Matheny baffled, embarrassed by Cards output

St. Louis' offense is in a historically bad four-game skid as the important road trip goes South.



There are some pretty daunting numbers to illustrate the Cardinals' colossal four-game nosedive, which began in Pittsburgh and continued in Washington the last two nights.


One number is 36. That is the number of consecutive innings in which the Cardinals have trailed in those four games. That is also the total of number of innings played. In every game, the Cardinals starter allowed at least a run in the first inning -- Adam Wainwright gave up two on Friday in a 10-0 loss to the Nationals.


The second number, or set of numbers, is 32-1. That is the aggregate score in those four games, and the only run scored by the Cardinals was unearned.


There has not been a streak of futility like that since 1958.


The starting pitching has gone nine games without a quality start and six games without completing six innings.


But it is the offense that is the most puzzling. It has combined for only 16 singles and three doubles in those 36 innings.


"We face good pitching all the time," said manager Mike Matheny. "This shouldn't happen to us one day, let alone four.


"These guys are embarrassed right now. We're all embarrassed. This is not the team we are. It's baffling to them as much as it is to all of us."


But what should the first-year manager do? "We shake things up," he said. "It's not like we're sitting around on our hands.


"But as far as reinventing the wheel, you've got to be careful. There's no reason to do something drastic."


Somehow, the Cardinals still hold the second wild-card spot in the National League.



SS Rafael Furcal is out for the remainder of the season, as the Cardinals feared. Furcal, who heard something pop in his elbow while making a throw on Thursday, has a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow and might require ligament-replacement surgery, which would entail a six- to eight-month recovery time. Furcal is under contract for next season at $7 million. The tear was found during an MRI on Friday morning in St. Louis.

SS Pete Kozma was called up from Class AAA Memphis when Rafael Furcal (torn ligament in right elbow) was placed on the disabled list. Kozma, the club's first-round pick in 2007, went 0-for-2 on Friday. Daniel Descalso is likely to get most of the time at shortstop with Furcal out although INF Ryan Jackson is expected to be recalled from Memphis after that club's season ends on Monday. Jackson saw some time at second base for the Cardinals earlier in August.

RHP Adam Wainwright lasted just 2 2/3 innings on Friday, tying the shortest start of his career. Wainwright, lacking fastball command, gave up nine hits, most of them after he was ahead in the count, and six runs after going 5-0 with a 1.47 earned run average previously in August. After losing 10-0 to Washington, he said, "This definitely was a loss you can pin on my shoulders. I did a horrible job of putting guys away. I didn't pitch well, and it was a bad time not to pitch well."

C Yadier Molina is not moving well. He allowed three wild pitches on Friday after suffering sprains to his upper body in a home-plate collision on Tuesday night in Pittsburgh. Manager Mike Matheny, noting Molina was still having trouble with his left side and neck, said he would sit Molina on Saturday after taking him out early in the first two games he played upon his return.

INF Matt Carpenter, who hurt his leg making a double-play pivot at second base during batting practice on Thursday, largely has been unavailable the last couple of days. Carpenter had X-rays, which were negative.

RHP Chris Carpenter, on the fast track from July surgery to alleviate a nerve condition affecting his right shoulder, threw two simulated innings of batting practice Friday. He might pitch for the first time this season by the end of September.

By the Numbers:

1 - Number of runs the Cardinals have driven in with a hit in the last five games. That was by RHP Kyle Lohse in a 4-3 win at Pittsburgh on Monday.

Quote to Note:

"We haven't showed up the last couple games, especially me."

- RHP Adam Wainwright on the sagging Cardinals.


SS Rafael Furcal (torn ligament in right elbow) was placed on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 31 and is out for the season. He might need Tommy John surgery.

C Yadier Molina (strained upper back, left shoulder and neck) was injured in a home-plate collision Aug. 28. Concussion tests were negative, but he didn't play on Aug. 29. He was back in the lineup Aug. 30 but still was moving slowly Aug. 31.

1B Lance Berkman (right knee inflammation) went on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 3. He began a rehab assignment with Class AAA Memphis on Aug. 24, and he is expected to be activated Sept. 1.

RHP Kyle McClellan (torn labrum in right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list May 18 due to a strained right elbow, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 30. He threw on flat ground for the first time July 3, but he subsequently felt shoulder pain. He had season-ending shoulder surgery July 10.

RHP Chris Carpenter (weak right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 26, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 10. He threw for the first time since March on June 13 and then threw another 40 pitches on June 15. He threw to hitters for the first time June 22 but then had a setback June 25 when he felt renewed weakness in the shoulder. He said it felt better the next day, and he had an extensive throwing session off flat ground June 27. On June 28, he was told he has thoracic outlet syndrome, which can cause, among its effects, weakness in one's shoulder. He underwent surgery July 19 to relieve thoracic outlet syndrome.

Link to boxscore: Washington 10, St. Louis 0

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