Cardinals Major League Notebook: 08/16/11

The Cards are feeling the heat as the Brewers win while they play .500 ball against lesser opponents.

INSIDE PITCH

 

The Cardinals, in the midst of five series against losing teams, covering 16 games, are only 2-2 through the first four games of that stretch after losing to Pittsburgh, 6-2, Monday night.

The National League Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers, who also are playing five losing teams before meeting the Cardinals again Aug. 30 in Milwaukee, are 4-0 in the first four games of their stretch.

Ergo, the Brewers lead the Cardinals by six games with 40 to play.

"The difference is that they're winning in the Central Division and we're not," said Skip Schumaker, who on Monday made his first start of the season in center field. "They're beating up teams in their division. We're what? Like two or three games over .500?"

Milwaukee is 36-19 in the division compared to the Cardinals' 27-25 record.

"We're fine against everyone else (38-32), but for some reason we're not doing it in the division. We can still win the series and that's our goal, but ... this one was a tough one," Schumaker said.

The Cardinals were just 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position and stranded five runners at second and another at third.

"The name of the game is execution," said manager Tony La Russa. "A lot of it's their pitching. Some of it is we could have done a better job."

Right-hander Jake Westbrook, who barely got Pittsburgh catcher Ryan Doumit out (3-for-5) going into the game didn't get him out at all on Monday -- Doumit got three of his four hits for the night off Westbrook. One came off a hanging curveball in the fourth inning, and the resultant three-run homer broke a 1-1 tie. Doumit is a career .333 hitter against St. Louis.

"Well, he's definitely comfortable up there against me," said Westbrook. "I'm pretty sure I've tried everything. I really didn't make any good pitches against him. To his credit, he took advantage of that.

"It was one of those things where you make one mistake and it costs you a bunch. It didn't need to happen. I need to put together better outings than I had tonight."

Boxscore

NOTES, QUOTES

CF Jon Jay's slump had reached 7-for-43 (.163), so manager Tony La Russa gave him a breather and wrote in 2B Skip Schumaker for his first start of the season in center field on Monday. "Jay's a little off now," said La Russa, "so he's doing some work to get back on."

2B Skip Schumaker, who was 1-for-4 Monday as the leadoff man, is hitting .333 since June 4, when he was at .207, and has raised his season average to .291. "I didn't think I was a .200 hitter," Schumaker said. "I didn't think I was a .260 hitter." Schumaker batted .265 last year after three straight .300-plus seasons.

On the final day for signing draft picks from the June selections, the Cardinals came to terms with their second-round choice, speedy high school outfielder Charlie Tilson from Wilmette, Ill., a suburb of Chicago. Tilson, 18, who had a scholarship offer from the University of Illinois, batted .406 with 26 steals in his senior season at New Trier Township High School. Tilson, who hits and throws left-handed, was assigned to the Cardinals' Gulf Coast League team in Jupiter, Fla.

RHP Edwin Jackson, who had a cramping issue in his right hamstring Sunday night, will be one of the pitchers in Chicago this weekend, according to manager Tony La Russa, who still is mulling the rest of the rotation. Jackson said the cramping sensation went away almost as fast as it had occurred. "It (the cramp) was about to start. It never did start," said Jackson. "I knew I wouldn't feel it."

LHP Arthur Rhodes, who walked the only man he faced in his Cardinals debut on Sunday, got the only man he faced on Monday to ground out.

LF Matt Holliday doubled twice, giving him 301 for his career. Holliday has 198 home runs.

BY THE NUMBERS: .384 - 1B Albert Pujols' career average at PNC Park for 11 seasons. He has 27 home runs there, most by a visiting player.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "(Jake Westbrook) could have been sharper. And our offense could have been sharper and it could have been a closer game. Neither one was real sharp. And we got beat by four."

- Manager Tony La Russa, pithily summarizing Monday's game.

ROSTER REPORT

 

MEDICAL WATCH:

RHP Edwin Jackson (right hamstring cramp) left his Aug. 14 start early. Jackson would have an extra day of rest before his next scheduled start Aug. 20 in Chicago.

RHP Lance Lynn (strained left oblique) went on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 10.

INF Nick Punto (strained left oblique) went on the 15-day disabled list July 29.

RHP Eduardo Sanchez (mild right shoulder strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 13. He began a rehab assignment with Class AA Springfield on July 7 but had renewed soreness soon after and was shut down until late August or early September. He was transferred to the 60-day DL on July 31.

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

Tue., Aug. 16 at PIRATES: Chris Carpenter (8-8, 3.68) vs. Jeff Karstens (9-6, 3.04) 6:05 p.m. CDT (FOX Sports Midwest, KMOX Radio and Cardinals Radio Network).

VIDEO FROM FOXSPORTSMIDWEST.COM

<a href='http://www.foxsportsmidwest.com/pages/video?UUID=257355c3-41ba-47ec-9c45-baf55bd74709&src=SLPl:embed::uuids' target='_new' title='La Russa: 'We miss the executions''>Video: La Russa: 'We miss the executions'</a>
Cardinals share their thoughts on Monday night's 6-2 loss against the Pirates.


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