Since The Cardinals Last Played The Royals …

It’s been nearly a year since the Cardinals last played the Kansas City Royals. And the Cards in-state rival is certainly in a much different place now that they were when the teams matched up in 2014.

Kansas_City_Royals_logo_gif_360x540_autocrop-True_q85Last year, the Cards hosted the Royals for two games at Busch Stadium on June 2-3 then were the visitors for two at Kauffman Stadium on June 4-5. It was definitely not a good four-game series for the Redbirds, as they lost both games at home before winning the first in K.C. and losing the second. After the final game, the Cardinals record was 31-30 and they were in second place in the NL Central and five games behind the Brewers. We obviously know how that Milwaukee lead held up …

Winning those three games gave the Royals a record of 29-31 and boosted them up from last place in the AL Central to a fourth-place tie with the Minnesota Twins — though both were just four games behind the division-leading Detroit Tigers.

Obviously, things improved from there as the Royals went 60-42 throughout the rest of the regular season to clinch one of the AL wild card spots. After the crazy comeback win in 12 innings over the Oakland A’s in the wild card game, they swept their way through the ALDS over the Angels and ALCS over the Orioles to meet up with the stupid, awful, lucky San Francisco Giants in the World Series.

And the Giants are the team the Cardinals saw last October also, in the NLCS, as we unfortunately remember. Before playing for the NL pennant, the Cards went 59-42 through the rest of the regular season to win the NL Central plus defeated the Dodgers in the NLDS.

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The Bullpen Had A Rough Night, But …

Yes, things got a little ugly from the bullpen last night — unexpectedly rough performances from Mitch Harris and Seth Maness in particular as the Detroit Tigers ended up beating up on the Cardinals by a final score of 10-4. I will admit I turned the game off in the top of the ninth inning (although that was also because I had to be up very early this morning more than anything).

MediaWiki_Emoticons_StareA quick check of social media last night and this morning shows that — as expected — there was great furor from many Cardinals fans over the eight runs allowed once starter Carlos Martinez pitched five innings and allowed two runs.

However …

Last night was one game, and the Cardinals still have the best record in the majors. They’ve played 35 games now, with that being only the 11th time they’ve lost.

I’ll put my sparkly pom-poms away now and take a look at some numbers instead.

Even with last night, the Cardinals still have the best team ERA in baseball.

Overall ERA

They have the best starter ERA in baseball.


And, while yesterday at this time they had the best reliever ERA in baseball at 1.90 or something similar, they didn’t fall that far based on one bad night.

Reliever ERA

Plus, since every day is a new day in baseball, the bullpen disaster can be all forgotten starting at 1:15 p.m. when the Cards and Tigers are back at it again. Sure, a starter match-up of David Price vs. Tyler Lyons might make you cringe a little bit — but that’s why they play the games.


MLB Has A Very Important Third Base Question For Us

Sure, the 2015 Major League Baseball season only began four weeks ago today. And, yes, it’s still more than two months until the All-Star Game in Cincinnati.

No matter. It’s time to start voting for the All-Stars! And apparently, there’s some question as to which third baseman who plays in the National League Central is worthy — excuse me, #ASGWorthy — of spending his break in Cincinnati, as MLB tweeted this yesterday afternoon.


Really? There actually would be some type of debate on this?

Let’s see. One of those NL Central third baseman currently leads the majors in doubles with 14, is tied for the lead in extra-base hits with 18, is second in the NL with 34 hits including a triple and a homer, and overall is batting .366/.434/.634. Oh, he also drove in the game-winning run in the 11th inning yesterday as the Cards beat the Pirates 2-1 for the second straight game. 

The other is not bad by any means, hitting .280/.429/.360. He has 14 hits total, and has played 14 games, plus has four 4 doubles and 10 RBI. Among NL third baseman, he is second in one category: strikeouts, with 18. (The player above has 13 in 23 total games.)

But, of course, this second candidate is on the Cubs! He’s the bestest prospect in the history of ever — or at least since Bryce Harper! (And the most over-hyped!) Again, he’s on the Cubs! And the Cubs are good this year! (Their Twitter account even tells us so on occasion!!!) Plus he has those blue eyes that match his Cubbie uniforim and he’s SO good looking!!! (Wish I could remember right now what sportswriter I read during spring training gushing over his looks — male sportswriter, by the way.) Everyone loves KRIS BRYANT!!!

Except most Cardinals fans.

And, on May 3, KRIS BRYANT!!! is not the NL Central’s most #ASGWorthy third baseman. Not by a long shot (which, remember, he still doesn’t have yet).

The only choice this ridiculously early for third baseman for the National League All-Star team is, obviously, Matt Carpenter — you remember, MLB, the guy who finished fourth in MVP voting in 2013 and has been ridiculously good these first four weeks of the season.

And, with all your hyperventilating over KRIS BRYANT!!! since spring training, MLB, at least you were kind enough to include Matt in the question.

Chris Carpenter Turns 40 Today

Isn’t there a certain irony to Adam Wainwright finding out the full extent of his Achilles’ injury today, which is Chris Carpenter’s 40th birthday?

CC-from LindaSMaybe it’s just me — I could likely find a way to connect Chris Carpenter to anything Cardinals’ related, or would at least be up for that challenge — but it certainly seems coincidental. Because another likely lost-season for today’s ace becomes yet another thing Wainwright has in common with the previous ace/2011 postseason hero/2005 Cy Young Award winner/all-around BAMF, who missed the entire 2003 season, made one start in 2007, four in 2008, three in 2012 and tried his damnedest to come back in 2013 until he couldn’t try anymore.

Oh, for what might have been for both of them without their injuries …

Okay, enough sadness. Unless Chris is upset about turning 40. Although if he is, it’s probably more this kind of intensity that we used to love seeing from him. (“I’m 40 now? S—! F—!”)

In that respect, let us honor the warrior that he was during his playing days — and marvel at the fact that two Cardinal Hall of Famers also were born on April 27.

Born on April 27, 1896? The Rajah, Rogers Hornsby.

Born on April 27, 1916? Enos “Country” Slaughter.

And, obviously, born on April 27, 1975? Christopher John Carpenter.

Read more about all three, from an April 2011 perspective, in this post I wrote for Baseball Digest four years ago today.

If you’d rather just look at some pictures of the now-40-year-old (especially if you are female), there’s this AMF post from three years ago today that may cheer you up about Waino. Or at least make an attempt. Because, yes, it does include all your favorite CC photos …

And if that doesn’t work, just watch that video clip from above over and over. Because Carp definitely does have a way with words.

Happy birthday, Chris!

Adam Wainwright To The Disabled List

Although the extent of Adam Wainwright’s injury is not yet known — and won’t be until after an MRI tomorrow — he was placed on the 15-day disabled list today. But instead of just the vague description from last night that he had a left ankle injury, the team announced today that he does have an Achilles injury.

nurse-e1397756375763Of course, one look at Twitter last night would have told you a variety of Achilles injuries he had suffered based on how he was and wasn’t moving. Who knew so many Cardinals fans are doctors — and such experts at diagnosing just based on what they see on a TV screen?

Taking Wainwright’s spot on the roster at the moment is catcher Cody Stanley, which is an interesting move. Is there more to Yadi’s sore knee even after the news that he hoped to play today (and is not, as Tony Cruz will be in there once again)? Personally, I’m glad to see Stanley get the call — he’s a former River Bandit and was on the 2011 Midwest League champion team with Trevor Rosenthal, so I’ve watched him play many times.

Here’s the official news release from the Cardinals.

The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that right-handed pitcher Adam Wainwright will be placed on the 15-day disabled list with an injury to his left Achilles and left ankle. Catcher Cody Stanley has been recalled from Memphis (AAA).

Wainwright, 33, injured his left lower ankle and Achilles during his at-bat in the top of the 5th during Saturday night’s game at Milwaukee. He had pitched 4.0 shutout innings against the Brewers, facing the minimum, while allowing four hits and striking out four. Wainwright has a 2-1 record and 1.44 ERA in four 2015 starts.

This is Stanley’s first appearance with the Major League club, and he will be making his Major League debut in his first game appearance. The Clinton, N.C., native had appeared in 15 games for Memphis, seven behind the plate, and was batting .216 with 2 home runs and 5 RBI. Stanley, 26, was drafted in the 4th Round (139th overall) of the 2010 June Amateur draft by St. Louis out of University of North Carolina – Wilmington.

Celebrating Red Schoendienst’s 70 Years

It was 70 years ago today that Albert “Red” Schoendienst began his remarkable career in Major League Baseball. The St. Louis Cardinals are marking the milestone by honoring Red with a special pre-game ceremony prior to tonight’s game against the Reds.

RedIn addition, the team is launching a season-long campaign encouraging fans to demonstrate their affection for Red by sharing a video message via social media using the hashtag #LoveRed2.

“We want to mark this amazing milestone by letting Red know how much he means to the entire Cardinals family,” said Bill DeWitt III, President of the St. Louis Cardinals. “We encourage fans to join us in showing their affinity, affection and appreciation for No. 2 as he celebrates 70 years and counting in Major League Baseball.”

The team is asking fans to join Cardinals players, broadcasters and team officials in taping video messages where they say their name while announcing that they love Red too. Share your video on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube or Vine using the hashtag #LoveRed2. More information is at

Tonight Red, who will be joined by his family, will be honored with a special ceremony at 7 p.m. He and fans will enjoy congratulatory video messages from players throughout the game and the team will wear a commemorative No. 2 “70 Years in Uniform and Counting” patch on their sleeves.

Red made his Major League Baseball debut on April 17, 1945, when the Cardinals played the Cubs at Wrigley Field. The young man from Germantown, Ill., joined the team to fill in for left fielder Stan Musial, who was serving in the U.S. Navy. That game, Red went 1 for 4 with a triple and run scored.

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An Appropriate Score For Jackie Robinson Day

There were pluses to the Cardinals win over the Brewers last night on Jackie Robinson Day. Just winning (duh) is one, and it was good to see the offense have 10 hits as well as cut back the number of runners left on base to 7 (an improvement over Monday’s 12) and go 4 for 11 with runners in scoring position (better than Monday’s 2 for 13).

Photo: Chris Lee, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Photo: Chris Lee, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Also a positive was that Lance Lynn only allowed 1 earned run while giving up 6 hits, walking 1 and striking out 4 even though he threw 99 pitches in just 5 innings.

And Mike Matheny’s new Tony La Russa-like rotation of relief pitchers into games paid off too — Seth Maness, Matt Belisle, Randy Choate (yay, actually being a LOOGY) and Jordan Walden combined for 3 scoreless innings and allowed 3 hits.

And while we never like to see Trevor Rosenthal allow a lead-off walk, it’s certainly not something we haven’t seen before. We’ve also experienced wild pitches on occasion and, unfortunately, Ryan Braun driving in runs.

Just this once, since the game was on April 15, we’ll be OK with it.

A final score of 4-2 on Jackie Robinson Day, when all the players are wearing No. 42 in honor of the Hall of Famer, is a nice tribute.

(Spin? Sure. Blame my full-time job. It’s what I do.)

There is a Cardinals connection to Robinson becoming the first African American player in MLB, since he was signed by Branch Rickey, who had a long history as Cardinals manager and general manager. Read more about it in this post from a few years ago.

It’s a quick turnaround for more baseball, as the Brewers and Cards close out this series this afternoon at 12:45 p.m. With a win, the Cardinals will tie the first-place Cubs (ugh, it’s true, in case no Cub fans have yet gloated to you about how they’re doing even before KRIS BRYANT!!! arrives) with a 5-3 record. Mike Fiers and John Lackey are the starters.

Mr. Lackey, please be better today than your first start. Mr. Fiers, you can just stay the same.

Say Hello To Our Old Friend, Jason Marquis

You might be surprised to see who the Cardinals will be facing tonight when they play the Cincinnati Reds for the first of their 19 games this season. Jason Marquis.

World Series: Red Sox v Cardinals Game 4Yes, he is returning to the majors after most recently pitching on July 19, 2013, for the Padres. He had Tommy John surgery later that season, and pitched in eight games for the Phillies Triple A team last year.

It seems like forever since he was on the Cardinals back in 2004-2006 but I certainly haven’t forgotten the frustration of watching him pitch. (Have you?) Actually, he was fairly good in 2004 with a 15-7 record (one of four Cards starters to win 15+ games that season) and a 3.71 ERA.

And then came 2005. He started out decently, but somewhere in that July/August period where he lost seven straight games and went from a 9-6 record and 3.78 ERA to a 9-13 record and 4.67 ERA that my friend Michael coined the phrase “Guaranteed Loss Night” for his starts. He finished the season with a 13-14 record, 4.13 ERA and gave up 29 homers in 33 games. One (the only?) bright spot: he was good at the plate, as Mark Tomasik reminds us at RetroSimba today, and won the Silver Slugger award that season.

Then there was 2006. Yes, obviously the Cardinals won the World Series. But remember that awful month of September leading up to the playoffs? Marquis’ 0-4 record in five starts and 7.25 ERA certainly played a role. For the year, he was 14-16 with a 6.02 ERA … and did not pitch in October.

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The Wait Is Over And Cardinals Baseball Is Back

2015_opening_night_400x203We still have all day to wait, but at last the 2015 St. Louis Cardinals regular season begins tonight.

It’s been 170 days since Oct. 16, when Game 5 of the NLCS and the 2014 Cards season ended. Much has happened since then — good, bad, tragic — but we made it.

And now the long journey of the baseball season begins in less than 12 hours. As die-hard fans, we understand the marathon that’s about to begin and the sometimes grueling six months that are ahead. We look forward with anticipation, even though we know the journey through April, May, June, July, August, September and hopefully late into October won’t be easy. So remember the big picture of your love for the Cardinals when things annoy you throughout the months ahead.

Because things are going to happen over this long season. The Cards are going to lose games — sometimes in terrible, frustrating and even unfair ways. Mike Matheny is going to make stupid moves. (Hopefully not tonight, though.) Every guy on the team is going to make an error. Every guy on the team is going to strike out, and probably look really bad doing so from time to time. Every pitcher is going to have a rough outing. Every pitcher is going to have at least an inning where nothing he throws is going to be a strike.

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One Day More …

It’s Saturday, which obviously means tomorrow is Sunday — and tomorrow is Cardinals baseball. Yes, we’re down to one day.

And everyone knows who No. 1 for the Cardinals is.


Ozzie Smith, of course. The favorite player of many who began their Cards fandom back in the 1980s, like Daniel of C70 At The Bat. Known for his incredible defense at shortstop and an unlikely home run that prompted one of the most famous calls in Cardinals history.

Oh, and this …


Yes, we’ll all be doing backflips (figuratively, at least) tomorrow when the Cardinals begin the 2015 season at long last.

One day more! (Of course I keep thinking of Les Miserables when I use those words.)

Just one day!