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.
Next game: Today, at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, 12:05 p.m. CDT.
Memphis Redbirds (AAA): Pitcher Clayton Mortensen, according to a Special to The Commercial Appeal (Memphis) regarding last night’s loss to the New Orleans Zephyrs, gave up two home runs to Raul Casanova, a two-run shot and a grand slam. The Redbirds lost 10-6.
Adding insult (not intentionally) to injury, Casanova hit Mortensen in the arm with a line drive, causing his departure from the game.
In the losing cause, Rico Washington and Nick Stavinoha homered.
Tonight’s pitcher will be Mike Parisi (6-1, 3.38).
Johnson City Cardinals (R): Pulaski Mariners 8, Johnson City Cardinals 5. Joel Pichardo (0-1, 7.27) took the loss for the Cardinals in yesterday’s game.
Batavia Muckdogs (A): The Lowell Spinners beat the Muckdogs 5-1 yesterday. Pitcher Zachery Pitts (0-2, 2.55) suffered the loss.
Springfield Cardinals (AA): Kyle Mura (1-1, 1.64) lost in a Tuesday game versus the Midland RockHounds, 2-0.
Palm Beach Cardinals (A): The Clearwater Threshers fell victim to the Cardinals’ Florida affiliate, 6-1, yesterday. Shaun Garceau notched the victory. (4-2, 3.25).
Next game: @ Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, tonight, 6:05 p.m. CDT.
Probables: STL-Mark Mulder (0-0, 13.50) vs. PHL-J.A. Happ (0-0, 3.86).
NLC: The Chicago Cubs remain in first place. St. Louis has edged into second place by percentage points, 3.5 games back, as is Milwaukee, slipping ever so slightly into third.
C.C. Sabathia, a new force to reckon with in the NLC, won in his first appearance for the Brewers last night, 7-3, defeating the Colorado Rockies in Milwaukee.
Rich Harden hasn’t pitched for the Chicago Cubs yet, but he strengthens an already strong rotation. The Cubs handled the San Francisco Giants last night, 7-3, behind the pitching of Ryan Dempster.
Randy Flores pitched in one inning for Triple-A Memphis, just coming off the DL for an inflamed left ankle.
Memphis Redbirds (AAA): Mitchell Boggs (6-1) picked up another victory versus the New Orleans Zephyrs in Louisiana last night. The Redbirds won 3-1, all of their offense coming off the longball, three solos shots. Cody Haerther counted for one of the homers, his second. Nick Stavinoha hit two, bringing his season total to 12.
Clayton Mortensen RHP (4-1, 2.70) pitches tonight.
Justin Fiske is a minor-league pitcher to watch. The Springfield News Leader did a feature on the lefthanded pitcher who, undrafted, made it into the Cardinals system and has worked his way up to the Double-A level with the Springfield Cardinals. His strikes to walks ratio in junior college was an impressive 4-to-1. In Low-A ball at Quad-Cities, it was an insane 10-to-1, approximately. Now, in Springfield, the ratio is about 6-to-1.
It is thought that Fiske keeps getting overlooked because of his small stature when compared to the common MLB pitcher. He is 5-11, 185-pounds.
Day of rest over: After a day off yesterday, the Cards will begin a six-game road trip tonight with the first game of the three-game series with the Phillies.
Probables: STL-Joel Pineiro RHP (2-4, 4.52) vs. PHL-Cole Hamels LHP (9-5, 3.22)
Adam Wainwright was cleared by medical staff to begin throwing sessions. He had sustained a finger injury and had been on the DL.
Matt Clement has been cleared to throw and was optioned to Triple-A Memphis.
Chris Carpenter threw in a brief simulated game as part of his rehab assignment. He has not thrown in the major league since 2007.
Quad-Cities River Bandits (Low-A): The Quad-City Times reported a lot of offense in the Bandits 8-2 victory over the Peoria Chiefs. As for the college newcomers, Aaron Luna (9th round) marked his first professional hit after an 0-for-6 start; a home run.
Brett Wallace (1st round) tallied a couple of doubles. Ryan Kulik (8th round), a righthanded pitcher, notched his first win.
Tommy Pham executed a squeeze bunt to score a Bandits’ run. Adton Chambers tripled. Paul Vazquez homered.
Memphis Redbirds (AAA): According to the Memphis Commercial Appeal, the Redbirds pounded the Zephyrs 11-4, on the road in Louisiana. Of note: David Freese hit his 14th home run; Nick Stavihoha went 4-for-6 with 2 RBIs; Jarrett Hoffpauir went 3-for-3 with 1 RBI; Josh Phelps went 3-for-5 with 1 RBI.
Pitcher John Wasdin recorded the win, improving to 6-6.
Today’s Redbirds’ start is slated for Clayton Mortensen RHP (4-1, 2.70).
Tomorrow’s probables: STL-Joel PIneiro RHP (2-4, 4.52) vs. PHL-Cole Hamels LHP (9-5, 3.22). PIneiro is coming off a tough outing versus the Mets. Hamels has never lost to the Cards.
Yadier Molina has extended his hitting streak to 14 games after a single in yesterday’s game with the Chicago Cubs.
Road trip: The Cards will finish up on the road before the All-Star break with three-game sets, one versus the Phillies and one versus the Pirates.
Lefty City: If all the probable match-ups hold for the upcoming road trip, the Cardinals will face nothing but lefthanded starters.
Card-Stars: Ryan Ludwick and Albert Pujols have been named to the 2008 MLB NL All-Star team.
Memphis Redbirds: The Triple-A affiliate nipped the Omaha Royals yesterday, according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal. Josh Phelps hit a two-run homer late in the game to bring the Redbirds within reach. In the ninth, Phelps doubled home Nick Stavinoha with what would prove to be the game-winning run.
Jaime Garcia started and was chased early. Jason Motte notched the victory with one inning of work. Kelven Jimenez earned a save, his eighth this season.
Brewers obtain CC: One of the Cardinals main competitors, the Milwaukee Brewers, completed a trade yesterday, dealing several minor leaguers to the Cleveland Indians, for former AL Cy Young Award winner, C.C. Sabathia.
In return for Sabathia, the Indians will acquire Matt LaPorta, Rob Bryson, Zach Jackson, and a player to be named later.
The Milwaukee Brewers will be in St. Louis later this month for a four-game series.
Colby Rasmus has been added to the Futures Game roster. He joins three other Cardinals who’ve made the grade: Jess Todd, Bryan Anderson, and Jaime Garcia.
Albert Pujols is still on Cardinal Nation’s watch list for milestones: 300th career home run.
Brett Wallace secured a $1.84 million signing bonus and is reported to Low-A Quad Cities today. Wallace is to start his duties as a third baseman. He has stated in multiple interviews that he is relieved to have the “business” matters taken care off (meaning contract) and is anxious to get to the baseball playing aspect. He took batting practice with the Cardinals’ players as an audience, admitting later that he was nervous on his first swings, but settled down when the players starting talking to him in a supportive manner.
Standings: The Cardinals remain 2.5 games out in second place, the Brewers two games behind them and the Cubs in first place.
Thieves to watch: 4thebirds never gets stat-heavy, but a quick scouring of the Cards/Mets numbers revealed at least one area of concern. Steals: The Mets are successful thieves, the Cards are not. The Mets have more than doubled the amount of Cardinals’ steals at 78 to 35. While Cesar Izturis, Brendan Ryan, and Skip Schumaker have a paltry six thefts apiece, Jose Reyes of the Mets has more than the Redbirds’ leaders combined at 28. Other notable Mets base stealers are Luis Castillo (13), Carlos Beltran (11), and David Wright (8).
Category 7: Not an off-the-scale hurricane rating, but close. Albert Pujols lead the Cards in seven of 15 tracked categories for offense as of today.
Nick Stavinoha has returned to his hot-hitting ways with the Memphis Redbirds, according to the Memphis Commerical Appeal. He went 2-for-4 in his first game back, has hit safely in 22 or his last 25 games, and is currently the #4 hitter in the Pacific Coast League.
Coach Dan Bilardello has a lot of good things to say about how hard Triple-A Memphis Redbirds’ catcher Bryan Anderson works. Bilardellow told the Memphis Commercial Appeal that Anderson is the type of player that has to get in a lot of work behind the plate, both in games and practicing techniques and skills. The catching coach explained that it isn’t as if Anderson isn’t a good catcher, but simply that he must maintain his workouts, as that is how he has improved.
photo by Chet Novak