Stephen Piscotty (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports Images)

A recap of St. Louis Cardinals-related news from the period of May 16-22, 2016

The St. Louis Cardinals went 3-3 at home against two West Division foes as Stephen Piscotty is settling into the cleanup spot.

Game recaps

Monday, May 16----Off day

Tuesday, May 17----Cardinals 1, Rockies 3

Starter Jaime Garcia suffered his third loss of the season, as he gave up three runs on five hits in five innings.  Four walks and little help from his offense helped make this an unsatisfactory outing for Garcia.  The bullpen was solid, however, as Matt Bowman Seung-Hwan Oh, and Dean Kiekhefer combined for four scoreless innings.

Kolten Wong had a good day, despite the loss, he reached base in all four of his plate appearances, with two hits and two walks.  The only Cardinals run came in the seventh, when consecutive singles by Aledmys Diaz, Wong, and Randal Grichuk plated a run.  Grichuk provided the RBI single that scored Diaz.  The top four in the order went 0-for-15.


Wednesday, May 18----Cardinals 2, Rockies 0

Wednesday was a better day for the Cardinals, as starter Adam Wainwright pitched his best game of the young season.  Wainwright tossed 6 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing six hits while striking out five and walking only one, and truly earned his fourth win.   Kevin Siegrist relieved in the seventh, and returned to pitch a scoreless eighth.  Trevor Rosenthal earned his eighth save, issuing one free pass and striking out in the ninth.

The offense was light, but sufficient for the win.  Matt Holliday drove in the only two runs on a third inning double.  Stephen Piscotty was 3-for-4 and also doubled, as did Aledmys Diaz, who was 2-for-4.


Thursday, May 19----Cardinals 13, Rockies 7

After two days of little offense, the Cardinals made up for it in this rubber game of the home series against the Rockies.  The 13 runs scored without much aid from the long ball, with the only home run an eighth inning three-run blast from Matt Carpenter.  Carpenter was 3-for-5 with six RBI, the first Cardinal to accomplish such a feat since Shawn Dunston did it in 2000.

This game also featured Aledmys Diaz batting in the second spot in the lineup for the first time this season.  Stephen Piscotty went from the number two spot to batting clean-up.   Diaz had one RBI hit and scored two runs from the second spot; Piscotty was 3-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored.  Matt Adams drove in four runs from the fifth spot in the lineup.  All 13 of the Cardinals scores came from spots 1-5 in the order.

The performance of starter Michael Wacha belied the final score.  Wacha took a no decision after pitching only four innings and giving up six runs on eight hits.  Tyler Lyons tossed three innings to earn the win with one additional run allowed on a solo home run in the seventh.   Seung-Hwan Oh and Dean Kiekhefer finished with one scoreless inning each.


Friday, May 20---Cardinals 7, Diamondbacks 11

This was a second consecutive high scoring contest, though this one did not end well for the Cardinals.  The Cardinals got behind early, and though they tried to rally in the ninth, they fell short.

Starter Carlos Martinez appeared out of sorts, and his performance reflected it.  Martinez gave up four runs in five innings on the way to his fourth loss of the season.  He had three strikeouts along with three walks.  Matt Bowman pitched two scoreless innings before yielding to Jonathan Broxton.  Broxton dropped the ball by surrendering five runs while recording only one out.  Dean Kiekehefer finished the inning with no additional runs allowed.  By the end of the eighth, the Diamondbacks had a seven run lead, and manager Mike Matheny made the decision to go with a position player, Ruben Tejada, to pitch the ninth.  Tejada gave up two solo long balls for the final D-backs’ scores.

The Cards mounted an offensive rally in the bottom of the ninth.  With the score at 11-2, the Cardinals put five runs on the board before making the final out.  Pinch hitter Brandon Moss drove in two on a double.  Aledmys Diaz, who had a 2-for-5 outing, hit a ground rule double and scored on an Eric Fryer single.  It was Fryer’s second hit after coming in for Yadier Molina.  Diaz and Fryer were the only Cardinals with multiple hits.


Saturday, May 21----Cardinals 6, Diamondbacks 2

The Cardinals scored one less run in this second game of the series, but won because the pitching was better.

Mike Leake had one of his best starts, a seven inning scoreless outing with only four hits allowed and three strikeouts and no walks.  Seung-Hwan Oh pitched a scoreless eighth, but closer Trevor Rosenthal, in a non-save situation, ran into trouble in the ninth, allowing the only D-backs scores on a two run home run by Rickie Weeks, but did finish the inning with no further damage.  Leake was the winning pitcher.

Most of the offense came from the 4-9 spots in the lineup.  Stephen Piscotty, in his third consecutive start at clean-up, was 2-for-3 with two walks.  Yadier Molina hit his first home run of the season, a two run shot in the seventh.  Jedd Gyroko put the first Cardinals runs on the board in the second inning with his own two-run long ball.  Matt Adams hit a sixth inning solo home run and was 2-for-4.    Leake hit his first double of the season.


Sunday, May 22---Cardinals 2, Diamondbacks 7

The Cardinals fell behind early in this rubber game of the series, and could not get anything going offensively against Arizona ace Zack Greinke.

The offense managed only five hits and one run against Greinke, coming on a solo home run by Brandon Moss.   Kolten Wong was 2-for-4, the only Cardinal with multiple hits.  Matt Carpenter, Stephen Piscotty, Moss, Wong, and Randal Grichuk had the only other hits.

Starter Jaime Garcia had his shortest outing since June of 2012, as he only lasted 2 1/3 innings.  Matt Bowman took over in the third inning, and pitched 3 2/3 innings, giving up two runs in his last inning of work. Jonathan Broxton, Tyler Lyons and Dean Kiekhefer added a scoreless frame each.  Garcia took the loss.


NL Central Standings

  W L % GB
Chicago Cubs 29 13 0.690 ---
Pittsburgh 23 19 0.548 6
St. Louis 23 21 0.523 7
Milwaukee 18 26 0.409 12
Cincinnati 15 29 0.341 15

Who’s Hot

Stephen Piscotty was even hotter than usual this past week, with an OPS of 1.259, including four doubles, three RBI and five runs scored in 21 at-bats.

Matt Adams re-emerges on the hot list, he hit to an OPS of 1.212 this past week, with one HR, one double and five RBI.

Jedd Gyorko moves from cold to hot, with an OPS of 1.121 with one HR and four RBI.

Matt Carpenter had an OPS of 1.066 over the last seven days with two HRs, two doubles, and four RBI.

Adam Wainwright makes the hot list for the first time this season. He was 1-0 with an 0.00 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP this past week.

Mike Leake continues for the second week on the hot list.  This past week he was 2-0 with an 0.69 ERA and an 0.86 WHIP.

Seung-Hwan Oh made three appearances in the last week, allowing no hits, no runs and striking out seven. 


Who’s Not

Matt Holliday leads the cold list this week, with an OPS of .323 over the last seven days.

Jeremy Hazelbaker has also been cold over the last seven days, with an OPS of .353.

Michael Wacha makes the cold list with one start in the past week for an ERA of 13.50 and a WHIP of 2.25.

Carlos Martinez has been cold with an ERA of 7.20 and a WHIP of 2.00.

Reliever Jonathan Broxton made two appearances last week, and made the cold list with an ERA of 33.75 and a WHIP of 3.75.


A Look at Cardinals’ Lineups

Manager Mike Matheny made some lineup changes this past week.

Aledmys Diaz has made four starts in the second spot, a move up from the bottom third of the order.

Stephen Piscotty has moved from the number two spot to the clean-up spot in three consecutive games and hit in the three spot in the last game, as Matt Holliday had a day off.

Matt Carpenter remains in the leadoff spot and Matt Holliday remains in the number three spot.

The fifth spot remains mostly the home of Yadier Molina.  He made one start in the sixth spot.  Brandon Moss, Randal Grichuk and Jedd Gyroko have made the remainder of the starts in the sixth spot.

The seven spot has seen a mixture of Diaz, Grichuk, Jeremy Hazelbaker and Matt Adams.

Kolten Wong has made four starts in the eighth hole.  Gyorko and Ruben Tejada made the other starts there.


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.



The Cardinals activated OF Tommy Pham from the disabled list and optioned him to Memphis Redbirds.

The Cardinals sent SS Jhonny Peralta on a rehab assignment to Peoria Chiefs.


Injury Report

Tommy Pham (left oblique) was activated from the DL and was then optioned to Memphis.

Jhonny Peralta (left thumb ligament) was sent on a rehab assignment to the Peoria Chiefs.

Seth Maness (right elbow) continues on the DL.

Brayan Pena (left knee) continues to progress, but no announcement of a pending rehab assignment has been made.


Looking Ahead

The Cardinals will be playing all three National League divisional leaders in the upcoming days.

Following the series conclusion against the Diamondbacks at Busch Stadium on Sunday, the Cardinals begin a three-game series against the Cubs on Monday.  Adam Wainwright is scheduled to make the Monday start, followed by Michael Wacha on Tuesday and Carlos Martinez on Wednesday.

The Cardinals will then travel to Washington to play the Nationals in a four-game series starting Thursday.  Mike Leake will make the Thursday start.  The probable pitchers for the weekend have not been announced, but will likely be Jaime Garcia, Adam Wainwright, and Michael Wacha.

The Cardinals leave Washington and travel to Milwaukee for a three-game series against the Brewers, beginning on Memorial Day.  After an off day on Thursday, the Cardinals return home to play the Giants.

Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation: Swauger on Cards Red Extended Spring – Part 3. Exclusive report includes details on the youngest catchers competing in extended spring training camp.

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