Cardinals New York Minutes: August 5, 2009

News from the Big Apple as the St. Louis Cardinals tried to sweep the Mets in the two-game midweek series.

In his pre-game comments and actions, it was clear that Tony La Russa really wants to win Wednesday's game. He had a hitters meeting Wednesday morning, unusual for a non-opening series game. TLR told us that this is a "big game. With Carpenter, Wainwright and Pineiro set up for Pittsburgh (this coming weekend), we could really have a trip. This would be a great game to win."


With the exception of Joe Thurston at second base, all the regulars are playing. The team will leave for a day off in Pittsburgh following the game. The manager said Skip Schumaker had an "active day" Tuesday, which is one reason he is not in the lineup.


Another active player is Albert Pujols, who has a "good bruise on his leg" per the manager. Albert had his knee packed in ice before the game due to having gotten spiked on a clean play at second base Tuesday night. He is in Wednesday's lineup.


La Russa said Wednesday's starter Kyle Lohse is "feeling better physically". I expressed my condolences to the pitcher on behalf of the Cardinal Nation on the passing of his cousin on Tuesday.


Even with all the excitement of Tuesday's 10-inning win and all the game's stars, the outing of now-reliever Todd Wellemeyer was the subject of La Russa and pitching coach Dave Duncan's entire conversation as they returned to their hotel after the game. La Russa called it a "definite start. You have to build on something."


I asked Tony where Tuesday's win stacked up this season. He said it compares to the 15-inning win over the Dodgers last week. "Whenever you reverse a game against two All-Star closers, turn a loss into a win, it is significant."


Brendan Ryan feels better than yesterday, but La Russa is concerned about the "last lingering bit of soreness". If everything goes right, the shortstop could play Friday, but that is not assured.


Ryan had another eventful trip in New York as he somehow parted with his cash on his subway ride to the ballpark. Another story for another day…


Asked about Yadier Molina's throw to second base Tuesday night, La Russa corrected the questioner, pointing out there were two throws. The one from his knees drew special raves. La Russa said "It's fun (to watch Molina)… He's amazing. He's a talent."


Julio Lugo has grown on La Russa with his solid play. "We wanted to see him. He played one game in Philly, then two, then three" as the veteran has earned more playing time. (Ryan's injury has also contributed, of course.)


La Russa insisted "I had no idea about it", in referring to his 1200th win as St. Louis manager. In jest, he noted that the media get all excited about the fact he is approaching 1100 losses. TLR said he is going to include that lineup card in an upcoming ARF fundraised. The manager is wearing an ARF pendant that is also for sale from the charity.


Note: Link to Tuesday's edition: Cardinals New York Minutes: August 4, 2009



Brian Walton can be reached via email at Catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog.


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