A recap of St. Louis Cardinals-related news from the period of August 1-7, 2016 plus a look ahead

The St. Louis Cardinals are a dismal 2-4 against losing teams in their current stretch. Brandon Moss has hit well since returning to the lineup, but the starting pitching has struggled.

Game recaps

Monday, August 1---Off day

 

Tuesday, August 2----Cardinals 5 at Reds 7

The Cardinals started their road series against the Reds on a low note.  A lead taken into the bottom frame of the ninth was lost by the faltering bullpen. 

Starting pitcher Adam Wainwright did not pitch with his usual efficiency, which contributed to the bullpen woes.  Wainwright pitched five innings, giving up two run on five hits while fanning six and walking two. 

The final four innings were a procession of relievers, all but one of whom pitched less than a full inning.  First was a scoreless 2/3 inning from Zach Duke.  Enter Kevin Siegrist, who surrendered two runs in 2/3 inning.  Matt Bowman followed with a scoreless 2/3 inning.  Jonathan Broxton began the eighth inning by loading the bases without recording an out.  Seung-Hwan Oh impressively got out of the jam, but in his second frame, gave up two singles and then a three-run home run for the walk off victory for the Reds.  Oh was charged with the blown save and the loss.

The offense did the majority of its damage via four solo home runs, one each by Wainwright, Jedd Gyorko, Brandon Moss, and Tommy Pham.  Moss was 3-for-5.  Johnny Peralta plated a run on sixth inning double.

 

Wednesday, August 3---Cardinals 5 at Reds 4

The Cardinals hung on to win the second game of the series, despite another inefficient starting performance.  This time it Michael Wacha, who gave up two runs on six hits in just five innings.  Matt Bowman surrendered two runs on three hits, under some sketchy defensive circumstances involving two challenged plays.  The remainder of the relief corps, Zach Duke, Kevin Siegrist and Seung-Hwan Oh, each pitched a scoreless inning.  Wacha earned his seventh win, Oh his eighth save.

On the offensive side, Brandon Moss was 2-for-4 with two RBI. Tommy Pham went 2-for-5 and Matt Holliday was 2-for-3.  Greg Garcia plated two on a first inning single.  The only home run was a fifth inning solo shot by Stephen Piscotty.

 

Thursday, August 4---Cardinals 0 at Reds 7

The rubber game of the series was in a word, ugly.  The starting pitching was again inefficient, as starter Mike Leake had arguably his worst start of the season.   Leake gave up seven runs on eight hits in five innings.  The bullpen did a good job, however, as Seth Maness, Dean Kiekhefer and Jerome Williams each pitched a scoreless inning.   Leake suffered his ninth loss of the season.

Needless to say, the offense was sparse.  Tommy Pham was 2-for-4.  Brandon Moss, Jhonny Peralta, and Alberto Rosario singled.  That was it.

 

Friday, August 5---Cardinals 1, Braves 0

The Cardinals finally got an efficient start from a starting pitcher.  Jaime Garcia was terrific, pitching eight scoreless innings, allowing only three hits and striking out 11.  Garcia picked up his eighth win of the season.  Seung-Hwan Oh pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his ninth save.

http://www.scout.com/player/76608-jaime-garcia?s=321

Garcia also contributed the only run, making this game a full Garcia victory.  After a leadoff walk to Matt Holliday and later a walk to Jeremy Hazelbaker, Jaime singled to right field to score Holliday.  The only other hit from the Cardinals offense was a single by Stephen Piscotty.

 

Saturday, August 6----Cardinals 5, Braves 13

After a one game respite from inefficient starts, the Cardinals received the third one in a week, this one from Carlos Martinez.  Martinez pitched five innings, giving up seven runs, six earned, on seven hits.  Two of the seven hits were three run home runs.  Martinez suffered his seventh loss of the season in his worst outing since May 2015.

Seth Maness followed with two scoreless innings of relief.  Zach Duke pitched a clean inning.  Jonathan Broxton took the mound in the ninth and proceeded to give up two two-run home runs and five runs total, four earned, while getting only one out.  Jerome Williams secured the final two outs, but gave up an unearned run.

On offense, Matt Holliday was 3-for-5.  Jhonny Peralta was 2-for-4 with an RBI.  Kolten Wong hit a pinch hit solo home run in the fifth inning, then stayed in the game to replace Matt Carpenter, who was removed for precautionary reasons.  Jedd Gyorko plated a run on a sac fly in the fourth inning. Tommy Pham plated a run on an eighth inning ground out.

 

Sunday, August 7---Cardinals 3, Braves 6

In the capper to a week of poor starting pitching, Sunday’s game was not an exception.  Adam Wainwright gave up six runs in his first two innings, and though he settled down afterwards and went four more innings without giving up another run, the damage was done.  Wainwright suffered his sixth loss of the season.  Jerome Williams pitched two scoreless innings and Kevin Siegrist tossed a scoreless ninth.

The offense could not sustain a rally often enough or long enough to make up the run deficit.  Yadier Molina had a good day at the plate, going 3-for-4 with an RBI.  Jhonny Peralta doubled a run home on a double in the eighth.  Brandon Moss plated a run in the fifth on a sac fly.

 

NL Central Standings

The Cardinals were just 2-4 in the two most recent series against the last-place Reds and the Braves, putting them 11.5 games out of first place and two games ahead of the third place Pirates.

  W L % GB
Chicago Cubs 69 41 0.627 ---
St. Louis 58 53 0.523 11.5
Pittsburgh 55 54 0.505 13.5
Milwaukee 49 60 0.45 19.5
Cincinnati 45 65 0.409 24

Who’s Hot

http://www.scout.com/player/36659-brandon-moss?s=321

Brandon Moss has an .983 OPS since returning from the DL.  He has one HR, three doubles, and three RBI.

Tommy Pham has an OPS of .889.  He has one HR and two RBI.

http://www.scout.com/player/56696-matt-holliday?s=321

Matt Holliday has reheated.  He has an OPS of .817 and one double.

Jaime Garcia is 1-0, with an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.50.

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

Seth Maness has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.67.

 

Who’s Not

Jeremy Hazelbaker has an OPS of .425 in 10 plate appearances.

Matt Carpenter, in two games since returning from the DL, has an OPS of .143.

Jonathan Broxton has an ERA of 108.00 and a WHIP of 21.00

Matt Bowman has an ERA of 11.57 and a WHIP of 2.14

Mike Leake is 0-1 with an ERA of 12.60 and a WHIP of 1.80.

 

A Look at Cardinals Lineups

Prior to the return of Matt Carpenter, the leadoff spot was occupied by one start by Greg Garcia, one start by Stephen Piscotty and two starts by Tommy Pham. Carpenter made two starts there after his return.

The second spot in the lineup had one start by Aledmys Diaz before he went on the DL, followed by starts from Garcia, Piscotty, Jedd Gyorko and Brandon Moss.

The third spot in the lineup has consisted of one start by Matt Holliday, one start by Moss, and four starts by Piscotty.

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

The number five hitter has been either Yadier Molina, Jhonny Peralta, Moss, and one start by Holliday.

The six hole has been a mixture of Molina, Peralta, and one start from Jeremy Hazelbaker.

The seventh spot has been mostly Gyorko with one start each by Molina and Garcia.

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

 

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.

 

Transactions

Brandon Moss and Jhonny Peralta were activated from the 15-day DL.  In the corresponding moves Dean Kiekhefer and Randal Grichuk were optioned to Memphis.

Aledmys Diaz went on the 15-day DL with a right thumb fracture.  The Cardinals also activated newly acquired LHP Zach Duke.

Tyler Lyons was placed on the 15-day DL with a right knee stress reaction.  In the corresponding move, the Cardinals recalled Kiekhefer from Memphis.

Matt Carpenter was activated from the 15-day DL.  In the corresponding move, Kiekhefer was again optioned to Memphis.

 

Injury Report

Catcher Brayan Pena (left knee inflammation) continues on the 15 day DL.  Pena is progressing in his rehab but no announcement about a rehab assignment has been made.  Pena continues to catch side sessions in Jupiter and received a cortisone injection in his knee.

Aledmys Diaz (fractured thumb) is on the 15-day DL.  The fracture was the result of a hit by pitch in the Sunday, July 31 game against the Marlins in Miami.  Also, Diaz became a father this past week, and is expected to return to St. Louis shortly.  No timetable has been set for his return to the roster, though the Cardinals are hopeful on having him back by the beginning of September.

Jordan Walden (right shoulder strain) has been on the DL since April.  Walden has been throwing bullpen sessions in an effort to return to the Cardinals roster sometime in September, though that likelihood has not been confirmed.

Tyler Lyons (right knee stress reaction) is on the 15-day DL.  Lyons is on crutches and will receive further medical evaluation on Monday, August 8.  Lyons is expected to miss at least four weeks.

Trevor Rosenthal (right shoulder inflammation, rotator cuff) is on the 15-day DL.  In addition to that issue, the pitcher revealed to FOX Sports Midwest’s Jim Hayes that he has a severe forearm strain. No timetable for his return has been reported, though he is expected to begin throwing sessions shortly.

 

Looking Ahead

The Cardinals home stand continues as the Reds come into Busch Stadium for a three-game series starting on Monday.  Pitching probables for that series are Michael Wacha on Monday, Mike Leake on Tuesday, and Jaime Garcia on Wednesday.

The Cardinals travel to Wrigley Field for a four-game set against the Cubs beginning on Thursday.  No pitchers have been announced, but if the rotation holds, it will likely be Carlos Martinez, followed by Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, and Mike Leake for the four games.

The Cardinals have a travel day on Monday, August 15, heading to Houston for two interleague games against the Astros.  The Cardinals then have another travel day on Thursday and head to Philadelphia for a weekend series against the Phillies.

http://www.scout.com/player/180084-daniel-poncedeleon?s=321

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