Cardinals Major League Notebook: 10/05/09

The Cardinals were swept by the Brewers at Busch this past weekend to end the regular season on a down note.



   The Cardinals rallied from five runs down only to lose their season finale to Milwaukee on Sunday. They were swept by the Brewers for the second time in St. Louis this season, a feat that no other team has matched in the four years of new Busch Stadium.


   Now it's on to the playoffs Wednesday against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Even though the Cardinals have lost five of their last seven series after not dropping any of 13, manager Tony La Russa said, "We're the champions. We're 20 over (.500). And we'll play well on Wednesday."


   The Cardinals probably will have 12 pitchers and 13 position players on their roster. They will not have oft-troubled infielder Khalil Greene, who has battled anxiety issues much of the season. He will be left off the postseason club even though he was eligible to play.


   La Russa wouldn't elaborate on any roster scenarios after the game, although, after talking to Greene, he said, "We're all pleased he's gotten to the point where he feels good mentally and physically."


   Greene, the opening-day cleanup hitter and shortstop, had a huge spring training but faltered early and then was felled by the increased intensity of anxiety issues he has fought for years. After one of his minor league rehabilitation stints, he homered in three consecutive games in Kansas City in June, and he had a game-tying homer as a pinch hitter to help the Cardinals beat Washington on Aug. 28.


   But, after making his final start Sept. 5, Greene was 1-for-10 as a pinch hitter with five strikeouts. He was 5-for-32 (.156) as a pinch hitter for the season, and that probably would have been his role. His final season average was .200.


   BREWERS 9, CARDINALS 7 (10 innings): The Cardinals rallied to tie the game with a run off Trevor Hoffman in the ninth inning, but Todd Wellemeyer gave up two runs in the 10th to cost St. Louis its final regular-season game. 1B Albert Pujols went 1-for-5 and finished with a .327 average, good for third in the NL.




  --The Cardinals will go into the postseason with nobody on the disabled list or even hurt at all. Trainer Barry Weinberg said, "We have no physical issues. Everybody has no limitations, or nobody has any limitations."


   --RHP Joel Pineiro's five innings Sunday pushed the Cardinals' starting staff past the 1,000-inning mark for the season. At 1,003 2/3 innings, they led the major leagues.


   --The Brewers have accounted for three of the seven series sweeps (three games or more) of the Cardinals in the last four years at Busch Stadium. 2B Skip Schumaker, after watching the Brewers perform their jersey-untucking ritual after Sunday's game, said, "I don't agree with it. It's not part of my growing up and playing the game right. It used to bother me way more than it does now, because the first time you see it, it kind of gets under your skin. But if that's what they want to do, that's fine. Now, they're going to be untucking them at home -- and we're not."


   --RHP Joel Pineiro (15-13) allowed four runs (three earned) in five innings Sunday. Pineiro, who will make his first postseason start Saturday night in Game 3 of the NL Division Series against the Dodgers in St. Louis, has given up four or more earned runs in four of his last seven starts. He had allowed four or more earned runs in four of his first 25 starts. But manager Tony La Russa said, "I think he's OK. Like all of us, we're not quite as much on edge, and the focus is a little bit off here and there ... but he'll be fine."


   BY THE NUMBERS: 35 -- Sellout crowds at Busch Stadium during the regular season. The Cardinals drew 3,343,252 paid fans.


   QUOTE TO NOTE: "I'm still hungry. I've got 10 fingers. There's one that's busy. Now I need nine more." -- 1B Albert Pujols, who has been on one World Series winner. This year is the sixth time in his nine seasons that the Cardinals have made the postseason.




   --2B Skip Schumker finished his first season as a second baseman with a .303 average, one point higher than his mark as an outfielder last year before he was converted.


   Manager Tony La Russa, whose brainstorm it was last winter to put Schumaker at second, said, "I don't think that in all the years I've managed, there's been anything more impressive. What he has done and how good he's become ... I rank it really high."

   --1B Albert Pujols, with his 185th assist of the season Sunday, set a major league record for assists by a first baseman. "I'm an aggressive first baseman. I'm not afraid to make errors," Pujols said. Pujols hit 47 homers, giving him his first National League home run title -- even though he hasn't homered since hitting two at Milwaukee on Sept. 9, a span of 79 at-bats. "Obviously, I hit a little bump here the last couple of weeks," he said, "but if you look at my whole year, I was pretty consistent all year long."


   --3B David Freese finished Sunday's game behind the plate, making his first appearance as a catcher in pro ball. He caught a foul popup, falling backward after making the play.




   No injured players.

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