The Cardinals Major League Notebook 09/16

Having matched their longest losing streak of the season (five) and having lost almost all hope of reaching the postseason, the Cardinals took Monday's off-day to reflect on how to pull it together in the last two weeks of the season.

"We started drooping," manager Tony La Russa said after a three-game sweep in Pittsburgh. "And when you droop, bad things happen.

"We should have played better -- whatever that means, however you define it. We want to finish without a limp."

Six of the Cardinals' final 13 games will be against the Reds, including the first three in Cincinnati from Tuesday through Thursday. The Reds are the only National League Central Division team the Cardinals have dominated this season. St. Louis is 6-3 against Cincinnati.

When the Cardinals were the scourge of the division earlier this decade, they did it mostly at the expense of their division brethren. But that's not been the case this year.

With nine divisional games remaining, including three at Chicago, the Cardinals are only 31-37 inside the division, including 5-10 against Milwaukee and 7-10 against Pittsburgh.


--1B Albert Pujols, five points behind Atlanta 3B Chipper Jones in the National League batting race (.365 to .360), will carry a 10-game hitting streak into Cincinnati.

--RHP Kyle Lohse, who has finished serving his five-game suspension for allegedly throwing at Cincinnati RHP Edinson Volquez on Aug. 18 in Cincinnati, will return to the mound on Thursday at Great American Ballpark -- against Volquez.

--INF/OF Aaron Miles has played defensively at every position but 1B and C this season. He started in right field over the weekend.

--C Yadier Molina, who suffered a bruised left thigh when crashed into by Chicago LHP Ted Lilly last week, may miss a few more games after trying to play Sunday in Pittsburgh and then having to leave the game in the fourth inning.

--RHP Brad Thompson's stolen base Sunday was the first by a Cardinals pitcher this season.

BY THE NUMBERS: 8 -- Consecutive seasons at the start of his career that 1B Albert Pujols has hit at least .300 with 30 homers and 100 RBIs.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "You don't expect a pitcher to do that. From now on, I will." -- C Yadier Molina, admitting he was surprised when Chicago LHP Ted Lilly plowed into him at the plate Sept. 10 and knocked Molina out of action for several days.

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