Matt Carpenter (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports Images)

A recap of St. Louis Cardinals-related news from the period of July 4-10, 2016 plus a look ahead

The St. Louis Cardinals lost three of four at home to rival Pittsburgh before closing with a series win at Milwaukee for a 3-4 week heading into the All-Star break. Injuries are mounting, with three more DL moves this week alone, including All-Star Matt Carpenter.

Game recaps

Monday, July 4---Cardinals 2, Pirates 4

The Independence Day fireworks were not set off by the Cardinals offense in this first of a four game series against the Pirates.  Starter Carlos Martinez attempted to show his offense how to do it by going 2-for-2 at the plate, but it did not fully catch on.  Matt Carpenter drove in the only two Cardinals runs, on a fifth inning single and a ninth inning double.  Carpenter was 3-for-4 and Brandon Moss was 2-for-4. 

Martinez was somewhat less successful on the mound. Though he went into the sixth scoreless, he allowed three runs in his final two innings. Martinez allowed nine total hits, fanned seven and walked one.  Seth Maness surrendered the final Pirates run on a solo home run in the eighth.  Sam Tuivailala pitched a scoreless ninth.  Martinez was tagged with his sixth loss.

 

Tuesday, July 5---Cardinals 2, Pirates 5

For the second straight game, the Cardinals offense couldn’t get much going.  The meager offense this time came from a different source.  Jedd Gyorko was 2-for-4 and drove in the first score in the second inning on a single that plated Stephen Piscotty, who had reached base on a fielding error.  Matt Holliday singled home Aledmys Diaz in the third inning, Diaz had walked and stole second base to put himself in scoring position.

Starter Mike Leake gave up all five Pirates runs in his six innings of work, taking his seventh loss of the season.  Like allowed nine hits and struck out three.  Tyler Lyons pitched a scoreless seventh and Trevor Rosenthal followed with two scoreless innings.

 

Wednesday, July 6---Cardinals 5, Pirates 7

The Cardinals offense made a better showing in the third game of the series, but it fell short again.  To add insult to injury, the team’s best hitter, Matt Carpenter, strained his right oblique during a swing in his second at bat and had to come out of the game.  Carpenter was replaced by Kolten Wong.

Aledmys Diaz provided most of the thump, going 3-for-5 with two RBI, a solo home run in the third inning, and an RBI single in the fourth.  Jedd Gyorko plated a run as well in the four-run fourth inning, on a single that scored Stephen Piscotty.  Starter Jaime Garcia’s sac fly scored another run, and injury replacement Kolten Wong singled to drive in a score.

Garcia pitched five innings, allowing four runs on four hits; two of the hits were solo home runs in the first and the fifth innings.  Matt Bowman followed with a scoreless sixth inning.  Jonathan Broxton entered in the seventh and proceeded to blow the tenuous one-run lead and the save. Broxton surrendered three runs, two earned and took the loss as well.  Sam Tuivailala and Seung-Hwan Oh combined for the final two scoreless innings.

 

Thursday, July 7---Cardinals 5, Pirates 1

The Redbirds managed to avoid being swept at home in the rubber game of the four-game series.

Behind 1-0 in the second inning, the Cards came back in the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings to put a combined five runs on the board.  In the fourth, Aledmys Diaz tripled, then came home on a wild pitch.  The fifth inning brought a solo home run off the bat of Randal Grichuk.  The grand finale came in the sixth, when Stephen Piscotty hit a three-run line drive shot to right center field that was initially ruled a double, but on review was determined to be a home run.  Grichuk had the only multi-hit performance, going 2-for-3.

Adam Wainwright had one of his best pitching performances of the season, allowing only the one run on five hits in seven innings of work.  Wainwright fanned nine and walked one.  Tyler Lyons, Trevor Rosenthal, and Seung-Hwan Oh combined for two scoreless innings of relief.

 

Friday, July 8---Cardinals 3 at Brewers 4

This was a close game all the way, with the lead changing several times before the Brewers dealt the winning blow with a walk off single in the ninth.

Starter Michael Wacha battled for 6 2/3 innings, giving up three runs on five hits, including three solo home runs.  Wacha fanned eight and walked two.  Matt Bowman pitched 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.  Trevor Rosenthal took the loss, after his walk in the ninth became the decisive run. Rosenthal pitched 1/3 innings before being lifted for Seung-Hwan Oh, who gave up the walk-off single.

Greg Garcia was 2-for-5 in the leadoff role, replacing injured Matt Carpenter.  Garcia had the only multi-hit performance.  Yadier Molina hit his second home run of the season, an eighth inning solo shot.  Randal Grichuk had the only other extra base hit, a double.  Aledmys Diaz and Matt Holliday each hit an RBI single.

 

Saturday, July 9---Cardinals 8 at Brewers 1

The Cardinals regrouped after the prior day’s frustrating loss to deal a sizable blow to the Brewers.  The offense blasted their way to eight runs, five of which came via the long ball. 

Jhonny Peralta got the Cardinals on the board first with a solo shot in the second inning.  A second run was added in the third with a triple off the bat of Stephen Piscotty and an RBI single from Randal Grichuk.  Piscotty was 2-for-5 with two runs scored.

In the eighth, Yadier Molina doubled, and Jedd Gyorko followed with a single to bring Molina home.  In the ninth, the big guns came out, as the Cardinals scored five runs to deal the decisive blow to the Brewers.  The inning began with a Tommy Pham solo home run.  After Kolten Wong and Garcia drew walks, Aledmys Diaz tattooed a ball over the left center field wall for three more scores.  Stephen Piscotty followed Diaz with a double, and recent call up Albert Rosario made his major league debut with an RBI single to plate Piscotty.

Starter Carlos Martinez was hurling bullets, fanning 11 batters in five innings of work.  Martinez allowed one run on four hits and walked four. Tyler Lyons, Matt Bowman and Seth Maness combined for the remaining four scoreless innings.  Martinez earned his eighth win of the season.

 

Sunday, July 10----Cardinals 5 at Brewers 1

The rubber game of this three game series ended solidly in the “W” column thanks to a strong start by Mike Leake.  Leake pitched seven innings, allowing only one run on six hits while striking out a season high 10 batters and walking none.  Jonathan Broxton pitched a scoreless eighth and Seung-Hwan Oh followed with scoreless ninth.

Two solo home runs, one by Matt Adams in the second inning and another by Randal Grichuk in the sixth inning rounded out the solid offense.  Every one of the starting position players had at least one hit.  Adams, Grichuk, and Stephen Piscotty were each 2-for-5.  Adams and Grichuk drove in two runs each, and Piscotty plated one.

 

NL Central Standings

  W L % GB
Chicago Cubs 53 35 0.602 ---
St. Louis 46 42 0.523 7
Pittsburgh 46 43 0.517 7.5
Milwaukee 38 49 0.437 14.5
Cincinnati 32 57 0.360 21.5

Over the weekend, the Cardinals slipped into second place and enter the break four games over .500 and seven games behind Chicago.

Who’s Hot

Aledmys Diaz continues to be hot.   Diaz has an OPS 1.168 this past week with three HRs, one triple and seven RBI.

http://www.scout.com/player/88019-tommy-pham?s=321

Tommy Pham also continues to be hot, with an OPS of 1.227, one HR, one double and one RBI in 14 plate appearances.

Randal Grichuk has heated up since being recalled from Triple-A.  Grichuk has an OPS of 1.059 with one HR, one double and two RBI in 17 plate appearances.

http://www.scout.com/player/140971-stephen-piscotty?s=321

Stephen Piscotty has reheated.  He has an OPS of .976 this past week, with two HRs, one triple, one double and seven RBI.

Adam Wainwright is hot. He is 1-0 this past week with an ERA of 1.29 and a WHIP of 0.86.

http://www.scout.com/player/173078-matt-bowman?s=321

Matt Bowman continues to be hot, with an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.50 this past week.

Tyler Lyons has reheated, with an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.86 this past week.

 

Who’s Not

Matt Adams is ice cold, having gone 0-for-28 since June 28 before his Sunday home run.

Matt Holliday is cold, with an OPS of .361 for the week.

Jaime Garcia is cold, with an ERA of 7.20 and a WHIP of 1.40.

Trevor Rosenthal is cold, with an ERA of 9.00 and a WHIP of 2.33.

 

A Look at Cardinals’ Lineups

Matt Carpenter continued in the leadoff spot until he was injured in Wednesday’s loss to the Pirates.  Greg Garcia has made the starts in leadoff since Carpenter’s injury.

The second spot in the lineup has been occupied by Aledmys Diaz.

Matt Holliday has made all of the starts in the third spot, with the exception of one start by Stephen Piscotty on Saturday.

Stephen Piscotty has been consistent in the clean-up spot, except for the Saturday game.  Randal Grichuk hit clean-up in that game.

The number five hitter has been one start by Brandon Moss, then a mixture of Matt Adams, Yadier Molina, and Jhonny Peralta.

The six hole has been a mixture of Molina, Peralta, Grichuk, and Jedd Gyorko.

The seventh spot has been a mixture of Moss, Molina, Gyorko, Grichuk, and Tommy Pham.

The eighth spot has been the home of Gyorko, Pham, Garcia, Kolten Wong, and one start by Brayan Pena.

 

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.

 

Transactions

The Pirates claimed C Eric Fryer off waivers from the Cardinals.  Fryer had been designated for assignment to make room on the 25-man roster for Brayan Pena, reactivated from the disabled list on June 28.  Three days later, the Cardinals placed Pena right back on the 15-day disabled list due to left knee inflammation.  Pena had been out since March, requiring surgery on the same knee, and aggravated the knee in his second start since being reactivated.

The Cardinals placed 1B Brandon Moss on the 15 day disabled list.  Left ankle sprain.

The Cardinals recalled OF Randal Grichuk from Memphis to replace Moss.

The Cardinals selected the contract of C Alberto Rosario from Memphis to replace Pena.

The Cardinals placed 2B Matt Carpenter on the 15 day disabled list due to a strained right oblique suffered in Wednesday’s loss to the Pirates.

The Cardinals selected the contract of C Michael McKenry from Memphis to replace Carpenter.

 

Injury Report

First baseman Brandon Moss (left ankle sprain) was placed on the 15 day disabled list on July 5. Moss is leading the team with 17 home runs.

Catcher Brayan Pena (left knee inflammation) was placed on the 15 day disabled list on July 6.

Second baseman Matt Carpenter (right oblique strain) was placed on the 15 day disabled list on July 7.

Jhonny Peralta (left thumb) aggravated the thumb in Tuesday’s loss to the Pirates and missed two games.  Peralta returned to pinch hit in Friday’s game, and returned to the starting lineup in Saturday’s game.

Matt Holliday (left ankle) tweaked the ankle while rounding first in Friday’s loss to the Brewers.  Holliday is day to day.

Michael Wacha (bruised right ankle) was hit by a comebacker in Friday’s loss to the Brewers.  Wacha is day to day but is expected to make his next start after the All Star break.

Trevor Rosenthal (left hamstring) injured the hamstring while pitching in Friday’s loss to the Brewers.  A subsequent MRI came back clean.  No placement on the disabled list has been made and Rosenthal is listed as day to day.

 

Two All-Stars

The MLB All-Star Game will be played on Tuesday, July 12 in San Diego.  The Cardinals have two representatives, but one just active. Aledmys Diaz was named as a replacement for the injured Matt Carpenter

http://www.scout.com/player/187201-aledmys-diaz?s=321

It has been a spectacular rise for the rookie Diaz, who just 364 days earlier was designated for assignment, and went unclaimed. He was then not expected to even make the starting day roster out of Spring Training.  Injuries to Jhonny Peralta and newly acquired Ruben Tejada in Spring Training necessitated Diaz stepping into the breach, and the rest is history.  Diaz is now an All-Star in his rookie season with a batting line at the break of .315/.380/.536 with 13 HRs and 48 RBI.

 

Looking Ahead

Regular season play will resume on Friday, July 15, with the Cardinals back at Busch Stadium to begin a 10-game home stand.  The Cardinals open a weekend series against the Marlins.  Pitching probables post-break have not been set.

The Cardinals follow with a four game series with the Padres beginning on Monday, July 21, and finish the home stand with a weekend series against the Dodgers.

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