Cardinals Major League Notebook: 09/17/10

Jake Westbrook dominated the San Diego Padres at Busch Stadium on Thursday night.



Thursday's game was supposed to be about Ryan Ludwick's return to Busch Stadium.

Instead, it was Jake Westbrook, who was acquired from Cleveland in the three-team trade that sent Ludwick to San Diego, who stole the spotlight.

Westbrook affirmed why the Cardinals were willing to give up so much to get him. He blanked the Padres on six hits, all singles, for eight innings. Coming in, Westbrook had won just one of his first eight starts for the Cardinals despite working at least six innings in all of them.

"I wasn't really in control of the trade," Westbrook said. "I'm just trying to do my part when I get an opportunity to pitch. And that's kind of what I wanted to show everybody. That's what I want to show everybody every time I pitch -- that there's a reason they got me and ... I want to be the guy that they wanted."

A noted sinkerballer, Westbrook got 16 out of his 24 outs on grounders, started a double play and handled two other chances himself.

"When you're a groundball pitcher, you're going to get a lot of balls," Westbrook said. "After I let go of the ball, I'm another fielder, and any way I can get an out, I want to be that guy that can do it.

"I definitely take a lot of pride in that. I actually get more upset when I don't make a play that I should than if I give up a homer."

Rookie Jon Jay, who took over right field when Ludwick was traded, was the offensive star. Jay had three of the Cardinals' eight hits and scored two runs.

The Cardinals' victory snapped a losing streak at three for a club that had gone 9-21 in its previous 30 games. The Cardinals actually gained a game on Cincinnati in what's left of the National League Central race. Cincinnati still leads St. Louis by seven games with a magic number of 10.

In the Cardinals' last 14 games against teams that are in playoff contention -- Cincinnati, Atlanta, San Francisco and San Diego -- they are 10-4. Against teams that have losing records, the Cardinals are 44-47 this season.

CARDINALS 4, PADRES 0: The Cardinals tossed their 14th shutout of the season, with RHP Jake Westbrook working eight innings of six-hit ball. RHP Kyle McClellan tossed a scoreless ninth. The win was the Cardinals' 10th straight over San Diego at Busch Stadium since 2007.


The Cardinals announced a front office shift that resulted, in part, in longtime minor league executive John Vuch being named farm director. Jeff Luhnow, vice president of scouting and player development, technically remains in charge of both areas, but his focus now will be amateur scouting and the Cardinals' operations in the Caribbean. "I don't think it is going to be a dramatic change in philosophy," GM John Mozeliak said. "The real takeaway is allowing people with expertise to allocate more of their time to their specific responsibilities."

3B Tyler Greene became the latest at the position Thursday night. Greene handled five of six chances—he made one error—and struck out twice, extending his hitless streak to 14 at-bats. Manager Tony La Russa said Greene, who has speed and some power, would play at third again Friday. He is replacing Pedro Feliz, whose average had dropped to .215 before he got a hit as a reserve Thursday, and Felipe Lopez, who is hitting .232.

RHP Chris Carpenter, who came out of a start Wednesday when his right hamstring cramped, was suffering from dehydration, according to the medical staff. He should be ready for his next start Monday. Carpenter slipped trying to retrieve a wild throw at third base. The 7-3 loss by Carpenter to the Cubs on Wednesday marked the first time this year that staff aces Carpenter, RHP Adam Wainwright and LHP Jaime Garcia had lost in the same series, let alone dropped three games in succession.

1B Albert Pujols already has nailed down two-thirds of the trifecta he has achieved in each of his first nine seasons. He has surpassed 30 homers and 100 runs batted in. But, at .306, the .300 average he always has had is in at least a little jeopardy. Manager Tony La Russa, hopeful the streak will continue, said, "It's definitely a subject of interest. He's a .300 hitter."

LF Matt Holliday extended his hitting streak to eight games (13-for-29, .448) and knocked in his 95th run Thursday. Somewhat quietly, Holliday has put together 45 multi-hit games and has 48 two-out RBI, a figure that leads the National League.

By the Numbers:

.300-30-100 - 1B Albert Pujols has only to maintain his average above .300—he has 10 or so points to spare—to achieve a record 10th straight season from the start of a career in which he has hit at least .300 with 30 or more homers and 100 RBI.


Quote to Note:


"The highs are enjoyable but you can't enjoy them for long. The disappointments are painful and you carry them for much longer."


- Tony La Russa, on managing.




Medical Watch:

RHP Chris Carpenter (dehydration/right hamstring cramp) left his Sept. 15 start. He is expected to be ready for his Sept. 20 start.

LHP Jaime Garcia (arm fatigue) is expected to skip at least one start in mid-September.

LHP Trever Miller (left forearm strain) did not pitch Sept. 7-16. He threw a bullpen session Sept. 13, and he is day-to-day.

C Jason LaRue (concussion) went on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 13. He was moved to the 60-day DL on Aug. 19, ending his season.

RHP Adam Ottavino (right shoulder strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 4, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on Aug. 17. He was throwing in early September, hoping to get in a game or two, but manager Tony La Russa said it would take "a major green light" for that to happen.

3B David Freese (right ankle surgery in August 2010, left ankle surgery in September 2010) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 28, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on Aug. 15. He was originally out due to a bone bruise on his right ankle, and then he broke his left big toe in mid-July. He tore a right ankle tendon Aug. 2 in his first rehab game with Class AA Springfield, and he had season-ending surgery Aug. 6. He underwent surgery on the left ankle a month later, but he expects to be ready for spring training.

RHP Brad Penny (strained upper back) went on the 15-day disabled list May 22, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on July 31. He threw bullpen sessions June 28 and July 1 but had to cut short a bullpen session July 6 because of tightness in his triceps area. He underwent an MRI on July 7 that found nothing that hadn't been diagnosed before. As of Aug. 5, he was playing catch but not throwing off a mound. Penny is out indefinitely.

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