Cardinals’ shortstop Cesar Izturis is known mainly for his solid work on defense, so you might not have noticed him nearly as much at the plate. If you have, though, something might’ve seemed odd.
That something is that Izturis has–for now–abandoned switch hitting, and stands in the righthanded swingers’ side of the batters’ box regardless of whether the pitcher is a righty or lefty. The decision became noticeable in last night’s game versus the Breweres when Izturis took his at-bats against righthanded thrower Jeff Suppan.
Izuris did not get a hit last night, going 0-for-3, but so far this year, he has hit about a hundred points higher as a righthanded swinger.
The Cards took the Padres series a game early, starter Todd Wellemeyer getting plenty of help from the offense; including his own contribution, a single and a run scored. Wellemeyer’s record improves to 8-4. Ryan Franklin, one of four relief pitchers, earned his 14th, save. Ron Villone was credited with a hold.
Down 5-0 early in the second inning, Wellemeyer struggled, then settled down, then battled, trying to make certain manager Tony La Russa didn’t have to go to his bullpen early. At the same time, La Russa sent a clear message to Wellemeyer that he was going to have to pitch deeper into the game by leaving him in to bat leadoff in the bottom of the fifth.
Wellemeyer delivered at the plate, too, with a single to right. After a Brendan Ryan strikeout, Skip Schumaker walked, and the Cards had a change to chip off some of the Padres’ five-run lead. Ryan Ludwick singled, third base coach Jose Oquendo holding up Wellemeyer at third, the bases now loaded with Cardinals.
Albert Pujols delivered, scorching a Randy Wolf pitch to the wall in left-center field, clearing the bases and bringing the Cards within two runs at 5-3. With two outs, Rick Ankiel singled home Pujols to make it 5-4.
An inning later, Wellemeyer took part in the next phase of the Cardinals comeback, sacrfice bunting Cesar Izturis into scoring position after he’d reached on an infield single. Padres’ third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff helped out the cause, throwing a Brendan Ryan ground ball over the head of first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, Izturis advancing to third and Ryan scampering on to second.
Schumaker brought Izturis home with a ground ball to tie up the game at 5-5. After Ryan advanced to third base on a wild pitch, Ludwick walked. Pujols then collected his fourth RBI on the day, singling home Ryan with the go-ahead run.
La Russa called on his bullpen after Wellemeyer had secured one out in the seventh, a strikeout of pinch-hitter Scott Hairston. The move was questionable, with Wellemeyer only in the 80s on pitch count (he’d gone 120 two games earlier) and showing no signs of considerable fatigue. Randy Flores got the call, however, specifically to face lefthanded swinger, Jody Gerut. Flores walked Gerut, though a couple of the ball-strike calls seemed to favor the Padres’ regular leadoff man.
La Russa went to Russ Springer, who gave up back to back singles to Edgar Gonzalez and Brian Giles, respectively. On came reliever number three, Ron Villone, especially to face Adrian Gonzalez. Villone fared better than Flores on his lefty-lefty matchup, striking out A. Gonzalez by spotting a fast ball on the outside corner, getting the Padres’ three-hole hitter looking. Villone then got cleanup hitter Kevin Kouzmanoff to fly out to Ankiel in center.
Ryan Franklin took over to start the eighth, La Russa sticking with him instead of going with Jason Isringhausen in a closer’s role in the ninth. The top of the Padres’ order went down one-two-three, the Cardinals securing a 6-5 win.
Mark Mulder will get a shot at getting back into the St. Louis Cardinals’ starting rotation on Wednesday against the Philadelphia Phillies. The probable Phillies
Mitchell Boggs will head back to Triple-A Memphis to make room for Cesar Izturis, who is coming off the DL list today. La Russa is not in any hurry to rush Izturis back into the lineup, but Izturis says his hamstring feels fine.
Joe Mather has been activated from Memphis, filling a roster spot opened up by Brian Barton, who has gone on the 15-day DL with a right wrist injury. Mather will start today in left field.
Probables: Cardinals’ pitcher Todd Wellemeyer RHP (7-3, 3.86) will match up against the Cubs’ Sean Marshall LHP (0-2, 4.87).
Wellemeyer v Cubs: Todd Wellemeyer faced the Cubs on May 4, earning a win, pitching 5 innings, giving up only three hits while walking four and striking out four.
#50: The Cards have reached the fifty win mark, now 50-39.
How the Redbirds stand: With last night’s victory over the Chicago Cubs, the Redbirds have made up the ground they lost yesterday, now 2.5 games behind the Cubs in the NL Central.
Lohse no decision: Kyle Lohse got a no decision, his record remaining at 10-2.
Izturis set to return: Shortstop Cesar Izturis is due to come off the DL today. Izuris has a hamstring strain. With Aaron Miles swinging a hot bat and holding his own on defense, plus steady contributions from Adam Kennedy, the recently disabled Izturis might not get thrown right back in the lineup. Manager Tony La Russa wants to be careful with Izturis’s return to action as a precaution.
Reyes optioned: Pitcher Anthony Reyes is coming off a stint on the 15-day DL, and will be optioned back to Triple-A Memphis. Reyes had a right elbow strain.
Wallace hits first round-tripper: Recently signed top draft pick, Brett Wallace, hit his first home run for affiliate Quad Cities River Bandits (A) at Modern Woodmen Park. Wallace had tallied only two hits in 12 at-bats to that point. The homer came in a 9-2 victory over the Peoria Chiefs. Two relief pitchers threw a combined five-hitter in the win, Chuckie Fick and Wayne Daman.
Granny beats AAA-Redbirds: Not grandma, but a grand slam by Brian Buchanin of the Omaha Royals, according the the Memphis Commercial Appeal, beat the Triple-A affiliate Memphis Redbirds 8-6. Hitting his 13th home run of the season in the losing cause was David Freese.
Future Futures pitcher Jaime Garcia is scheduled to pitch for Triple-A affiliate Memphis vs. the Omaha Royals today. Garcia has recently been named to the Futures roster.