Cardinals Major League Notebook: 08/04/10

The Cardinals failed in every aspect of the game in an embarrassing 18-4 home loss to Houston Tuesday night.



All one needed to know about Tuesday's game against Houston was that infielder Aaron Miles easily was the Cardinals' best pitcher. Miles, making his fourth pitching appearance for St. Louis in his two tours with the team, Miles faced only four hitters, allowing one hit.

After Jaime Garcia had one of his worst games of the season, allowing eight runs (four earned) in five innings, the regular bullpen came unraveled again.

Discounting Miles' scoreless inning, Mitchell Boggs, Dennys Reyes and Mike MacDougal combined for a ghastly three innings in which they allowed 11 hits and 10 runs. That came on the heels of Monday's performance in which the bullpen permitted eight hits and seven runs over the final three frames.

Add it up and you have six innings, 19 hits and 17 runs for a bullpen that had been ranked one of the best before the Astros came to town.

Boggs' performance came as he pitched for the fourth time in seven days. MacDougal and Reyes were working for the fifth time in seven days.

After giving up four hits and five runs in one inning, Boggs has allowed 12 hits and 10 runs over his last four innings covering those four games.

"Boggs was on fumes. MacDougal, Reyes," manager Tony La Russa said. "It pains you to have to do that."

La Russa said that the next time Boggs, effective most of the season, would be seen would be Friday in Florida.

"He's given all the indications of being pitched out," La Russa said.

Garcia's problems were easily explained, according to the manager.

"He was in the middle of the plate, and he was tipping (his pitches)," La Russa said. "Those are tough problems to overcome."

Pitching coach Dave Duncan went to the mound on several occasions, at least once to say he believed the lefty was tipping pitches in his delivery, although Garcia didn't necessarily think that he was.

"If our guys on the bench are seeing it, then there's a helluva chance (the Astros) are seeing it," La Russa said. "I don't know how many guys read, but I know a couple of guys had to."

ASTROS 18, CARDINALS 4: St. Louis not only lost to Houston for the sixth consecutive time at home this season, but it allowed a season-high 18 runs and 22 hits. "That was agony," manager Tony La Russa said. "But we finished it." LHP Jaime Garcia (9-5) had an extra day of rest before the start, but he permitted 10 hits and eight runs (four earned) in five innings.

This was only the second time in 21 starts that Garcia had allowed more than three earned runs. "He just had a bad day," La Russa said.


3B David Freese tore a right ankle tendon Monday during his first rehab game with Class AA Springfield (Mo.), and he will need season-ending surgery. Freese had been out since late June with a bone bruise on his right ankle, and then he cracked his left big toe in mid-July. The new injury occurred Monday while Freese was rounding third base, which is basically how he got hurt in the first place.

GM John Mozeliak said Freese said the tendon injury appeared to be independent of the bone bruise.

The Cardinals, Mozeliak said, might have to re-examine their approach to acquiring another infielder before the end of the month, which is the deadline for players to be on a potential postseason roster.

"Obviously it's disappointing," Mozeliak said of another injury to Freese. "But we've played quite a while without him."

Added manager Tony La Russa, "I'm more concerned about him than us. We'll make it work for us, but he deserves better fortune than that."

OF Allen Craig was called up for the fourth time this season. Craig, who has driven in 76 runs at Class AAA Memphis despite spending a month in the big leagues, hit .139 (5-for-36) with one homer in his previous three trials with the Cardinals. He drove in six runs in six games the last time he was up in late July. OF Nick Stavinoha, who was hitting .258 (24-for-93) overall but .289 (11-for-38) as a pinch hitter, was optioned to Memphis.

Craig had two hits and a walk and drove in a run Tuesday.

RHP Jason Motte's inflamed right shoulder was examined by Cardinals team doctors. It was a condition Motte did not make manager Tony La Russa aware of until after La Russa had sent Motte out for a second inning Monday night. Motte, who walked both batters he faced in the eighth inning before being replaced, said, "It was just uncomfortable. I didn't know where the ball was going." He said he didn't expect to be out long.

INF Felipe Lopez sat out Tuesday with a swollen knee. He might be able to play in Wednesday's series finale. Tony La Russa said the team toyed with putting rookie Allen Craig at third base, but the manager called it an unfair assignment to start him at an unfamiliar position on his first day back in the big leagues. Craig did finish up at third as INF Aaron Miles pitched the ninth inning. But La Russa said Craig, who used to play third in the minors, would get work at third in pregame drills and might be a possibility there again. "We have discussed it," La Russa said.

The 18 runs the Cardinals allowed Tuesday were the most without giving up a home run since 1952. They hadn't given up that many runs since Houston also hit them for 18 in 2007, also at new Busch Stadium.

In Tuesday's carnage, the Cardinals actually out-homered the Astros 2-0, as CF Colby Rasms hit his 18th and LF Matt Holliday his 21st. Also, SS Brendan Ryan enjoyed his seventh multi-hit game in the last nine. He is hitting .471 (16-for-34) in that span to raise his season average to .222.

INF Aaron Miles' fourth pitching appearance for the Cardinals in his career was his third scoreless outing, but manager Tony La Russa cautioned that Miles shouldn't quit his day job. "He was under the hitting speed, and they're trying to hit the ball over the roof," La Russa said. "I'm not going to ask him to change careers. He's not going to make it. I think he'll have a tough time in a beer league. I know he would."

By the Numbers:

24 - A number that won't be worn again by a Cardinal. It was retired Saturday in honor of Hall of Fame manager Whitey Herzog.

Quote to Note:

"The fact is, if we didn't change the current dynamics of this club right now, I couldn't envision us winning."

- GM John Mozeliak, on moving RF Ryan Ludwick in a three-team deal which brought RHP Jake Westbrook to St. Louis.




Medical Watch:

RHP Jason Motte (inflamed right shoulder) was unavailable Aug. 3. He said he didn't expect to be out long.

INF Felipe Lopez (swollen knee) did not play Aug. 3. He is day-to-day.

SS Tyler Greene (bruised right hand) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Aug. 1. Greene was struck by a pitch July 17, and the injury was still bothering him.

RHP Adam Ottavino (right shoulder strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 4. He won't need surgery, but he 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 also broke his left big toe in mid-July. He tore a right ankle tendon Aug. 2 in his first rehab game with Class AA Springfield, and he will undergo season-ending surgery.

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. Lohse began a rehab assignment with Class AAA Memphis on July 26, and he could return to the Cardinals in August.

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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