Tommy Pham (Dale Zanine / USA TODAY Sports Images)

A recap of St. Louis Cardinals-related news from the period of May 1 through 7, 2017.

The St. Louis Cardinals went 4-2 on the week. It was not always easy and three outfielders were injured, but new arrival Tommy Pham gave the offense a jolt. Our history feature highlights a Cardinals catcher who became the team's, and MLB’s, first Latin American manager.

Game Recaps

Monday, May 1 - Cardinals 5, Brewers 7 (10 innings)

In the first of a four game series, the Brewers bats were the victors in extra innings. 

Starter Michael Wacha struggled a little against a tough Milwaukee lineup.  The right hander pitched six innings, giving up four runs on seven hits, including a two run home run.  Wacha fanned five and walked one.  Tyler Lyons followed with a scoreless seventh.  Kevin Siegrist pitched a run-free eighth, and closer Seung-Hwan Oh entered the ninth of a tied game and held the score.  Unfortunately, Oh gave up a three run bomb to Travis Shaw in the 10th that gave the Brewers the lead, and the win. Oh suffered his first loss of the season.

Jedd Gyorko had a hot night in the batter’s box, going 4-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored. Both came on solo home runs, in the eighth and 10th.  Joining Gyorko with the long ball was Aledmys Diaz and Matt Carpenter, hitting back to back solo shots in the fifth.   Diaz was 2-for-5, as was Randal Grichuk.

In the field, Siegrist picked off a runner at first base, and Kolten Wong had a throwing error.

 

Tuesday, May 2 - Cardinals 2, Brewers 1

In the second game of the series, the Cardinals won a squeaker.   The game was scoreless for the first five innings, but St. Louis took the lead with some small ball.  A single by Matt Carpenter and a double from Stephen Piscotty put Carpenter on third with one out.  Yadier Molina sent Carpenter home on a sac fly.  Kolten Wong followed with a single to plate Piscotty. Carpenter and Piscotty were each 2-for-4, Wong was 2-for-3.

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

Carlos Martinez won his first game of the season.  With his locks now shorn, the hard throwing right hander pitched 7 1/3 innings, giving up only one unearned run on four hits.  Brett Cecil took over with one out in the eighth and got the final two outs.

 

Wednesday, May 3 – Cardinals vs. Brewers

This game was postponed due to rain and will be made up on June 13 at 1:15, prior to the regularly scheduled game at 7:15.

 

Thursday, May 4 - Cardinals 4, Brewers 5

In another squeaker, this time the Cardinals were on the losing end. 

Adam Wainwright struggled with his command, giving up four runs on 10 hits while pitching five innings.  A game tying home run in the fifth spelled the last inning for Wainwright.  Brett Cecil began the sixth, and left with two outs and two men on for Matt Bowman.  Bowman walked the first batter to load the bases, but struck out the next batter to end the inning.  Bowman returned for the seventh, and things did not go smoothly.  A leadoff single was erased in a double play, but the next batter sent one over the wall to give the Brewers the lead.  It was the first home run given up by Bowman this season.  Kevin Siegrist and Sam Tuivailala pitched a scoreless eighth and ninth.

There were no long balls from Cardinals hitters. Small ball produced three runs in the second inning.  Yadier Molina led off with a single, and Aledmys Diaz doubled to send him to third.  Kolten Wong singled to plate Molina.  Wong stole second, and Dexter Fowler smoked a triple into the right field corner to score Diaz and Wong.  The Redbirds added another run in the third on an RBI single from Molina.   Diaz was 3-for-5 and Wong was 3-for-4.  Molina was 2-for-4. 

Stephen Piscotty had an outfield assist, throwing out Keon Broxton at home.  Unfortunately, Piscotty injured a hamstring on a run to first base and had to come out of the game.

 

Friday, May 5 - Cardinals 10 at Braves 0

Following a rainy and disappointing series against the Brewers at home, the Birds traveled to Atlanta and took it out on the Braves.  St. Louis bats pounded the Braves, ending with the first shut out of the season for the Redbirds.  The offense liked the new stadium in Atlanta quite well, sending two balls over the fences, and slamming Braves pitching with six doubles.  In the end, the Cardinals christened the new stadium with 16 hits.

http://www.scout.com/player/88019-tommy-pham?s=321

Tommy Pham, called up to replace the injured Stephen Piscotty, announced his presence with authority in the third inning with a two run home run.  Matt Carpenter copied Pham in the next inning.   Pham went 2-for-4.  Jedd Gyorko doubled in a run in the first and was also 2-for-4.  Aledmys Diaz was 4-for-4, plating two on a double in the third and driving in another in the sixth.  Jose Martinez was 2-for-6 with two doubles, and Randal Grichuk was 2-for-5 with a double.

Lance Lynn pitched six scoreless innings, surrendering four hits while striking out six and walking two. Kevin Siegrist, Jonathan Broxton, and Miguel Socolovich pitched a scoreless seventh, eighth, and ninth.  Lynn earned his fourth win of the season.

 

Saturday, May 6 - Cardinals 5 at Braves 3

The second game of the series against the Braves was not close, and then it was.  The Cardinals took a 5-0 lead into the seventh inning, but the Atlanta bats came to life.  Starter Mike Leake was cruising, but he faltered in the seventh as the right hander surrendered a three run home run.  Leake did finish the inning without further damage and earned his fourth win anyway.  Trevor Rosenthal pitched a scoreless eighth and Seung-Hwan Oh added a clean ninth for his seventh save.

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

Matt Carpenter repeated his performance from the day before, hitting a two run home run in the third inning.  Matt Adams added a solo shot the next inning; his first long ball of the season.   Adams was 2-for-4 with two runs scored.  Carpenter was also 2-for-4.  Aledmys Diaz continued with his hot bat, going 3-for-4 with two RBI.

Adams did not start the game but replaced Jose Martinez, who injured his groin running to first base.  When it rains, it pours with regard to Cardinals’ injuries, and the outfield especially.  In addition to Piscotty, Dexter Fowler hurt his shoulder in the same game Piscotty was injured, but has not been put on the DL and has not started a game since the injury.  Adams came in to play left field after Martinez left the game, and later, Diaz replaced Adams in left.

 

Sunday, May 7 - Cardinals 6 at Braves 4 (14 innings)

It took 14 tough innings, but the Cardinals pulled off the sweep of the Braves on Sunday.  The Redbirds got off to a quick lead against knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. In the first, Matt Carpenter hit a home run for the third consecutive day, a solo shot that put the Cardinals in the lead.  In the third inning, Tommy Pham hit another solo home run.  A double from Randal Grichuk and another double from Jedd Gyorko plated two more runs in the third. 

The Birds didn’t bring another run across the plate until the 14th inning.  It was Tommy Pham for the second time, who hit a long ball of the two run variety to give the Cardinals the ultimate victory.  Pham ended the long day 4-for-5 with three RBI and two runs scored.  Grichuk was 2-for-7 with two doubles.

Seven pitchers took the mound for the Redbirds.  Starter Michael Wacha pitched six innings and gave up two runs on five hits.  Matt Bowman surrendered an unearned run in the seventh due to a throwing error by Yadier Molina.  Brett Cecil yielded the tying run on a home run by Freddie Freeman in the eighth.  One scoreless inning each was provided by Trevor Rosenthal, Jonathan Broxton, and Seung-Hwan Oh.  The Cardinals received two scoreless innings from Sam Tuivailala before Kevin Siegrist pitched the 14th to pick up his first save.

 

Big Picture

The Cardinals finished 4-2 on the week.  Both pitching and offense was good.  Defense has been somewhat better, but errors are still an issue, especially in the infield.  Baserunning continues to a problem with multiple players making outs on the bases that could easily be avoided.  Rain was a factor in the Brewers series at home. Injuries are also starting to pile up.

St. Louis is 11th in the National League in runs scored, but fifth in batting average at .259 and fourth in OPS at .759. The pitching staff is second of 15 NL clubs in ERA at 3.68. The starters are first at 3.28 but the relievers are 10th at 4.42. The staff is ninth in strikeouts and have issued the fourth-fewest walks.

 

NL Central Standings

The new division leaders are the Cincinnati Reds, with the Cardinals just a half-game back at 16-14.

  W L % GB
Cincinnati 17 14 0.548 --
St. Louis 16 14 0.533 0.5
Chicago Cubs 16 15 0.516 1
Milwaukee 16 16 0.500 1.5
Pittsburgh 14 17 0.452 3

 

Who’s Hot

Over the past seven days:

Tommy Pham is batting .500 with an OPS of 1.933 with 3 HRs, a double and 5 RBI in 14 plate appearances since his arrival from Memphis.

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

Jedd Gyorko is batting .436 with an OPS of 1.217 and has 2 HRs, 2 doubles, and 3 RBI.

Matt Adams is batting .500 with an OPS of 1.375 in eight plate appearances.

Matt Carpenter is batting .421 with an OPS of 1.660 and has 3 HRs, 3 doubles, and 8 RBI.

http://www.scout.com/player/187201-aledmys-diaz?s=321

Aledmys Diaz is batting .462 with an OPS of 1.137 and has 1 HR, 2 doubles, and 6 RBI.

Carlos Martinez has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.68.

Seung-Hwan Oh has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 1.13.

Miguel Socolovich has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.00.

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

Lance Lynn has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 1.00.

 

Who’s Not  

Over the past seven days:

Greg Garcia is batting .111 with an OPS of .311.

Eric Fryer is batting .167 with an OPS of .333 in 6 plate appearances.

Adam Wainwright has an ERA of 7.20 and a WHIP of 2.60.

Matt Bowman has an ERA of 18.00 and a WHIP of 3.00.

 

A Look at Cardinals Lineups

The lineups over the last six games:

The leadoff hitter has been Dexter Fowler and Kolten Wong for two games.

The number 2 hitter has been Aledmys Diaz, Jose Martinez for two games, and Stephen Piscotty for one game.

The number 3 hitter has been Matt Carpenter.

The number 4 hitter has been Jedd Gyorko and Randal Grichuk for one game.

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

The number 6 hitter has been Molina for three games, Diaz for two games, and Tommy Pham for one game.

The number 7 hitter has been Grichuk and Greg Garcia for one game.

The number 8 hitter has been Wong for four games, Pham for one game, and Eric Fryer for one game.

 

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.

 

Transactions

5/2: The Cardinals placed LHP Tyler Lyons on the 10 day DL.  Right intercostal strain.

5/2: The Cardinals recalled RHP Sam Tuivailala from the Memphis Redbirds.

5/5: The Cardinals placed OF Stephen Piscotty on the 10 day DL.  Right hamstring strain.

5/5: The Cardinals recalled OF Tommy Pham from the Memphis Redbirds.

5/5: The Cardinals sent IF Jhonny Peralta on a rehab assignment to the Palm Beach Cardinals.

5/7: The Cardinals placed OF Jose Martinez on the 10 day DL.  Left groin strain.

5/7: The Cardinals recalled OF Magneuris Sierra from the Palm Beach Cardinals.

 

Injury Report

The injuries continue, with the first being Tyler Lyons, who was placed on the 10 day DL with a right intercostal strain (muscle in the rib cage).  The Cardinals recalled Sam Tuivailala from Memphis to replace Lyons on the roster.

Stephen Piscotty was placed on the 10 day DL with a strained right hamstring.  It was reported the day after the injury that there was no tear or damage, just a muscle spasm.  Tommy Pham was recalled from Memphis to replace Piscotty.

Dexter Fowler injured his shoulder diving for a fly ball in Thursday’s game.  An MRI came back clean, and Fowler has not been placed on the DL.  The center fielder has not yet returned to the lineup, though he pinch hit on Sunday.

Jose Martinez was placed on the 10 day DL with a left groin strain.  Magneuris Sierra was called up from the Palm Beach Cardinals to replace Martinez, and was in Sunday’s lineup against the Braves.  This was Sierra’s major league debut.

The Cardinals sent Jhonny Peralta on a rehab assignment to the Palm Beach Cardinals.  The infielder is on the 10 day DL with an upper respiratory infection and adverse reaction to medication.  No return date has been announced for Peralta, who has gone 2-for-8 with four strikeouts in his three games with Palm Beach.

 

Looking Ahead

The Cardinals travel to Miami to take on the Marlins in a three game series with Carlos Martinez scheduled for the Monday start.  Adam Wainwright and Lance Lynn have been designated for Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Cardinals have a travel day on Thursday, and return home to take on the Cubs in a weekend series.  After an off day on Monday, May 15, the Red Sox come to Busch Stadium for the start of a two game home and home interleague series this season.

Following another off day on Thursday, May 18, the Cardinals will welcome the Giants for a weekend set.

The Cardinals’ regular season schedule can be found here.

 

Blast from the Past

Many celebrated a rather obscure Mexican holiday on May 5, known as “Cinco de Mayo”.  It is erroneously believed to be Mexican Independence Day.  The actual Mexican Independence Day is celebrated on September 16. Regardless, Cinco de Mayo is celebrated in some quarters in Mexico and Americans love their Mexican food and margaritas, so May 5 is a time to party.

This factoid about Mexican holidays is the lead into this week’s Blast from the Past. Latin Americans loves their baseball, and Hispanic players make up a significant percentage of Major League Baseball, estimated currently at about 27%.  Latin America has sent players to MLB teams since the earliest part of the 20th century.

The first Hispanic player to play for the Cardinals was a Cuban named Miguel Angel Gonzalez.  Gonzalez debuted with the Boston Braves in 1912, but played only one game.  The catcher then played a season in 1914 with the Cincinnati Reds.  The Reds traded Gonzalez to the Cardinals in 1915, and he went on to play with the Cardinals in three separate stints (1915-1919, 1924-1925 and 1931-1932).

Mike Gonzalez was not the first Hispanic player to play with a major league team. That distinction went to Lou Castro, who debuted with the Philadelphia Athletics on April 23, 1902.  However, Gonzalez was the first Hispanic manager in MLB.  His first stop with the Cardinals as a coach was with the Columbus Red Birds in 1933, and the next year he joined St. Louis as a coach under manager Frankie Frisch.  After Frisch was fired in 1938, Gonzalez was the interim manager for the last 16 games of that season. He resumed coaching under Ray Blades, but became interim manager again in 1940 until Billy Southworth was hired in June of that year.  Gonzalez continued coaching with the Cardinals until 1946.

Gonzalez was born September 24, 1890 in La Habana, Cuba and lived in his native land until his death in 1977 at the age of 86.

  

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