Cardinals Major League Notebook: 06/14/10

The Cardinals bullpen struggled as a 1-5 road trip ended with a Sunday loss in Arizona.



Now that the Cardinals apparently have Albert Pujols going -- he knocked in three runs with two hits Sunday after going 1-for-20 -- they have some other issues.

First, left-handed reliever Dennys Reyes suddenly can't get anyone out. At the end of May, a month in which Reyes didn't allow a run, left-handed batters were hitting only .080 against him and right-handers .087.

But over a four-game span covering only 2/3 innings, Reyes gave up nine hits and seven runs.

Reyes gave up seven straight hits to left-handed hitters in seven at-bats and right-handers went 2-for-4.

Right-hander Jason Motte again was dazzling in the bullpen, striking out two hitters sandwiching an intentional walk. But right-hander Kyle McClellan, once the Cardinals had erased a three-run lead by scoring three in the ninth, took the wind out of their sails by allowing a two-run, game-ending homer with two out by Chris Young.

Another issue is cleanup man Matt Holliday, whose average with runners in scoring position dropped to an even .200 in the midst of a 0-for-5 day although he hit the ball hard in the ninth.

And second baseman Skip Schumaker, though robbed of a hit by diving Arizona left fielder Conor Jackson, really isn't contributing much offense. Schumaker was also 0-for-5 and, for the season, has only 14 runs batted in, one home run and two stolen bases. He has hit much of the time in the leadoff spot although he has been hitting down the line lately.

General manager John Mozeliak, in a television interview during the game, wondered aloud if the personnel should be changed around a little.

"It doesn't seem like we're clicking on all cylinders," Mozeliak said. "We really believe in the talent, but at some point we do have to play."

Besides some shaky relief pitching, the base running was not good. Colby Rasmus, who had two hits, was caught off first in the opening inning on Albert Pujols' soft liner to third. And pitcher Chris Carpenter, who was running on the pitch, was doubled off first on Felipe Lopez' liner to right in the third. Yadier Molina also was caught stealing on what would have been a hit-and-run in the fifth. The hitter, Brendan Ryan, ducked a high, inside pitch and couldn't get the bat on the ball.

DIAMONDBACKS 7, CARDINALS 5: The Cardinals still are only 1 1/2 games out of first place with 99 games left, but their 1-5 trip to Los Angeles and Arizona didn't inspire much confidence. They were outscored, 33-19, and out-homered, 8-5, including surrendering two to center fielder Chris Young on Sunday. The second was a two-out, two-run game-winner off of righty Kyle McClellan.


RHP Jeff Suppan, who worked out for the Cardinals on Saturday after being released earlier in the week by Milwaukee, will be signed Monday and is expected to start a game against Seattle on Tuesday. General manager John Mozeliak said he was interested in Suppan eating up innings but said, "We need to be a little patient in what truly we can expect. But we need a little shot in the arm."

In the three-game series with Seattle at home, the Cardinals will miss both Mariners aces, Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez. Ichiro will make his second regular-season visit to St. Louis although he also played in last year's All-Star Game there.

RHP Chris Carpenter staggered through six innings but pitched out of bases-loaded jams in both the fifth and sixth to keep him alive, leaving the Cardinals only three runs down at that point. Carpenter loaded the bases with nobody out in the fifth on two walks and his own fielding misplay but made a stellar play on a tapper to his left to get an out at home and then fanned the last two hitters. With a no-decision, he still has 199 decisions in his career, 124 of them wins.

RHP Kyle McClellan suffered his second loss, both coming on walk-off homers in the ninth. The one Sunday was by Chris Young, but McClellan said his bigger mistake was in allowing the previous hitter, C Miguel Montero, to reach base with two out on a single. "The 2-2 curveball, I missed with that. If I can get it over the plate, maybe he takes it or chases it," said McClellan.

RHPs Adam Wainright and Chris Carpenter are the pitchers the Cards lean on, so it was especially difficult for them to lose all three starts by the pair on their recent road trip. "It's not like we don't have confidence in our other pitchers, but those are two guys that we expect to win every single time," said 2B Skip Schumaker. "(But) we need to put runs on the board. We didn't exactly help provide them with any cushion. They kept us in the game every single time and we didn't do anything for them."

By the Numbers:

0-Number of victories for the Cardinals in games started by top pitchers Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright on a recent road trip.

Quote to Note:

"I'm a big believer that at the end of the year our numbers will be there and we'll be as a team right where we want to be."

-1B Albert Pujols on his and LF Matt Holliday's lack of productivity.




Medical Watch:

3B David Freese (sprained right ankle) left the June 5 game. He made appearances as a pinch-hitter June 6-9 and returned to the lineup June 12, but he didn't play June 13.

RHP Kyle Lohse (right forearm strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 23, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 5. He had surgery May 28 to alleviate muscle discomfort, and the timetable for his return was uncertain.

RHP Brad Penny (strained upper back) went on the 15-day disabled list May 22. He tossed from a mound June 9 but did not throw on a downward plane. He will be re-examined June 14.

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