The Cardinals Just Keep Rolling Along

On the day the St. Louis Cardinals had the fifth player from their Opening Day roster go onto the disabled list, they did what was expected: won.

happy faceIt was win No. 40 of the season, and on June 12. The Cardinals are the first team in MLB to reach 40 wins this season. The next NL team to reach that plateau won’t do it until at least Tuesday, if the Dodgers win their next four straight. No AL team will reach 40 wins until at least Wednesday, if the Astros (how awesome is that?) now go on a winning streak after destroying King Felix Hernandez and the Mariners last night.

Not surprisingly, the Cardinals still have the best record in MLB, and also have the biggest division lead — the second-place Pirates are 6 1/2 games back. (If the Pirates were in the NL East, they’d be in first at the moment.)

As for last night’s game, Jaime Garcia was impressive — again. He pitched eight scoreless innings, allowed only four infield singles, struck out six and didn’t walk a batter. In fact, he hasn’t walked a batter since his season-debut on May 21 … four starts and 30 innings ago.

And while Kolten Wong, Matt Carpenter, Mark Reyonds and Yadi all went hitless, it didn’t matter. Jon Jay hit a first inning triple that drove in Everyone’s Favorite Man (and Woman) Crush Randal Grichuk, who’d singled. Jaime was up next and singled to score Jay.

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How Will The Cardinals Respond To Losing Wacha, Garcia?

Adversity brings a team together, right? But what about when the adversity affects the season-long strength of the team — the starting rotation? That’s what we’re about to find out from the 2014 St. Louis Cardinals as they embark on a 10-game road trip to face the Rockies, Dodgers and Giants minus Michael Wacha and Jaime Garcia.

collageThe Cardinals currently are tied with the Dodgers for MLB’s best starter ERA at 3.08, just ahead of the A’s 3.10. Add the relievers in also and the Cards are third overall in MLB with a 3.18 ERA, behind the A’s at 3.02 and Nationals at 3.04. Yes, the Cards’ bullpen has improved much so that its ERA right now is 3.41 (seventh best in the NL, 11th in MLB).

With Carlos Martinez able to stay in the rotation, that’s a benefit. Joe Kelly is going to begin a rehab stint on Friday at Memphis — good news, as he will hopefully be back soon. Until he is, there are options currently at Memphis such as Tyler Lyons, Zach Petrick or Tim Cooney.

But then there’s the other side of the game: the offense. And with that, who knows? Though, with as good as the pitching has been lately, the way the offense goes is the way the game goes. Get hits, score runs? Winner! Fall flat, don’t score? Yeah, we’ve seen that plenty. The team is currently hitting .250/.318/.364, which is eighth/fifth/13th in the NL. Of course they’re still last in homers with just 42 — which is what the Royals have now as well.

A spark and any sense of urgency from this team seems to occasionally appear, leading us all to think “OK, now they’re playing like they should.” Then the Cards lose back-to-back games to the Phillies and have A.J. Burnett and his 13.50 Busch Stadium ERA throw a complete game against them.

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Cards Post-Game Shocker: Garcia, Wacha Going On DL

Carlos Martinez had his longest outing as Cardinal today — and that’s good. He’s going to be staying in the starting rotation.

nurse-e1397756375763After the game, and after Mike Matheny’s post-game comments on FOX Sports Midwest, John Mozeliak addressed the media with some rather shocking news: both Jaime Garcia and Michael Wacha are going on the disabled list with shoulder injuries.

Garcia’s injury is reaggravation of the shoulder injury that kept him on the DL to start the season, after having surgery on the same shoulder in May 2013.

Wacha has what was described by Mozeliak as a “stress reaction” in his shoulder and Wacha described as a tightness on the back of his shoulder during comments aired on FOX Sports Midwest. More details are available from Viva El Birdos and from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

No roster moves will be announced until tomorrow.

Prior to 40 percent of the rotation going onto the DL, the Cardinals did win today’s game 5-3 to split the series with Phillies. Martinez allowed the three runs in five innings to earn his first win as a starter. The Cards scored four runs in the fourth to take the lead, with the lower part of the lineup getting the job done: Jon Jay and Jhonny Peralta each had RBI singles that inning, while Mark Ellis drove in Jay on a safety squeeze. Ellis also had an RBI single in the sixth.

Cardinals Haiku Friday: A Familiar Sort Of Loss


We’ve seen this too many times before … (Photo: St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

A loss on Wednesday
After five straight wins: okay.
These things will happen.

Last night, Phillies here.
Unfamiliar guy starting.
You know what that means.

Lack of offense back.
We liked all the hits and runs
And the winning too.

But only four hits
Not many scoring chances
And just one run scored.

One hit with RISP
Plus four LOB.

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Cardinals Throwback Thursday: Aaron Miles’ Walk-Off Grand Slam

With the 2014 regular season just four (Yadi!) days away, this will be the final Cardinals Throwback Thursday post for a while. What better way to make an impact than with a career highlight from the blog’s namesake — the only walk-off homer of his career, which just happened to be a grand slam?

AMslamThe date was July 20, 2008. It was, believe it or not, Jaime Garcia’s first major league start and second big-league appearance, and the Cards starting lineup that day included Skip Schumaker, Aaron batting second, Ryan Ludwick, Rick Ankiel, Troy Glaus, Chris Duncan, Jason LaRue and Adam Kennedy. Oh, and Jaime hit eighth.

It was a Sunday afternoon just after the All-Star break, the conclusion of a four-game series against the San Diego Padres. The Cardinals had taken the first three games, plus won their final game before the All-Star break, so they had a nice streak going. According to Matthew Leach’s article at, it was “a definitively miserable St. Louis summer day.”

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Just Imagine If There Was No Tommy John Surgery

All of us as St. Louis Cardinals fans — actually, all of us as baseball fans — should be thankful for Dr. Frank Jobe, an orthopedic surgeon who died a few days ago at age 88. You may or may not have heard of him, but there’s no question you’ve heard of his greatest contribution to baseball: ulnar collateral ligament replacement surgery, better known as Tommy John surgery.

collage-Tommy JohnThat surgery is something we as Cardinals fans are quite familiar with, isn’t it? Jason Motte is still recovering from undergoing the procedure last May.

And just imagine what the 2011 Cardinals pitching staff would have been if there were no Tommy John surgery and a pitcher’s career — as happened with Sandy Koufax — just ended because of elbow injuries.

Of course there already wasn’t Adam Wainwright that season, since he’d had Tommy John surgery in February. But there also wouldn’t have been Chris Carpenter (who had the surgery in 2007), Jaime Garcia (2008), Jake Westbrook (2008), Kyle McClellan (2005 — and remember how good he was in the starting rotation early that year?) and Octavio Dotel (2005).

Just imagine … no happy flights and magical September and October without them, and that’s just one Cardinals season.

Also just one team. Last July Will Carroll, an expert on sports injuries, published a study at Bleacher Report that indicated one-third of current MLB pitchers at the time had undergone Tommy John surgery.That was 124 of 360 pitchers and even Carroll was stunned at the high number. Here’s his full list of the 124, if you’re interested.

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What Could Keep The Cardinals From Winning The NL Central?

It’s a good week ahead, right? Spring training games begin on Friday — just the final step before real baseball games — and the outlook is good for the talented and deep 2014 St. Louis Cardinals.

united-cardinal-bloggers-lgYet yesterday morning, I couldn’t help but feel pessimistic as I thought about what to ask my fellow United Cardinal Bloggers members for our spring training roundtables. Blame it on Monday, blame it on the post I’d just finished at the time, blame it on the rain (for those of you who’ve even heard of Milli Vanilli …)

My question to them: what could keep the Cardinals from winning the NL Central in 2014?

Here are the responses.

Daniel Shoptaw, C70 At The Bat

Your post this morning pointed out the main possibility — Yadier Molina missing a significant portion of the season. Most anything else I think the Cards can survive, but Molina going down would be rough.

Bill Ivie, I-70 Baseball

I’m taking two shots … Health and inexperience …

The Cardinals have depth, but it is young and unproven at a lot of spots. An injury to a key player with little depth behind him could disrupt this team fairly quickly. An injury to a veteran starter and the young arms that have yet to pitch a full season are suddenly going to have to shoulder (pun intended) a lot of the inning load.

The team has the depth in various places to sustain an injury. But young players will have to play up to expectations for the Cards to be able to chug along without a key component. The pitching looks great on paper, but I wonder how hard they will push the young bucks. Time will tell.

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Spring Is In The Air

Derrick Goold warmed the hearts of many a cold St. Louis Cardinals fan Friday!

Dgoold tweet

That’s right! Joe Kelly, Adam Wainwright and Shelby Miller are three of several Cardinals who arrived to Spring Training camp in Jupiter, Florida, a little early to get a head start on their workouts.

Pitching coach Derek Lilliquist worked with Kelly, Waino and Miller along with a still-rehabbing Jason Motte and a recuperating Jaime Garcia. Seth Maness and Kevin Siegrist also threw some.

Tony Cruz and Yadier Molina were also around to catch bullpen sessions and take some batting practice.

Check out this story by Goold discussing a little amphibious friend Wainwright made today.

Miranda is a contributor to Aaron Miles’ Fastball. You may follow her on Twitter, @missmiranda! 

My Cardinals 2014 Wish List

As most everyone else does between Christmas and New Year’s Day, I’ve been thinking much about what I want to see in 2014. As the snow falls and the temps waver from low to high single digits, it’s only natural to think about spring … and baseball … and what I want to see from the Cardinals as the weather warms (both the temperature and my spirits!).

2014Taking a look back at last year’s New Year Wish List makes me wonder how much will change between now and October, but it’s fun to look ahead and wish, nonetheless.

So, as I watch the end of the college football season and look ahead to 365 days of new opportunities, here are 14 things I’m hoping to see from the 2014 Cardinals.

14. Visits to Busch, complete with a tour of Ballpark Village

We’ve been hearing about BPV for so long. This winter, watching the progress as it becomes a reality, has me yearning for the first opportunity to see it in person. (Like I need another excuse to visit the happiest place on earth!) The legacy that is St. Louis Cardinals baseball deserves a showplace worthy of its history, and here’s hoping the city does it up just right!

13. Chris Carpenter’s developing role

I know “front office guys” don’t usually show up in game recaps or headlines. But, I hope to hear what Carp is up to throughout the year. I mean, don’t you? Continue reading

Which Three Years Were Better: 2004-2006 or 2011-2013?

The past 10 seasons are an extraordinarily rich time in St. Louis Cardinals history, as we all know. Seven trips to the postseason, six times in the National League Championship Series, five National League Central titles,  four World Series appearances resulting in two World Championships — obviously a glorious time to be a Cardinals fan.

Yet also two very distinct ways to that success, with the Tony La Russa/Walt Jocketty era reaching its pinnacle in 2004 with its reliance more on veteran acquisitions to make an impact and now the John Mozeliak/Mike Matheny way that’s blossoming with talent developed from within. Which has me wondering: of these past seasons, which three-year stretch was better: 2004-2006 or 2011-2013?

Here’s a refresher on these two championship stretches.


Record: 105-57 (best in MLB), finished first in NL Central.

Postseason: Won NLDS 3 games to 1 over Dodgers; won NLCS 4 games to 3 over Astros; lost World Series in sweep by Red Sox.

Top hitters: The MV3 — Albert Pujols .331/.415/.657 with 46 home runs and 123 RBI, WAR of 8.4; Scott Rolen .314/.409/.598 with 34 homers and 124 RBI, WAR of 9.1; Jim Edmonds .301/.418/.643 with 42 homers and 111, WAR of 7.1. Also, Tony Womack hit .307 and had 26 stolen bases. Edgar Renteria hit .287 with 72 RBI and 17 stolen bases.

Team batting average: .278, first in NL.

Team OPS: .804, also first in the NL.

Top starting pitchers: Chris Carpenter, 15-5, 3.46 ERA; Jason Marquis, 15-7, 3.71 ERA; Jeff Suppan, 16-9, 4.16 ERA.

Saves leader: Jason Isringhausen, 47.

Team ERA: 3.75, second in NL (Braves first at 3.74)

Postseason moment to remember: Jim Edmonds 12th inning walk-off home run in Game Six of the NLCS.

Award recognition: The MV3 finished third (Pujols), fourth (Rolen) and fifth (Edmonds) in NL MVP voting. Tony La Russa was second in the NL Manager of the Year race.

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