The standings say they still are in second place in the National League Central, but the Cardinals might have hit rock bottom Tuesday night in a 13-2 beatdown by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The only relief offered to the team and the Busch Stadium crowd was infielder/outfielder Skip Schumaker's major league pitching debut in the ninth inning. Schumaker fanned two hitters, including the leadoff man, but allowed a first-pitch, two-run homer to Dodgers third baseman Aaron Miles, ironically the last position player to pitch for the Cardinals, in the 2010 season.
"He took Miles for granted," said manager Tony La Russa in as much of a joke as he could muster.
For the first time this season, the Cardinals find themselves 10 games out of first place. They haven't been that far behind since they ended the 2008 season 11 1/2 games off the pace.
Since Aug. 14, when the
Cardinals won their last series by taking two out of three games from
"That's not how you mapped out the end of the year," said Schumaker. "What is it? The last three series like this? We need to turn this thing around in a hurry if we're going to have a chance."
La Russa said, simply, "We're getting beat. We've got to win some games, for whatever reasons. We've got to win a game, then two, three. That's as simple as you can keep it. There's no use to complicate it.
"Today ... was terrible."
RHP Kyle Lohse, who had pitched two strong games, suffered his eighth loss in 19 decisions when he was cuffed for eight runs in three innings. It didn't start well as he hung a slider to Los Angeles CF Matt Kemp, who drilled a three-run homer in the first after Lohse had allowed a single to SS Justin Sellers and walked 1B James Loney. Manager Tony La Russa called Lohse's performance "mystifying. The first guy bloops a hit in there, then he pitches carefully to Loney and then he just threw the ball down the middle," La Russa said. Lohse's reaction: "What do you want me to say? Usually a hanging slider isn't the pitch you want to throw. I'm not trying to hang sliders. I'm not trying to throw balls down the middle."
LF Matt Holliday was back in the lineup after having to come out of Monday's game when a moth flew into his right ear. Holliday said he wasn't in so much pain as he was annoyed by the arrival of the moth. "It wasn't killing me, but if you can imagine something that far in your ear fluttering the whole time, it's not comfortable," he said. The moth was extracted with tweezers and Holliday put it in a plastic bag, which he displayed Tuesday night.
The Cardinals are down more than 170,000 in attendance from last year but still figure to draw 3.1 million, giving them eight straight years at that figure. While there will be disappointment in the final numbers, the Cardinals, with the 24th-largest market, will finish sixth in attendance. "We definitely do not take that for granted," said Joe Strohm, vice president of ticket sales.
OF Allen Craig made his second start in center field and got two hits besides recording his first assist from that position. Manager Tony La Russa said, "There are two ways to beat a club. You score some runs or you stop them from scoring. With Kershaw (Los Angeles LHP Clayton Kershaw), I wanted to get an extra bat in there. The way I look at it … we went with our defensive unit (Monday) and we only scored one run." The Cardinals got two runs, both in the ninth inning, on Tuesday.
RHP Shelby Miller, the 2009 top draft pick who was suspended last week for an off-field incident, returned to the rotation Tuesday at Class AA Springfield. Miller worked four innings, giving up two runs and two hits while walking three and fanning three.
BY THE NUMBERS: 24 - Starts for RHP Kyle Lohse before he allowed a run in the second inning. He gave up four runs in the second on Tuesday.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I believe in the toughness of this club. But we've had a losing 'X' number of days now. That's not acceptable for us."
- Manager Tony La Russa on the Cardinals' slide, in which they have lost six of eight to second-division teams.
INF Ryan Theriot (hamstring) was out Aug. 21-23 and is day-to-day.
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.
VIDEO FROM FOXSPORTSMIDWEST.COM
Manager Tony La Russa and Skip Schumaker vent their frustration after Tuesday's 13-2 loss to LA.