The Cardinals Major League Notebook 05/12

The Cardinals' starting pitching, one of the club's strengths through April, has hit a snag in May, the rotation posting only a 5-5 record with a 5.88 earned run average.

Interestingly, only Todd Wellemeyer, who will pitch Tuesday at Pittsburgh, has been immune to the starters' troubles lately. And he had been the weakest link in the season's first month.

Wellemeyer has given up only four runs over his last 14 innings over his last two starts, both victories. On the other hand, Kyle Lohse, Joel Pineiro and Adam Wainwright have labored.

Lohse, 3-0 in April, is 0-2 in May, having allowed 13 runs in his last 10 1/3 innings in two starts, both losses.

Pineiro, who had been 4-0, has been better than that but has lost his last two starts while permitting five earned runs in 13 innings. And Wainwright, who had been 3-0, has given up 11 runs over his last 12 innings in two starts, one of them a loss.

But Wainwright, after giving up four runs in six innings at Cincinnati on Sunday, has discovered a flaw while watching videos of his pitching last year and this year. Wainwright, with injured Chris Carpenter's help, detected that his arm was several inches more vertical than his arm slot was last year when he was 11-3.

"I finally, absolutely know what I can do to pitch better," said Wainwright, who next is slated to pitch this weekend against Milwaukee.

Notes, Quotes

• RHP Ryan Franklin suffered his first blown save of the season in his 10th save opportunity Sunday when he surrendered solo homers to SS Jerry Hairston Jr., and pinch-hitter Micah Owings in the ninth inning. Franklin hadn't been scored on in his first 13 outings. "I made two mistakes. In this ball park, you can't make too many mistakes," said Franklin.

• 1B Albert Pujols, NL Player of the Month for April, had been nothing-for-11 before he homered in the fifth inning Sunday. Pujols had gone hitless in three straight games after a 4-for-4 game.

By The Numbers: 4—Number of Cardinals rookies who have hit their first major league homers—OF Colby Rasmus and INFs Joe Thurston, Brian Barden and Tyler Greene.

Quote To Note: "I'm lucky to be walking today."—CF Rick Ankiel, after losing his balance and taking on the left-center-field wall at Busch Stadium.

Roster Report

• RHP Chris Carpenter, on the 15-day disabled list since his second start of the season with a torn left oblique muscle, will throw his first bullpen session in Pittsburgh Tuesday night. "I'm really, really excited about getting back on the mound," said Carpenter, who hadn't given up an earned run in 10 innings. Barring complications, Carpenter is likely to be activated during the next home stand, perhaps next week to face the Cubs, against whom he is 7-3.

• LF Chris Duncan, who had 27 runs batted in last season before missing the last two months with a herniated disk in his neck that required surgery, already has 23 RBI. He is 12-for-30 (.400) with runners in scoring position and 8-for-17 with runners in scoring position and two out.

• OF Shane Robinson, whose first major league hit was a pinch double in the eighth inning Sunday in Cincinnati, will get his first start Tuesday night against Pittsburgh LHP Zach Duke. The right-handed Robinson, though only 5-foot-8, packs some power.

• 2B Skip Schumaker has a six-game hitting streak in which he has batted .455 (10-for-22), raising his average to .307 after it had sunk to .269.

• INF Brendan Ryan, on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring, will report to Class AAA Memphis on Tuesday for what is scheduled as a brief rehabilitation assignment. Ryan is eligible to come off the DL this weekend.


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