Cardinals Major League Notebook: 04/09/10

As the Cardinals left Cincinnati on the wrong end of a walk-off home run, bullpen questions continue.



If there is a flaw that would prevent the Cardinals from repeating their National League Central title, the most commonly mentioned one has been the right-handed side of the bullpen.


Indeed, after Jason Motte's sixth straight fastball to Cincinnati's Jonny Gomes resulted in Gomes' game-ending home run in the ninth inning Thursday, Cardinals righty relievers have allowed 10 hits and six runs (five earned) in just 5 1/3 innings this season.


The Cardinals' starters through three games were impeccable, and the club has won two of three. Brad Penny, making his Cardinals debut, held the Reds to six hits and one run over seven innings, the only run coming on Bronson Arroyo's two-out single off a hanging curveball in the fifth.


"I had two outs and nobody on in the fifth, and I end up giving up a run," Penny said. "That's the one thing I'm a little frustrated with."


Penny, Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright gave up only five runs in 20 innings in the three games.


Manager Tony La Russa said, "It's disappointing when you don't win the third one, but we did all right here."


REDS 2, CARDINALS 1: LF Matt Holliday homered in the seventh inning for the Cardinals' only run, but St. Louis had few scoring chances. Holliday was 0-for-2 with men in scoring position, and 3B Felipe Lopez was 0-for-1. The Cardinals got no runners past second base other than on Holliday's homer.




--CF Colby Rasmus walked twice for the second game in a row and had five walks for the series, along with four hits. Rasmus is fitting in nicely hitting fifth behind LF Matt Holliday.


--RF Ryan Ludwick did not start so rookie Allen Craig could make his big-league debut. Manager Tony La Russa is pondering moving Ludwick from the sixth spot in the order to No. 2 to provide more potential bang than SS Brendan Ryan. Ryan was 1-for-12 with two walks and four strikeouts in the three-game series at Cincinnati.


--RHP Kyle Lohse will make his first start of the season Friday night against Milwaukee. Often injured last year, Lohse won just three games after April.


--RHP Jason Motte, the losing pitcher Thursday, said it wasn't the fact that he threw six straight fastballs that beat him. "It's where I threw it. Not the pitch, but where I threw it," he said. "If I would have thrown it down and he'd rolled over it, it would be a whole different interview."

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