The Gas House Gang

News, Notes and Historical Information on the St. Louis Cardinals

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June 27, 2008

Cards Drop Series

by @ 7:50 am. Filed under 2008 Cardinals

Things started off well for St. Louis Wednesday night in Detroit as Skip Shumaker led off the game with a home run and Rick Ankiel followed with another shot 2 batters later. Ankiel would add another solo shot in the 5th, but it was not enough as the Cards would blow the lead 4 times-including 2 seperate blown saves by Jason Isringhausen and Kyle McClellan. Kyle Lohse was knocked around, giving up 5 runs on 11 hits over 4 innings (though Tigers batters have owned Lohse in his career, so that was to be expected). Rain delayed the game in the 5th and it was not until nearly 1am that Gary Sheffield knocked in the winning run and the Tigers left 8-7 winners.

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Getaway day was not much better for the Cardinals, who lost 3-2 in the 10th inning on a bases-loaded walk by Mike Parisi. Despite the disappointing end to the game, there was a silver lining for Cardinals fans as Todd Wellemeyer and Albert Pujols had successful returns to the lineup. Wellemeyer pitched 5 shutout innings, allowing only 4 hits and not walking anyone. Pujols, meanwhile, was 4-4 from the DH spot and drove in a run.

The Cards, who find themselves 4.5 games behind the division-leading Cubs, will try and build off these positives and avenge last week’s embarrasing sweep by the Royals. Joel Pineiro (2-3, 3.86 ERA) will head to the hill tonight at 7:10pm (Central time) against Kansas City righty Gil Meche (5-8, 4.91 ERA).

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June 25, 2008

Cards Top Tigs in Opener

by @ 9:08 am. Filed under 2008 Cardinals

Kenny Rogers pitched well early and was looking to hold on to a slim lead, but the Cardinals were able to get to him and break the game open in the 6th inning and Braden Looper help on long enough to earn his 9th win of the year in the Cardinals’ 8-4 win over the Tigers last night.

Looper was not on top of his game, giving up solo home runs to Pudge Rodriguez and Miguel Cabrera early and a 2-run shot to Gary Sheffield in the 7th, but he pitched well enough to win, limiting the damage to just those 4 runs over 6 innings of work. Leftfielder Brian Barton provided the early offense for St. Louis, hitting an RBI double in the 3rd, then a solo home run in the 5th before being pulled for pinch-hitter Skip Shumaker in the 6th. Shumaker made Tony LaRussa look good by knocking in 2 more runs on a single that at-bat. Yadier Molina was 3-5 with 2 runs scored while shortstop Brendan Ryan was 3-4 with a run and 2 RBI from the bottom of the order.

Kyle Lohse (9-2, 3.63 ERA) will lead the Cards into action tonight at 6:05 pm (Central time) against Tigers’ rookie righty Armando Galarraga (7-2, 3.03 ERA).

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June 23, 2008

Cards Bounce Back

by @ 7:46 am. Filed under 2008 Cardinals

After an embarrassing series in which they were swept by the Kansas City Royals, the Cardinals were left looking for answers…and an offense. They may have found both in their weekend series victory over the defending champion Boston Red Sox.

Friday night, Kyle Lohse earned his 9th win of the year by allowing only 2 runs (1 earned) over 6 innings in the Cards’ 5-4 win. Catcher Jason LaRue and DH Yadier Molina each hit solo home runs and rightfielder Skip Shumaker added a 2-run shot to pace the offense in the win.

The offense was just getting warmed up, however, as they headed into Saturday’s game against Daisuke Matsuzaka. Dice-K would only make it 1+ innings, giving up 7 runs in the Cards’ 9-3 victory. Aaron Miles got the ball rolling with his 1st inning homer, then Troy Glaus put the game away early with a grand slam in the 2nd. That made things easy for rookie Mitchell Boggs, who went 5 1/3 innings, allowing 3 runs on 5 hits to earn his 2nd big league win. Rick Ankiel added a solo shot in the 7th to cap off the scoring barrage.

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As impressive as the first 2 wins of the series were, the Cards may have shown more of who they are as a team in their loss on Sunday. Joel Pineiro pitched well enough to win, allowing only 2 runs over 7 innings, and left with the lead but 3 walks by Rookie Chris Perez and a misplayed ball in center by Rick Ankiel allowed the Sox to score 2 runs in the 8th and take the lead. Jonathan Papelbon was 1 out away from a save in the 9th when he walked pinch-hitter Chris Duncan. The next batter, pinch-hitter Adam Kennedy (who was 3-3 after entering in the 9th) fouled off pitch after pitch in an 0-2 count before knocking Duncan home on a double. The 2 team fought through the extra innings, each escaping tight situations at various points but it was a Kevin Youkilis 2-run homer off Mike Parisi in the 13th, his 2nd of the day, that ended the game 5-3 in favor of the Sox.

The resurgent Cards will now head to Detroit to face the suddenly-hot Tigers in a re-match of the 2006 World Series. Braden Looper (8-5, 4.10 ERA) will take on Tigers’ lefty Kenny Rogers (5-4, 4.36 ERA) tonight at 6:05 pm (Central time).

June 19, 2008

Cards Swept

by @ 1:21 pm. Filed under 2008 Cardinals

Kyle Davies must have liked his chances facing an Albert Pujols-less Cardinals lineup, because he certainly didn’t pitch like a man with a career 5+ ERA. Davies shut the Cards down, allowing 1 run on 5 hits through 7 innings in Kansas City’s 2-1 win Tuesday. Royals’ shortstop Mike Aviles hit a solo shot off Ron Villone in the 8th to put them up for good. Joel Pineiro matched Davies’ effort, allowing 1 run on 7 hits over 7 innings. Another good sign for the suddenly-scuffing Cards was Jason Isringhausen’s perfect 9th inning in his first start back from his trip to the DL.

Wednesday it was Braden Looper’s turn to be let down by the bullpen as Kyle McClellan gave up 2 solo shots in the 8th inning in a 3-2 loss to the Royals. These 2 Missouri teams put on a (starting) pitching clinic for the 2nd straight game as Looper gave up 1 run on 5 hits over 7 innings, while Royals starter Brian Bannister gave up 2 runs while scattering 9 hits over 7.

With a big series against the Red Sox looming, the Cards were unable to get their acts together in this afternoon’s 4-1 loss. Zack Greinke was the third straight Royals starter to baffle the Cardinal offense, allowing only 1 run on 2 hits over 7 innings. The 1 run came on a solo home run by Rick Ankiel in the 4th, his 11th home run of the year. Cardinals’ starter Brad Thompson was forced into the rotation sooner than expected because of Anthony Reyes’ injured elbow and he pitched well, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits over 5 innings. Jason Isringhausen also pitched well in relief, allowing 2 hits and striking out a batter in 2+ innings of work.

With Albert Pujols out for a while and Yadier Molina still day-to-day with his concussion, the rest of the Cardinals’ offense is going to need to step up their games as they head to Boston for a big weekend series. Kyle Lose (8-2, 3.77 ERA) is coming off a big win against the Phillies and will face knuckler Tim Wakefield (4-4, 4.91 ERA) tomorrow night at 6:05pm (Central time).

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June 15, 2008

Another Series Win

by @ 4:11 pm. Filed under 2008 Cardinals

The Cardials proved that they are the scrappiest team in Major League baseball and just might be stubborn enough to stay in the NL Central race no matter how many of their players go down to injury, bouncing back from a 20-2 loss Friday night to win 2 straight and take the series from the Philadelphia Phillies.

Former Phillie Kyle Lohse pitched a gem Saturday,  allowing 2 runs over 8 innings to earn his 8th win of the year. Adam Kennedy provided the early offense with a 2-run homer in the 1st and Ryan Franklin sut the door in the 9th to secure a 3-2 win.

The Cardinals won in a much more unconventional fashion today. Rookie Mitchell Boggs was decent in his second start, giving up 4 runs in 4+ innings. St. Louis took a 6-4 lead into the 8th off the strength of home runs from Skip Shumaker and Troy Glaus, but the relief corps had trouble finding the plate and the Phillies tied the game up. They would have taken thee lead were it not for a phenomenol tag at home by catcher Yadier Molina (who is far too valuable to this team to ever trade, I’m sorry for ever even bringing it up). Chris Duncan made a bad throw home after a grounder was hit to him at first and Molina tagged the runner with his back to the plate just before being run over and taken off the field on a stretcher with neck and back pain. The Cards won in the 10th on a couple of errors by the Phils, with Rick Ankiel (who reached on an error) scoring after Chrs Duncan reached on an error and the ball got away from the pitcher covering first base. No news on Molina aside from the fact that he never lost consciousness during the ordeal. Obviously the last thing the Cards need is another member of their core going down, but any time you’re dealing with neck injuries and stretchers you just have to hope that everything is okay and baseball (or any sport) takes a back seat.

The Cards will open up a series tomorow night at 7:15pm (Central time) in Kansas city as Braden Looper (8-5, 4.34 ERA) takes on Royals’ righty Kyle Davies (2-0, 1.53 ERA). Oh, and in case anyone was wondering, no offers from the St. Louis front office, guess I have to wait for July like everyone else to see Batman in action, Erin Andrews was busy covering the College World Series this weekend, and I apparently get a little grumpy when I have to work on Saturday mornings…such is life.

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June 14, 2008

Decision Time

by @ 7:39 am. Filed under 2008 Cardinals

I promise this isn’t a knee-jerk reaction to the 20-2 thrashing last night, but it’s time for the front office to take an honest look at where the Cards stand this year. Just a few weeks ago things were looking really good with the offense rolling behing sluggers Pujols, Ankiel, and Ludwick and the solid rotation, headed by Wainwright and the surprising Todd Wellemeyer, expecting the additions of Mark Mulder and Chris Carpenter around the All Star break. All the Cardinals had to do, it seemed, was hang in there and stay close to the Cubs until everyone got healthy and make a huge second-half push. Plans…mice and men…you know the drill. Things have fallen apart with Wainwright heading to the DL, Wellemeyer getting rocked in his first start back from the DL, Carpenter suffering a setback in his rehab, and Mulder getting ready to call it a career. As if that wasn’t enough, surprising sluggers Ankiel and Ludwick have come down to earth a little (although Ludwick seems to be getting out of his slump) and Pujols making a DL trip of his own. While he is supposed to be out 3 weeks, he is already talking about trying to get back early. Music to the fans’ ears or a possible catastrophic injury-in-waiting? Time will tell. Look, I hate to come out with this doomsday mentality, I just think the front office has to take a realistic look at the team’s chances and do what is best for the organization as a whole. I’m afraid the Cards are too willing to turn into the Giants of a few years ago, holding on to hope that their one superstar will slug them into contention no matter how many hacks they surround him with. The Cards set themselves up to make a run this year, but if that is not going to happen it may be time to sell off a few veteran pieces to build for the (hopefully near) future. A guy like Kyle Lohse should be able to fetch a prospect or 2 with the solid season he’s having and his respectable contract. Joel Pineiro might look like a solid addition to a contender after a few more outings to show he is healthy. Colby Rasmus has struggled in AAA this year but is still highly regarded within the organization and the Cards do have a glut of outfield talent. Trading Chris Duncan doesn’t make any sense right now, and I would like to see the Cards keep Ankiel around both for his abilities and for what he symbolizes as far as overcoming the odds. Skip Shumaker is a leadoff hitter hitting .305 with a .372 OBP. He has speed and is a good defender capable of playing center in the bigs. Is that someone who might be attractive to another team? What about Ryan Ludwick? I know he has been the hitting hero this year, but the Cards have to look at what the chances are he’ll keep this up over the course of the season, let alone the rest of his career. The term sell high comes to mind with him. I’d be willing to part with any member of the bullpen not named Chris Perez, I’m sure someone is going to need bullpen help for the stretch run. Also, LaRussa seems pretty high on Brendan Ryan. Maybe it’s time to give him a full-time job and see what we can get for the 2 headed 2nd base monster (they’ve actually played better than I expected this year…which might be even more reason to move them) or cross our fingers that someone is looking for a defense-first shortstop who hits 9th in an NL lineup and unload Izturis. Last (and forgive me this blasphemous talk) we come to Yadier Molina. The guy is a Gold Glove waiting to happen every year, but this year he has shown the ability to hit a little, too, batting .299. He signed an extension this off-season, so there is no rush to move him but if the Cards were to go into complete rebuild mode, he is a guy that could fetch some top-notch talent. Regardless of his situation, they are going to have to decide what to do with Bryan Anderson at some point. While he is not in the same zip code as Molina defensively, Anderson is solid enough to be a big league backstop and all he does is hit. He hit .388 with 2 home runs in 19 games for AA Springfield before getting called up to AAA and hitting .326. He doesn’t show a lot of power but neither does Joe Mauer, and that seems to be working out ok in Minnesota. Even as I’m writing this I realize that Molina is not the kind of guy you move, especially at his age, but they need to come up with a plan for Anderson and if someone were to blow them away with an offer for Yadier, it might make sense. I think they should at least float his name around a little to see what the market is. Then again, maybe this is one big knee-jerk reaction. Hopefully Wainwright’s finger issue isn’t that bad and he’ll be back and dealing in no time and Wellemeyer’s sudden issue with only being able to throw balls and batting practice pitches was just a little rust and he goes back to his early-season form, and Pujols’ injury isn’t as severe as feared and he comes back in 2 weeks rested and vengeful and Chris Carpenter comes back messiah-style to lead the Cards past the Cubs in August and into the World Series where they meet the suddenly-resurgent Detroit Tigers, who narrowly avoided the tag as the biggest disappointment in baseball history by getting their act together in mid-June. And maybe someone in the Cards’ organization will read this, like my ideas, and offer me a front office job. And maybe I’ll bump into Chris Nolan on the way home from work and he’ll invite me to a secret advanced screening of the Dark Knight (which would make having to work on Saturday morning totally worth it) tonight. And maybe Erin Andrews will be at the screening tonight and she’ll be so impressed by pedestrian baseball knowledge that she’ll decide to take a chance on a broke law student. Sorry, that got a little over-the-top sarcastic; I really do hope everything turns out ok because the Cards ARE set up to make a run at the World Series this year, but when things turn sour they can go downhill fast and I just don’t want to see them digging themselves too deep a hole.

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Carpenter Update

by @ 6:08 am. Filed under 2008 Cardinals

As if the whole 20-2 thing, Albert Pujols, and Adam Wainwright weren’t enough, more bad news:

http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/sports/stories.nsf/cardinals/story/F81AFE4472E49790862574680013369A?OpenDocument

also, it appears, Mark Mulder will need another surgery. He is looking for a second opinion but has stated that he will retire instead of having surgery and trying to rehab again.

Phils Rip Cards

by @ 5:14 am. Filed under 2008 Cardinals

Todd Wellemeyer’s return from the DL did not go nearly as smoothly as Joel Pineiro’s as everything seemed to go wrong for him, his teammates, and coaches in their 20-2 loss last night, including a few ejections. Russ Springer was tossed in the 8th after hitting Ryan Howard, who had hit 2 home runs to that point, and Tony LaRussa was thrown out trying to defend him. Then, after Phillies’ reliever Rudy Seanez was not thrown out for throwing behind Brendan Ryan in the bottom half of the inning, 3rd base coach Jose Oquendo was ejected, putting a cap on an all-around frustrating day for St. Louis. The Phillies’ big guns did all the damage, with Chase Utley hitting his league-leading 22nd home off Wellemeyer in the 1st. Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell added homers of their own in the inning to put the game away early. The Phil’s offense would not stop there, however, as they scored runs in every inning but the 3rd, 7th, and 9th and scored 9 runs in the 4th. The only pitcher to escape the wrath of the Phillies’ offense was 2nd baseman Aaron Miles, who pitched a perfect 9th in relief.

The Cards will try to stop the bleeding and get back on track today at 2:55pm (Central time) as Kyle Lohse (7-2, 3.92 ERA) will try to tame the Phillies offense against righty Adam Eaton (, 4.62 ERA).

Series Recap

by @ 4:44 am. Filed under 2008 Cardinals

Fighting what a lesser team might look at as insurmountable odds, the Cards came out swinging Wednesday, dominaing all aspects of the game in a 10-0 win. Braden Looper shut down te Cinncincatti offense, throwing a 3-hit shutout. Meanwhile, the Cardinals’ offense jumped all over Johnny Cueto, dusting him for 6 runs through 5 innings. Rick Ankiel and former Red Jason LaRue each hit big home runs in the top of the 1st to put St. Louis up 5-0 and Ryan Ludwick continued to mash himself out of a mini-slump with a solo shot to puncuate the win in the 7th.

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Unfortunately the Cards could not close out the series in style, dropping the final game to the Reds 6-2. Joel Pineiro was solid in his first game back from the DL, giving up 2 runs on 3 hits over 5 innings. The bullpen let him down, however, as Mark Worrell (who got the loss) and Randy Flores each gave up 2 runs in relief. Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo, meanwhile, was on his A game, allowing only 2 hits through 6 innings and adding a solo home run in the 5th for posterity. Yadier Molina was the only Cardinal hitter to manage multiple hits, going 2-4 to push his average to .298 in what is shaping up to be the best offensive season yet for the defensive standout.

June 11, 2008

Win Streak Continues

by @ 1:33 pm. Filed under 2008 Cardinals

The Cards found themselves down 3-0 in the 7th inning and were being completely dominated by Astros’ starter Wandy Rodriguez in the final game of their series in Houston when the offense managed to manufacture 5 runs on just 2 hits (both singles) to take the lead. The bullpen gave up a run in the bottom half of the frame, but the offense had done enough to secure a 5-4 win, Kyle Lohse’s 7th win of the year. Ryan Franklin struck out the side in the 9th to earn his 8th save of the year.

The Cardinals looked to be building off their momentum from the Astros series as they opened up a series against the Cinncincatti Reds. Rookie Mitchell Boggs gave up 2 runs on 4 hits over 5 innings in his first big league start and Albert Pujols and Rick Ankiel hit back-to-back home runs in the 3rd inning. Ryan Ludwick added a solo shot in the 7th and collected 4 RBI on the day to punctuate a 7-2 win. That win would come at a cost, however. Albert Pujols went down with a strained calf in the 7th inning, an injury which has been hampering him for a few weeks now, and will probably be put on the DL. He joins pitcher Adam Wainwright, who was put on the 15 day DL recently with his finger issue, as an injured Cardinals superstar. If Pujols is indeed put on the DL, the Cards will probably call up Chris Duncan to fill his slot at 1st base, although he has been struggling since his demotion to AAA Memphis, hitting under .200 with no home runs. The good news is that Joel Pineiro is off the DL and is set to start Thursday against the Reds, and Todd Wellemeyer is healthy and should be ready to pitch, but it is always a tough blow to lose your best hitter and pitcher in the same week, especially when you are trying to keep pace with the red-hot Chicago Cubs.

The Cards will try to keep in together tonight at 6:10pm (Central time) as Braden Looper (7-5, 4.86 ERA) faces off against Reds’ righty Johnny Cueto (5-5, 5.06 ERA).

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June 8, 2008

Wainwright Injured in Win

by @ 11:28 am. Filed under 2008 Cardinals

Adam Wainwright was well on his way to yet another dominating performance over the Houston Astros when some discomfort in his fingers forced him to leave the game in the 6th inning. Wainwright, who had only given up 2 runs through 5, handed the game over to the bullpen and despite Kyle McClellan giving up 2 runs in the 6th inning, they responded. After McClellan, Randy Flores, Chris Perez, and Ryan Franklin each came in and pitched a scoreless inning to secure the 8-4 win. Offensively, it was the usual characters doing the damage for the Cardinals. Leadoff man Skip Shumaker pushed his average to .306 with a 3-5, 2 RBI day. Troy Glaus continued to heat up at the plate with his 7th home run of the year in the 2nd inning, the second of back-to-back jacks following Ryan Ludwick’s 14th of the year. Wainwright also chipped in with 2 hits and a run scored before leaving the game.

Moehler Baffles Cards

by @ 11:20 am. Filed under 2008 Cardinals

Of all the pitchers who might step up and completely shut n the Cardinals’ offense, Brian Mohler would have to be pretty far down on the list, but he did just that Friday night, shutting out the Cards through 7 innings in the Astros’ 6-1 win. St. Louis starter Braden Looper gave up 5 runs, although only 2 earned runs (the Cards committed 2 errors behind him), through 6 innings. Skip Shumaker and Adam Kennedy were the only Cardinal hitters able to muster a hit against the Astros, each securing 2 and Shumaker knocking in the only run of the game. Rookie Mitchell Boggs, another highly regarded prospect, saw his first major league action in relief, allowing 3 hits over 2 innings and giving up a solo home run in the 8th. Boggs is set to get his first major league start Tuesday in Cincinnati in place of Todd Wellemeyer, who will miss a start with inflammation in his right elbow.

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June 6, 2008

Draft Review

by @ 2:28 pm. Filed under 2008 Cardinals

The Cards ended up taking Brett Wallace with their first round pick in this year’s Rule 4 Draft. This is honesly kind of surprising because they are taking a BIG chance that he will be able to handle 3rd base on an everyday basis in the majors. Granted, he has only committed 8 errors in 50 gams for Arizona St. this year, but scouts universally had him tabbed as a 1st baseman-a position he can’t play in St. Louis-due to his slow feet and overall lack of athleticism. The guy can hit better than anyone in college baseball, but it’s difficult to swallow taking him at such a high spot, especially with some of the names still on the board. There was still buzz about the phenomenal workout high school outfielder Aaron Hicks had in St. Louis before the draft, and if you were going to take a pure hitter who might struggle at 3rd, why not go with Canadian Brett Lawrie, who is at least a more athletic alternative? I was convinced the Cards would take college lefty Christian Friedrich, the second-best lefty on the board and a guy who was seen as a pretty safe choice (as far as pitchers go). And of course there was my favorite player in this draft, high schooler Ethan Martin, who could end up being the next Troy Glaus OR the next Micah Owings. Then again, they went with the safe choice in choosing the bat that will almost certainly translate to the major league level and they are just hoping the glove isn’t too detrimental. With their compensatory pick, the Cards took righty Michael Lynn from Ole Miss. Again, they went with the safe choice here. Lynn doesn’t have overpowering stuff but has 4 average pitches that should translate to the bigs and is seen as a back of the rotation innings-eater type who shouldn’t take too long to work his way through the minors. The passed on Missouri prep pitcher Tim Melville, once regarded as one of the top right-handed pitchers in the class but who fell to pick #115. Instead they took left-handed college outfielder Shane Peterson, a guy who can play any position in the outfield and should hit for a decent average but not much power, and high school infielder Niko Vasquez from Las Vegas. Vasquez is a guy with some pop, but is not very fast and lacks the athleticism to stay at the shortstop spot for long. He has a strong arm, so I suspect the Cards got him with an eye for moving him to 3rd at some point in his development. He has committed to play at Oregon St., but struggled to stay eligible academically in high school and I’m not sure if he has even qualified academically yet. I have a hunch this will not be a tough guy to sign. One guy who shouldn’t be tough to sign but might be difficult to get into baseball action soon is righthanded pitcher Mitchell Harris. Harris was so highly regarded that the Braves drafted him as a junior last year despite the fact he was enrolled at Annapolis and could not sign a baseball contract. As far as I know, the Navy does not have the program which allowed Army football player Caleb Campbell to opt out of his field commitment to play in the NFL and do recruitment work, so it will be interesting to see how that plays out. Anyway, the draft is currently in the 45th round, so if you want the complete list of guys the Cards took go to mlb.com and check the draft tracker, although it’s tough to tell who a lot of these guys are past the 5th or 6th round and at this point I’m just keeping an eye out to see if any people I know have gotten picked.

Double the Fun

by @ 2:02 pm. Filed under 2008 Cardinals

With Wednesday night’s game against the Nationals being rained out, the Cards faced the prospects of a good old fashioned day-night double header. St. Louis took care of business in Game 1 behind another stellar effort from Todd Wellemeyer, who recorded his 7th win of the year by shutting out Washington through 6 innings. The offense was paced by Troy Glaus, who was just warming up in hitting his 3rd home run in 5 days, and Albert Pujols, who hit his first career pinch-hit home run. Rookie Joe Mather added his first career extra-base hit, an RBI double.

Unfortunately, the Cards were unable to keep it going in the nightcap and lost 10-9 in 10 innings. Rookie Mike Parisi struggled for the second straight outing, giving up 8 runs in just 4 innings of work. The Cards actually fought their way back from that hole in the 6th inning, however, as Troy Glaus continued his hot streak with his 6th home run of the year and rookie pitcher Mark Worrell, who came into the game in relief of Parisi, blasted a homer in his first career at-bat. Rookie Joe Mather hit his first big league homer in the 10th and looked to be the hero as the Cards took a 9-8 lead, but new closer Ryan Franklin blew his 3rd save of the year when he gave up a walk-off, 2-run homer to Elijah Dukes in the bottom half of the inning.

The Cards will take anothe rseries win, however, and head backto Minute Maid Park to face the Astros. Braden Looper (7-4, 5.03 ERA) will face Houston righty Brian Moehler (2-2, 4.54 ERA) tonight at 7:05pm (Central time).

June 4, 2008

2008 Draft

by @ 8:52 am. Filed under 2008 Cardinals

Putting aside my obvious affinity for the high-risk, high-reward high school kids, here are a few more names to think about for tomorrow’s draft:

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RHP Ryan Perry, Arizona- possibly the biggest question-mark pitcher in this draft, Perry has two plus pitches, including a fastball that hits 98 mph, and a slider that scouts see as having potential at the next level. He has been oddly hittable for a guy with that kind of stuff at the college level, which makes some people think he might be better suited for a relief role where he can focus on hitting the upper 90′s more conistantly. He should move quickly through a system that way, but he has shown the potential to be a front of the line starter if he can work on not leaving so many pitches in the middle of the zone. It will be interesting to see what the organization that drafts him does with him.

LHP Christian Friedrich, Eastern Kentucky- rated as the #2 lefty starter in this draft, Friedrich doesn’t have any overpowering stuff but he does have 4 pitches that should translate to the bigs, led by a low-90′s fastball and a decent curve. He projects to be a middle of the rotation-type guy and should be available at 13.

1B/3B Brett Wallace, Arizona St.- this one might be a bit of a stretch considering most scouts see him as only being able to play 1st and the Cards are pretty set there, but it’s tough to completely ignore this type of hitter and he has played 3rd in college and could possibly adjust to a corner outfield spot. He is almost universally regarded as the best hitter in college baseball and scouts see him as a .300, 20+ home run kind of guy, and it’s always nice to have them around.

Cards Beat Nats…and Rain

by @ 7:54 am. Filed under 2008 Cardinals

The Cardinals endured 2 rain delays to get back to their winning ways, beating the Nationals 6-1 last night. Kyle Lohse picked up his 6th win of the year, allowing 1 run on 4 hits over 5 innings. The bullpen shut the Washington offense down for the rest of the game, including rookie reliever Mark Worrell’s first career appearance in the 9th (0 runs, 1 hit, 1 walk). Yadier Molina provided all the offense Lohse would need with his 3-run homer in the 1st inning. Ryan Ludwick and Lohse, himself, added RBI to help the cause. The Cards will try to keep pace with the red-hot Cubs tonight at 6:10pm (Central time) sending Todd Wellemeyer (6-1, 3.16 ERA) to the hill against Washington lefty John Lannan (4-5, 3.52 ERA).

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Wainwright Falls Apart Late

by @ 7:33 am. Filed under 2008 Cardinals

Adam Wainwright has looked like a bona fide ace, and he seemed to continue along that track Monday night as he was absolutely shutting the Pirates down and looked to be cruising with a 4-0 lead through 6. Unforunately, it all fell apart for Wainwright in the 7th as he surrendered 5 runs to put the Cards behind for good. Albert Pujols and Ryan Ludwick had 2 hits and 2 RBI a piece to pace the offense early while rookie rightfielder Joe Mather was 2-4 with 2 runs scored. Unfortunately, the offense did all their damage early and could not come back when Wainwright was knocked off cruise control.

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June 2, 2008

2008 Draft Watch

by @ 2:41 pm. Filed under 2008 Cardinals

The 2008 MLB draft is almost upon us so I figured I would throw out a few possibilities for the Cardinals to take at 13 (their highest pick in a while, if I’m not mistaken). Keep in mind, I have absolutely no insider information, these are just a few names I have seen on various mock drafts and (probably more so the case) wishful thinking on my part:

OF Aaron Hicks, California HS- Hicks is a switch-hitter who also features a mid-90′s fastball as a pitcher on his high school team, but his raw ability and 5 tool potential has him tabbed as an outfielder. The Cards do have some depth throughout the organization in the outfield, but it might be tough to pass on a guy Baseball America is comparing to Darryl Strawberry.
RHP Tim Melville, Missouri HS- the Walt Jocketty regime was not big on drafting high schoolers at any position, let alone pitcher, so it will be interesting to see how the new management approaches this draft. Mellville is a local product who, at 6’5, 210 lbs. with a fastball in the upper 90′s and a solid curve already in his arsenal, fits the mold of a prototypical power pitcher. Melville is considered the top prep pitching prospect by most, so it will be interesting to see if he is still available at 13 and, if he is, if the Cards feel the pressure to take the local high school hero.

3B Ethan Martin, Georgia HS-Ok, so I have an affinity for the young kids. Martin first popped up as a supplemental round pick for the Cards in a mock draft I read last year. The profile on him was pure power from the right side of the plate with defensive skills that should be able to keep him at the hot corner in the bigs. After hitting very well i nthe various summer leagues he was viewed as a Troy Glaus-type player, which seemed to fit well sinc eGlaus probably isn’t a long-term answer at 3rd. Since his high school season began, however, he has been gaining momentum as a two-way player, showing off a mid-90′s fastball. It would be interesting to see how the Cards handle a player of his caliber in the minors and how they would value his skill set, especially in the NL where his hitting ability wouldn’t be wasted as a pitcher. Regardless, he should be gone before 39 (St. Louis’ compensatory pick) so if the Cards want to take a chance on hime either way, it would have to be with the 13th pick

Wild Card- Brett Lawrie, British Columbia HS- Lawrie has rocketed up the charts lately and will be an interesting one to keep an eye on. The man without a position has played pretty much everywhere for his high school team, some see him as a 3rd baseman, others as a 2nd bagger in the mold of Chase Utley, while other see him as a project behind the plate. All anyone knows is the kid can rake from the right side of the plate. He has been compared to other Canadian hitting machines Justin Morneau and Larry Walker, and many have said that, at this stage in his development, he is a better pure hitter than Morneau was. He has been off the radar, but is picking up steam and would be another interesting project for the Cards to take on.

Weekend Split With Bucs

by @ 6:47 am. Filed under 2008 Cardinals

The kids got rocked in the Cards’ 14-4 loss to the Pirates Saturday night. Mike Parisi struggled in his first big league start, giving up 8 runs and not making it out of the 3rd. There was not much relief from the bullpen, either, as Kelvin Jimenez-who was called up when Joel Pineiro was sent to the DL-gave up 5 more runs in his 3+ innings.

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The Cards bounced back yesterday to secure a 7-4 win behind the glove of centerfielder Rick Ankiel. Troy Glaus was 3-4 with his 2nd home run in 2 days and Braden Looper was 2-2 to put his average at .429 on the year in addition to earning his 7th win, but it was Ankiel’s Jim Edmonds-esque diving catch in center which got the attention of the ESPN nation last night. For a recap of the entire game and (more importantly) the clip of the catch, go to:

http://stlouis.cardinals.mlb.com/news/gameday_recap.jsp?ymd=20080601&content_id=2812569&vkey=recap&fext=.jsp&c_id=stl

Adam Wainwright(5-2, 2.86 ERA) will try to build upon a couple of recent impressive starts as the Cards try to win another series tonight at 7:15pm (Central time) against Pittsburgh lefty Tom Gorzelanny (4-5, 7.38 ERA).

May 31, 2008

Cards on a Roll

by @ 11:51 am. Filed under 2008 Cardinals

Todd Wellemeyer continued to be the biggest of several big surprise contributors for the Cardinals this year, allowing only 1 run on 6 hits over 7 innings to put his record at a dazzling 6-1 on the year with an ERA of 3.16. The bullpen had some trouble with the Pirates’ hitters but held on to secure a 5-4 win last night. Ryan Franklin earned his 5th save of the year by recording the final out in the 9th, despite giving up a run on 2 hits in the process.

Albert Pujols led the offense, going 2-3 with 2 RBI on the game to push his average to .364 and hit his 14th home run of the year off Pittsburgh starter Zach Duke in the 1st inning. Joe Mather, one of the Cardinal’s top outfield prospects, went 1-4 with an RBI in his first big league appearance since getting the call after Chris Duncan’s demotion. Wellemeyer and Cesar Izturis each chipped in with an RBI while Yadier Molina was 2-4 with a run scored.

With Joel Pineiro on the 15 day DL with a pulled groin, Mike Parisi (0-1, 2.87 ERA) will get his first big league start tonight at 6:15pm (Central time) against Pirates lefty Paul Maholm (2-5, 5.11 ERA). On a side note, Chris Carpenter, Jason Isringhausen, Brad Thompson, and Matt Clement will all be throwing simulated games over the next few days as they begin to rehab their various injuries. For Carpenter and Clement, it will be their first time facing live hitters this season. Another injured Cardinals starter, Mark Mulder, has announced that he will retire if his most recent arm injury forces him into a 3rd surgery. Despite the fact that this group of injured pitchers includes 3 of the team’s projected starters, Dave Duncan and the group of misfit toys he has collected in his pitching staff have the second-best ERA (3.77) and second-most wins (25) in the National League.

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May 30, 2008

Duncan, Lohse Step Up

by @ 10:53 am. Filed under 2008 Cardinals

Even though he has struggled a bit to start the year, the Cardinals knew they would have to bring their A-games against Astros ace Roy Oswalt and they did just that in a 3-2 victory to seal the series win last night.

Starter Kyle Lohse pitched a phenomenal game, completely shutting the Astros down through 6 innings and allowing only a solo home run by Carlos Lee in the 7th. The Cardinal offense was able to jump on Oswalt early before he settled into a rhythm. Albert Pujols singled with 2 outs in the 1st before Oswalt walked Ryan Ludwick and Troy Glaus to load the bases. Duncan, who has struggled all year, came through with the 2-out, 2-run single to put the Cards up. In the 6th inning Pujols continued to punish the Astros pitching staff for everything that has ever gone wrong in his life, hitting a solo homer off Oswalt to put St. Louis up for good.

The Cards will open up a series against the Pirates tonight at 7:15pm (Central time), sending Todd Wellemeyer (5-1, 3.36 ERA) to the hill against Pittsburgh lefty Zach Duke (2-3, 4.55 ERA).

May 29, 2008

Ace Material

by @ 11:43 am. Filed under 2008 Cardinals

Many people have said that Adam Wainwright would be the Cardinals’ ace by default with Chris Carpenter injured to start the year. Lately, however, the 26 year old has been making a case for himself as the real deal, allowing only 1 run on 3 hits while striking out 8 through 8 innings in St. Louis’ 6-1 win over the Astros last night. The stellar outing puts Wainwright’s record at 5-2 on the year and lowers his ERA to 2.86.

Wainwright was backed by a balanced offensive attack. Yadier Molina and Cesar Izturis each chipped in with 2 RBI from the bottom of the lineup, while Ryan Ludwick continues to mash, adding his 39th RBI of the year.

The Cards will try to close out the series with a win tonight at 7:15pm (Central time) with Kyle Lohse (4-2, 4.26 ERA) facing Houston righty Roy Oswalt (4-4, 5.61 ERA).

May 28, 2008

Chacon Shuts Down Cards

by @ 1:36 pm. Filed under 2008 Cardinals

Braden Looper struggled in his outing last night, giving up 8 runs and not making it through the 5th inning in the Cardinals’ 8-2 loss to the Astros. Houston starter Shawn Chacon scattered 7 hits over 7 innings and never really found himself in trouble, with the exception of at bats against Albert Pujols. Pujols was 4-4 on the day with a solo home run, but his effort was not nearly enough to put the Cards on top. St. Louis will try to right the ship tonight at 7:15pm (Central time), sending Adam Wainwright (4-2, 3.06 ERA) to the hill against Astros’ lefty Wandy Rodriguez (1-0, 2.31 ERA).

May 25, 2008

Cards Drop Finale

by @ 7:57 pm. Filed under 2008 Cardinals

The Cards played well enough to win for 9 innings, but had a few lapses in the extra frame which did them in in their 4-3 loss to the Dodgers today. St. Louis got 2 runs off lefty phenom Clayton Kershaw while Todd Wellemeyer continued to be a pleasant surprise, giving up 3 runs over 6 innings. In the end, it was a ball that got past catcher Yadier Molina in the 10th which put a runner in scoring position and a poorly-located pitch was driven to right by Andre Either to end the game. The Cards will try to re-group at home tomorrow night, sending Braden Looper (6-3, 4.34 ERA) to the hill against Astros righty Shawn Chacon (1-0, 4.11 ERA) at 7:15pm (Central time).

Cards Continue Roll

by @ 8:09 am. Filed under 2008 Cardinals

Kyle Lohse returned to the form he showed early in the season and the Cardinals’ offense was able to get to Dodgers’ starter Brad Penny with 2 outs in the 3rd inning to secure a 4-0 win to put St. Louis back into a tie with Chicago in the top spot in the NL Central.

The Cards took advantage of a couple breaks to get themselves on the board. Penny was cruising with 2 outs and no one on in the 3rd inning when he walked Skip Shumaker and Adam Kennedy. Chris Duncan then blooped an RBI single to left, followed by an Albert Pujols RBI double, then a 2-run double by Rick Ankiel. It was all the Cards would get off Penny as they would only muster up one more hit on the game but it was all they needed with Lohse on the hill. The off-season free agent pickup gave up 6 hits over 6 innings and struck out 5 to put his record at 4-2 on the year. While it was not a save situation, it is also important to note that rookie Chris Perez struck out the side in his 9th inning appearance. 

The Cards will try to close out the sweep as Dodger fans get a glimpse of their team’s future this afternoon. Lefty Clayton Kershaw, widely regarded as one of the top 5 prospects in all baseball, will make his major league debut today at 3:10pm (Central time) against Todd Wellemeyer (5-1, 3.25 ERA).

May 24, 2008

Ace Steps Up

by @ 9:19 am. Filed under 2008 Cardinals

Adam Wainwright showed why he is considered the current ace of the Cardinals’ staff and Ryan Ludwick continued to rake offensively as the Cards took the first game of their series against the LA Dodgers 2-1 last night.

Wainwright was stellar for the first time in a while, giving up only 1 run on 5 hits over 7 innings. Chris Perez earned his first career hold in relief and Ryan Franklin shut the door for his 3rd save of the year, despite a rain delay 1 out into the 9th inning. Offensively, it was the Ryan Ludwick show as the rightfielder secured 3 of St. Louis’s 6 team hits and his 2-run shot in the 3rd proved to be all the offense the team would need to beat Los Angeles starter Derek Lowe.

The Cards will try to put together a little more offense for starter Kyle Lohse (3-2, 4.71 ERA) tonight as they face Dodgers’ righty Brad Penny (5-4, 5.34 ERA) at 9:10pm (Central time).

May 22, 2008

Cards Take Series Against Pads

by @ 10:01 am. Filed under 2008 Cardinals

Joel Piniero got off to a solid start against the Padres Tuesday night, but a 3-run home run by Kevin Kouzmanoff in the 6th was all the Padres needed as they put the Cards away 3-2. St. Louis bounced back to win the series last night, however, as they pounded out 16 hits in an 11-3 win.  Braden Looper earned his 6th win of the year and the Cardinals hitters absolutely punished the Padres pitching corps. An Albert Pujols line drive hit starter Chris Young in the face, knocking him out of the game in the 3rd after giving up 3 runs. The onslaught continued against the bullpen as the Cards took the series and will have today off before heading to LA to take on the Dodgers Friday night.

May 20, 2008

Cards Blast Pads

by @ 2:59 pm. Filed under 2008 Cardinals

Ryan Ludwick was clearly not a fan of splitting time in the Cardinal’s outfield earlier this year and has firmly entrenched himself both in the starting outfield and in the cleanup spot behind Albert Pujols with the absolute tear he has been on for the past month or so.

Ludwick was 3-4 with 3 RBI and his team-leading 12th home run last night as the Cardinals beat down the San Diego Padres 8-2. Albert Pujols is also benefitting from having that type of protection behind him as he went 3-5 with 2 RBI on 2 solo home runs, the first of which traveled over 400 feet. Cesar Izturis added to the barrage with his first homer of the year in his 2-5 effort from the 9 spot. Leadoff man Skip Shumaker was 2-6 on the day and Troy Glaus was 2-4. Todd Wellemeyer continued to queitly be one of the Cardinals’ most consistant starters, giving up only 2 runs on 6 hits over 6 innings.

The Cardinals will try to keep their 1st winning streak in a while alive tonight in San Diego as Joel Piniero (2-2, 4.46 ERA) faces the great Greg Maddux (3-4, 3.98 ERA) at 9:05pm (Central time).

May 19, 2008

Cards Take Series

by @ 7:24 am. Filed under 2008 Cardinals

For the first time in a while the Cardinals decided to find a way to win and dug themselves out of an early 3-0 deficit to beat the Tampa Bay …Rays 5-4  on a walk-off double by Skip Shumaker.

Starter Kyle Lohse did not pitch poorly, giving up only 3 runs (2 earned) over 6 innings but was lifted in the 6th for a pinch hitter. It took the offense a while to get going but once they did it was the top of the order doing the damage. Shumaker and Aaron Miles were each 2-5 with 2 RBI a piece, including Skip’s game-winner. Albert Pujols was 3-5 and Ryan Ludwick hit his team-leading 11th home run in the 7th inning. Chris Perez pitched a perfect 9th inning to get his first career MLB win.

The Cards will try to keep their winning streak alive as they head out West to take on the San Diego Padres tonight at 9:05pm (Central time). Todd Wellemeyer (4-1, 3.27 ERA) will face Padres’ lefty Wil Ledezma (0-0, 2.63 ERA).

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May 18, 2008

Weekend in Review

by @ 7:53 am. Filed under 2008 Cardinals

Jason Isringhausen was put on the 15-day DL after admitting to an injury he suffered several days ago when he punched a TV screen in Milwaukee. Taking his place on the roster was closer of the future Chris Perez, who provided the home fans with their only reason to cheer in the Cards’ 3-1 loss to Tampa Bay Friday night. Perez allowed only 1 baserunner in his inning of work (BJ Upton reached on an error by Albert Pujols) and hit 100mph on the radar. Saturday the Cards looked like they were in ther drivers seat with an 8-4 lead late in the game, but the bullpen struggled as Randy Flores gave up 3 runs and Kyle McClellan blew the save to send the game into extra frames. Ryan Ludwick continued to absolutely tear it up offensively, hitting his 2nd home run of the night in the 10th inning, sending the fans home happy. The Cards will try to build off this momentum today at 1:15pm (Central time) as Kyle Lohse (3-2, 4.91 ERA) faces …Rays’ righty Edwin Jackson (2-3, 3.47 ERA).

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