Yadier Molina (Jasen Vinlove / USA TODAY Sports Images)

A recap of St. Louis Cardinals-related news from the period of July 25-31, 2016 plus a look ahead

In seven games on the road in NL East territory against fellow wild card competitors, the Cardinals took two of three in New York and split four in Miami, with a couple of especially tough losses to end the week. Yadier Molina is working on a 14-game hitting streak.

Game recaps

Monday, July 25---Cardinals at Mets

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

 

Tuesday July 26---Cardinals 3 at Mets 2 (Game 1 DH)

In this first game of the twin bill, starter Carlos Martinez was not efficient and not sharp, but he kept the Cardinals in the game.  Martinez pitched only five innings, giving up two runs on five hits.  He struck out only three and issued four free passes.  Nevertheless, Martinez won his 10th game of the season.  Tyler Lyons followed with two scoreless innings of relief.  Kevin Siegrist and Seung-Hwan Oh each pitched a scoreless inning.  Oh earned his fifth save.

Jedd Gyorko continued his hot hitting ways, blasting a two-run home run in the third inning.  The other Cardinals run came in the second inning, on three consecutive singles by Yadier Molina, Jeremy Hazelbaker, and Tommy Pham, and a throwing error that scored Molina.  Molina was 2-for-4 on the night, as was Pham.

 

Tuesday, July 26---Cardinals 1 at Mets 3 (Game 2 DH)

In the second game of the doubleheader, starting pitching was again inefficient and not particularly sharp, but this time the offense could not compensate.  Jaime Garcia pitched five innings, giving up three runs, two earned, on five hits.  Matt Bowman, 26th man Sam Tuivailala and Dean Kiekhefer combined for three innings of scoreless relief.  Garcia took the loss, his seventh.

St. Louis’ lone run came on a fourth inning solo home run off the bat of Jedd Gyorko, one of only four Cardinals hits.  Backup catcher Alberto Rosario doubled, the only other extra base hit.  Greg Garcia was 2-for-4.

 

Wednesday, July 27---Cardinals 5 at Mets 4

The Cardinals won the rubber game and the series against the Mets in this ninth inning squeaker.  Two runs in the top frame of the ninth gave the Cardinals the win and the series.  Offense came from several quarters, but it was Kolten Wong’s heroics that brought home the victory.  Wong came in as a pinch hitter with two men on and the score tied following an RBI double by Yadier Molina.  Wong doubled into left to bring home the winning run.  Molina was 2-for-4 with an RBI.  Matt Holliday drove in two runs on a third inning double.  Matt Adams also plated a run on a double in the third.  Aledmys Diaz was 2-for-5.

Adam Wainwright wasn’t at his best, but it didn’t matter.  The ace pitched 6 2/3 innings, giving up four runs on 11 hits.  A seventh inning battle between Wainwright and Yoenis Cespedes ended badly, with a two-run home run that erased the lead and took Wainwright out of the game.  Dean Kiekhefer got the final out of the inning.  Jonathan Broxton pitched a scoreless eighth and picked up the win.  Seung-Hwan Oh pitched a scoreless ninth for the save, his sixth.

 

Thursday, July 28---Cardinals 5 at Marlins 4

The home run bit another Cardinal starter in this first of a four game series.  Ultimately, it didn’t matter, but Michael Wacha was touched for three runs, two on a home run, on four hits in six innings pitched.  Unlike his teammate Wainwright the previous day, Wacha did get the win in this game, his sixth.  Jonathan Broxton allowed a run in the seventh, but Kevin Siegrist and Seung-Hwan Oh pitched a scoreless eighth and ninth.  Oh earned his seventh save.

The home run helped the Cardinals on the offense side.  Aledmys Diaz hit a two-run shot in the third inning, and Holliday followed with a solo home run one batter later.  Diaz was 2-for-5 with three RBI; the home run was Holliday’s only hit.  Interestingly, the Diaz home run was off his boyhood friend Jose Fernandez, who lived on the same street as Diaz in Cuba.  Yadier Molina extended his hitting streak with a 2-for-4 game.  Matt Adams drove in a run on a fifth inning single.

 

Friday, July 29---Cardinals 11 at Marlins 6

It was another inefficient and mediocre start by a Cardinal.  This time it was Mike Leake, who battled the Marlin offense for six innings, giving up six runs on seven hits, including two long balls.  Again, however, the Cardinal offense saved its pitcher.  Despite the shaky start, Leake was awarded his eighth win.  Matt Bowman continued pitching well, tossing two scoreless innings of relief.  Dean Kiekhefer and Seth Maness combined for the final two innings of scoreless ball.

The Cardinals offense was on fire, scoring 11 runs on 14 hits.  Jeremy Hazelbaker’s two-run home run in the second inning got the scoring going.  Tommy Pham provided his own two run shot in the sixth.   Pham was 2-for-4 with three RBI and three runs scored.  Hot hitting Kolten Wong was 3-for-5 with two runs driven in.  Yadier Molina was 3-for-5 and Greg Garcia was 2-for-5.  Both Molina and Garcia plated a run.

 

Saturday, July 30----Cardinals 11 at Marlins 0

Following two successful games in Miami, the third game of the series was, to put it mildly, ugly.  In addition to the obvious lack of offensive production, the starting pitching was a failure as well.  Jaime Garcia, pitching on three days rest, pitched like he was on three days rest.  Garcia gave up four runs off the bat in the first inning, but though he settled down somewhat, he only lasted 3 1/3 innings after surrendering two additional runs.  Tyler Lyons, who had been discussed as a possible starter for this game instead of Garcia, had to come in in the fourth rather quickly, after warming up to come in back in the first.  Lyons only pitched 2/3 inning and yielded two runs of his own.  Memphis call up Jerome Willams was brought in in the fifth and was left in for the remainder of the game, yielding an additional three runs.  Garcia was of course the losing pitcher.  It was his eighth loss.

The Cardinals bats were virtually silent, as the offense scattered six hits total.  Kolten Wong was the only one with multiple hits; he was 2-for-4. Yadier Molina doubled.

 

Sunday, July 31---Cardinals 4 at Marlins 5

It was another indifferent start for Carlos Martinez in this final game of the series.  Martinez pitched seven innings, giving up four runs on seven hits, fanning four and walking four.  Kevin Siegrist pitched a scoreless eighth.  Matt Bowman took the mound in the ninth with the score tied, and got the first two outs.  A bloop single put the winning run on base.  The next batter hit a catchable fly ball into left center field, and both Tommy Pham and Jeremy Hazelbaker went for it.  Pham dived for it and missed, sending the ball to the wall, and the winning run scored.  The missed catch was not scored an error, so the run was charged to Bowman and he took the loss.

The offense scored one run each in the second and third innings.  Yadier Molina doubled, then advanced to third on a Jedd Gyorko single.  A fielding error on a Kolten Wong ground ball to first scored Molina.  In the third inning, Greg Garcia hit a solo home run.  The Cardinals tied the game in the eighth on a two RBI double by Stephen Piscotty, who had been struggling and had been out of the lineup for the last two games.

 

NL Central Standings

The Cardinals were 4-3 in the first two series on the road trip and are 7.5 games out of first place and three games ahead of the third place Pirates.

  W L % GB
Chicago Cubs 63 41 0.606 ---
St. Louis 56 49 0.533 7.5
Pittsburgh 52 51 0.505 10.5
Milwaukee 47 56 0.456 15.5
Cincinnati 42 62 0.404 21

Who’s Hot

http://www.scout.com/player/67461-yadier-molina?s=321

Yadier Molina had an OPS this past week of 1.273 with six doubles and two RBI and is working on a 14-game hitting streak.

Jeremy Hazelbaker had one HR, one triple and two RBI.  He has an OPS of 1.192.

http://www.scout.com/player/156983-kolten-wong?s=321

Kolten Wong had an OPS of 1.008, with one triple, two doubles and two RBI.

Seth Maness had an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.80, as does Matt Bowman.  Bowman allowed an earned run in Sunday’s game.

http://www.scout.com/player/204704-seung-hwan-oh?s=321

Seung-Hwan Oh had an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.75.

 

Who’s Not

Stephen Piscotty has an OPS of .364 and was 0-for-17 before hitting a two RBI double in Sunday’s game.

Randal Grichuk has an OPS of .205. The outfielder has 22 strikeouts in 42 at-bats since the All-Star break.

Jaime Garcia went 0-2 with an ERA of 8.64 and a WHIP of 1.56.

Mike Leake had an ERA of 10.80 and a WHIP of 1.40.

Tyler Lyons had an ERA of 6.75 and a WHIP of 1.50.

 

A Look at Cardinals’ Lineups

The leadoff spot in the absence of Matt Carpenter has been a mixture of Greg Garcia, Randal Grichuk, and Jeremy Hazelbaker.

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

The third spot in the lineup has consisted of three starts by Matt Holliday and four starts by Stephen Piscotty.

The clean-up spot has been occupied by either Holliday or Matt Adams plus one start by Gyorko.

The number five hitter has been either Adams, Tommy Pham, Gyorko, or Yadier Molina.

The six hole has been a mixture of Molina, Gyorko, Hazelbaker and one start each by Pham and Randal Grichuk.

The seventh spot has been a mixture of Kolten Wong, Pham, Molina and Hazelbaker.

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

 

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.

 

Transactions

The Cardinals made several moves to add additional pitching to the roster. 

Following his start on Sunday, Mike Mayers was optioned to Memphis.  In corresponding moves, the Cardinals transferred RHP Jordan Walden to the 60 day disabled list, and purchased the contract of RHP Jerome Williams from the Memphis Redbirds.

The Cardinals placed RHP Trevor Rosenthal on the 15 day disabled list on Monday.  In the corresponding move, the Cardinals recalled LHP Dean Kiekhefer from Memphis.

Due to a rainout of Monday’s game, and the doubleheader on Tuesday, the Cardinals recalled RHP Sam Tuivailala from Memphis to serve as the 26th man on the roster for the second game of the doubleheader. The next day Tuivailala was optioned to Memphis.

The Cardinals sent 1B/OF Brandon Moss and 2B Matt Carpenter on rehab assignments to the Springfield Cardinals.  The Cardinals also sent 3B Jhonny Peralta on a rehab assignment to the Palm Beach Cardinals.

On Sunday, July 31, one day before the non-waiver trade deadline, the Cardinals traded Memphis OF Charlie Tilson to the Chicago White Sox for LHP Zach Duke.

 

Injury Report

First baseman Brandon Moss (left ankle sprain) and second baseman Matt Carpenter (right oblique strain) were placed on rehab assignments with the Springfield Cardinals.  Moss is expected to return to St. Louis’ roster on Tuesday.  Carpenter could be back on the roster for the Braves series in St. Louis over the weekend.

Third baseman Jhonny Peralta (left thumb inflammation) was sent to the Palm Beach Cardinals on a rehab assignment.  Peralta is expected to return to St. Louis’ roster in the coming week, perhaps as soon as Tuesday.

Catcher Brayan Pena (left knee inflammation) continues on the 15 day DL.  Pena is progressing in his rehab, catching bullpens and taking live batting practice, but no announcement about a rehab assignment has been made. The catcher has reportedly lost 15 pounds during his latest recovery stint.

Starting pitcher Lance Lynn (elbow) has progressed his bullpen sessions to facing to live hitting. The right-hander had Tommy John surgery last November. Lynn is hoping to appear in a minor league game before the end of the month, but it is unclear whether he would rejoin St. Louis’ active roster his season.

 

Looking Ahead

The Cardinals have a travel day on Monday, August 1, and begin a three-game series in Cincinnati on Tuesday.  Adam Wainwright is scheduled to pitch on Tuesday, followed by Michael Wacha on Wednesday and Mike Leake on Thursday.

The Cardinals return home on Friday to take on the Atlanta Braves in a weekend series.  The pitching probable for Friday is Jaime Garcia.  The pitchers for the remainder of the series have not been determined, but will likely be Carlos Martinez on Saturday and Adam Wainwright on Sunday.

The home stand continues with a three game series with the Reds opening on Monday, August 8.  The Cardinals then travel to Chicago for a weekend series with the Cubs.

http://www.scout.com/player/190432-jeremy-martinez?s=321

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