Hall of Famer has cancer
Former St. Louis Cardinals outfielder and Hall of Famer Lou Brock is being treated for multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells in the bone marrow. This diagnosis follows surgery to amputate his left leg that occurred in 2015 as a result of diabetes. The cancer is treatable, and Brock is undergoing treatments in St. Louis.
The 77-year old missed his usual participation as a guest instructor in Spring Training, as well as Opening Day ceremonies at Busch Stadium. The continuing treatment is also causing Brock to cancel a scheduled appearance at the Budweiser Bash on April 25.
Brock was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985. The outfielder had 12 seasons in which he stole 50 or more bases and ranks 25th on the all-time hit list with 3,023.
The Cardinals went on their first road trip of the season with the first stop being the Nation’s Capital. The first game of the three game series left Cardinals’ fans frowning. After starting 2-4 at home, the Redbirds added one more to the loss column.
Starter Adam Wainwright struggled, lasting only four innings, and surrendering six runs, five earned, on 11 hits. Wainwright took the loss, leaving him with an early season record of 0-2. The list of bullpen pitchers included Brett Cecil, Matt Bowman, Trevor Rosenthal, Kevin Siegrist, and Jonathan Broxton. Cecil pitched an inning and yielded a run. Bowman and Rosenthal each pitched a scoreless inning. Siegrist got into trouble in the eighth, and relinquished four Nats runs before being replaced by Jonathan Broxton with one out in the inning. Broxton proceeded to make the situation worse by allowing three runs of his own before getting the last two outs of the inning.
The offense made the effort, scoring six runs on 10 hits. Matt Carpenter, Stephen Piscotty, and Yadier Molina were each 2-for-4. Piscotty drove in two runs, Molina plated one. Kolten Wong drove in two on a second inning double. Jedd Gyorko hit a pinch hit solo home run in the ninth.
The Cardinals extended their losing streak to three, falling to the Nationals in the second game of the series on Tuesday. Solo home runs by Randal Grichuk and Aledmys Diaz accounted for two of the three Cardinals runs. A first inning sac fly by Yadier Molina put the first run on the board. Diaz was 2-for-4, as was Jose Martinez, who started at first base in place of Matt Carpenter, who got a day off.
Starter Lance Lynn suffered his first loss of the season. The right hander threw five innings, giving up six runs, four earned, on five hits. Two defensive errors, both by Diaz, didn’t help. Miguel Socolovich pitched the next two innings and surrendered a run, followed by Seung-Hwan Oh, who also yielded a score.
The Cardinals finally posted a win in the series, behind a strong outing by starter Mike Leake. Leake pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing four hits while fanning seven and picked up his first win of the season. Trevor Rosenthal started the eighth, but struggled, yielding one run before coming out of the game. Matt Bowman and Brett Cecil each secured an out to escape the inning. Seung-Hwan Oh pitched a scoreless ninth.
Stephen Piscotty was the offensive star of the game, going 3-for-5 with five RBI. The right fielder was a one man offensive dynamo. Matt Carpenter drove in the other Cardinals run on a sac fly.
Thursday, April 13 - Off day
The Cardinals headed to the Big Apple to take on the Yankees in the Bronx. This was the first visit by the Cardinals to play the Yankees at their home since 2003. Michael Wacha made the start, but it was an indifferent one for the right hander. Wacha gave up four runs, three earned, on nine hits in 6 1/3 innings pitched. Two of the nine hits were home runs. Wacha fanned eight and walked two. Matt Bowman took over with one out in the seventh and got the final two outs with no damage. Kevin Siegrist pitched a scoreless eighth. The loss went to Wacha, his first.
The Cardinals offense scored three runs on six hits. Matt Carpenter began the game with a two run home run. An RBI double by Randal Grichuk in the seventh plated the third run. Aledmys Diaz was 2-for-4. In the ninth, with the Redbirds down by one, Grichuk reached base on a walk. Pinch hitter Jose Martinez smoked a double to left field against Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman. Grichuk made it to third but was stopped there. With two outs, Dexter Fowler grounded out to end the game.
A defensive error by Kolten Wong led to the winning Yankee run. Wong inexplicably threw home on a relay throw from Stephen Piscotty in the outfield. The runner had stopped at third before Wong’s errant throw, but when Yadier Molina failed to catch it and it went to the backstop, the runner came home.
It was another close loss by the Cardinals in Game 2 of the series. This was an ugly loss, as it featured a bizarre starting pitching performance and more defensive mistakes.
Carlos Martinez took turns both missing the strike zone and then finding it again. The right-hander struck out 11 but walked eight in one of the strangest pitching performances ever seen by Cardinals’ fans. In the midst of this, Martinez allowed three runs, two earned, on four hits. Martinez was over 100 pitches at the end of the fifth inning, but was sent out to start the sixth, when he gave up the second and third New York runs. With one out and 118 pitches behind him, Martinez was replaced by Brett Cecil, who struck out the next two batters to end the inning. Miguel Socolovich and Jonathan Broxton pitched the final two scoreless innings. Martinez suffered his second loss of the season.
Again, the Cardinals offense was sparse, coming on two late solo home runs. The Cardinals did not get a runner home until the eighth inning, when Jedd Gyorko hit a bases empty shot to right center field. Stephen Piscotty repeated Gyorko’s feat in the ninth.
The game was ugly on the defensive side as well. Jose Martinez made a fielding error on a ground ball to first base. Pitcher Martinez made a throwing error that allowed a run to score. Yadier Molina had a passed ball. Though it wasn’t scored as an error, a routine pop up to shallow left was not caught by any of three fielders in the vicinity. The hitter was given a double on the play, as second baseman Jedd Gyrorko missed a tag on a throw from Grichuk. That runner later scored.
The Cardinals were dealt a sweep by the Yankees in the rubber game of the three-game series. Adam Wainwright did not make it through five innings again, as he gave up four runs on 10 hits and suffered his third loss of the season. Matt Bowman came into the fifth with two on and two out and got the final out of the inning and a scoreless sixth. Kevin Siegrist took the mound in the seventh and walked two batters, but a double play and a caught stealing bailed him out of the inning with no damage. Miguel Socolovich pitched the eighth, but couldn’t record an out, and after allowing five runs he was replaced by Brett Cecil. Cecil retired the three batters he faced to end the inning.
The offense scored three runs on eight hits. An RBI single by Greg Garcia opened the scoring in the second. The Cardinals didn’t score again until the seventh, on a solo home run off by Yadier Molina. The third and final run scored in the ninth on a force attempt throwing error.
The only Cardinal hitters with multiple hits was Greg Garcia, who was 2-for-4. The Cardinals were 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left eight stranded.
The big picture
The Cardinals went 1-5 on the road trip, losing the series to the Nationals and suffering a series sweep by the Yankees. St. Louis is 3-9 and in last place in the NL Central. That record is the worst in the NL after the second week of the season and the team’s poorest start since 1988.
The offense has scored 42 runs and the hitters are batting a collective .212, both just one spot out of the NL cellar. St. Louis’ team ERA of 4.98 is 15th of 15 NL pitching staffs. The starters are seventh at 3.80, but the relievers are dead last at 7.34. In fact, the bullpen ERA is 30th in MLB.
NL Central Standings
Over the past seven days:
Jose Martinez is batting .500 with an OPS of 1.100 in 10 plate appearances.
Matt Carpenter is batting .313 with an OPS of .955 and has 1 HR and 3 RBI.
Stephen Piscotty is batting .316 with an OPS of 1.065 and has 2 HRs, 1 double, and 8 RBI.
Mike Leake has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.57.
Matt Bowman has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.43.
Over the past seven days:
Jhonny Peralta is batting .071 with an OPS of .259.
Dexter Fowler is batting .083 with an OPS of .245.
Kolten Wong is batting .083 with an OPS of .250.
Adam Wainwright has an ERA of 11.25 and a WHIP of 3.25.
Jonathan Broxton has an ERA of 16.20 and a WHIP of 3.00.
Kevin Siegrist has an ERA of 27.00 and a WHIP of 4.50.
A Look at Cardinals Lineups
The lineups over the last five games:
The leadoff hitter has been Dexter Fowler.
The number 2 hitter has been Aledmys Diaz plus Greg Garcia for one game.
The number 3 hitter has been Matt Carpenter with Yadier Molina for one game.
The number 4 hitter has been Stephen Piscotty.
The number 5 hitter has been Molina twice, Matt Adams twice, and Jedd Gyorko.
The number 6 hitter has been Jhonny Peralta twice, Gyorko, Molina, and Jose Martinez.
The number 7 hitter has been Randal Grichuk twice, Peralta twice, and Kolten Wong.
The number 8 hitter has been Grichuk twice, Wong, Martinez, and Eric Fryer.
Trade and Acquisition Rumors
There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.
The Cardinals activated RHP Trevor Rosenthal from the 10 day disabled list last Monday. In the corresponding move, RHP Sam Tuivailala was optioned to the Memphis Redbirds.
Tyler Lyons has thrown 9 1/3 scoreless innings in his relief stint with Triple-A Memphis and appears ready to return. However, there does not yet seem to be a roster spot for the left-hander.
The Cardinals return home to take on the Pirates in a three game series. Lance Lynn is scheduled to start on Monday, Mike Leake follows on Tuesday and Wednesday’s starter will be Michael Wacha.
On Thursday, St. Louis begins a four-game series against the Brewers in Milwaukee. The Cardinals have an off day on Monday the 24th, and return home to take on the Toronto Blue Jays in a three game interleague series. Following the Blue Jays series, the Cardinals remain at home for a weekend series against the Reds.
St. Louis’ regular season schedule can be found here.
Blast from the Past
On Saturday, April 15, Major League Baseball celebrated Jackie Robinson Day, an annual commemoration of the first African American to play baseball for a major league team. The year was 1947, and Brooklyn Dodgers GM Branch Rickey chose Jackie Robinson to be the man to finally break the color barrier in Major League Baseball.
This week’s blast from the past highlights the 1947 St. Louis Cardinals, a team that did not take this historic first step until 1954, when the Cardinals traded for Thomas Edison Alston, a first baseman the Cardinals acquired from the minor league San Diego Padres. The Cardinals were the 10th of the 16 MLB teams to integrate.
The 1947 Cardinals, defending National League champions, finished in second place with a record of 89-65. Managed by Eddie Dyer, they played their games in Sportsman’s Park III. The owner of the team was Sam Breadon; the general manager was William Walsingham Jr.
While Robinson was playing first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers, Stan Musial was manning the first sack for the Cardinals. Jackie Robinson played his first game in Sportsman’s Park on May 21, which the Dodgers won by a 4-3 score in 10 innings.
Musial was not only the best player on the 1947 Cardinals, he was the highest paid with a salary of $31,000. Enos Slaughter was paid $17,500 and Red Schoendienst made $9,000. The Brooklyn Dodgers paid Robinson $5,000.
In the final Jackie Robinson tie-in, on September 11, 1947, Robinson and Cardinals catcher Joe Garagiola were involved in an incident at the plate. Garagiola stepped on Robinson’s foot, and an argument ensued. The incident was later recounted in a children’s book entitled “The Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson”.
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