In the first of a three game series in Miami, the Cardinals gained the victory with the aid of starter Carlos Martinez, as a hitter as well as a pitcher. Of the nine Redbirds runs, four were driven in by Martinez. Who says the National League needs the DH? With the bases loaded in the second inning, the right handed hurler smoked a bases clearing double into left field to put the Cardinals on the board 3-0. Martinez came through again in the fourth, slapping a single to left to plate run number four.
Matt Carpenter followed Martinez with an RBI triple to bring two more runs home, and Jedd Gyorko popped a double to right field to score Carpenter and put the Cardinals up 7-0. The sixth St. Louis run was also produced by Martinez, but he wasn’t awarded an RBI. In the fifth inning, Martinez reached base on a fielder’s choice error, which resulted in two additional runs crossing the plate.
Martinez was 2-for-4 with a run scored. Magneuris Sierra, called up to St. Louis to replace the injured Jose Martinez, made his major league debut by going 2-for-5 with two runs scored.
It was rather anti-climactic for the right handed pitcher on the mound. Martinez hurled six innings, giving up three runs on five hits, while fanning seven and walking two. His pitching performance was marred by two home runs surrendered to Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna. Martinez did pick up his second win of the season. Reliever Miguel Socolovich distinguished himself by pitching three strong innings of relief, saving a bullpen taxed the previous day in a 14-inning game against the Braves. Socolovich gave up a solo home run to Giancarlo Stanton but he otherwise performed well.
The Cardinals took Game 2 of the series, after a four run rally in the eighth and ninth innings that featured the game winning pinch hit by Dexter Fowler. The Redbirds were held scoreless by Marlins pitcher Dan Strailly until the fifth inning, when Tommy Pham doubled to center field to plate the first run. Behind 5-1 to start the eighth, pinch hitter Matt Adams hit an RBI single to left field that brought St. Louis within three. With Magneuris Sierra on third, Randal Grichuk’s sac fly made the score 5-3. Jedd Gyorko then singled in Adams and Kolten Wong to tie the game. In the ninth, with Sierra on the bases, Fowler’s pinch hit single to right plated Sierra for the Cardinals’ victory.
Pham and Sierra were the catalysts for the win, getting on base five times between them and adding speed to the mix. Pham was 2-for-4 and Sierra was 2-for-3 with two runs scored.
On the mound, Adam Wainwright had an indifferent start, pitching 5 1/3 innings while allowing four runs on four hits. The right handed veteran struck out three and walked three. Brett Cecil got the last two outs in the sixth in relief of Wainwright, giving up an additional run in the process. Matt Bowman pitched a clean seventh. Trevor Rosenthal and Seung-Hwan Oh hurled scoreless eighth and ninth innings, with Rosenthal getting the win, his first, and Oh earning his eighth save.
The rubber game of the series ended in a win and a sweep for the Cardinals. It took seven pitchers to put it away, beginning with starter Lance Lynn, who lasted only four innings, giving up four runs on five hits, including two home runs. The righty struck out five and walked four. Sam Tuivailala pitched a scoreless fifth and earned the win, his second of the season. Brett Cecil gave up a run and left with two outs on the board, before Jonathan Broxton got the third out. Kevin Siegrist and Trevor Rosenthal pitched a clean seventh and eighth, respectively, and Seung-Hwan Oh earned his ninth save with a scoreless ninth.
On offense, Dexter Fowler once again played a key pinch hitting role, punching a triple to center field to score two and put the Redbirds in the lead. The previous inning, Jedd Gyorko had plated two on a line drive single, while Yadier Molina hit an RBI single that put the Cardinals within one run. Kolten Wong added another run along with Fowler in the sixth on a sac fly. Aledmyz Diaz added an insurance run in the seventh on a single to center.
Gyroko was 3-for-4 with two runs driven in as he continued to wield a hot bat. Molina and Diaz were each 2-for-4. Those three Cardinals also added value on the base paths, as each added a stolen base to their game resume.
Thursday, May 11 - Off
The Cardinals returned home to Busch to take on the arch-rival Cubs. The series began with the Redbirds in first place and the Cubs 1.5 games behind in fourth place (early season caveat attached). This loss to the Cubs snapped a six game winning streak for St. Louis.
Mike Leake’s start was not as sharp as his previous ones. He uncharacteristically walked three hitters and gave up two home runs, both to Cubs catcher Wilson Contreras. Leake hurled six innings, giving up two runs on five hits and took the loss, his second. Brett Cecil continued to struggle, especially against lefties. Cecil pitched only 1/3 of an inning and surrendered a solo home run before he replaced by Matt Bowman with only one out. Bowman got the final two outs without further damage before Jonathan Broxton and Kevin Siegrist pitched a scoreless eighth and ninth.
St. Louis’ offense was held scoreless until the seventh, when Randal Grichuk launched a solo home run to center field. In the ninth, an odd play as a result of a dropped third strike and a throwing error by Cubs catcher Contreras allowed a run to score to bring the Redbirds to within one. Only one Cardinal had multiple hits, Aledmys Diaz, who was 2-for-4.
This game included Dexter Fowler being picked off first base in a crucial scoring situation, and a fielding error by Wong.
St. Louis fared better in Game 2 of the series, though not without some controversy. Cubs starter Jon Lester was unhappy with the strike zone and with an umpire call at second base via the new slide rule that cost the Cubs a run. Nevertheless, the Cardinals came out victorious.
Starting pitcher Carlos Martinez continued to impress with the bat, driving in the first St. Louis run in the third on a squeeze play. The pitcher executed a perfect bunt to his counterpart Lester, who booted it with his glove to allow a run to score and Martinez to advance to second base. The Cardinals took the lead in the fourth on a solo home run by Jedd Gyorko and an RBI single by Tommy Pham. In the sixth, the hot-hitting Pham doubled to right to drive in the Cardinals’ fourth run, and Magneuris Sierra followed with an RBI single to center to score Pham. Pham, Sierra, and Martinez were each 2-for-3 on the night.
On the mound, Martinez earned his third win of the season, tossing 6 2/3 innings and surrendering three runs on five hits. Matt Bowman got the last out of the seventh. Trevor Rosenthal and Seung-Hwan Oh pitched a scoreless eighth and ninth, with Oh earning his 10th save of the season.
On the base paths, Pham and Molina each stole a bag, though Pham was caught stealing as well. Matt Carpenter committed a fielding error at first base.
In the rubber game of the match, the Cardinals dealt a shutout to the visiting Cubs, winning their first home series against the Cubs since 2015. The offense pounded out 12 hits, including two home runs against starter Jake Arrieta. Yadier Molina provided a dual whammy with the long ball, hitting his first, a two run shot, in the second inning, and his second, a solo shot, in the eighth. Matt Carpenter blasted a two run shot against his good friend Arrieta in the third. Between the two, they drove in all five St. Louis runs. Also performing well with the bats was Aledmys Diaz who was 2-for-4, and Randal Grichuk, who was 3-for-4.
Adam Wainwright pitched his best game of the season so far. The right handed veteran tossed seven scoreless innings, allowing only four hits. Wainwright did walk four, and struck out three. Trevor Rosenthal pitched a clean eighth, and Kevin Siegrist followed with a clean ninth.
The Cardinals started the week with a sweep of the Marlins and returned home with a perfect 6-0 road trip. After taking 2 of 3 against the Cubs, the Cardinals end the week 5-1 and having won eight of their last 10. Pitching continues to get the job done, the bats have come alive, and defense and base running have improved.
St. Louis has improved to ninth in the National League in runs scored from 11th, and is fifth in batting average at .261 and sixth in OPS at .763. The pitching staff remains second of 15 NL clubs in ERA at 3.62. The starters remain first at 3.42, but the relievers have shaved off almost half a run, improving to eighth at 4.00 from 10th at 4.42 last week. However, the staff is down to 12th in strikeouts and have issued the sixth-fewest walks, both down from last week.
The Cardinals are now 21-15, and in first place ahead of the Brewers by one game. Last week’s leader, Cincinnati, has fallen to third.
NL Central Standings
Over the past 7 days:
Tommy Pham is batting .417 with an OPS of 1.292 and has 2 HRs, 3 doubles, and 6 RBI.
Dexter Fowler is batting .333 with an OPS of 1.303 and has 1 triple and 3 RBI.
Magneuris Sierra is batting .400 with an OPS of .855.
Jedd Gyorko is batting .280 with an OPS of .837 and has 1 HR, 2 doubles, and 7 RBI.
Michael Wacha has an ERA of 3.00 and a WHIP of 1.17.
Kevin Siegrist has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.00.
Trevor Rosenthal has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.25.
Matt Bowman has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.33.
Over the past 7 days:
Kolten Wong is batting .136 and has an OPS of .413.
Aledmys Diaz is batting .148 and has an OPS of .327.
Lance Lynn has an ERA of 9.00 and a WHIP of 2.25.
Brett Cecil has an ERA of 16.50 and a WHIP of 3.38.
A Look at Cardinals Lineups
The lineups over the last 6 games:
The leadoff hitter has been Kolten Wong for four games and Dexter Fowler for two games.
The number 2 hitter has been Randal Grichuk for four games, Aledmys Diaz for one game, and Tommy Pham for one game.
The number 3 hitter has been Matt Carpenter.
The number 4 hitter has been Jedd Gyorko.
The number 5 hitter has been Yadier Molina.
The number 6 hitter has been Diaz for five games, and Greg Garcia for one game.
The number 7 hitter has been Pham for four games, Grichuk for one game, and Magneuris Sierra for one game.
The number 8 hitter has been Sierra for four games, Pham for one game, and Wong for one game.
Trade and Acquisition Rumors
There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.
5/7: The Cardinals placed OF Jose Martinez on the 10-day DL with left groin strain. In the corresponding move, the Cardinals recalled OF Magneuris Sierra from high-A Palm Beach.
5/10: The Cardinals sent LHP Tyler Lyons on a rehab assignment to the Peoria Chiefs.
5/14: The Cardinals sent third baseman Jhonny Peralta on a rehab assignment to the Memphis Redbirds.
LHP Tyler Lyons is nearing a return from the DL, as he was sent to the Peoria Chiefs for a rehab assignment early in the week. His next outing is scheduled with Memphis on Monday. Lyons was put on the DL with a right intercostal strain on May 2.
Stephen Piscotty (right hamstring) is expected to begin a rehab assignment at the beginning of the week, likely with the Springfield Cardinals. The Cardinals anticipate Piscotty may return to the roster for the weekend series with the Giants.
Dexter Fowler briefly returned to the lineup after missing all six games on the road trip with lingering right lat soreness, but is still having difficulty throwing.
Jose Martinez (left groin) will likely miss several more weeks after a diagnosis of a Grade 2 strain.
Lefty reliever Zach Duke, who had surgery for a torn elbow ligament in October, is throwing bullpens and might be able to come back as soon as July to offer a boost to the St. Louis bullpen down the stretch. Next step would be a rehab stint in June.
The Cardinals begin the week with an off day on Monday, before the Boston Red Sox come to town for a two game, home and home interleague series. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the 1967 World Series between the two clubs, the Cardinals will honor 14 former team members in a pregame ceremony before Wednesday's game. The Cardinals will travel to Fenway in mid-August for another two game set.
After a second off day on Thursday, the San Francisco Giants arrive for a weekend series. The following Monday, May 22, the Cardinals head to the West Coast to take on the Dodgers for three games beginning on Tuesday. The Redbirds then travel to Denver to play the Rockies in a weekend set.
On Memorial Day, the Dodgers come to Busch to play the Cardinals in a four game series. Following the Dodgers, St. Louis will make its first 2017 visit to Wrigley Field to take on the Cubs in a weekend series.
The Cardinals’ regular season schedule can be found here.
Blast from the Past
Over the weekend, Major League Baseball celebrated Mother’s Day, as they do every year. One thing we all have in common is mothers, so it is a non-controversial topic for celebration. Unfortunately, my mother passed away more than two years ago, but she was a Cardinals fan, as was all my family. I have grown up loving baseball as a family tradition.
The Cardinals currently have an exhibit running at the Hall of Fame Museum at Ballpark Village entitled “Women in Baseball: How They Made History”. This exhibit is scheduled to run throughout the 2017 season. I haven’t yet made it to the exhibit, but I plan to do so at some point.
Needless to say, a woman owning a professional baseball franchise was unprecedented in 1911, nine years before women were granted the right to vote. Though already a mother with two children, Helene made the decision to maintain ownership of the team, despite heavy pressure to sell. Britton lived prior to her acquisition of the Cardinals in Cleveland, Ohio, but in 1913, she moved with her family to a mansion on Lindell Boulevard in St. Louis.
Britton faced many obstacles and difficulties during the years of her ownership, but she staunchly held on despite continued calls to sell. Finally, after her divorce from her husband in 1917 (it was reported Mr. Britton was physically abusive), Helene sold the Cardinals in 1918 to Sam Breadon. “Lady Bee” remarried and moved to Philadelphia with her family, where she died in 1950 at the age of 71.
Women have made their mark in baseball in many ways, even as players. There were the “Bloomer Girls”, semi-professional baseball leagues for women that began in the 1890s and continued until 1934. St. Louis great Rogers Hornsby was said to have gotten his start on one of these teams. Emma Bergman, born in St. Louis in 1924, played for the All American Girls Professional Baseball League from 1946 to 1951.
In addition to playing, women have been and are scouts, umpires, coaches, sports writers, and broadcasters. Kim Ng, a woman, is currently the Senior Vice President for Baseball Operations for Major League Baseball. Jessica Mendoza is now a member of ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball broadcast team.
There are no women players in Major League Baseball, but there may be some day, and I hope I am alive to witness it. This would be the ultimate vindication for women who have emphatically proved that baseball does not know gender. Loud, proud, and clear.
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