Cardinals Major League Notebook: 09/17/09

The Cardinals lost their second consecutive series, this time to the Florida Marlins. As the Cubs come to town for the weekend, the Cards are an unimpressive 1-5 on the current homestand.

INSIDE PITCH

   The Cardinals lost Wednesday for the fifth time in six games on this homestand -- there are three games remaining. In four of those games, including Wednesday, they have failed to score more than two runs.

   But manager Tony La Russa said he wasn't disappointed; in fact, he likes the way his team has gone about its task.

   In the glass half-empty mode, the Cardinals were 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position on Wednesday in losing to Florida. In the glass half-full department, La Russa applauded the fact his team had chance after chance against Florida right-hander Josh Johnson.

   "How about I tell you I'm not concerned at all?" said La Russa.

   "I get concerned when nobody has good at-bats and you don't generate any opportunities. The guy who pitched against us was real, real good, and we had to be really good to put guys on base.

   "As much as any game that we've played this year, whether we've won or lost, this proves to me that we have a really good club. Really good club. Speaking for the coaches and myself and, probably, for the front office, we really like this club. Sometimes, it's tough.

   "I'm not worried at all about our offense. You don't play .750 or .800 baseball for more than a couple of weeks. We've been on a really good roll."

   It already had been clear the Cardinals couldn't clinch the division title before the end of the homestand, which concludes with three games against the Chicago Cubs. If the Cubs sweep, there might still be a bit of a horse race in the National League Central.

   MARLINS 5, CARDINALS 2: RHP Joel Pineiro failed for the third consecutive time to get to 15 wins. He was tagged for three runs in the first and another in the second before pitching better over his final 3 1/3 innings. "They were finding holes," said Pineiro, who allowed 10 hits, all singles, in 5 1/3 innings.

 

NOTES, QUOTES

   --RHP Ryan Franklin, who pitched a scoreless ninth for the Cardinals on Wednesday because manager Tony La Russa needed to get him into a game, wasn't too pleased with Florida RHP Leo Nunez dancing around after getting a game-ending double play. Nunez had hit two batters -- RF Ryan Ludwick (left hand) and 1B Albert Pujols (left shoulder blade) -- before that. "I didn't care for the celebration, the way he went crazy out there," said Franklin. "Big-league pitchers can't be drillin' people like that in the ninth inning and then do some kind of dance after the game. Get the last out, go give your catcher five and go in and have a drink or something. A fist pump is all right, but you don't need to dance around and twirl in circles and stuff like that. It's your job. Do your job and go on."

   --Manager Tony La Russa said that neither Ludwick nor Pujols seemed hurt badly enough that either would miss the Friday series opener with the Chicago Cubs. "They're sore. Day off (Thursday). They'll be ready Friday," said La Russa.

   --RHP Mitchell Boggs, a rookie who made nine starts with the Cardinals, winning seven of them, had an impressive 1 2/3-inning relief stint Tuesday, striking out three of the five men he faced. "His velocity was good, location was good, movement was good, mixed in a breaking ball ... very impressive," manager Tony La Russa said.

  

    BY THE NUMBERS: 10 -- Multi-homer games for 1B Albert Pujols, tying Mark McGwire's single-season club record.

   QUOTE TO NOTE: "I'm not a home run hitter." -- 1B Albert Pujols, after hitting his major-league-leading 46th and 47th homers on Sept. 9.

 

ROSTER REPORT

   --2B Skip Schumaker had two hits for his fourth consecutive multi-hit game. He is 10-for-15 in that stretch, raising his average to .302, which is where he finished last season.

   --RHP Kyle Lohse, who had some forearm inflammation after his start on Saturday, will be skipped this weekend. Manager Tony La Russa said he hoped Lohse could pitch against Houston at the start of next week.

   --RHP John Smoltz, who missed a start with shoulder tendinitis, will face the Cubs on Friday, followed by RHPs Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright.

   --SS Brendan Ryan missed a second straight start with a jammed pinky finger on his left hand, but manager Tony La Russa said he expected Ryan to be ready Friday. Ryan did pinch-run in the ninth inning on Wednesday.

 

 MEDICAL WATCH:

   SS Brendan Ryan (sore left pinkie) did not play Sept. 15 and was limited to pinch-running duty Sept. 16. He is expected back Sept. 18.

   3B Troy Glaus (pulled left oblique muscle) was injured Sept. 12 and did not play Sept. 13-16. He is out indefinitely.

   RHP Kyle Lohse (sore right forearm) likely will miss his start during the Sept. 18-20 weekend.

   RHP John Smoltz (right shoulder tendinitis) missed his Sept. 14 start. He is expected to be ready to pitch on Sept. 18 instead.


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