Rich Harden was traded by the Oakland Athletics to the Chicago Cubs Tuesday along with Chad Guadin. Both are righthanders. The Cubs sent a righthander of their own, Sean Gallagher to the A’s. Also traded to the west coast was outfielder Matt Murton, infielder Eric Patterson, and catcher Josh Donaldson. (Information gathered from the Chicago Cubs Official Web Site.)
The Harden deal comes on the heels of the Milwaukee Brewers acquiring C.C. Sabathia from the Cleveland Indians. This shores up both pitching staffs of clubs that are already one-two in the NL Central.
Cardinal Nation is abuzz over the deals. There is nothing in the works for the Cardinals as far as trades. If there are any talks, they are hush-hush. It is widely thought that the Cardinals are hoping that Adam Wainwright, Mark Mulder, and Chris Carpenter will return to overstock the starting rotation with capable hurlers.
The Chicago Cubs won the rubber match of the three-game series, pounding the St. Louis Cardinals 7-1. The combination of the Cubs win, Cards loss, and Brewers win strengthened the Cubs hold on first place in the NL Central, at the same time putting the Brewers in second place. The Cards slipped into third place on percentage points, 3.5 games out like the Brewers.
Sean Marshall gave the Cubs an excellent start, gaining his first win (1-2) with six solid innings pitched. Marshall scattered six hits, walking only one and striking out four. He allowed only one run, earned.
The Cubs offense, more commonly known for their longball threat, put together several good rallies, scoring runs in a variety of ways in six different innings. The most runs they scored in any one of those frames was two, in the eighth.
Ryan Ludwick supplied the only Cardinals’ run with a home run to left field.
Todd Wellemeyer took the loss (7-4), and gave up only three runs. He only lasted five innings, however, pitching through nine Cubs’ hits.
With the Cardinals’ bats failing to put any significant rallies together, the spent starter had no chance to remain in this game. Manager Tony La Russa used three relievers to cover the four innings; Chris Perez, Russ Springer, and Brad Thompson. The Cubs scored on all three of them in a day in which they tallied 16 total hits.
More and more noticeable is the Cubs ability to get men on in a lot of innings while the Cardinals cannot. In seven of nine innings, for instance, the Cubs placed a base runner within the the first two batters of each inning. The Cardinals accomplished this only three times, and their lone run came in one of those frames.
The Cardinals now have Monday off and then start a road trip in Philadelphia, taking on the NL East’s first place Phillies in a three-game set before packing off to Pittsburgh for another three before the All-Star break.
(photo by Barbara Moore)
Reportedly, you can pay a fee and build a bear, or a ballplayer, or some such product. And you can build it just the way you like it. You don’t build one from scratch, of course, but it’s still cool, and the end product is fantastic.
You don’t have to stop at one, either. If you’ve got enough moo-lah, you can build more. As a matter of fact, you could build a whole team’s worth? You could even put little blue caps on them with a “C” for Cool.
And if one breaks down, or you see one you like better, you can buy someone else’s.
But what about the ones without the greenage? Hmm.
Well … they’ll just have to learn the craft of building something with limited means. They’ll have to earn the knowledge for themselves, develop their own skills, then ply their trade. It won’t be a “Builduh-whatever,” but if it’s done right, it might just fly. Yeah, get up, baby!
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.
The Cardinals best pitcher to date, Kyle Lohse, was called upon to hold the Cubs down while his own team’s offense tried to wake up.
The Cubs sent a lefhander to the hill, Ted Lilly, to make sure the Cardinals’ offense remained sleepy.
Much like last night’s game, but with a lot less hype, both pitcher’s commenced to duel. The Cubs struck with the long ball, Mark DeRosa reaching a full-count breaking ball low and away, getting enough barrel to loft it into the right-center field bleachers for a 1-0 lead.
Two innings later, in the fifth, DeRosa hammered Lohse again, this time a triple. DeRosa then scored the Cubs second run off of Ryan Theriot’s RBI-basehit.
Lilly continued to cruise, offering tons of off-speed and spotting everything in the known weak areas of each Cardinals’ hitter.
Rick Ankiel broke the ice of the Cardinals, driving a Lilly fastball (one of the few he’d thrown) that zone into Ankiel’s wheelhouse. The homer was Ankiel’s 17th, tying him for the club lead with Albert Pujols, who followed up the homer with a long fly ball that got to the left-center field wall before either DeRosa or Jim Edmonds could catch up. With Pujols in scoring position on second base, Lilly then struck out Troy Glaus for the third time. Pujols caught Lilly sleeping as Ryan Ludwick fell behind in the count, stealing third base when the Cubs’ pitcher seemed to forget all about him leading off second base. Ludwick pulled a two-strike pitch down the third base line for a double, Pujols making sure Aramis Ramirez didn’t glove the ball shooting past before he took off for home.
Now a tie ball game at 2-apiece, Neal Cotts came on in relief for Lilly to start the seventh inning, allowing no Cardinals base runners
Cardinals’ manager Tony La Russa countered with reliever Ryan Franklin, who had been closing games during the last several weeks when Jason Isringhausen had difficulties with the rigors of the job. Derrek Lee jumped Franklin, doubling to deep left field. Ramirez then cranked one out to left, and just like that, the Cubs had their two-run lead back.
The lead would have been three, save for a semi-rainbow out of right field by Ludwick to an awaiting Molina a home plate. With no sign of fearing an oncoming base runner, Moline blocked off a sliding Edmonds, slapping a tag on his helmet as he slid past.
Cubs’ manager Lou Piniella called upon his closer, Kerry Wood, to shut down the Cardinals in the bottom of the ninth.
The Cardinals did something they’ve had a tremendously hard time doing so far in the series; they got their leadoff man of an inning on base. In this case, it came in form of Ryan Ludwick. Molina wasn’t in any hurry to help Wood, who was having a bit of trouble finding the zone with his mid-90s fastballs. Molina drew a walk, becoming the potential tying run.
Representing the potential winning run, Adam Kennedy might’ve fooled everyone in the park when he took a cut at the first Wood offering, a unlikely move considering Wood had just walked two batters. Kennedy’s drive shot past Lee at first base, who earlier had made two sliding catches. Ludwick scrambled in easily from second base, but third base coach Jose Oquendo wisely held up Molina at third base.
Piniella had pinch-hitter Chris Duncan intentionally walked to load the bases. Skip Schumaker hit a grounder to Ramirez at third, who fired home to force out Molina. The pivot and throw to first base was nowhere near quick enough to double up the fleet Schumaker. There was only one out, with the bases yet loaded, but this left the Cubs with a chance for a double play to end the game.
Pinch-hitter Aaron Miles popped out to Theriot, and the Cards were down to their last out.
Ankiel found a hittable pitch, up and bit away, and instead of trying to pull hard, his usual swing, he drove the ball more toward the middle, accomplished a walk-off single when Kennedy and Duncan scored the tying and winning runs, respectively.
Kyle McClellan picked up the victory, improving his record to 1-3.
The thrilling 5-4 victory for the Busch Stadium crowd and Cardinal Nation evened the series and proved the Cardinals could compete with the NL Central’s and leagues best team.
photo by Barbara Moore
Tonight’s probables: Kyle Lohse (10-2, 3.67) will get the call for the St. Louis Cardinals while the Chicago Cubs will counter with lefthander Ted Lilly (9-5, 4.56).
Albert Pujols reached a milestone in last night’s game, hitting his 300th career home run in a losing cause against the Chicago Cubs.
#50: The Cards, at 49-39, are still looking for win #50. They will try for that mark versus the Cubs at Busch Stadium tonight.
Cards make deals with Latin American prospect: According to an offiicial release on the St. Louis Cardinals official web site, the team announced that they are about to sign six prospects from Latin America. Four prospects come from the Dominican Republic and two are from Venezuela. (Update: Reportedly, the Cardinals have now signed these players, all of them 16 years old. Allegedly, Roberto De La Cruz received a signing bonus of over $1 million dollars.)
Roberto De La Cruz, Santo Franco, Dennis Monter, Gradiel Hernandez, Cesar Velara, and Jose Weffer all must undergo physicals and age investigations before signing.
Veterans honored at Busch: As part of Major League Baseball’s Welcome Back Veterans campaign, four veterans were honored on the field prior to last night’s game, a perfect fit for the Independence Day weekend. The Busch Stadium crowd gave John Abbamondi (Navy), Vern Cox (Air Force), Rocky Sickmann (Marines), and Leo Tevlin (Navy) an uplifting display of applause.
Jimmy Baseball, who Cardinals’ fan know is Jim Edmonds, received a standing ovation prior to his first at-bat at Busch Stadium last night. The fact that he was wearing a Cubs uniform made no different to the SRO crowd. Edmonds’ former manager and who he has considered a longtime friend, Tony La Russa, was irritated over some comments Edmonds had made concerning his trade and the St. Louis Cardinals. Edmonds stated that La Russa misunderstood him. Cardinal Nation had no doubts, however, the rousing applause for Jimmy Baseball lasting several minutes, the former Redbird removed his helmet, holding it up toward the crowd, before taking his cuts versus his former team.
One streak ends, one continues: The 15-game game hitting streak of Aaron Miles (career high) died last night, but Yadier Molina’s single extended his to 11 games.
Flores progressing: With only a few days left on the 15-day DL, lefthanded reliever Randy Flores has been cleared and will probably throw some innings with one of the Cardinals’ minor league affiliates before re-activation.
C’mon ump, that was outside: Or it could’ve been something else Troy Glaus said to home plate umpire Ted Barrett during his ninth inning at bat. With the game on the line and a 3-1 count, Glaus took what he thought was a ball far to the outside. A moment later he was jumping in the air, voicing complaints before his spikes touched down. Barrett must not have appreciated getting shown up in front of a capacity crowd, because the next pitch was outside, and called a strike as well. Tony La Russa wasn’t pleased with Barrett either, commenting after the game that the suddenly new and expanded strike zone affected the at-bats of Yadier Molina and Ryan Ludwick.
Parisi rolls with Redbirds: Since returning to the Cardinals’ Triple-A affiliate, Memphis Redbirds, pitcher Mike Parisi has won four straight, according the Memphis Commercial Appeal. In his fourth victory, Parisi got help from Joe Mather, who hit his 16th home run, and Josh Phelps, who homered twice in the 4-2 win versus the Omaha Royals. Kelvin Jiminez closed, recording his seventh save.
Standings slippage: With last night’s 2-1 loss to the Cubs, the Cardinals hold on second place slipped to 3 1/2 games. The Brewers’ 9-1 pummeling of the Bucs set them 4 1/2 games behind the Cubs, but only one game behind the Cards. At the beginning of the three-game set with the Cubs, the Cards had hoped for a switch in the first place slot by Sunday. Now the Cards must concern themselves with avoiding a switch into third place.
Today’s game between the Cubs and the Cardinals will take place at Busch Stadium in St. Louis; game time 2:55 p.m. CDT.