On-deck: The St. Louis Cardinals will play the Milwaukee Brewers tonight in
St. Louis at Busch Stadium, 7:15 p.m. CDT, in the second game of a four-game series. The Brewers won last night’s game, 6-3, in extra innings.
Probables: The Cardinals will throw their ace, Kyle Lohse RHP (12-2, 3.35) against a former Cardinal, Jeff Suppan RHP (5-6, 4.71). Suppan has just come off the DL with what has been described as elbow irritation.
How they stand: The Brewers took second place in the NL Central away from the Cardinals with last night’s win, sporting a 56-43 record, the Cardinals’ record falling to 57-44. The Cubs loss last night allowed the Brewers to make ground on the first place Chicago team as well, now only two games behind. The Cardinals are also only two games behind the Cubs but are two percentage points behind the Brewers.
One up, one down: Yet another activation took place on Sunday, lefthander Jaime Garcia sent down to Triple-A Memphis. Mitchell Boggs has been re-called to the parent Cardinals. Tony La Russa has stated in so many words that the move was designed as a precaution to a starter getting knocked out early. With Boggs (basically a fresh arm in place of Garcia, who had just started Sunday) in the bullpen, La Russa can go to him instead of eating up so much of a pen that has its troubles as it is, even when fresh. There would be no sense in making that situation worse then it already is.
Whatcha done for me lately? The the last five games, Kyle Lohse has pitched the most at 7.0 innings.
Because Braden Looper got bombshelled in his three innings of work, he sports a huge 18.00 ERA.
Looper also hit the most batters in the previous five games, but only one. No other Cards’ pitcher hit a batsmen.
Looper gave up the most runs at six; also, the most earned runs at six.
Giving up the most home runs with 2-each was Looper and Jaime Garcia.
Todd Wellemeyer issued the most walks, three.
Three Cards’ pitchers are tied for the most strikeouts at four-apiece: Lohse, Garcia, and Brad Thompson.
NOTE: Pitching stats taken from small samplings tend to look either quite outstanding or simply awful, depending on the particular stat.
Aaron Miles hit a walk-off grand slam to break a ninth-inning 5-5 deadlock, giving the St. Louis Cardinals a 9-5 win and a four-game sweep of the San Diego Padres.
Some ninth inning strategy by Padres’ manager Bud Black backfired, times-4. With the game tied, Black brought on reliever Bryan Corey to attempt to hold so the Padres would get an extra-inning shot at winning. Things started out OK for Corey, getting Jason LaRue to ground out for the all-important first out an inning.
Corey pitched around Albert Pujols, walking him. While on first base, Brad Thompson was sent to the plate, La Russa’s bench short on hitters/position players since he had elected to go with one extra pitcher than the norm. Thompson pulled off an attempted bunt, the pitch a ball, and substitute catcher Luke Carlin threw wild to first base trying to pick off Pujols. The ball rolled far down the left field line, Pujols scampering all the way to third base.
With Pujols representing the winning run, Black intentionally walked pinch hitter Yadier Molina, then Skip Schumaker, loading the bases for either an easier force out at home plate or a chance at an inning-ending double play. The Padres’ outfielders pulled in shallow for a potential fly ball and tag-up situation versus Pujols at third. Miles would be the hitter.
A fly ball to any outfield of moderate depth would give the Cards a win, but Miles launched a fast ball into the Cardinals’ bullpen in right field, a walk-off grand slam that got him mobbed by teammates at home plate.
Brad Thompson (2-2) would pick up the winning, having come on in relief for Jason Isringhausen in the top of the ninth and allowing the Padres to tie it up at 5-all on a base runner for which Isringhausen was charged. Kevin Kouzmanoff had delivered the big blow then, a double over the head of center fielder Rick Ankiel to score the fifth Padres’ run.
The Cardinals’ recent call-up, pitcher Jaime Garcia, recorded a no decision in his first major league start. Garcia was greeted to the starting role with a leadoff home run by Scott Hairston. Garcia worked five innings, giving up three runs, all earned, scattering five hits, walking one and striking out four. All in all, a good outing for Garcia’s first start.
During Garcia’s five innings, the Cards could only muster one run when Ankiel drove home Miles with a double to deep right field.
Down 3-1 in the seventh, Cardinals’ manager Tony La Russa called upon Albert Pujols to pinch hit with Glaus on third base. Glaus had singled, then advanced to second on a fly ball that Padres’ center fielder Hairston threw to first base trying to double off Glaus. No one was covering the bag, however, and by the time the Padres had recovered the ball, Glaus had tagged up and raced to second base. When LaRue singled Glaus over to third base, Pujols pinch hit for reliever Kelvin Jimenez, lofting a sacrifice fly to left field, Glaus scoring to bring the Cardinals within one at 3-2.
Randy Flores got a shot at relieving, securing two outs in the eighth, giving up one hit before La Russa called on Kyle McClellan, who intentionally walked pinch hitter Adrian Gonzalez, then getting Luis Rodriguez to ground out.
Down one run in the eighth, Schumaker led off with a single. La Russa called for a sacrifice bunt in an attempt to get the tying run into scoring position, but first baseman A. Gonzalez jumped all over Miles’s bunt, snapping a throw to second base to force out Schumaker. Ryan Ludwick singled, but with no base runner in scoring position, there was no chance to score. Ankiel had a shot at bringing home Miles from second base, but struck out. Glaus’s three-run shot made up for all of the failings in the inning, putting the Cardinals up 5-3 at the time.
Struggling reliever Jason Isringhausen got a shot at closing, but the Padres had other ideas. With one out, Hairston singled, followed by a double by Edgar Gonzalez that right fielder just missed cutting off running hard into the alley. Hairston sprinted three bases to score, bringing the Padres within one.
Brian Giles then singled, Gonzalez holding up at third base. That set up the aforementioned Kouzmanoff double that brought home the tying run.
Brad Thompson took over the mound from there, getting some big play help from Pujols and LaRue to get the Cards out of the last inning jam.
Besides winning the game and securing a sweep of the Padres, the Miles’ walk-off grand slam kept the Cardinals’ record perfect since the All-Star break.
Miles went 3-for-5 on the day, scoring three runs and tallying four RBIs. His batting average has risen to .323.
Miles photo by Iscan
Kouzamanoff photo by SD Dirk
On-deck: The Cards finish up a four-game series looking for a sweep of the San Diego Padres at Busch Stadium, today, 1:15 p.m. CDT.
Probables: SD-Cha Seung Baek RHP (2-5, 5.25) vs. STL-Jaime Garcia LHP (0-0, -.–)
Rookie first: Todays start for lefthander Jaime Garcia be his first as a major leaguer. He has made a prior appearance in relief, two innings. Garcia was called up from Triple-A Memphis where he tallied a 4-4 record with an ERA of 4.49.
Tyler anxious for winter: According to a Matthew Leach article posted on the St. Louis Cardinals Official Web Site, pitcher Tyler Johnson is raring to get back to throwing, and is awaiting the OK from medical personnel to begin throwing. Johnson had undergone athroscopic to remove “debris” from his shoulder’s joint. He now plans on pitching in a winter baseball league in order to be ready for the 2009 Spring Training. Johnson stated he took some advice from Chris Carpenter regarding his situation and is glad he took it into account.
Mulder status: Cardinals’ GM John Mozeliak’s reported response concerning pitcher Mark Mulder’s chances of a successful return to the mound were not encouraging, but they may have been an honest and realistic take on the situation as it stands.
According to the St. Louis Cardinals’ Official Web Site, Mulder has been told by medical professionals that there are no surgical procedures which can help him with his throwing shoulder. The current plan is to simply have Mulder take a couple of weeks off to clear his head and then re-evaluate his condition.
Carpenter pitching today: Rehabbing pitcher Chris Carpenter is slated to pitch today for the Double-A Cardinals’ affiliate Memphis Redbirds today. It is not known if Carpenter is to work a pre-determined pitch count or a certain number of innings.
Batavia Muckdogs (A-short season): Won 7-5 yesterday, defeating the Auburn Doubledays. Hector Cardenas (2-0) got the win, Adam Reifer earning his eighth save. Jon Edwards homered.
Quad-Cities River Bandits (Low-A): Lost 14-3 yesterday to the Fort Wayne Wizards. Aaron Luna hit a home run in the losing cause.
Palm Beach Cardinals (High-A): Lost 2-1 yesterday to the Sarasota Reds. Luke Gorsett doubled in the loss.
Springfield Cardinals (AA): Won yesterday, 13-2, pounding the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. Former parent-club ace Chris Carpenter pitching today.
Memphis Redbirds (AAA): Won 9-5 over the Oklahoma RedHawks. Nick Stavinoha hit his 14th home run.
Kyle Lohse, who some believe should have been named to the National League All-Star team, continued to roll through the innings, painting the corners staying out of any significant jams.
Pitching seven complete, Lohse scattered six hits and walked only one Buc batter while striking out three. His record is now 11-2.
Lohse had plenty of offense, something that never materialized in the last three games in Philadelphia.
The bulk of the Redbirds’ run came in the third. With two outs, Albert Pujols and Troy Glaus had back to back singles, followed by a Yadier Molina double that brought them both home. Molina took an extra base, scampering to third when the Pirates attempted to throw out Glaus at home. Rick Ankiel then got extended on a Zack Duke mistake pitch up, driving into the left-center field seats for a two run dinger, putting the Cards up 4-0.
Recently elected (by the players) All-Star Ryan Ludwick added to the Cards’ lead in the fourth with a solo blast to left field.
Lohse kept the Pirates off balance through all of but one of his innings on the hill, running into trouble in the fifth when Xavier Nady, Adam LaRoche, and Jose Bautista hit back to back to back singles, loading the bases with one out. To get out of the jam, Lohse had to pick on Bucs’ pitcher Duke, striking him out before Jack Wilson gave his heart a start with a line drive that found a perfectly positioned Cesar Izturis at shortstop.
Ankiel added a third RBI when he singled home Pujols in the seventh.
Up 6-0 after seven complete innings, manager Tony La Russa brought in recent call-up Jaime Garcia out of the bullpen. Garcia, a lefthander, was activated when Mark Mulder went on the DL. Before getting the call to join the Cardinals on this road trip, Garcia was about to join the World Team for participation the Futures Game, but once he hit the hill, he was no longer eligible to play on the prospect-filled Futures roster.
Garcia’s first hitter, Ryan Doumit, singled. But Garcia then recorded his first strikeout, victimizing Jason Bay. The rookie hurler broke Xavier Nady’s bat in two, then gloved his low-level popup. Adam LaRoche flew out to Ryan Ludwick in right, and Garcia showed well in his first major league inning.
Things weren’t so easy for Garcia in the Pirates’ ninth. The 22-year-old from Mexico found out how nerve-racking an inning can get, and in a hurry, when he threw eight straight balls, walking Jose Bautista, and then letting have second base on a wild pitch. Pitching coach Dave Duncan then got to witness the rookie work through the inning after self-imposing a potential jam. Garcia buckled down, striking out pinch-hitter Chris Gomez. Jack Wilson hit a line drive, but close enough for Skip Schumaker to snag in center field. All-Star Nate McClouth then popped out behind home plate to Yadier Molina to end the game.
Garcia pitched two complete innings, contributing to a the Cardinals win and strengthening the bullpen with a mixed performance of command, what appeared to be a loss of concentration, then a re-focusing on the demands of the inning batter by batter.
The Cardinals play the Pirates twice more before the All-Star break.
There is an outside chance that Lohse could still get a chance to participate, in the case where some of the chosen pitchers are pitching in the next couple of days, and wouldn’t have enough rest to pitch again a couple or three days later at Yankee Stadium in the Midsummer Classic.
photo by Iscan
On-deck: The Cards start the last leg of their current road trip in PNC Park in Pittsburgh tonight at 6:05 p.m. CDT, the first game of a three-game series with the Pirates.
Probables: STL-Kyle Lohse RHP (10-2, 3.61) vs. PIT-Zach Duke LHP (4-5, 4.23)
Bird’s Perch: The Cards are currently 4.5 games behind the NL Central division leading Chicago Cubs. The Milwaukee Brewers are a 1/2 game ahead of the Cards in second place.
Both the Brewers and Cards have 51 wins, but the Cards have played an extra game so far and carry 42 losses while the Brewers have 41. This puts the Cards in third place by percentage points. The Brewers have a .554 winning percentage while the Cards are at .548.
Not in the “Futures” Cards: Colby Rasmus will not participate in the Futures game this weekend after going on the DL with a groin injury. Also scratched was pitcher Jaime Garcia, who was called up recently when Mark Mulder went on the DL.
Futures call-up: With Garcia becoming ineligible to remain on the Futures’ roster, the Cardinals are sending Fernando Salas, RHP, from affiliate Springfield Cardinals (AA).
Whatcha done for me lately? Over the course of the last six games, these are the Cardinals with the most:
Runs: Ryan Ludwick — 3
Hits: Albert Pujols — 8
Doubles: Adam Kennedy — 3
Triples: (no triples)
Home Runs: Rick Ankiel, Ryan Ludwick — 2-each
RBIs: Rick Ankiel — 4
BBs: Chris Duncan — 4
Ks: Troy Glaus — 8
On-Base Percentage: Jason LaRue, Chris Duncan — .500
Slugging Percentage: Jason LaRue — .750
Batting Average: Jason LaRue — .500
Next game: Today, at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, 12:05 p.m. CDT.
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.