Jedd Gyorko (© Benny Sieu / USA TODAY Sports Images)

A recap of St. Louis Cardinals-related news from the period of July 18-24, 2016 plus a look ahead

In their just-completed home stand, the Cardinals swept the Padres for four in between losing two of three to both the Marlins and Dodgers, wild card competitors. Former Padres infielder Jedd Gyorko destroyed San Diego pitching.

Game recaps

Monday, July 18---Cardinals 10, Padres 2

Mike Leake earned win number seven, as he mowed through Padres hitters, racking up 11 strikeouts over six innings.  Leake gave up one run on six hits, a solo home run being the only blemish, and walked no one.  Matt Bowman followed with one inning of relief, allowing one additional run on one hit, strikeout two and walking one. Seth Maness pitched a scoreless eighth and Trevor Rosenthal tossed a clean ninth.

Jedd Gyorko, playing against his former team, was a perfect 3-for-3 with a solo home run and two runs scored.  Stephen Piscotty was 3 -for-5 with two RBI, one on a sixth inning single and the other on a solo home run in the eighth.  Aledmys Diaz was 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored.  Randal Grichuk slammed a two-run home run in the seventh.

 

Tuesday July 19, Cardinals vs. Padres

This game was postponed due to severe weather and played as Game 1 of a doubleheader on Wednesday.

 

Wednesday, July 20---Cardinals 4, Padres 2 (Game 1 DH)

Having been rained out the night before, starter Carlos Martinez had to regroup to pitch this day game, first of a twin bill.  Martinez pitched seven innings, giving up two runs on four hits, the two scores via a first inning two run home run.  After that, Martinez settled down to fan five, walk one and allow only one additional hit, to pick up his ninth win of the season.  Kevin Siegrist followed with a scoreless eighth, Seung-Hwan Oh pitched a run-free ninth to earn his third save.

Offense was provided again by former Padre Jedd Gyorko, who smacked a two-run home run in the fourth inning.  Aledmys Diaz was 2-for-4, as was Yadier Molina, who hit this third home run of the season, a solo shot, in the sixth inning.  Matt Holliday also tattooed a solo shot, his 17th, in the second inning.

 

Wednesday, July 20---Cardinals 3, Padres 2 (Game 2 DH)

Gyorko continued his assault on his former team with two home runs in Wednesday’s second game.  Gyorko hit a third inning solo shot, then thumped a two run shot in the fifth.  Gyorko ended the night 3-for-4 with two runs scored.  No other Cardinal hitter had multiple hits, and there was only one additional extra base hit, a double by Matt Adams.

Starter Jaime Garcia hurled 5 2/3 innings, giving up one run on six hits.  Seth Maness got the final out of the sixth inning.  Tyler Lyons started the seventh, surrendered a solo home run was lifted for Jonathan Broxton, who retired the remaining batters in that inning.  Kevin Siegrist pitched a scoreless eighth, Seung-Hwan Oh a run-free ninth for his fourth save.  Garcia earned his seventh win.

 

Thursday, July 21---Cardinals 6, Padres 5

Starter Adam Wainwright pitched a quality start, six innings, two runs allowed on seven hits, but got a no decision.  Wainwright fanned eight and walked none.  Reliever Matt Bowman had a hiccup in the seventh, giving up two runs, one earned, and was lifted with two outs for Miguel Socolovich, who secured the third out.  Socolovich returned for the eighth and yielded a solo home run.  Jonathan Broxton pitched a scoreless ninth and earned his second win.

The Cardinals came back after being down by four runs until the eighth inning.  In that inning, Jeremy Hazelbaker led off with a double, and Gyorko brought him home with a single.  After Aledmys Diaz struck out, Kolten Wong smacked a double, moving Gyorko to third.  With two on and one out, pinch hitter Stephen Piscotty spanked a fly ball that looked like a long out but just went over the wall for a three-run home run that tied the game.  In the ninth, after Tommy Pham hit a leadoff double, and Greg Garcia and Gyorko were intentionally walked, Aledmys Diaz, who was 2-for-4 on the night, came to the plate and hit a walk off line drive single over the head of the Friars shortstop, to bring the victory and the sweep to the Cardinals.

 

Friday, July 22---Cardinals 4, Dodgers 3 (16 innings)

It was a long, long night in St. Louis, as the Cardinals battled the Dodgers in the first of a three game weekend series, until well after midnight. What appeared to be a one run loss as the ninth inning came to a close, turned into a one run victory almost a full game later.

The Cardinals took a 2-1 lead in the third inning due to a couple of walks and some poor defense by the Dodgers.  Aledmys Diaz and Jedd Gyorko were the only Cardinals with multiple hits; Diaz was 2-for-6 and Gyorko was 2-for-5, each had an RBI.  Diaz’ single in the third was misplayed by the Dodgers and resulted in two runs scoring.

The Dodgers tied it up in the sixth, and took the one run lead in the top of the ninth.  With two outs and the bases empty in the bottom half of the ninth, Gyorko punched a solo shot off Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen over the left field wall to tie the game. It was only the second home run yielded all year by the All-Star reliever.

What followed was 6 1/2 back and forth non-scoring innings.  Finally, with the clock having turned to the next day, Matt Adams blasted a solo home run heard round the world (expletive deleted), mayhem and wetness ensued and the Cardinals went home to bed happy and victorious.

Oh, and there was pitching. Starter Michael Wacha went six innings (1/3 of the game as it turned out) giving up two runs on 10 hits.  4 1/3 innings of Kevin Siegrist, Jonathan Broxton, Seung-Hwan Oh, and Matt Bowman followed.  Oh gave up the home run in the ninth that put the Dodgers in the lead. After that, 4 2/3 innings of Tyler Lyons pitching like a boss, no runs, one hit, ensued. When the end came it was Seth Maness with a scoreless 16th inning who picked up the win.

 

Saturday, July 23----Cardinals 2, Dodgers 7

This game was a letdown after the exhilaration of the previous extra-innings win.  The Cardinals offense was lackluster, scoring only two runs on six hits.  Only Stephen Piscotty had multiple hits, he was 2-for-4.  Matt Adams hit another solo home run for the Cardinals’ first run, in the fifth inning.  The Birds manufactured a second run in the sixth on back-to-back singles by Alberto Rosario and Kolten Wong, and a sac fly by Greg Garcia.

The defense was sloppy.  The aforementioned Garcia forgot to be at first base on a bunt, which ultimately resulted in Dodgers runs.  Matt Adams committed a throwing error on a run down between third and home, which also resulted in a run.

Mike Leake wasn’t as sharp as he had been in his previous two starts. He went six innings, giving up seven runs, six earned, with the help of his defense.  The Dodgers had 12 hits off Leake, as they were making contact and finding holes, which the Cardinals were not doing against Kenta Maeda. Trevor Rosenthal and Miguel Socolovich combined for the final three scoreless innings.  Leake was the loser, of course.

 

Sunday, July 24---Cardinals 6, Dodgers 9

It was an ugly night for newly called up starter Mike Mayers.  Mayers lasted only 1 1/3 innings, and before it was all over, the Dodgers had nine runs on the board.  Mayers allowed eight hits, but two were home runs, including a grand slam.  On a night when the Cardinals needed innings from their starter, they didn’t get them. After Mayers was removed, Seth Maness came in and pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings.  Trevor Rosenthal pitched the sixth, and gave up two hits, but got out of the inning unscathed.  It was not to be for Rosenthal’s second inning, as he walked the first three batters and was removed for Matt Bowman, who escaped the mess without a run scoring.  Bowman returned to pitch a scoreless eighth, and Seung-Hwan Oh added a scoreless ninth.  Mayers was the losing pitcher.

The offense attempted to dig out of the hole they were buried in, but were ultimately unsuccessful.  Tommy Pham’s two-run home run in the second cut the deficit to six runs.  In the seventh, a single and two walks loaded the bases, and Aledmys Diaz brought home a run on a sac fly.  Stephen Piscotty then doubled to left field to plate two more.  Piscotty was 2-for-4, the only Cardinal with multiple hits.

The Cardinals were 6-4 on the home stand and are 7.5 games out of first place and one game ahead of the third-place Pirates.

NL Central Standings

  W L % GB
Chicago Cubs 59 38 0.608 ---
St. Louis 52 46 0.531 7.5
Pittsburgh 51 47 0.52 8.5
Milwaukee 41 55 0.427 17.5
Cincinnati 38 60 0.388 21.5

Who’s Hot

http://www.scout.com/player/144526-jedd-gyorko?s=321

Jedd Gyorko has been red hot, with an OPS of 1.359, five HRs and eight RBI.

Matt Adams has been hot.  He had a .971 OPS this past week, with two HRs, three doubles, and four RBI

Matt Holliday is hot, with a seven day OPS of.918, two HRs, one double, and three RBI.

http://www.scout.com/player/144067-carlos-martinez?s=321

Carlos Martinez has been hot. He is 1-0 this past week with an ERA of 2.57 and a WHIP of 0.71.

Jaime Garcia is hot, going 1-0 this past week, with an ERA of 1.59 and a WHIP of 1.41.

Tyler Lyons is hot, with an ERA of 1.80 and a WHIP of 0.60.

http://www.scout.com/player/157719-seth-maness?s=321

Seth Maness is hot, with an ERA of 0.00 and a WHiP of 0.00.

 

Who’s Not

Tommy Pham has been cold, with an OPS of .334.

Alberto Rosario has been cold, with an OPS of .311 in 10 plate appearances.

Randal Grichuk is cold, with an OPS of .490

Jeremy Hazelbaker has been cold, with an OPS of .500 in 11 plate appearances.

Mike Leake is cold. He went 1-1 with an ERA of 5.25 and a WHIP of 1.50.

Michael Wacha is cold, with an ERA of 4.50 and a WHIP of 2.00.

 

A Look at Cardinals’ Lineups

The leadoff spot in the absence of Matt Carpenter has been a mixture of Tommy Pham, Greg Garcia, Jedd Gyorko, and Randal Grichuk.

The second spot in the lineup has been occupied by Aledmys Diaz, with one start by Jedd Gyorko.

Matt Holliday made one start in the third spot, while Stephen Piscotty made the remaining starts there.

The clean-up spot has been occupied by Matt Holliday or Matt Adams.

The number five hitter has been changing, with one start by Jhonny Peralta before he went on the DL, and the remaining starts by Adams, Pham, Gyorko, or Yadier Molina.

The six hole has been a mixture of Molina, Grichuk, and Jeremy Hazelbaker.

The seventh spot has been a mix of Gyorko, Wong, Grichuk or Pham.

The eighth spot has been the home of Wong, Garcia, and Alberto Rosario.

 

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.

 

Transactions

The Cardinals made a series of moves this past week, first placing infielder Jhonny Peralta on the 15 day disabled list, with a recurrence of left thumb inflammation.  The thumb is the one that was surgically repaired after an injury in Spring Training. 

The Cardinals also designated C Michael McKenry for assignment.  McKenry was initially assigned to Memphis after clearing waivers, but requested and was granted free agency.  McKenry subsequently signed a minor league contract with the Atlanta Braves.

In the corresponding moves, the Cardinals recalled OF Jeremy Hazelbaker, and RHP Miguel Socolovich from the Memphis Redbirds. 

The Cardinals recalled LHP Dean Kiekhefer from Memphis to serve as the 26th man for the second game of the doubleheader on Wednesday.  Kiekhefer did not pitch in the game and was optioned back to Memphis the next day.

The Cardinals purchased the contract of RHP Mike Mayers from the Memphis Redbirds.  Mayers was placed on the 40-man roster and started the game on Sunday night.  The move was necessitated by the doubleheader on Wednesday, as the previously scheduled Sunday starter, Carlos Martinez, pitched the first game of the doubleheader and would have been on short rest to pitch again on Sunday.  In the corresponding move, the Cardinals optioned Socolovich to Memphis.

 

Injury Report

First baseman Brandon Moss (left ankle sprain) continues on the 15 day DL.  Moss has removed the walking boot and has been engaging in baseball activities.  Reports are that Moss will begin a rehab assignment in the coming week.

Catcher Brayan Pena (left knee inflammation) continues on the 15 day DL.

Second baseman Matt Carpenter (right oblique strain) continues on the 15 day DL.  Carpenter has engaged in baseball activities, and is reported to be ahead of schedule on his return, with a possibility of his minor league rehab beginning during the coming week as well.

 

Looking Ahead

Following the 6-4 homestand, the Cardinals head to New York to play the Mets for a three-game series.  Pitching probables are Carlos Martinez on Monday, Jaime Garcia on Tuesday, and Adam Wainwright on Wednesday.

The Cardinals leave New York for Miami, where they will play a four-game set beginning on Thursday.  Michael Wacha will get the call on Thursday, while Mike Leake is the probable for Friday.  Saturday and Sunday starters are to be determined, but will likely be Martinez and Garcia.

The Cardinals get a day off on Monday, August 1, then begin a three-game series in Cincinnati against the Reds.  The Cardinals end that week with a weekend series at home against the Braves.

Monday, August 1 is the non-waiver trade deadline.  Reports are that the Cardinals are not looking to add a bat, unless it is a long term impact bat.  Instead, the Cardinals will likely be looking to bolster the bullpen, if they make a trade.

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