Cardinals Major League Notebook: 06/16/11

The Cardinals losing streak grew to five games as they were shut out by the Nationals on Wednesday night.

INSIDE PITCH

 

The Cardinals did absolutely nothing right Wednesday as they lost their fifth consecutive game, 10-0, at Washington.

Right-hander Kyle McClellan, making his first start after coming off the disabled list (strained left hip) was inconsistent in working five innings, allowing five runs (three earned).

McClellan was working with a new delivery, moving six to eight inches to the left side of the rubber, to try to take pressure off the hip.

"It was kind of a frustrating game," McClellan (6-3) said. But the right-hander said he wanted to take away some positives and he felt that he did.

"My hip was good," McClellan said. "I felt my curveball was the best it's been all year. Hopefully, moving on the rubber helped that."

Manager Tony La Russa said: "I thought he made some good pitches and he showed some rust."

But veteran right-hander Ryan Franklin, the deposed closer who has wound up in mop-up situations, was disarmingly bad, giving up seven hits and four runs, including two home runs, in 1 2/3 innings.

It will be hard for the Cardinals to make effective use of Franklin, who has given up seven home runs in 25 1/3 innings, compared to seven in 65 innings last season.

Left-hander Brian Tallet, rarely used, allowed a fourth home run to the Nationals.

But the offense was nonexistent against wily Washington right-hander Livan Hernandez. There were some hard-hit balls and some sparkling defense by the Nationals, but there were also only three hits, two by left fielder Jon Jay, and no walks as Hernandez kept the offense off balance all night.

And there was little defense.

Albert Pujols, making his fourth start at third base, committed two errors, one on a throw and another on a boot. Shortstop Tyler Greene also made an error.

Pujols made two errors on Wednesday after shortstop Ryan Theriot made two on Tuesday in an 8-6 loss.

The Cardinals have only one game remaining on a nine-game swing on which they have dipped to 2-6, reminiscent of the 2-8 trip they took to Pittsburgh, Houston and Washington last August.

Two of the losses on this trip have been shutouts. The Cardinals have allowed 18 runs to the offensively challenged Nationals in two nights.

NOTES AND QUOTES

OF Allen Craig will be out three to six weeks rather than only 15 days. Craig, thought to have only a bruised knee after a run-in with an outfield fence in Houston last week, was discovered to have a fractured right patella after an examination in St. Louis. Craig had been placed on the disabled list on Sunday but he might be out until at least the All-Star break.

RHP Eduardo Sanchez, impressive in his rookie season, is scheduled to return to St. Louis on Thursday to have his inflamed right shoulder examined by team medical supervisor Dr. George Paletta. Mozeliak declined to say whether Sanchez might go on the disabled list Thursday, but a spot will have to be opened for LF Matt Holliday when he comes off the DL.

Rookie 3B Matt Carpenter, who was only 1-for-15, was optioned to Class AAA Memphis to make room for RHP Kyle McClellan, who came off the disabled list to make Wednesday's start.

Veteran 1B Albert Pujols made the start at third base, the fourth time he has done that, and made two errors, throwing a ball away and booting a hard-hit grounder. Manager Tony La Russa said that 1B Lance Berkman no doubt would feel he should have Pujols' low throw "99 times out of 100" and the ground-ball error was on a ball that was more difficult than it might have looked.

RHP Ryan Franklin gave up long back-to-back homer uns in the seventh inning as the Nationals broke the game open. La Russa said the pitching was not only rough on Wednesday but the night before and even in the Milwaukee series. "We're in a little bit of a rut, falling behind (hitters) and then having to throw the ball over the middle. The offense is getting into a rut. The pitching is getting into a rut," said La Russa.

Rookie 1B Mark Hamilton, who started 3-for-8 after coming up from Class AAA Memphis the first time, has gone 16 at-bats without a hit since May 4. Rookie RF Andrew Brown got a second straight start but went 0-for-3.

   BY THE NUMBERS: 78 - Number of double plays grounded into by the Cardinals, who lead the majors this season.

   QUOTE TO NOTE: "If we had the seventh game of the World Series and we had the same circumstances, I'd be playing him at third base and hoping they'd hit 27 balls to him. He may not be Scott Rolen but he's much better than average."

- Manager Tony La Russa, on playing 1B Albert Pujols at 3B where he committed two errors on Wednesday.

ROSTER REPORT

MEDICAL WATCH:

RHP Eduardo Sanchez (right shoulder inflammation) did not pitch June 13-15. He might go on the disabled list.

OF Allen Craig (fractured right patella) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 8. He will be out for 3-6 weeks.

RHP Kyle McClellan (left hip flexor strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 31. He will throw a bullpen session during the weekend of June 10-12, and he was activated June 15.

LF Matt Holliday (strained left quadriceps) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 1. He is expected to come off the disabled list June 16.

C Gerald Laird (broken right index finger) went on the 15-day disabled list May 23. He will be out until July.

INF Nick Punto (right forearm flexor strain) went on the 15-day disabled list May 18.

3B David Freese (broken left hand) went on the 15-day disabled list May 2. He had surgery May 3, and he is expected to be out until mid- to late July.

RHP Bryan Augenstein (strained right groin) went on the 15-day disabled list April 13. He was transferred to the 60-day DL on May 16. He is on a rehab assignment in the Florida State League.

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.

NEXT GAME

Thu., June 16 at NATIONALS: Kyle Lohse (7-3, 2.67) vs. John Lannan (4-5, 3.60) 6:05 p.m. CDT (FOX Sports Midwest, KMOX Radio and Cardinals Radio Network).


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