Cardinals Major League Notebook: 04/23/10

Mark McGwire is unconcerned about the over 60% via home run scoring by his 2010 Cardinals hitters.



The Cardinals have scored 46 of their first 75 runs on homers, a 61.3 percent ratio that suggests St. Louis is nothing but a home run club. But new hitting coach Mark McGwire isn't worried that the Cardinals are being characterized as a power lineup.


"Why should I be? It's what we are," McGwire said. "I'm sure as the season unwinds you'll see other aspects as well, but the home runs we've hit so far have kept things going."


Through 15 games, the Cardinals lead the National League with 23 home runs. But they are also tied for third in strikeouts at 117, and their team average is .251, ninth in the league. Again, McGwire is not concerned.


"We have guys who can hit home runs, and that's OK," McGwire said. "The other thing is we have guys who will drive in runs with base hits. As a team, we have yet to hit on all cylinders. We're far from it. We're still driving in runs with home runs. But once we start hitting on all cylinders, you're going to see wins from all different angles."


McGwire said the high strikeout total resulted, in large part, from "pitch selection. Right now we have some guys whose pitch selection isn't the greatest thing. We have a lot of young hitters who are still learning these pitchers.


"The next homestand we finally get to see a team like Cincinnati for the second time. It will be interesting to see how the mental Rolodex works then."


Even three-time Most Valuable Player Albert Pujols is striking out. Pujols has 11 whiffs already. Last year, he didn't have his 10th until May 8.


"When guys are all in sync together, it's going to be incredible to see," McGwire said. "You're going to see base hits to right field. You're going to see sacrifice flies. You're going to see a lot happening that maybe we haven't seen consistently so far. This is a tough time of the season for a lot of guys. You're not in spring training anymore, but you really haven't gotten into the full rhythm of the season. They'll get there."




--The fallout from Saturday's 20-inning game is beginning to be felt. INF Felipe Lopez, who pitched the 18th inning, couldn't play Wednesday because of some lingering soreness in his right elbow. Lopez, who may be available for Friday night's game in San Francisco, actually hurt his elbow some 10 days ago in Milwaukee but didn't say anything about it.


--The Cardinals bullpen, which allowed its first inherited runners to score Tuesday when RHP Mitch Boggs surrendered a three-run homer to Arizona 3B Mark Reynolds, permitted a third inherited runner to score Wednesday when LHP Trever Miller faltered. Miller also suffered the Cardinals' first blown save of the season. RHP Ryan Franklin had been 5-for-5 as the only other pitcher who had had save opportunities.


--LHP Jaime Garcia, who has faced two staff aces already in Milwaukee RHP Yovani Gallardo and New York Mets LHP Johan Santana, will take on RHP Tim Lincecum, the two-time Cy Young Award winner, on Friday night in San Francisco.


"My focus is more on their lineup than who's pitching," said Garcia, who held the Mets to one hit and no runs over seven innings in his last start.


--Four Cardinals have at least three home runs. 1B Albert Pujols has six, CF Colby Rasmus five, LF Matt Holliday four (all on the road) and RF Ryan Ludwick three.


--With Thursday's day off, all five Cardinals starters are getting an extra day off between starts on this turn through the rotation. That means RHP Kyle Lohse will open the homestand Monday against Atlanta, pitching on his sixth day.


BY THE NUMBERS: 652 -- Pitches thrown in the Cardinals' 2-1, 20-inning loss to the Mets on April 17.


QUOTE TO NOTE: "I've got to say that's up there with one of the highlights of my career. That was something I always wanted to do -- to go on the mound and see how that felt. It was pretty awesome." -- INF Felipe Lopez, on his first professional pitching appearance. He threw a scoreless inning against New York in the 20-inning game.g






--INF Felipe Lopez (sore right elbow) didn't start April 21 because of some lingering soreness from an injury he suffered about 10 days before. He may be available April 23.


--C Jason LaRue (strained right hamstring) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 12. He might return in late April.

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