Dexter Fowler (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports Images)

A recap of St. Louis Cardinals-related news from the period of April 24 through 30, 2017.

Last week’s St. Louis Cardinals news includes recapping the 3-2 record to complete a 12-12 first month. Leadoff man Dexter Fowler is heating up along with the offense. Our history feature recalls “The Seat Cushion Game”.

Three in 2017 Hall of Fame Class

The Hall of Fame Class of 2017 was announced on Friday, and it includes three former Cardinals, two from the Modern Era, and one from the Veteran Era. Fans voted on the modern day nominees, choosing slugger Mark McGwire and former catcher and current broadcaster Tim McCarver.  The final member of the HOF class was chosen by the Red Ribbon Committee - Pepper Martin, who played 13 seasons as a member of the Gas House Gang.

http://www.scout.com/mlb/cardinals/story/1774561-mcgwire-mccarver-martin-to-join-cards-hall

McGwire is most well-known for his home run record race with Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa.  McGwire broke the single season home run record held by Roger Maris in 1998, a feat that was later eclipsed by Barry Bonds.  McGwire started his baseball career with the Oakland Athletics in 1986 and played his last five seasons with the Cardinals under his former Athletics manager Tony La Russa, retiring after the 2001 season.  He returned to the Cardinals as a hitting coach in 2010 and served for three seasons before moving on to coach with the Dodgers and currently, the San Diego Padres.

McCarver played with the Cardinals from 1959 until traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in 1969.  He was dealt back to St. Louis in November 1972 by the Montreal Expos, who had acquired him in a midseason trade from the Phillies.  He was then purchased from the Cardinals in September 1974 by the Boston Red Sox, who released him in June of 1975.  McCarver then re-signed with the Phillies in July and remained with them until he was released in October 1980.

The catcher was a two time All Star with the Cardinals and was the favorite catcher of Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Gibson.  In his 12 seasons with St. Louis, McCarver hit .272/.329/.388 with 66 home runs and 453 RBI.  He was the only catcher in baseball history to catch two title winning Game 7s.

McCarver became a broadcaster soon after his baseball career ended.  He has worked for four major U.S. television networks and won three Emmy Awards.  He called his first World Series in 1985, and set a record in 2003 for calling his 13th World Series.  The former catcher left his last national network, Fox, in 2013, and began calling 20 Cardinals games per season for Fox Sports Midwest in 2014, a position he continues to hold.

Pepper Martin played his entire career with the Cardinals and was a member of the famous “Gas House Gang”.  The outfielder and third baseman helped St. Louis win World Series titles in both 1931 and 1934.  He was a four time All Star, led the league in stolen bases three times, and scored 122 runs in 1933 to lead the league in that category.  Martin died in 1965 at the age of 61.

 

Game Recaps

Monday, April 24 - Off day

 

Tuesday, April 25 - Cardinals 5, Blue Jays 6 (11 innings)

In the first game of a home interleague series against the Blue Jays, the Cardinals were defeated in extra innings.  The game featured good starting pitching by Michael Wacha, who pitched six innings, while giving up two runs on five hits.  The right hander fanned six and walked one.  Wacha was followed by Matt Bowman, whose consecutive streak of scoreless innings was broken with this appearance.  The reliever allowed two runs on one hit, hurt by sloppy defense.  Kevin Siegrist got through the eighth without damage. Brett Cecil took the mound to begin the ninth.  A leadoff walk was made worse by a bad pickoff throw from the lefty.  A subsequent hit gave up a run.  Miguel Socolovich entered with one out and got a double play to end the inning.  Socolovich returned to pitch the 10th and 11th, relinquishing the winning run in the 11th and taking the loss.

The Redbirds scored five runs on 13 hits.  A first-inning RBI single from Jedd Gyorko opened the scoring. After the Jays added two in the top of the 4th, Yadier Molina’s RBI single tied the game.  The Jays took the lead back in the seventh, scoring two.  In the bottom frame, Jose Martinez’ two run home run once again knotted the score.  In the ninth, Toronto scored again and for the third time the Cardinals tied it up in the bottom half on a single from Dexter Fowler.  The game remained deadlocked until the 11th, when a throwing error by Aledmys Diaz allowed the Jays’ winning run to come home.

The Cardinals played bad defense throughout, committing four errors.

 

Wednesday, April 26 - Cardinals, Blue Jays (postponed)

This game was postponed due to rain.  It was played as part of a doubleheader on Thursday, April 27.

 

Thursday, April 27 - Cardinals 8, Blue Jays 4 (11 innings, Game 1)

In the first game of the doubleheader, the Cardinals defeated the Jays in the regularly scheduled game on Thursday afternoon.  The Redbirds fell behind early.  With the Jays holding a 4-0 lead, St. Louis did not get on the board until the seventh inning, on a Randal Grichuk single to plate Jose Martinez.  An RBI single by Matt Carpenter in the eighth brought the lead down to two.  Grichuk hit a two run bomb in the ninth to tie the score and send the game into extra innings. 

The score remained tied until the bottom of the 11th, when Carpenter hit the first walk off grand slam of his career.  Carpenter drove in five runs and was 2-for-5.  Grichuk, Dexter Fowler, Yadier Molina, and Kolten Wong each had two hits.

Starter Carlos Martinez surrendered three runs on five hits in six innings of work.  Tyler Lyons was responsible for the fourth and final Jays runs over two innings.  Jonathan Broxton pitched a scoreless ninth, and was followed by Seung-Hwan Oh, and Matt Bowman, who each added a scoreless inning.  Bowman was the winning pitcher.

 

Thursday, April 27 - Cardinals 6, Blue Jays 4 (Game 2)

Game 2 of the twin bill was the makeup of Wednesday’s game that was postponed by rain.  The Cardinals took the game and the series from the Blue Jays.  Starter Adam Wainwright earned his second win of the season.  The right hander pitched 6 1/3 innings, giving up four runs on nine hits. Brett Cecil got the final two outs of the seventh without damage.  Kevin Siegrist and Trevor Rosenthal tossed a scoreless eighth and ninth with Rosenthal earning his second save.

The Redbirds bats scored six runs on 12 hits.  Dexter Fowler was 3-for-5 with a solo home run.  Stephen Piscotty plated two without a hit, one on a sac fly and the other on a ground ball force out.  Matt Adams drove in two on a double and a single.  The first Cardinals run came home in the first inning on a Matt Carpenter ground out.  Greg Garcia was 3-for-3, as was Adams.

 

Friday, April 28 - Cardinals 7, Reds 5

In the first game of the weekend series against the Reds, Lance Lynn continued his encouraging post-Tommy John surgery early season performance, notching his third win of the season.  The right hander hurled six innings of one run ball, giving up six hits, striking out five and issuing two free passes.  Brett Cecil followed with a scoreless seventh.  Miguel Socolovich faltered in the eighth inning, surrendering four runs on three hits.  The righty was replaced with two outs in the inning by Kevin Siegrist, who got the final out after giving up a hit and a walk.  Seung-Hwan Oh pitched a clean ninth for his sixth save.

Redbirds bats continued to surge, as 11 hits led to seven runs.  Dexter Fowler hit his fourth home run of the season, a two run shot in the third inning.  The home run was preceded by a Kolten Wong RBI double.  In the sixth, Jedd Gyorko launched a solo home run, and Randal Grichuk followed with an RBI single.  Also in the sixth, Matt Adams’ sac fly brought a third run home.  The seventh and final Cardinal run came on a sac fly by Yadier Molina in the seventh inning.

Fowler, Gyorko, and Stephen Piscotty each had two hits.  The game featured a highlight reel pickoff by Yadier Molina to third sacker Gyorko.  In the sixth, Eugenio Suarez and Scott Schebler each reached base on a single.  Devin Mesoraco followed with a walk to load the bases.  As Suarez came to third on the walk, he took a couple of steps past the bag.  Gyroko sneaked in behind Suarez and Molina fired a bullet to Gyroko that allowed him to tag Suarez as he was moving back toward the bag.  The pickoff was the final out of the inning and perhaps a game-saver.

 

Saturday, April 29 - Cardinals, Reds (postponed)

This game was postponed due to rain.  No makeup date has been scheduled.

 

Sunday, April 30 - Cardinals 4, Reds 5

The Cardinals suffered a tough loss in the rubber game of the series against the Reds.  The game started out well, with the Redbirds taking a 4-0 lead in the fifth inning.  The first run scored in the first inning on a wild pitch following a walk to Matt Carpenter, and a double by Jedd Gyorko.  Three more runs crossed the plate in the fifth, when Carpenter hit a bases-clearing double. 

The seventh inning was ugly.  Three straight hits to right field were not caught by Stephen Piscotty.  To make matters worse, an ill-judged throw by Piscotty and a second bad throw by Yadier Molina caused a runner who should have remained at first base to advance to third.  That runner soon scored to tie the game.  The Reds’ winning run crossed the plate in the eighth.

The one bright spot was spectacular defense by Kolten Wong.  Two balls hit up the middle were snagged by the second baseman and accurate throws resulted in outs.  Wong also nailed a runner at home after snagging a throw by Molina to second and firing a bullet back to the plate.

Mike Leake pitched six innings while allowing only one run on eight hits.  The ugly seventh inning included Matt Bowman giving up three runs.  With two outs in the seventh, Brett Cecil gave up the double to allow the tying run to score.  Cecil was tagged with a blown save, but got the final out in the inning.  Trevor Rosenthal gave up the winning run in the eighth to take the loss.  Jonathan Broxton pitched a scoreless ninth.

 

Big Picture

The Cardinals ended the week 3-2 at home.  The Redbirds took the series against the Blue Jays, and split two games with the Reds, with one game postponed until a later date. 

Offense has picked up from earlier in the season, and starting pitching for the most part has been good.  Still, some sloppy defense here and there and continued issues with base running have hurt.  Both Stephen Piscotty and Aledmys Diaz, key pieces in the starting lineup, are struggling early in the season.  Improvement from both of these players will help put the Cardinals on more solid footing going forward.

The Cardinals have moved back to .500 with the latest loss to the Reds on Sunday.  The team is tied with the Brewers for second place in the division and both teams are one game back of the Cubs.  Four games against the Brewers at home are upcoming.

 

NL Central Standings

  W L % GB
Chicago Cubs 13 11 0.542 -
Milwaukee 13 13 0.500 1
St. Louis 12 12 0.500 1
Cincinnati 11 13 0.458 2
Pittsburgh 11 13 0.458 2

Who’s Hot

Over the past 7 days:

http://www.scout.com/player/88993-dexter-fowler?s=321

Dexter Fowler is batting .409 with an OPS of 1.273 and has 2 HRs, 2 2Bs, and 4 RBI.

Jedd Gyorko is batting .357 with an OPS of 1.043 and has 1 HR, 1 2B, and 2 RBI.

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

Kolten Wong is batting .438 with an OPS of 1.321 and has 1 3B, 3 2Bs, and 2 RBI.

Yadier Molina is batting .417 with an OPS of 1.012 and has 2 2Bs and 2 RBI.

Matt Adams is batting .571 with an OPS of 1.413 in nine plate appearances.

http://www.scout.com/player/63554-lance-lynn?s=321

Lance Lynn has an ERA of 1.50 and a WHIP of 1.33.

Brett Cecil has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 1.00.

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

Seung-Hwan Oh has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.60.

 

Who’s Not  

Over the past 7 days:

Aledmys Diaz is batting .150 and has an OPS of .340.

Eric Fryer is batting .222 and has an OPS of .522 in 10 plate appearances

Miguel Socolovich has an ERA of 10.80 and a WHIP of 1.50.

Jonathan Broxton has an ERA of 18.00 and a WHIP of 4.00.

 

A Look at Cardinals Lineups

The lineups over the last 5 games:

The leadoff hitter has been Dexter Fowler.

The number 2 hitter has been Aledmys Diaz, and Greg Garcia for one game.

The number 3 hitter has been Matt Carpenter and Stephen Piscotty for one game.

The number 4 hitter has been Jedd Gyorko for three games and Piscotty for two games.

The number 5 hitter has been Piscotty for two games, Randal Grichuk for two games, and Yadier Molina for one game.

The number 6 hitter has been Molina for two games, Matt Adams for two games, and Garcia for one game.

The number 7 hitter has been Grichuk for two games, Kolten Wong for two games, and Jose Martinez for one game.

The number 8 hitter has been Wong for three games, and Eric Fryer for two games.

 

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.

 

Transactions

The Cardinals outrighted Memphis outfielder Anthony Garcia, removing him from the 40-man roster. Garcia was subsequently demoted to Springfield.

The Cardinals recalled RHP Sam Tuivailala from Memphis to serve as the 26th man for the Thursday doubleheader.  Tuivailala did not pitch and was reassigned to the Redbirds the following day.

http://www.scout.com/player/133107-matt-carpenter?s=321

Infielder Matt Carpenter was suspended for one game for bumping an umpire last Sunday. He served his time in Tuesday’s series opener against the Blue Jays. 

Injury Report

Third baseman Jhonny Peralta continues to recover from an upper respiratory infection that landed him on the 10 day DL.   An adverse reaction to medication for the infection led to his placement on the DL. 

http://www.scout.com/player/36533-jhonny-peralta?s=321

It is expected that Peralta will report to the A-Advanced Palm Beach Cardinals for a rehab stint next week and could return to the active roster for the May 8-10 series at the Miami Marlins.

 

Looking Ahead

The Cardinals remain at home following the Reds series to take on the Brewers for another four game set.  Michael Wacha is scheduled to make the Monday start, followed by Carlos Martinez, Adam Wainwright and Lance Lynn.

The Cardinals will then travel to Atlanta to take on the Braves in a weekend series and on to Miami to face the Marlins in a three game set.

The Redbirds will have a travel day on Thursday, May 11, to return to St. Louis for a weekend series against the Cubs.

The Cardinals’ regular season schedule can be found here.

Blast from the Past

Matt Carpenter hit the first walk off grand slam of his career in the first game of Thursday’s doubleheader against the Toronto Blue Jays.  This was the first walk off grand slam by a Cardinal since 1987, when Tom Herr hit a 10th inning grand slam in an April 18 game against the New York Mets.

That 1987 game featured not only the grand slam, but a flurry of seat cushions flying through the air and landing on the field.  The cushions were the giveaway promotion that night in Busch Stadium, and in their jubilation stemming from the walk off victory, many of the fans tossed their giveaways onto the field.  That game thus gained the moniker “The seat cushion game”.

St. Louis won that game 12-8 against a team that was the sworn enemy of Cardinals’ fans.  Jokingly referred to as “pond scum”, the Mets were akin to the Cubs of current day in the level of dislike Cardinals’ fans consigned to that team.

The lineup for the April 18 game featured starting pitcher Danny Cox, as well as favorites Vince Coleman, Ozzie Smith, Williie McGee, and Jack Clark.   That 1987 season would be the last full season for Herr with the team, as he was traded the following April to the Minnesota Twins for Tom Brunansky. Starting pitcher Cox was re-signed by the Cardinals in 1989, playing one more season before signing as a free agent with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1990.  Coleman left for free agency in 1990 to, ironically, sign with the very same pond scum.  Fan favorite McGee was traded to the Oakland Athletics in 1990, and Clark was granted free agency in 1988 and signed with the New York Yankees. Smith remained with the Cardinals until his retirement after the 1996 season.

  

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