Cardinals Major League Notebook: 07/20/10

The Cardinals have a season-long six-game winning streak after their Monday night comeback over visiting Philadelphia.



The Cardinals, potentially a very good team when they're healthy, don't have their all weapons. They are still two veteran starting pitchers shy with Kyle Lohse and Brad Penny on the disabled list. Lohse, who had forearm surgery, does seem to be making considerable progress.

They also are without right fielder Ryan Ludwick (strained right calf) although Ludwick will begin a rehabilitation option at Class AAA Memphis on Tuesday. And it appears they will be without third baseman David Freese even longer than they thought. X-rays revealed that Freese, who already had a bone bruise on his right ankle, had suffered a cracked left big toe when he dropped a weight on his foot while he was exercising.

But here they are, probably playing their best baseball of the season. Their 8-4 win over Philadelphia on Monday was the Cardinals' sixth straight, their longest winning streak since the last six days of the 2008 season.

Blake Hawksworth, who has been reasonably impressive as a fill-in starter, endured six innings Monday, allowing 10 hits and three walks. After giving up three runs and five hits in the first, Hawksworth made some adjustments, started getting the ball down and allowed just one more run. He also induced two double-play balls.

"Even in the first inning, they had balls that found holes," said manager Tony La Russa. "It wasn't like (Hawksworth) was making a lot of mistakes early. They found some holes, but he kept making pitches."

The Cardinals finally beat Kyle Kendrick, who had beaten them four straight times in three seasons. It put them in good position for the rest of the four-game series.

The Cardinals will have their three aces -- Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia and Adam Wainwright -- for the last three games of the series, and Phillies ace Roy Halladay won't be pitching.

CARDINALS 8, PHILLIES 4: The Cardinals got a two-run homer from 1B Albert Pujols and solo homers from LF Allen Craig (his first in the majors), 2B Skip Schumaker and PH Randy Winn, marking the first time this year they hit four homers in a game at Busch Stadium. The first three homers came in a span of four batters in the fifth inning.


The Cardinals have scored seven or more runs in three of their five games after the All-Star break yet have been outhit three games in a row. They have played one more game (47) at home than they have on the road but have 12 more victories at home. They're 32-15 at Busch and 20-26 on the road.

RHP Kyle McClellan, though he didn't qualify for a save, worked a spotless ninth for his 19th consecutive scoreless appearance at home, covering 24 1/3 innings.

OF Jon Jay (two doubles) and OF Allen Craig (home run) again contributed to a win, as they did the day before when Jay walked three times and Craig drove in three runs. There is a theory that the young players have altered the mood in the clubhouse and that their contributions have been contagious. But manager Tony La Russa warns not to get too carried away by that theory. "There was nothing wrong with our team before," La Russa said. "I want to give credit where credit is due. But I don't want to over-dramatize it. Guys have come in and given us a lift because they've plugged in important places. But we already had it turned on. They just helped."

OF Randy Winn's pinch homer was the fourth of the season for the Cardinals. Cardinals pinch hitters are averaging a respectable .262 for the season.

RHP Blake Hawksworth scored his third victory in five starts since being inserted into the rotation on June 26. Hawksworth has given up 11 earned runs in 27 1/3 innings for an ERA of 3.62, a lot lower than his ERA as a reliever.

RHP Adam Ottavino, who is on the disabled list with a shoulder problem, won't undergo surgery but will not throw for six weeks as he rehabilitates. He likely is through for the season.

By the Numbers:

15-3 - Cardinals' regular-season record at new Busch Stadium against the Dodgers since the park opened in 2006. That doesn't count Los Angeles' division series-clinching game at Busch last October.

Quote to Note:

"When he shut it down, it wasn't like he had been pushed to air it out. That makes you believe it's a very uncertain situation."


- Manager Tony La Russa , on still injured RHP Brad Penny, who is showing no improvement from upper back and shoulder ailments.




Medical Watch:

RF Nick Stavinoha (right shoulder strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 12.

RF Ryan Ludwick (strained left calf) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 26. He might not return until the last week of July.

RHP Adam Ottavino (right shoulder strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 4. He will not undergo surgery but is probably out for the year.

3B David Freese (bone bruise on right ankle) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 28. He is not expected to return in July.

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 seems to be making progress.

RHP Brad Penny (strained upper back) went on the 15-day disabled list May 22. He threw bullpen sessions June 28 and July 1 but had to cut short a bullpen session July 6 because of tightness in his triceps area. He underwent an MRI on July 7, which found nothing that hadn't been diagnosed before. He is out indefinitely.

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