Cardinals Major League Notebook: 08/09/10

After a three-hour delay, the Cardinals were rained out in Miami on Sunday and head to Cincinnati for a first-place showdown.

INSIDE PITCH

 

After being rained out Sunday in Florida, the Cardinals headed for Cincinnati and the start of a three-game series Monday night with the National League Central Division leaders. The Cardinals enter the series two games behind the Reds, although they have won five of nine meetings with Cincinnati.

"They're playing good. And we're playing good. It's going to be like the playoffs," said catcher Yadier Molina.

Even manager Tony La Russa didn't discount the fact that the series would be one of the Cardinals' most significant of the season.

"You get to the last two months... the end is in sight... and you've got six games left with each other, I think it's a different series than the other ones that you play," said La Russa. "But if you look at the bigger picture, how many games are left in the season (52)? And this is six of them.

"The team that wins those two series isn't necessarily the winner. It's the team that plays the best from here to the end.

"But there's no doubt about it. (The series) is an opportunity."

Right-hander Chris Carpenter, who will start the series in Cincinnati, however, cautioned about placing too much importance on the series.

"I think we go in there like any other time. I mean, you have to," said Carpenter. "To try to put extra pressure on yourself or to put extra pressure on the team is going to take away from your normal routine of how you get prepared."

The Cardinals will have Carpenter, lefthander Jaime Garcia and right-hander Adam Wainwright ready for the Reds, who will counter with right-handers Mike Leake, Johnny Cueto and Bronson Arroyo.

"It's getting late," said second baseman Skip Schumaker.

"It's a critical series because you could end the series in first place or close the gap, at least, and not go out of there down more than you already are."

The Reds could afford a sweep -- they would be only one game down if that happened -- while the Cardinals probably couldn't. They would be down five games at that point.

"You don't want that," said Schumaker. "But I think we have our pitching lined up the way we want."

CARDINALS vs. MARLINS (PPD., rain): Sunday's game was rained out after a three hour and seven minute postponement. No makeup date was announced

NOTES AND QUOTES

RHP Kyle Lohse, who had right forearm surgery in early June, is slated to make his next rehabilitation start in the minors on Tuesday for Class AAA Memphis at Reno.

Lohse, who has had three starts in the minors, last pitched at Class AA Springfield on Thursday but Springfield has an off day when he was next scheduled to pitch. Though Lohse wasn't given a say in the need for him to pitch in another minor league game, a strategy he apparently does not agree with, but he did have the option of where to pitch. This would be his third outing for Memphis. Pitching coach Dave Duncan said Lohse had the choice going to Reno or to Palm Beach, 1 hour and 15 minutes up the road from Miami, where the Cardinals were this weekend, to pitch in a Class A Florida State League game. Duncan said, "He felt like it would serve him better in Reno, even though it's a hellacious trip. He thought he could get more out of it facing Class AAA hitters."

1B Albert Pujols has not walked in 11 straight games, tying his career longest stretch in his rookie season of 2001 despite hitting safely in eight straight games (17 for 36)—one of his best spurts of the season. "I don't get paid to walk," said Pujols. "I get paid to drive in runs. I'm getting good pitches to hit and I'm not missing them. I don't care about the walks. I don't need to strike out and chase balls out of the strike zone." In his eight-game streak, Pujols has fanned just twice.

Sunday's rainout of the Cardinals game with the Florida Marlins in Miami wasn't rescheduled, although the only possible date to play in Miami is Sept. 20, which would put the Cardinals well over the limit of playing 20 consecutive days, a stipulation of the Basic Agreement between players and management. The Cardinals would have to approve such a game, which would come on an off day before the start of a trip to Pittsburgh and Chicago.

Manager Tony La Russa indicated that the Cardinals' need for 13 pitchers isn't as great as it once was. There are off days coming up this Thursday, next Monday and the Thursday after that. "I don't think (13 pitchers) is a great place to be," said La Russa.

2B Skip Schumaker, out since last Wednesday with a left wrist irritation, has shown marked improvement after taking a cortisone shot last week and should be ready to play Monday in Cincinnati.

By the Numbers:

1.22 - RHP Adam Wainwright's earned run average at home in 12 starts. This leads the National League.

Quote to Note:

"There's no whining in baseball."

- GM John Mozeliak after losing 3B David Freese for the rest of the season with a severe ankle injury that required surgery.

 

ROSTER REPORT

 

Medical Watch:

2B Skip Schumaker (sore left wrist) hasn't played since Aug. 3, could play on Aug. 9.

RHP Jason Motte (AC sprain in right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Aug. 3. He hopes to return as soon as he's eligible.

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 had season-ending surgery Aug. 6.

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 minor league rehab assignment July 26 and will next start for Class AAA Memphis on Aug. 10.

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. As of Aug. 5, he was playing catch but not throwing off a mound. Penny is out indefinitely.


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