Five Years Ago Today: Nothing Better Than A Cubbie Sweep

NOTE: Five years ago was a much better time baseball-wise, wasn’t it? We weren’t subjected to daily gushings by the national sports media over THE CUBS!!!!! and so many of those friends and coworkers who now claim to be die-hard lifelong CUBS!!!!! fans were … well, just not paying attention to baseball, I guess. And Joe Maddon was the guy who managed the Rays. Oh, and the Cardinals were doing things like sweeping the CUBS!!!! — including two straight games, on June 4, 2011, and June 5, 2011, in Albert Pujols walk-off fashion. And Carlos Zambrano was getting mad about it. Plus Ryan Theriot — ahem, now Two-Time World Series Champion Ryan Theriot — was doing productive things as a Cardinal. Ah, those were the days … Enjoy this post from Miranda and relive the memories. To see the original post and its comments, click here

There is nothing better than a Cardinals win. But if there is anything better, it’s a Cardinals win over the Cubbies. The cherry on top is that Sunday’s Cardinals win over the Cubs meant that it was a SWEEP!

And how sweep it was!

The win Sunday came just as it did Saturday with a walk-off blast from Albert Pujols. Here is Sunday’s shot, if you haven’t seen it (or want to see it again).

It was Albert’s 13th homer of the season and his fourth in the past three days. The Mang enjoys playing the Cubbies, obviously! The blast Sunday was one of those in which you and he just knew it was gone once the ball left the bat and his grin and run in to the home plate area only to be mobbed by his teammates left you with the hopes that maybe, just maybe, the REAL Albert Pujols is back!

Another good thing about Sunday? Ryan Theriot hit an RBI-double in the bottom of the ninth, to tie the game up.

You know what this means right?

RYAN THERIOT HAS A 19-GAME HITTING STREAK!!!!! How awesome is that!? I say, so awesome!

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Five Years Ago Today: June 3, 2011

NOTE: As we all remember very well, 2011 was ultimately a special season for the Cardinals. And, since AMF began five years ago, we have the opportunity to take a look back at our coverage from that time. Today, a look back at some roster moves that happened on June 3, 2011 — with one now an obviously familiar name, while the other might make you say “who?”

Cardinals Make More Roster Moves

busThe Cardinals’ roster is looking a little different again today.

Matt Carpenter and Mark Hamilton were called up from Triple A Memphis, to take the spots of Maikel Cleto and Pete Kozma. Cleto was sent back to Double A Springfield, while Kozma returned to Memphis.

Here’s a look at Carpenter from Matthew Leach at

Carpenter was a Spring Training sensation and very nearly made the Major League roster out of camp. He got off to a slow start in the regular season, but is currently hitting .283 with a .421 OBP and a .387 SLG at Memphis. Carpenter was the Cardinals’ Minor League player of the year in 2010.

Hamilton was with the Cards for a while last month, as Leach writes:

He went 3-for-15 earlier in 2011. Over parts of three seasons at Triple-A, however, Hamilton has shown himself to be an offensive force. In 25 games at Memphis this year, he’s batting .391 with a .509 on-base percentage and a .552 slugging percentage. His career Triple-A line is .318/.409/.564 with 26 home runs in 143 games.

Kozma appeared in 10 games, mostly off the bench, while Cleto made his debut last night.

Both Carpenter and Hamilton will be available for tonight’s game.


Appreciating Again The Magic Of 2011’s Comeback

Three years ago, the Cardinals began today with a record of 67-63 after being swept by the National League West’s fourth place Dodgers. The Cards were second in the National League Central to the Brewers, 10 games back, and third in the wild card standings, 10.5 games behind the Braves and one game behind the Giants.

2011-WORLD-SERIESWe know what happened from there, of course.

We’ll never tire of recalling how the Cardinals went 23-9 from Aug. 25 through the final day of the regular season on Sept. 28, when Chris Carpenter and Company beat the Astros 8-0 for a historic comeback to win the wild card. As those games — and wins — went by, we marveled at the contributions from The Shredder and The Riot and Freeser and even Carlos Marmol and his walk-off wild pitch in addition to the season-long contributions from Lance Berkman, Matt Holliday, Yadi and That Guy Who Used To Play First Base.

Yet one thing seems to be forgotten in all our giddiness and our magical memories of Happy Flights and reaching October and the incredible ride that culminated in glorious World Championship No. 11 in ’11.

The Braves.

It’s so easy to forget the absolutely vital role the Braves played in making it all possible for the Cardinals.

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Throwback Thursday: Lance Berkman’s World Series Heroics

Ah, Game Six …

It was the most common answer in Tuesday’s question of “If You Could Attend Any Game in Cardinals History, What Would It Be?” and with great reason. Game Six of the 2011 World Series is one of the best games in baseball history. (Maybe the best.) We’ll never forget David Freese’s heroics — both his ninth inning game-tying triple and 11th inning walk-off winner.

2011 World Series Game 6 - Texas Rangers v St Louis CardinalsSometimes overlooked yet just as important: Lance Berkman’s game-tying single in the 10th. And, with Lance announcing his retirement yesterday, it’s the perfect time to recall just how crucial he was to that game (and to revive our LB Fan Club again). Had he made an out during that at-bat, we’d be just as disappointed about the 2011 World Series as we are about 2013.

But of course he didn’t.

Even before that at-bat, though, he’d had a really good night at the plate. In case you’ve forgotten, he had a first inning homer with Skip Schumaker on base to put the Cards on top 2-1. He’d reached on an error, singled and walked before coming up in the 10th with Jon Jay at third and That Guy Who Used to Play First Base on first after being intentionally walked. LB also scored four runs that night, which tied a World Series record — and his fourth run tied the game on Freeser’s triple in the ninth.

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Two Friends, One Epic Game, Neither Was Ever Quite the Same

Of course we remember Oct. 7, 2011. Game Five of the National League Division Series, the epic match-up of best buddies Chris Carpenter and the wild card Cardinals against Roy Halladay and the 102-win-best-record-in-MLB Phillies.

And now, with the retirement on Monday of Halladay and the official retirement of Carpenter last month, we remember it anew.

roy_halladay_chris_carpenterThat the long-time friends were facing each other for the first time, and in such a situation, was of course much hyped, yet justifiably so. Each was a Cy Young winner, Carpenter in 2005 and Halladay twice — winning as a Blue Jay in 2003 and a Phillie in 2010, the season he threw a perfect game against the Marlins and a no-hitter against the Reds in his postseason debut. (Thank you again, baseball gods, for letting Brandon Phillips be the final batter in that one.)

Then came Game Five itself, living up to every bit of the hype. The Cardinals took charge in the first inning, with a lead-off triple from Rafael Furcal followed by a Skip Schumaker double providing the only run of the game. Halladay scattered four other hits throughout his eight total innings, striking out seven and walking one — That Guy Who Used to Play First Base — intentionally. Carpenter was even better, as we all so gladly remember: only three hits, an equal number of strikeouts, no walks, one final out primal scream and one Nick Punto shredding.

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Welcome To October Baseball, Cardinals!

This is what we want to see ...

Here we are, Saturday, Oct. 1. The September to remember is over. Now it’s October baseball.

Yes, the Cardinals are one of only eight teams left. No more looking at standings or scoreboard watching. The calendar page flipped, and so does the focus.

The National League Division Series starts late this afternoon, with game one between the Cardinals and Phillies at 4:07 p.m. Central Time. The goal remains the same as what got the Cardinals to this point: keep winning. But let’s start small. Let’s just win one game first.

Oh, sure — we all want them to win more than one. But, as we learned in “Bull Durham” and from countless cliche-spouting baseball players through the years, you’ve got to play them one game at a time. Win one, that’s all I ask.

Besides, an NL Central team winning just one game in the NLDS has been a rare thing since the Cardinals beat the Padres five years ago. The 2007 and 2008 Central champ Cubs? Swept each year. 2009 Cardinals? Same story. 2010 Reds? Uh, yeah. By these Phillies. The only NL Central team to win a game in the past five years was the wild card Brewers in 2008 — beating the Phillies 4-1 in game three.

This is the fifth straight season the Phillies are in the playoffs, and they’ve won the division series for four consecutive years. The last time they even lost a division series game was Oct. 8, 2009, game two against the Rockies. And of course we remember what today’s starter, Roy Halladay, did in his postseason debut last year against the Reds — we loved it. (We laughed at Brandon Phillips being the last out in the no-hitter.)

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Cards Hang Loose Headed To Houston

Jon Jay, Daniel Descalso and David Freese as the team was headed to Houston. (Photo: @danieldescalso)

On Aug. 26, the words “Cardinals” and “wild card” did not go together. Trailing the Braves by 10 1/2 games meant that wasn’t even something to consider.

Yet the lead began to shrink. It was 8 1/2 games on Sept. 5, then 4 1/2 on Sept. 12 following a sweep of the Braves. Now, of course, it’s down to 1 — with three chances to close the gap completely.

The September we’ll remember comes down to tonight, tomorrow and Wednesday in Houston. The September the Braves so far want to forget comes down to tonight, tomorrow and Wednesday at home against the Phillies.

If you’re worried the Cardinals might be tense or uptight about what’s ahead, take a look at the picture. Hawaiian shirts were the theme for this “happy flight.”

Yesterday’s win, just like Saturday’s, was another comeback. And the hero, Rafael Furcal, received welcome redemption after a rough couple days. His ninth inning error Thursday afternoon against the Mets started that game’s unraveling. And, as Derrick Goold writes, that had been on Furcal’s mind:

“For me, it made me wake up,” Furcal said. The error “was in my mind the last two or three days. It’s tough the way we are here now and one mistake, something like that, and you’re finished. I couldn’t sleep. … It’s something that I had in my mind, that I had to pick up my team because we’re fighting for a place in the playoffs. It is a good moment.”

That “good moment” was an eighth inning homer to put the Cards up 3-2. It followed a Yadier Molina home run an inning earlier to tie the game — Yadi’s 14th of the season. His 2-for-3 day pushed his batting average to .305. The Cardinals third RBI was courtesy of an Edwin Jackson game-tying sacrifice fly in the fifth. Continue reading

Yadi, U2 And Colby — Yes, Colby — Lead Cards To Win

Last night’s heroes.

There are must-win games, those crucial ones against rivals needed to stay in contention or make a statement. Then there are games that simply have to be won, since losing to a particular foe wouldn’t be acceptable on a  given night.

Last night was a perfect example of the latter. Luckily, the Cardinals prevailed in a 10-5 win over the Astros — baseball’s worst team that was swept by the Cubs over the weekend and was 35 games under .500.

It was a nice (and necessary) win, especially because of those providing the Cards offense. None of the 2011 Big Three had an RBI — Albert and Matt Holliday each hit a single and Lance Berkman didn’t play because he has a right rotator cuff strain. Instead, it was two guys continuing hot streaks they started over the weekend … plus a new field that was only a problem for the Astros.

Yadi’s been as hot as the weather lately. Since Thursday, he’s hitting .563 (9 for 16) with two doubles, three homers and five RBI. Last night he was once again a triple shy of the cycle for the second time in three games. This is the third time this year he’s been one hit shy of the cycle — on May 22 at Kansas City, he actually had the triple and just needed a homer — so it’s got to happen this season. Right? Bengie can’t be the only Molina who hits for the cycle.

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Pujols Expected To Miss 4-6 Weeks

St. Louis Cardinals All-Star first baseman Albert Pujols is expected to miss the next 4-6 weeks with a non-displaced fracture of his left radius, or forearm. That’s according to a press release from

Don't panic ... just yet anyway! It could have been worse.

The injury occurred an inning after he hit a monster home run giving the Cardinals a 3-2 lead. Wilson Betemit collided with the slugger, who fell to the ground in pain and hushed a stunned Cardinals nation.

Joe Strauss explained the play a little more:

The collision occurred after [Pete] Kozma, typically a shortstop, ranged toward the bag, backhanded Betemit’s grounder and made a twisting leap that allowed him to throw across his body. A regular second baseman might have set and delivered, as [Tony] La Russa later suggested. But Kozma’s throw tailed, drawing Pujols’ glove into the baseline, where Betemit met him full bore.

I don’t think this was Kozma’s fault, as many have suggested. It’s game and that’s how it’s played. I’m sure Kozma feels bad enough about this without an entire fan-base dogging him.

Linked above, here is the full text of the press release from the Cardinals on Pujols:

ST. LOUIS, Mo., June 20, 2011 — Results from today’s MRI and CT-scan of St. Louis Cardinals All-Star first baseman Albert Pujols showed a non-displaced fracture of his left radius (forearm). Pujols was placed in a splint and will likely be sidelined from 4 to 6 weeks. Pujols’ left shoulder was sore, but no structural damage was determined at this time. The Cardinals will announce a roster move prior to tomorrow night’s series opener with the Philadelphia Phillies. Pujols has only been on the disabled list twice previously: June 2006 for a left oblique strain and June 2008 for a left calf strain.

While I know the organization is going to be very cautious with Pujols, hopefully he has a very speedy recovery and comes back ready for the already under way second half to the season. I don’t think this is a doom and gloom scenario. It’s bad, but things could always be worse.

The signing of Lance Berkman looks better and better, doesn’t it!

Miranda Remaklus is lead St. Louis Cardinals contributor for Aaron Miles’ Fastball. Follow her on Twitter, @missmiranda

Bigger Than Wins Or Losses

Jaime Garcia signed an autograph Friday night

Yes, the Cardinals lost again.

Yes, their losing streak is at seven — and that’s the same number of losses that Chris Carpenter now has. Yes, the defense continued to be questionable — an error by Albert Pujols allowed the Royals to take a 5-4 lead in the top of the eighth inning that the Cards couldn’t overcome.

But this time, it ended up not really mattering to me. Not after I heard what Danielle Campbell and Mikaila Craig said in an interview with Dan McLaughin during the third inning of last night’s game.

The two are members of the Joplin, Mo., High School softball team. The school was destroyed during the tornado that devastated the town on May 22. So were both girls’ homes.

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