Cardinals Major League Notebook: 04/08/11

The Cardinals begin an important 10-game West Coast road trip as they try to right their ship.



After six games, five of them without cleanup man Matt Holliday, who is recovering from an appendectomy, the Cardinals have scored only 15 runs, ranking them last in the National League at 2.5 per game.

St. Louis has eight extra-base hits (five doubles, one triple, two home runs), also last in the league, and were batting .182 with runners in scoring position.

All these items are "not conducive to winning baseball," as Hall of Fame manager Whitey Herzog used to say.

While manager Tony La Russa lashed out at questions concerning the offense after Wednesday's 3-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates, veteran outfielder Lance Berkman spoke in more measured tones.

Berkman said he could see the fans wondering, "Is that going to be a trend?" But he then said, "As a veteran you just have to look at the track record and say we have the personnel.

"We're not off to a good start. I think it's just plain and simple. We're not clicking right now. It's going to click. It just hasn't yet."

Berkman said the Cardinals "need some breaks. You've got to have something good happen to ease the tension that builds."

La Russa already sought a way to do that by storming out of his post-game press conference on Wednesday.

Next game: Fri., Apr. 8 at GIANTS: Jake Westbrook (0-1, 16.62) vs. Jonathan Sanchez (0-1, 3.18) 3:35 p.m. CDT (FOX Sports Midwest, KMOX Radio and Cardinals Radio Network)



OF Allen Craig has been a bright spot in a dreary first week. Craig, mostly filling in for LF Matt Holliday, leads the team not only in runs batted in at four but in stolen bases at two.

Attendance for the recent three-game series with Pittsburgh was only 100,638, the smallest for a three-game set in the six-season history of new Busch Stadium. Bad weather and the NCAA final on television on Monday contributed to the lowest paid crowd in the stadium's history, 32,007.

1B Albert Pujols, who has said April is his toughest month, is batting .182 with one home run and three runs batted in for the first week. He has one hit with men in scoring position.

LH reliever Brian Tallet has been something of a surprise, given that he finished camp with a groin injury. Tallet has retired all eight hitters he has faced.

LF Matt Holliday, if he is medically cleared after undergoing an appendectomy, is expected to be able to pinch hit during the Cardinals; series in San Francisco, which will begin on Friday. He could play in Arizona in a three-game series which starts on Monday.

   BY THE NUMBERS: .297 - Cardinals' slugging percentage, last in the National League.

   QUOTE TO NOTE: "Nobody is up there just flailing away, but we're just not getting it done." - OF Lance Berkman, on the Cardinals' first-week offensive problems.




LF Matt Holliday (appendectomy) underwent the procedure April 1. He played catch and ran sprints April 5, and the next day he hit indoors for the first time since the surgery. He was be re-examined on April 7 before the team headed to San Francisco and hopes to be cleared to pinch hit in the series that starts April 8. He might then start in Arizona three days later.

RHP Adam Wainwright (Tommy John surgery in February 2011) went on the 60-day disabled list March 25. He will miss the entire 2011 season.

INF Nick Punto (hernia surgery in February 2011) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 22. He hopes to return in late April.

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