The Cardinals Major League Notebook 04/27

Right-hander Todd Wellemeyer won 13 games last season in his first full year as a starter to vault into the $4 million salary range. But Wellemeyer has started this season poorly, allowing 37 hits and 16 runs in 22 innings, including giving up six runs in five innings on Sunday.

Wellemeyer (1-2) has averaged just more than five innings per start and has worked past the fifth only once in four starts. "He's starting the season not sharp," said manager Tony La Russa. "He'll get better and better."

Basically, Wellemeyer will have to get better and better because the Cardinals can't afford a starter to falter with right-hander Chris Carpenter out probably another month with a torn left oblique muscle.

La Russa also wasn't pleased that Wellemeyer hit Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano in the back of the helmet with a second-inning pitch.

"This is the big leagues," said La Russa. "Pitches don't get away here."

The Cardinals, though they were roughed up Sunday, completed a 5-1 home stand against preseason National League favorites New York and Chicago.

"I want us to try as hard as we can and I have absolutely no regrets," said La Russa. "We could have been 3-3 and tried hard, which we did."

Before Sunday, the Cardinals had won nine straight games at home, their longest streak at new Busch Stadium, which opened in 2006.

CUBS 10, CARDINALS 3: The Cubs didn't allow 1B Albert Pujols to beat them after his late-inning grand slam helped put the Cubs away on Saturday. They walked him three times and hit him once Sunday before Pujols, perhaps surprised to see a strike, hit into a game-ending double play. The 10 runs allowed by the Cardinals were a season high.


--- C Yadier Molina, getting a leg up on what would be his first All-Star Game nomination, raised his hitting streak to 10 games with two hits, including his second home run. Molina is hitting .405 (15 for 37) in the streak and is up to .344 overall.

--- The Cardinals' 13-5 start before Sunday was their best since 2005 when they also were 13-5. At home, the Cardinals are 10-3 and they're 3-3 on the road. Thirteen of their next 17 games are away from home.

--- Even after being held to three runs on Sunday, the Cardinals are averaging six runs per game (115 for 19 games).

By The Numbers: 8—Number of grand slams for 1B Albert Pujols, who has just started his ninth season.

Quote To Note: "I think you understand you're in the presence of a once-in-a-lifetime hitter."—SS Khalil Greene on 1B Albert Pujols.

The Cardinal Nation Top Stories