Cardinals Major League Notebook: 08/21/10

The Cardinals' home losing skid extended to five as they lost to the Giants Friday night.



The reeling Cardinals suffered a season-high fifth straight loss Friday, marking the first time in the five-year history of their new park that they had lost five games in a row at home. Their homestand, atrocious at 1-5, has just two games left with San Francisco.

Though the Cardinals had 13 hits Friday night, it mostly has been all about Albert -- as in Albert Pujols. The three-time Most Valuable Player hit his 32nd homer, taking over the National League lead, and No. 398 for his career.

In their five-game slide, the Cardinals have scored more than two runs just twice. They have 12 extra-base hits, six of them by Pujols.

Manager Tony La Russa railed at home-plate umpire Gary Cederstrom, especially with Giants closer Brian Wilson pitching in the ninth inning. One pitch to Matt Holliday, who made the last out, was particularly not a strike, La Russa thought.

"You can go ahead and fine me; I don't care," La Russa said. "There were several strikes, a guy as good as Brian Wilson, he doesn't need. Who knows how that inning would have been?"

But the fact is, the club is wasting some good starting pitching.

In their last turn through the rotation, Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, Jaime Garcia and Jake Westbrook all have worked at least six innings and allowed three runs or fewer. All have lost.

And the Cardinals find themselves closer to the wild-card lead than first place in their division. After being in first place in their division a week ago, they were four games behind Cincinnati after Friday's games. In the wild-card hunt, they are three behind Philadelphia and two behind San Francisco.

The Cardinals were 39-18 at home when their tailspin began with two losses to Chicago (the last games the Cubs have won) and two more to Milwaukee before the Giants tacked on one more.

"It's not just our offense; we need to play better," Pujols said. "There are a lot of different things that we aren't doing the right way, and you can't win like that.

"There's no tomorrow; we need to win games."

GIANTS 6, CARDINALS 3: New 3B Pedro Feliz had two hits and scored two runs and 1B Albert Pujols knocked in the other with his ninth homer in 16 games. But the Cardinals were 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position and stranded 10 runners, rendering useless most of their 13 hits.


RHP Jake Westbrook, not advertised as a strikeout pitcher, fanned seven in six innings and has 26 strikeouts in his first 25 innings as a Cardinal. He has twirled four consecutive quality starts but has just a 1-1 record.

1B Albert Pujols' eighth-inning homer was No. 398 of his career, tying Dale Murphy for 49th place on the career list. He has a six-game hitting streak at 10-for-23.

RHP Jason Motte, who is eligible to come off the disabled list, tested his sprained right shoulder Friday while doing some long-tossing and he is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Saturday.

Motte may need one more bullpen throwing session after that, if he survives his test on Saturday. But he said that so far, "Everything's good." Motte, who has 42 strikeouts in 43 1/3 innings and a 2.70 earned run average, hasn't pitched since Aug. 2.

LHP Jaime Garcia will start Sunday's series finale with the San Francisco Giants on his normal four days' rest, manager Tony La Russa said. La Russa also said that RHP Kyle Lohse, who hasn't pitched since last Sunday, then will start the opener of a three-game series in Pittsburgh on Monday night.

La Russa did not offer up much reason for the move. "Whatever the reasons … spelling it out doesn't seem to do much good," La Russa said. "So I don't spell it out."

With Lohse pitching Monday, RHP Adam Wainwright will get an extra day of rest—for perhaps the last time this season—and will face Pittsburgh on Tuesday, and RHP Jake Westbrook is scheduled to pitch Wednesday.

"It's certainly not going to hurt (Wainwright) to give him an extra day," said La Russa.

LHP Dennys Reyes, who has pitched just once since Aug. 3, went through a light workout before Friday's game. But the reliever isn't likely to pitch in this series because of what he said was an elbow strain he suffered last Sunday in a game against the Chicago Cubs. Reyes said he had felt a burning sensation on a back-door slider he threw to the Cubs' Aramis Ramirez in the final inning of the last game of that weekend series. "I kept feeling it, but it wasn't that much that they had to take me out of the game," he said. But, after finishing the inning, Reyes told the training staff about the injury. He was held out of the Milwaukee series earlier this week.

By the Numbers:

30, 10 - When 1B Albert Pujols hit his 30th homer on Sunday, it marked the 10th straight year that Pujols had reached that figure. He has played only 10 seasons.


Quote to Note:


"I don't know how long he has to play to be one of the greatest who's ever played this game. He's certainly going to be in the conversation. He is for the first 10 years."


- Manager Tony La Russa, on star 1B Albert Pujols.




Medical Watch:

LHP Dennys Reyes (left elbow strain) said he was injured Aug. 15 against the Cubs and felt a burning sensation after throwing a pitch. He has not made an appearance since then and isn't likely to pitch Aug. 21-22.

CF Colby Rasmus (leg cramp) left the Aug. 15 game. He pinch-hit Aug. 17 and 18, but he probably won't play in the field until sometime during the Aug. 20-22 series against San Francisco.

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 he made his final rehab start Aug. 10 for Class AAA Memphis. He was activated to start for the Cardinals on Aug. 15.

C Jason LaRue (mild concussion, bruised ribs) was hurt during a skirmish in the Aug. 10 game. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 13 and still has post-concussion symptoms. He was moved to the 60-day disabled list on Aug. 19, ending his season.

RHP Jeff Suppan (sore right groin) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Aug. 1. He threw a three-inning simulated game Aug. 17 and said he felt no pain.

RHP Jason Motte (AC sprain in right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Aug. 3. He had hoped to return as soon as he's eligible Aug. 18, but that didn't happen. He threw about 10 pitches off the bullpen mound Aug. 17 and is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Aug. 21.

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. He came off the DL Aug. 17 and was optioned to Class AAA Memphis.

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. He was transferred from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list on Aug. 17, ending his season.

3B David Freese (right ankle surgery) 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 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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