While the Cardinals staggered to a 34-47 road record last year, effectively curtailing their bid to win the National League Central title, they were fairly unbeatable at home. They posted a 52-29 record at Busch Stadium and won the first game of a home series 19 times out of 26.
This year in the early going, they are 10-6 on the road, but after a 6-5 defeat to the visiting Marlins on Monday night, they have lost the first game in four of their first five home series. Too small a sample size, according to manager Tony La Russa.
"These are the first days of May," La Russa said. "Why don't you wait until the All-Star break? If we had won every first game, you can't say anything about it that means anything for the season either. It means nothing at this point."
Right-hander Kyle Lohse
survived a third-inning blast off his right shin by
Cardinals right fielder Lance Berkman had entered the game hitting .432 at home, but with no home runs and three RBI, compared to .375 with eight homers and 20 RBI on the road. But in his first two at-bats Monday, Berkman drove in four runs, three on his first homer at Busch.
"It doesn't matter to me," Berkman said. "If I hit 60 on the road and none at home, I'd take it."
3B David Freese, who
suffered a fractured left hand when hit by a pitch Sunday in
"There's an optimistic side; there's probably a more likely (side)," Mozeliak said. "Time will tell. … The way we've got to look at him is getting him back sometime by late July."
Freese missed the last half of the 2010 season after sustaining a serious right ankle injury and had worked hard to regain his spot this spring after actually having surgeries on both ankles last year. "Now he has to wait two months," La Russa said. "That's brutal."
3B Daniel Descalso, a left-handed hitter, got the first start in place of David Freese, who was hitting .356, ninth in the NL, when he suffered a broken left hand Sunday. Manager Tony La Russa said he also would use right-handed-hitting Tyler Greene and switch-hitting Nick Punto at third when the latter recovers from a hamstring injury. Descalso went 0-for-3 with a walk Monday.
2B Skip Schumaker, who has a strained right triceps and some ligament issues in his elbow area, will be out at least two more weeks, meaning that INF Tyler Greene essentially is "going to have play all over," GM John Mozeliak said. "Internally, we have to handle it. I don't think we have an answer at the minor league level. We really don't want to dwarf somebody's development like (Matt) Carpenter by bringing him up as a place-holder. We'll see if we can handle this first with the players we have."
The Cardinals, though they have lost their first two games in May, finished April in first place in the National League Central. It was the first time they had led after any month since July of last year, when they had a half-game lead they would soon lose.
"When you're healthy, you have a much better chance of succeeding," GM John Mozeliak said. "Hopefully, we can get some guys back and withstand the ones we're losing. But to be where we are after the first month … I think that we're in a good spot. Certainly some of the things that have happened—such as the bullpen and defensive collapses—hopefully, those are not going be the DNA of our club for the entire summer."
LHP Brian Tallet, who has a fractured right hand, is throwing but not catching yet, until he can wear a glove on his right hand. "He can't go out there until he can defend himself," manager Tony La Russa said. GM John Mozeliak said Tallet probably still would require a short rehabilitation stint before being activated. Once that happens, Tallet, impressive early in the season, will have a role.
BY THE NUMBERS: 5 - Games with at least three hits by SS Ryan Theriot, tops on the club.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's disappointing It's pretty simple. … I broke my hand. I'm going to get healthy and get back out there."
- 3B David Freese, who, after being hit by a pitched ball Sunday, will have surgery to repair a break in his left hand Tuesday in St. Louis.
3B David Freese (broken left hand) went on the 15-day disabled list May 2. He will have surgery May 3, and he is expected to be out until mid- to late July.
2B Skip Schumaker (strained right triceps) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 16. He might return in mid-May.
LHP Bryan Tallet (fractured right hand) went on 15-day disabled list April 13. He was throwing but not catching in early May, and the timetable for his return was uncertain.
RHP Bryan Augenstein (strained right groin) went on the 15-day disabled list April 13.
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.
Tue., May 3 vs. MARLINS: Kyle McClellan (4-0, 3.23) vs. Anibal Sanchez (1-1, 3.86)
7:15 p.m. CDT (FOX Sports