter (Wainwright did not pitch in the game). Leadoff man Skip Shumaker was 3-6 with a walk to raise his average to .324 on the year. Troy Glaus was 3-7 with and RBI and Aaron Miles was 4-5 with a walk, run scored, and an RBI and ended the game as the shortstop after Cesar Izturis was injured after being hit by a pitch in the 9th. With Yadier Molina the only man left on the bench, Tony LaRussa was forced to put Molina behind the plate and move catcher Jason LaRue to 1st base, bumping Albert Pujols, who was 2-6 on the game with a walk, 2 RBI, and a run scored, over to second base to finish the game. Pujols came up to the Cardinals as a 3rd baseman and spent time in left field before permanently making the move to 1st.
St. Louis will try to get back to normalcy against the Pittsburgh Pirates tomorrow night at 6:05pm (Central time). The Cards will send Todd Wellemeyer (2-0, 3.24 ERA) to the mound against Pirates righty Ian Snell (2-1, 4.07 ERA).
The Cardinals pulled out a tight one tonight 4-3 to open up their series against the Milwaukee Brewers with a win. Adam Wainwright had another solid start, allowing only 2 runs over 7 innings, giving up 4 hits and striking out 6 in the no decision. The game was tied 3-3 in the 9th when Skip Shumaker doubled to right-center, scoring Brian Barton to put St. Louis on top. Jason Isringhausen came in in the bottom of the inning to secure his 7th save of the year. Ryan Franklin got the win in relief after giving up the lead in the bottom of the 8th, while Milwaukee pitcher Derrick Turnbow picked up the loss. No St. Louis hitters were able to secure multiple hits, though Troy Glaus plated the first 2 runs of the game on an early RBI double. Adam Kennedy added another RBI in the top of the 8th to briefly put the Cards ahead. These two teams will go back at it tomorrow afternoon at 12:05pm (Central time), with the Cardinals sending arguably their best pitcher so far, Spring Training acquisition Kyle Lohse (2-0, 1.48 ERA), to the hill against Brewers lefty Manny Parra (1-1, 5.40 ERA).
Braden Looper struggled for the second straight start, only this time instead of missing the strike zone and narrowly avoiding a disaster, he had trouble avoiding the bats of the San Francisco Giants in an 8-2 loss this afternoon.
Looper was undone by a rough 3rd inning, where the Giants put together 6 straight hits during a 6 run explosion in the inning, and his day ended with 7 earned runs and 10 hits over only 3 innings of work. Jonathan Sanchez left the St. Louis batters baffled for the second straight game, allowing only 2 hits over 5 innings. The Cards would only be able to put up 8 hits on the game, and Troy Glaus was the only Cardinal with multiple hits, going 2-3 with a walk, 1 run and an RBI. Rico Washington picked up the other St. Louis RBI in pinch-hitting duty, although both runs were scored in the bottom of the 9th and the damage had already been done.
The Cardinals will try to shake off their first losing streak of the season tomorrow night at Miller Park against the Milwaukee Brewers, sending Adam Wainwright (2-1, 2.78 ERA) to the hill against Brewers righty Carlos Villanueva (1-2, 6.19 ERA) at 7:15pm (Central time).
The Cardinals’ offense was shut down by Giants starter Tim Lincecum for the second time in a week and, despite a solid outing by Joel Pineiro in his second start back from the disabled list, San Francisco pulled out a 3-0 win today.
Lincecum allowed only 6 hits over his 7 scoreless innings and was supported by Aaron Rowand, who hit a solo homerun and an RBI single, and Jose Castillo, who knocked in a run on a double. 3 runs were not much but they were all the Giants needed with Lincecum on the hill. Pineiro pitched well, going 6 1/3 innings and allowing 8 hits and 3 earned runs, but fell to 0-2 on the year with an 8.40 ERA. Brad Thompson pitched 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief, but the damage was done.
Leadoff hitter Skip Shumaker continued his strong play, going 2-4 to push his average to .333 on the year. Adam Kennedy, who has bounced back from a rough start to the season, was the only other St. Louis hitter to get multiple hits, going 2-4 and putting his average at .326.
These two teams will close out their series tomorrow afternoon at 1:15pm (Central time), with Braden Looper (3-0, 2.70 ERA) trying to rebound from a rough outing in his previous start against San Francisco lefty Jonathan Sanchez (0-1, 6.00 ERA).
The Cardinals’ offense came alive in their 11-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants tonight at Busch Stadium, overshadowing another fantastic outing from starting pitcher Todd Wellemeyer. Wellemeyer is the poster boy for the Cardinals’ pitching staff, another former reliever who has joined Dave Duncan’s Land of Misfit Toys to absolutely shut down opponents as the team waits for its actual starting pitching staff to get off the disabled list.
Wellemeyer allowed only 1 run over 7 innings on 4 hits, striking out 6 and walking only 2 to push his record to 2-0 on the year. The offense was clicking all game but really got rolling in the 6 run 4th inning. Already holding a 3-1 lead, St. Louis scored 2 more on a 2 run, 2 out single by Skip Shumaker. After a Chris Duncan walk, Albert Pujols came to the plate and absolutely crushed the Matt Cain offering into Big Mac Land. Adam Kennedy would knock in Rick Ankiel a few batters later to put the finishing touches on the devastating inning.
The top of the Cardinals’ order was a regular murders’ row for Matt Cain as leadoff man Shumaker was 2-4 with 3 runs and 2 RBI, while 2 hitter Chris Duncan went 2-3 with 3 runs and 2 RBI, including a 2 run homer in the 3rd. Albert Pujols had another strong performance, going 2-4 with a run and 4 RBI. Wellemeyer was the only St. Louis regular not to get a hit on the game.
Joel Pineiro (0-1, 14.73 ERA) will try to work out the kinks in his second start after coming off the DL, facing Giants righty Tim Lincecum (2-0, 2.25 ERA) tomorrow afternoon at 12:10 pm (Central time).
Kyle Lohse had another strong outing, but the Cardinals fell apart late and blew a 3 run lead to lose the final game of their series against the Brewers, 5-3 in 10 innings this afternoon.
Ryan Ludwick ripped an early homerun to put the Cardinals up 1-0, and Lohse made an early contribution at the plate, himself, hitting a 2-run single in the 4th to put the Cards up 3-0. Lohse had the Brewers shut down through 7 innings, but things came apart in the 8th. Lohse allowed consecutive doubles to put Milwaukee on the board. The Brewers used some small ball to move a hit batter around the bases against Ryan Franklin and Randy Flores allowed Prince Fielder to hit a bloop double to tie the game in the 8th. Fielder, who had been quiet this far in the series, came through with the game-winning 2 run homer in the 10th.
Ryan Ludwick was the only Cardinals hitter to muster up multiple hits, going 4-5 with the homerun, a double, 2 runs and an RBI. Kyle Lohse allowed only the 2 runs over 7+ innings pitched, pushing his ERA to 1.48 on the year. The Cardinals will welcome the San Francisco Giants to Busch tomorrow night at 7:15pm (Central time). St. Louis will send Todd Wellemeyer (1-0, 4.00 ERA) to the hill against Giants righty Matt Cain (0-1, 3.24 ERA)
Adam Wainwright came up big for the Cardinals both on the mound and at the plate as St. Louis took the second game of their series against the Brewers 5-4 last night. Wainwright earned his second win of the year by allowing 2 runs (1 earned) over 7 2/3 innings, allowing 5 hits and striking out 6 to go along with a solo homerun in the 2nd inning.
The Cards took the early lead on a 2 run double by Albert Pujols, then Wainwright extended the lead with his solo shot in the 2nd. The Brewers were able to get 2 runs on the board only to have Skip Shumaker rip his first homerun of the year on a solo shot in the 5th. Wainwright got into a jam in the 8th and handed the ball to Randy Flores, who struck out Milwaukee slugger Prince Fielder with 2 on in a 5-2 game. Jason Isringhausen allowed 2 runs in the 9th but was able to hold on to preserve the 5-4 victory and lock up his 6th save of the year.
Skip Shumaker was 2-4 on the day with an RBI, 2 runs scored, and a stolen base. Catcher Yadier Molina and Adam Kennedy were each 2-4, while Wainwright was 2-3 with an RBI. Albert Pujols continued his strong start with a 1-4, 2 RBI day, putting his average at .367 on the year.
The Cards will try to sweep the series against their Central Division foes today at 1:15pm (Central time), as they send Kyle Lohse (2-0, 1.04 ERA) to face Brewers’ lefty Manny Parra (1-1, 4.82 ERA).
With the entire team wearing #42 in honor of Jackie Robinson, it was the Cardinals’ own second baseman, Adam Kennedy, who stole the show en route to a 6-1 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers to take the first game of the series at Busch Stadium.
Kennedy was 3-4 on the day with all 3 hits being singles. He scored 2 runs and knocked in another from the 7thspot in the order. The batting order didn’t matter much on this night, however, as the Cardinals got 12 hits (11 singles) from 8 different players. Skip Shumaker had another solid showing at the leadoff spot, going 2-4 with a walk, a run scored, and 2 RBI. Rick Ankiel was the only other St. Louisbatter with multiple hits, going 2-4. Starter Braden Looper moved to 3-0 on the year, although not on his strongest performance. He gave up only 1 run on 3 hits through 5 innings, but walked 5 and found himself in trouble on a couple of occasions. He made it through, though, and the bullpen pitched 4 shutout innings to finish off the potent Brewers offense.
These two division rivals will get back after each other tonight, with the Cards sending Adam Wainwright (1-1, 3.60 ERA) to the mound against Brewers righty Carlos Villanueva (1-1, 4.76) at 7:15 pm (Central time). As an interesting side note, the Cardinals and Brewers are the only two teams in the league that bat their pitchers 8thto get a “second leadoff hitter” in front of their big sluggers. This is a practice that St. Louis manager Tony LaRussa first employed as a way to bat Mark McGwire 3rd in the order, but get a chance to put more runners on base in front of him after the 1st time through the order. Another side note: Mark Mulder allowed 2 runs on 60 pitches through 5 innings in his first rehab start for Class A Palm Beach and on Monday Chris Carpenter will report to the team’s spring training complex to throw batting practice to actual hitters for the first time in his rehabilitation following off-season shoulder surgery.
Joel Pineiro’s return to the rotation got off to a solid start, but went south in the 4th inning, leaving Brad Thompson-the man whose spot he took-to come in and stop the bleeding. Despite the bullpen’s best efforts, the damage was done and the Cardinals leave San Francisco with a split after a 7-4 loss to the Giants this afternoon, falling to 9-4 on the year.
Pineiro held a 2-1 lead going into the 4th, when everything seemed to go downhill. Already having scored 2 runs in the inning, the Giants got a lucky bounce when Brian Bocock’s 2 out grounder bounced off the glove of third baseman Rico Washington, who was making his first major league start. With the inning extended, the Giants would score 3 more runs to put the lead at 6-2, ending Pineiro’s day. In his first start of the year, Pineiro gave up 6 earned runs on 10 hits over 3 2/3 innings. Brad Thompson came in and shut the Giants down for the next 2 1/3 innings, but Ron Villone gave up a run in the bottom of the 7th. The Cards would score 2 runs in the 8th, one coming off a Ryan Ludwick homer, but it was too little too late as Giants starter Tim Lincecum had been able to hold an Albert Pujols and Troy Glaus-less Cardinals offense in check for most of the game.
The Cardinals will get a day off before returning to St. Louis to face Central Division foe Milwaukee Tuesday at 7:15pm (Central Time). The Cards will send Adam Wainwright (1-1, 3.60 ERA) to the hill against Brewers right-hander Dave Bush (0-2, 8.44 ERA).
Giants starter Matt Cain did just about everything in his power to beat the St. Louis Cardinals this afternoon in San Francisco, but the Cards’ offense woke up in time to pull off a 9-8 win in 10 innings.
Cardinals starter Todd Wellemeyer got off to a brilliant start, pitching a one-hit shutout through 5 innings. But in the 6th, Cain, who was pitching a no-hitter of his own at the time, hit a solo homer to open the floodgates. By then end of the inning, the Giants were up 5-0 and looked to be in control of the game until Albert Pujols’ 7th inning double broke up Cain’s attempt at history. Adam Kennedy and pinch hitter Rico Washington followed with RBI singles to put the Cards on the board 5-2, and in the next inning Chris Duncan blasted a solo homerun and Rick Ankiel added a 2-run shot to tie the game 5-5. Ryan Ludwick looked to be the hero in the 9th with his go-ahead shot, putting St. Louis up 7-5, but Jason Isringhausen had a rough outing en route to blowing his first save of the year. Rich Aurilia cut the lead to one and Fred Lewis tied it up on an RBI double to send the game into extra innings. Chris Duncan came through in the top of the 10th, however, with a 2-out RBI single to put the Cards ahead for good. Anthony Reyes came in to close out the game in the bottom of the frame and the Cardinals snuck away with possibly the most exciting win of the young MLB season.
Despite all of the late offense, Duncan and Pujols were the only Cardinals with multiple hits. Duncan was 3-5 with 2 RBI and Pujols was 2-4 with 2 walks and 4 runs scored, pushing his average to .390 on the year. All 5 of the runs scored off Wellemeyer were earned, putting his at ERA 4.00. The Cardinals will send Joel Piniero to the hill for the first time tomorrow in an attempt to secure win #10 on the year. They will be facing Giants righty Tim Lincecum (1-0, 1.80 ERA) tomorrow at 3:05 (Central time).
Albert Pujols seems to have found his power stroke, knocking in 4 on a double and home run to push his batting average to .378 in the Cardinals’ 8-2 win over the Giants in San Francisco tonight. Kyle Lohse gave up his first runs of the season but pitched well to push his record to 2-0.
The Cards were down 2-1 in the 5th inning when Cesar Izturis singled to left and advanced as Skip Shumaker reached on an error by San Francisco second baseman Ray Durham. Albert Pujols took advantage of the mistake by blasting a Barry Zito offering to deep left field, giving St. Louis the 4-2 lead. Brian Barton also had a big day for the Cards, going 2-5 with a double and 2 RBI as the starting left fielder. Troy Glaus and Ryan Ludwick each added an RBI a piece, Ludwick’s on a solo homer in the 9th inning to put the game on ice. Skip Shumaker continued his solid play from the leadoff spot, going 3-5 and scoring 4 runs while adding an outfield assist to help starting pitcher Kyle Lohse. Lohse saw his ERA rise to 1.04 after giving up the 2 runs on 8 hits over 5 1/3 innings, continuing the surprising trend of stellar starting pitching from the Cardinals staff.
Todd Wellemeyer (1-0, 2.25 ERA) will try to continue that trend as the Cardinals go for yet another series win Saturday at 3:05 (Central time) against Giants righty Matt Cain (0-1, 3.60 ERA).
For those who are interested, the MLB Trade Rumors website had a small piece on middle infielders who will be available this season that the Cards might take a look at. With Adam Kennedy and Cesar Izturis batting .208 and .231, respectively, it is somthing to think about in the near future. Honestly, of all the names mentioned I would love to see Mark Ellis in a Cardinas uniform. He is a free agent at the end of the year so he wouldn’t cost too much to get (then again, when was the last time Billy Beane got the short end of a trade?). Regardless, he is the type of underrated, hard-nosed player the St. Louis fans will love and hopefully he would fall in love with the city and team and sign on to stay long-term like a few of the other Athletics imports we’ve taken in over the years.
As for who we would give up in a trade, the Rockinred Cardinals Blog discusses the 5 Cardinals most likely to be traded this year. If Carpenter, Mulder, Piniero, and Clement all come back healthy and show they can pitch well the Cardinals will have a ton of pitching-starting and relief-and their arguments about trading Kyle Lohse make sense. They also point out that the team needs to make room in the outfield for Colby Rasmus at some point, which makes Chris Duncan and Skip Shumaker expendable. Shumaker has been doing a decent job at leadoff this year, which you think would give him an edge, but Duncan is a coach’s kid, so…it will be interesting to see how this all plays out, especially if the Cards are still in contention come July.
The St. Louis offense’s flight from Houston may have been delayed because it was nowhere to be seen last night against the Giants. Adam Wainwright was not horrible, but did not pitch a great game in the Cardinals’ 5-1 loss to San Francisco at AT&T Park.
Wainwright struggled against leadoff hitters, giving up extra-base hits 3 times. In the other 4 innings he pitched he did not allow an earned base runner, although Adam Kennedy committed a throwing error behind him. For the day Wainwright gave up 4 runs off 8 hits, struck out 6, and did not walk a man through 7 innings. None of that really mattered, though, as San Francisco righty Kevin Correia absolutely shut the Cards down through 7 2/3 innings, allowing no runs off 5 hits and walking only 2 batters. Skip Shumaker was one of 2 Cardinals with multiple hits, going 2-4 from the leadoff position, while Cesar Izturis was 2-3 from the 9 spot. Albert Pujols was 1-3 and scored on an RBI double from Troy Glaus, who was also 1-3 before being pulled from the game with back stiffness. Wainwright was the only other Cardinal who was able to muster up a hit as the team had 7 for the game. Reliever Ron Villone had the team’s second error of the game on a failed pickoff attempt and Albert Pujols stole is second base of the year.
St. Louis will try to right the ship tonight as they send Kyle Lohse (1-0, 0.00 ERA) to the hill against Giants lefty Barry Zito (0-2, 6.30 ERA) at 9:15 pm (Central time).
Since reading about Albert Pujols’ pre-game confrontation with Astros pitcher Brandon Backe yesterday and seeing the highlights of the Cardinals’ 6-4 win over Houston last night, I have been chomping at the bit to get home and write the first line of my game review: Note to the Houston Astros-stop making Albert Pujols angry…you wouldn’t like him when he’s angry. Unfortunately, mlb.com beat me to the punch on the Hulk reference, which apparently wasn’t as funny and original as I had been thinking at work all morning…what are you gonna do?
As for the game itself, the Cardinals jumped all over Astros starter Chris Sampson, leading off the game with three straight singles. Pujols knocked in a run with the third of those three hits and Troy Glaus added an RBI single of his own to make the game 2-0 right off the bat. Rick Ankiel would add RBI hits in the 3rd and 5th innings to push the lead to 4-0. St. Louis starter Braden Looper was on a roll through 5 innings, but struggled in the 6th with a 4-1 lead. Three straight Astros hits cut the lead to one run before Kyle McClellan came in in relief to shut down the run. Albert Pujols responded in the next frame by blasting a pitch to left field to make the game 5-3. The Astros again pulled to within a run against Randy Flores, but Ryan Franklin came in and got Hunter Pence out to end the 7th and mowed down Lance Berkman, Carlos Lee, and Miguel Tejada in the 8th. Pujols added an insurance homer to right field in the top of the 9th to give Jason Isringhausen a 6-4 lead to come in and close out.
As I’ve noted in this blog, Pujols has not been hitting poorly so far this year, as hit average and on-base percentage were off the charts. But he had not hit a home run since his Opening Day shot was taken off the books due to the rain cancellation, and he came in to the game with only one RBI. While he says the change is due to a few adjustments he made at the plate, it is tough to deny the scuff with Backe probably fired him up more than a little. The argument stemmed from sour feelings over Pujols’ tough slide into home last night. Despite the fact Pujols called Astros’ catcher J.R. Towles to apologize for the incident, Backe appeared to continue to take umbrage and the two got into a heated exchange during batting practice this morning. The bad blood goes back much further than that, however. Pujols was upset at the Astros for prematurely celebrating their National League Championship in game 5 of the series, noting that he though Backe, in particular, had already popped the champaign. Of course, Pujols responded then by blasting a home run into Galveston and effectively ending the career of Brad Lidge (who I am convinced still sees Pujols in his nightmares).
Skip Shumaker and Pujols each had 3 hits, pushing Pujols’ average to .379. Rick Ankiel added 2 hits of his own to put him at .314 and 2 RBI to give him 8 for the season. Glaus chipped in with his 6th RBI of the year. Looper took the win despite the shaky 6th inning to put him at 2-0 on the year, and Isringhausen collected save #5. The 7-2 Cardinals will head to San Francisco to take on the 3-6 Giants tonight at 9:15 (Central time). Adam Wainwright (1-0, 2.25 ERA) takes on Giants righty Kevin Correia (0-1, 6.00 ERA).
For a guy who went 2-14 in 2007 and wasn’t even supposed to make the Cardinals’ roster coming out of Spring Training, Anthony Reyes pitched a heck of a game in relief of Brad Thompson-the man who beat him out for the final spot in the starting rotation-to help the Cards to a 5-3 win over the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park Tuesday night.
The Cardinals displayed a slow and steady version of their offense against Astros starter Shawn Chacon, with Thompson driving in a run on a bases-leaded sacrifice bunt in the second and Skip Shumaker tripling and scoring on a Chris Duncan sacrifice fly in the third to put the Cards up 2-0. Thompson lasted only four innings but, in his defense, was lights-out for three of them. Unfortunately, he came apart a little bit in the 3rd frame. Lance Berkman doubled in the bottom of the 3rd, then Thompson walked Carlos Lee and Miguel Tejada drove them both in with a double and took third on the throw home. He would later score on a wild pitch from Thompson, who recovered in the 4th inning but had 87 pitches and, with manager Tony LaRussa having the chance to pinch hit him in the top of the 5th, was taken out in favor of Reyes. Reyes responded by putting down the first eight batters he faced before allowing a Hunter Pence triple in the 7th. Reyes retired Berkman to end the inning and Troy Glaus’ two-run double in the top of the 8th gave the Cards the lead. Ryan Franklin and Jason Isringhausen shut down the next six batters to give Reyes his first career win in relief.
No Cardinal hitters were able to muster up multiple hits on the night, through Adam Kennedy was 1-2 with 2 BB’s and an RBI hitting from the 6th spot in the order. Jason Isrinhausen earned his 4th save of the year and Albert Pujols was 1-4 with a run scored, putting his average at .320 for the year. Braden Looper (1-0, 1.50 ERA) will take the hill for St. Louis tonight as they try to close out another series win tonight at 7:05 (Central time) against Houston righty Chris Sampson (0-0, 2.70 ERA).
Once again the Cardinals got a stellar outing from their starting pitcher, but the bend-but-don’t-break bullpen broke tonight in the team’s 5-3 loss to the Houston Astros, ending the Cards’ 5 game winning streak and dropping them to 5-2 on the young season.
Todd Wellemeyer put up his second consecutive quality start, shutting the Astros down through 6 innings. In the 7th, however, he gave up consecutive solo homeruns to Lance Berkman and Carlos Lee. J.R. Towles added another solo shot off reliever Kelvin Jimenez to put the score at 3-0 going into the 9th. But the Cardinals shot back, as Aaron Miles singled and Cesar Izturis walked to lead off the inning against Houston closer Jose Valverde. Valverde responded by striking out Rick Ankiel, St. Louis’ most dangerous hitter so far on the young season, and forcing Albert Pujols to fly out. But with two outs, Troy Glaus singled home a run and Ryan Ludwick, who had struck out in his previous 3 at bats, bounced back by knocking in two more with a double to tie the game. Unfortunately, it was not to be for the Cards tonight, as rookie pitcher Kyle McClellan gave up a single to Carlos Lee to open the bottom of the 9th and Miguel Tejada followed with a walk-off two-run homer.
Troy Glaus was the only Cardinal to collect multiple hits, going 2-4 with an RBI. The Astros pitching staff was able to cool off Rick Ankiel, who was 0-4 with 2 K’s and 2 men left on base. Leading off for the first time this season, Cesar Izturis was 0-3 with a walk and a run scored. The Cards will send Brad Thompson (1-0, 0.00 ERA) to the mound to face Astros righty Shawn Chacon (0-0, 3.00 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 (Central time).
The Cardinals continued their impressive run to pull out the sweep of the Washington Nationals earlier today 3-0, bringing their winning streak to 5 straight. Kyle Lohse pitched seven shutout innings, giving up seven hits and striking out five batters. Rick Ankiel once again played the role of the offensive hero, having a hand in 2 of the 3 runs scored by the Cards. Ankiel doubled home Brian Barton in the 1st inning, then hit a solo homerun in the 3rd, his third dinger of the year-all off lefties. Ryan Ludwick added an insurance run in the 8th inning, hitting a triple and scoring on Yadier Molina’s sacrifice fly. Jason Isringhausen came in in the 9th to secure his thirs save of the year. Ankiel and Ludwick were the only Cardinals with multiple hits, going 2-4 each. Albert Pujols went 0-2, but walked twice and stole a base. St. Louis heads to Houston tomorrow for the Astros’ home opener. The Cards will send Todd Wellemeyer to the hill for the second time this year against another lefty, Wandy Rodriguez, at 6:05pm (Central time).
Adam Wainwright picked up right where he left off on his rain-shortened Opening Day start to lead the Cardinals to a 5-4 win over the Washington Nationals, the Cards’ fourth straight win after dropping their first game of the year.
Wainwright acted like the staff ace, allowing only two runs on eight hits over eight innings while striking out four and walking only one. In addition to his solid pitching effort, Wainwright helped his own cause with a two-out hit, which was followed by another hit from number 9 hitter Cesar Izturis, giving the Cards the lead in the 2nd inning. Yadier Molina added to the lead the next inning with a two run single to score Rick Ankiel and Albert Pujols. Washington first baseman Nick Johnson got the Nationals on the board with an RBI single in the fourth, then Cardinals second baseman Adam Kennedy made the web gem of the year so far, diving full-extension up the middle to rob Austin Kearns of a hit and keep the inning from getting out of hand. Wainwright settled down and cruised until the 8th inning, when he gave up a solo homerun to Johnson. The Cards added an insurance run in the bottom of the inning when Kennedy scored what would end up being the deciding run on a passed ball. Anthony Reyes appeared in relief of Wainwright in the 9th and gave up a 2 run homerun to Nats catcher Jesus Flores cut the lead to 5-4. Lefty Randy Flores then closed out the game by securing the final out.
The Cardinals starting pitching staff, thought to be the weak spot of this team coming into the season, has been the pleasant surprise of the young year, with the starters combining for a 4-0 record with a 1.17 ERA. Kyle Lohse will try to keep the train rolling at 1:15pm (Central time) Sunday against Nationals lefty John Lannan.
In what has become the surprising trend early in the 2008 season, the Cardinals’ starting pitcher put together a solid outing and former pitcher Rick Ankiel was the offensive hero as the Cards pulled to two games over .500, a feat they were never able to reach last year.
Former relief pitcher Braden Looper put together the fourth consecutive quality start (not counting Opening Day starter Adam Wainwright’s solid but rain-shortened outing) as he gave up one run and three hits over six innings, striking out three and walking two to beat the Washington Nationals. After outfielder Brian Barton lead off the game with a double, Ankiel continued hit hot start to the 2008 season by taking the first pitch he saw from Odalis Perez deep to right field. The Nationals put a run on the board in the top of the 4th, but the St. Louis offense responded in the bottom of the frame, as Looper helped his own cause by sacrificing a run in with two runners on to make it 3-1. Aaron Miles followed that up with an RBI single and Yadier Molina added an insurance run in the 5th with an RBI single of his own. For the third game of the year, the St. Louis bullpen would bend but not break, allowing three runs to make it a one-run game, but could never pull even. Leading off in his first start of the season, Brian Barton went 2-4, while Cesar Izturis bounced back from a rough start, going 2-3 with a run scored. Ankiel was 1-4 with 2 RBI while Albert Pujols continued his strong start to the year, going 1-2 with 2 walks.
The Cards will try to continue their hot start this afternoon at 12:10 (Central time) sending staff ace Adam Wainwright to the hill against Nationals lefty Matt Chico.
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