News, Notes and Historical Information on the St. Louis Cardinals
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The Cardinals inked pitcher Kyle McClellan to a one year deal and they’ll avoid arbitration. The deal will bring McClellan around $2.5 million and that leaves just one player, Jason Motte, to deal with as far as arbitration.
McClellan filled in as a starter in 2012 for the first time in his four year career with the Cardinals. He was solid enough with a 12-7 record but it cost him considerably with regard to his strikeout rate. At this point, I like McClellan as a fill in for the rotation if needed, but I like him better as a reliever and his 2010 was a nice one.
The Cardinals took the first game in the 2011 World Series behind a solid outing by Chris Carpenter. He gave up two runs on five hits and a walk with four strikeouts in six inning. Five relievers then combined to hold the Rangers scoreless after that. Jason Motte pitched a shutout ninth and he picked up another post season save.
Lance Berkman went two for four with two RBIs. Rafael Furcal drew two walks and David Freese went one for two with a walk and a run.
Game two is tomorrow. It’ll be Colby Lewis going up against Jaime Garcia.
I was listening to the radio the other day and they were discussing the most disappointing teams. The consensus pick was the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim but a close second was the St. Louis Cardinals. Most people picked them to win the division hands down and to be six games out with two weeks to play means their chances of making the post season are slim. Even worse, they’re just six games above .500 and they have no games left against the Reds to help them make up some ground. Although six games against the Pirates sure doesn’t hurt.
Adam Wainwright won his 19th game of the season and he’s near the top of the list of Cy Young candidates. After the one run, eight inning outing, his ERA is down to 2.45 and his WHIP is 1.05. Of course Roy Halladay is competing for the league lead in ERA, wins and strikeouts and he’s playing for a contender so while Wainwright is definitely in the mix, I think he finishes second to Halladay.
Albert Pujols was his usual awesome self and Matt Holliday and Colby Rasmus have been good, there have been some big holes on offense. The combined OPS of the Cardinals’ shortstops have been a less then impressive .602. Catcher and third base have also been tough spots in the line up.
The good news is, the Cardinals are still filling the ballpark and that means the team should have the money to make some moves in the off season. Chris Carpenter is locked up for at least another year and Wainwright is in the mix through 2012 because my best is, his 2012 option option vests because he’ll be in the top five of the Cy Young vote. Having those two guys and Albert to build around is definitely something to be optimistic about.
FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthall says the Rockies may be looking to trade Matt Holliday if they continue to fall out of contention and he mentions St. Louis as a possible destination.
I want to spend some time going over the moves made by the Cardinals this off-season:
The biggest player personnel move was obviously the Scott Rolen trade. This move was essentially John Mozeliak’s way of telling the rest of the GMs in the league he is for real and will be a force to be reckoned with. Everyone and his sister knew that the Cardinals wanted to trade Scott Rolen. Injury history aside, he and Tony LaRussa simply do not like each other, and had no problem taking their issues public. It is not uncommon for a player to voice his concerns to the media after being sat down, especially in a championship situation. But the fact that the normally less-than-media-friendly LaRussa shot back so publicly at Rolen this off-season sealed the third baseman’s fate. Most GMs around the league were holding this, along with Rolen’s injury problems over the last two years, over Mozeliak’s head as he tried to move the player once considered one of the greatest third basemen in the history of the game. Instead of agreeing to pay a huge part of Rolen’s contract and giving him away to some team in return for a couple of throw-in prospects, Mozeliak held out and somehow managed to pry former World Series MVP Troy Glaus away from the Toronto Blue Jays. Glaus does not come without his own set of baggage, however. He has an even more extensive injury history than Rolen and has been linked to an HGH order in a recent report by Sports Illustrated. But the fact of the matter is the Cardinals could not get anything better in return for Rolen and, if Glaus can stay healthy this season, he immediately steps in for Rolen both at third base and in the middle of the Cardinals order and helps them compete for the NL Central Championship. Major props should go to the new man in charge for pulling off this incredible deal.
May 29, 1967 at Crosley Field
Cardinals 2, Reds 1 (24-14)
Bob Gibson was awesome and he improved to 6-4 with an eleven inning outing against the Reds. He gave up just one run on six hits and three walks with twelve strikeouts in the extra inning win.
Julian Javier doubled home Tim McCarver for the winning run in the eleventh. Lou Brock tacked on two more hits in the win and he scored the first Cardinal run of the game.
May 29, 1967 at Crosley Field
Reds 7, Cardinals 6 (24-15)
Al Jackson was hit hard in the Cardinals loss in the second game of their doubleheader with the Reds. He gave up five runs on nine hits and two walks with a strikeout in four innings. Ron Willis took the loss and he dropped to 1-2 on the season.
Curt Flood had a huge game and he played a part in most of the Cardinals six runs. He went three for four with a homerun and five RBIs. Lou Brock went one for five but he scored two runs.
The Cardinals didn’t get it done yesterday. Chris Carpenter wasn’t perfect, but he threw a game he should of won. Brandon Looper didn’t help with he two runs he gave up. And then you can also blame the offense because they didn’t put a run on the board until the ninth inning.
Now, it’s all up to Jeff Suppan and the bats in a critical game seven. Man my nerves are on edge.
August 24, 1926 at Sportsman’s Park
Braves 2, Cardinals 1 (69-51)
The Cardinals lost a tough after a very strong outing by Bill Sherdel. He had a 1-0 lead until he gave up single runs in the seventh and eighth to take the loss. He gave up eight hits, one walk and he struck out one.
August 24, 1926 at Sportman’s Park
Cardinals 6, Braves 5 (70-51)
Vic Keen was chased out of this one early and by the end of the third, the Cardinals were down 5-0. The Cardinals came back and made it a ball game with four in the bottom of the third to make it a one run game. Then in the bottom of the eighth, they scored two to put the game away.
August 11, 1926 at Braves Field
Cardinals 2, Braves 0 (61-49)
Jesse Haines completely shut down the Boston Braves in his second shutout of the season. This one was a five hit shutout in which he struck out one.
It could have been worse. At the end of the day today, we’re right back where we started. The Cardinals still lead the Cardinals by three and a half games. It’s not much of a cushion, but it’s better then the alternative, which is second place.
Monday’s game was a beatdown and I was hoping it would set the tone for the series. Chris Duncan, Albert Pujols and Scott Rolen all scored three times and Yadier Molina drove in four runs. Jeff Weaver had a nice start, although he had a ton of runs to work with. He gave up a single run on six hits with one walks and seven strikeouts in six innings.
The Reds bounced back on Tuesday and turned the tables by blowing out the Cards. Jason Marquis was gone without finishing the third inning and Eric Milton held the Cards in check. So Taguchi had two hits and an RBI in the 10-3 loss.
Yesterday’s game was the toughest to take. The Cardinals scored four runs in the first inning but by the end of six, the scored was tied 6-6. The Cards scored one in the eighth to take the lead, but then Jason Isringhausen gave up a two run shot in the bottom of the ninth to lose the game. Jim Edmonds hit a grand slam in that first inning and Scott Spiezio homered as well.
Anthony Reyes did the job today and ended the two game skid. He threw five shutout innings and boosted his record to 4-5 on the season. Chris Duncan homered twice and Jim Edmonds had three hits, including a homerun, with two RBis in the 6-1 win.
Next up is a three game set against the last place Pirates, who have lost four in a row. Hopefully it’ll be seven in a row by Sunday.
July 4, 1926 at Sportsman’s Park
Reds 7, Cardinals 2 (39-34)
The Cardinals failed to turn things around on Inpendence Day and they lost their fourth straight game, this time at the hands of the first place Reds. Cincinatti jumped all over Bill Sherdel and tagged him for three runs in the first inning. The Reds went on to score four more but those first three were all they needed.
Chick Hafey and Bob O’Farrell led the way with the bats. They both had two hits and scored a run a piece. The rest of the team managed only four hits and the Cardinals didn’t score their first run until the eighth inning.
I think the Cardinals have hit rock bottom. The amazing thing is, no other team in the NL Central has stepped up to pass up the Cardinals, so despite dropping eight of their last ten games (including two against the worst team in baseball) the Cardinals are still in first place, one game ahead of the Reds.
On Friday, the Cardinals gave up a two run lead then lost the game in the tenth inning. Brandon Looper was the culprit and he dropped his first game of the season. Jeff Suppan didn’t have a great start but he did drive in two runs to help out his own cause. Adam Wainwright gave up the tying run in the top of the eighth and that proved to be just as important as the two runs in the tenth.
Yesterday’s game was almost a carbon copy of Friday’s. This time though, the Cardinals tied it up in the bottom of the ninth to send the game into extra innings. Then two innings later, Jason Isringhausen gave up the winning run. Sidney Ponson got shelled and the Cardinals hit four homeruns. Scott Rolen, Yadier Molina, Jim Edmonds and Scott Spiezio all went deep for the Red Birds.
Today’s game was scary. The Cardinals took a 6-1 lead in the third then made it 8-1 in the fifth. The Royals then proceeded to score six runs in the final three innings to make it very close. Final was 9-7 and Albert Pujols drove in four runs and homered. Jason Marquis won his tenth game and Scott Rolen and Jim Edmonds also homered.
The Cardinals have three All Stars and they were the usual suspects. Albert Pujols, Scott Rolen and Chris Carpenter all got the nod.
Next up for the Cardinals is three games in Atlanta. The Braves have finally pulled themselves out of the cellar but hopefully the Cardinals can turn their skid around and give themselves some cushion heading into the All Star break.
July 2, 1926 at Forbes Field
Pirates 3, Cardinals 2 (39-32)
Pirates starter Ray Kremer shutdown the Cardinals through eighth innings and by the time the Redbirds mounted a comeback in the ninth, the Pirates had a big enough cushion to where it didn’t matter. Pete Alexander took the loss and he gave up two runs on seven hits in seven innings of work.
This was just plain ugly. The Cardinals went to play the World Champs in their own ballpark and the Cardinals left a broken mess. This was just plain brutal.
Mark Mulder kicked things off on Tuesday and he gave up nine runs on ten hits in 2 1/2 innings. Sidney Ponson later gave up six runs in a single inning of work and he even plunked two guys. Chris Duncan homered, but it didn’t matter. Oddly, the Cardinals had sixteen hits, but they stranded 12 runners in the 20-6 loss.
Wednesday was nearly as bad. Jim Edmonds, Tomas Perez and So Taguchi all hit solo shots, but Jason Marquis gave up an incredible 13 runs on 14 hits in five innings. Tony Larussa had to be careful with overusing his pen, so it looked like he hung Jason Marquis out there. In all, he gave up four homeruns.
And what an outing by the rookie Anthony Reyes and what a waste of it by the Cards. One hit. One freaking hit and it just so happened it was a solo shot by Jim Thome. All the Cardinals could muster were four hits and nobody crossed the plate. This game made me just as sick as the 20 run debacle on Tuesday.
And it doesn’t get much easier because we head to Detroit for a three game series. Detroit’s on top of the world right now. They’re playing well, especially in interleague. Hopefully we can get back on track. Oddly, the Tigers have played much better on the road and the Cardinals have done a lot better at home so this one is a toss up. Friday’s match up of Justin Verlander and Chris Carpenter should be a good one though.
Getting swept is never fun and the Reds took us to task earlier this week. Fortunately, the Cardinals were able to put together a decent series this weekend, while the Reds dropped three straight to the Cubs. I usually never have anything nice to say about the Cubs, but I was almost rooting for them this weekend.
Friday was really nice to see. The Brewers scored six runs in the first two innings off of Mark Mulder, and the way this team had been playing, even I gave them up for dead. Two innings later, the Cardinals had a two run lead. In the fifth, they tacked on two more to pad their lead and at this point, it looked like a Cardinals blowout. Scott Spiezio drove in three runs and David Eckstein went three for five with two RBIs and two runs.
On Saturday, it was the Brewers who came from behind to win it. The Cardinals jumped out to 3-0 lead, and the Brewers chipped at it one run at a time. They tied it in the seventh, and then in the eighth, Carlos Lee gave the Brewers their first and only lead of the game. A solid start by Jason Marquis went to waste and Hector Luna had three hits and a run. Scott Rolen hit his seventh homerun of the season.
Today, there was no comeback, but the Cards and Brewers mashed 12 runs into the first four innings. The rest of the game, neither team scored. Jim Edmonds had a two run double and David Eckstein and Scott Rolen both scored twice. Jeff Suppan only lasted four innings and Josh Hancock picked up the win. Jason Isringhausen picked up his 20th save of the season.
Pittsburgh is on deck so hopefully the Cardinals will be able to take care of business. We have a game and a half lead heading into the series, and I fully expect the Cards to still be in first place once they leave Pittsburgh.
Cardinals president Mark Lamping defended the Cardinals on Thursday, saying that the insurance claim they filed for the environmental cleanup costs on the site of New Busch Stadium was a valid one. I wrote late last week about how Greenwich Insurance Co. was denying the claim because they feel past studies were performed on the site and they showed the Cardinals knew there was contamination prior to taking out the policy. Greenwich is also saying that the Cards didn’t inform the insurance company that they were going to build a new stadium on the site.
Also in the column, it clarifies that the claim is only for $7.5 million, not the $14 million originally reports. The actual cleanup costs were $14 million, but the Cardinals got some of the back through brownfield tax credits.
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