The Redbird Report - 04/28

St. Louis Cardinals Manager Tony La Russa came under some scrutiny for some moves he made -- or didn't make in Friday night's 5-3 loss to the Chicago Cubs.

Anthony Reyes solved one problem, at least, on Friday night. He got through the first two innings without being scored on after giving up 10 runs in the first two innings in his first three starts.

But Reyes wasn't pitching to contact, meaning that he wasn't getting any ground balls. He fanned five Chicago hitters in the first three innings, but then he pitched to plenty of contact in the fourth as third baseman Aramis Ramirez and center fielder Felix Pie both hit two-run homers.

Reyes allowed runs -- and hits, for that matter -- in only that inning as he pitched six innings for the second consecutive time. But he also only got two ground-ball outs in those six innings, indicating that he might not have been spending much time with the two-seam fastball pitching coach Dave Duncan wants him to throw so that he will be down in the strike zone more.

Manager Tony La Russa came under some scrutiny for some moves he made -- or didn't make -- in the eighth inning when the Cardinals had runners at first and third with no outs and down one run. And they didn't score.

After third baseman Scott Rolen popped up for the first out, La Russa pulled center fielder Jim Edmonds, who had been on base three times, and inserted pinch hitter So Taguchi, a right-handed batter against Chicago left-hander Neal Cotts. Taguchi, after getting down in the count 0-2, was hit by a pitch to load the bases.

When the Cubs went to right-hander Ryan Dempster, La Russa stayed with right fielder Preston Wilson, a right-handed batter who often strikes out, instead of going with switch-hitting Scott Spiezio.

Wilson did strike out and second baseman Adam Kennedy grounded out.

In the ninth, Spiezio narrowly missed a game-tying, two-run homer before he, too, fanned.

La Russa, who had been upset with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch earlier in the day for a tongue-in-cheek article in the paper about the Cubs' 99 years without winning a World Series, angrily refused to answer questions from a Post-Dispatch reporter during a post-game press conference after the game.

CUBS 5, CARDINALS 3: The Cardinals lost to Jason Marquis, a rotation staple for them from 2004.


--The Cardinals were 40-17 against the Cubs at Busch Stadium in this decade before losing Friday. It was their eighth loss in 11 home games this season.

--RHP Kelvin Jimenez, who was 1-0 with a 1.59 earned run average in seven games at Memphis was purchased from that club and LHP Randy Keisler, ineffective in his third of three starts on Thursday, was optioned to Memphis. Jimenez made his big-league debut and pitched out of a two-on jam in the eighth inning.

--LHP Keisler, who had no decisions and a 5.65 ERA, was slated to start Tuesday in Milwaukee. That spot is now open with possible candidates to include bullpen RHPs Brad Thompson and Josh Hancock, both of whom have been starters before, or somebody else from Memphis. Manager Tony La Russa did not discuss the matter before the game, preferring, he said, to concentrate on the Cubs.

--SS David Eckstein, still struggling, got an infield single in five at-bats but has just one hit in 13 at-bats with men in scoring position this season.

--LF Chris Duncan ended the game with a fly out, but he is 15-for-34 (.441) in nine games at Busch Stadium.

The Cardinal Nation Top Stories