Cardinals Major League Notebook: 08/30/10

The Cardinals limp into Houston after falling three of four to the Washington Nationals, taking their fifth consecutive series defeat to losing teams.

INSIDE PITCH

 

If the Cardinals don't make the playoffs -- and they're five games out of the National League Central Division lead and three games out of the wild-card chase -- they'll know where it went wrong. By losing three of four games at Washington, the Cardinals lost their fifth straight series against sub-.500 teams this month.

At home, the Cardinals lost two of three each to Houston and Chicago and both games to Milwaukee. And now, on a 10-game trip that will take them to Houston Monday night, the Cardinals have dropped two of three at Pittsburgh and three of four at Washington.

Adam Wainwright lost his third straight, including losses on this trip at both Pittsburgh and Washington. "I try to be the stopper, not the guy who continues the losing," said Wainwright, 17-9.

"I'm not saying (Washington is) a bad team, because they're a dangerous team, but teams with sub-.500 records, we played terrible against all year," Wainwright said. "We just did it again (Sunday) and in this series, too. When we hit, we don't pitch. When we pitch, we don't hit. Sometimes, we do both and the other team just beats us."

Wainwright, whose earned run average rose to 2.30, gave up a two-run double to Washington pitcher John Lannan in the second inning and then a two-run homer in the third to right firlder Michael Morse. Uncharacteristically behind in counts, Wainwright needed 104 pitches just to get through five innings before he was removed.

"They've outplayed us," St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said. "When you get outplayed, you get beat and out-managed. We're all a part of it."

The Cardinals' road record dipped to 28-36. They have lost 10 of their last 14 overall.

On the seven-game trip, they have not received one quality start (six innings pitched, no more than three earned runs allowed). Wainwright gave up eight runs in 11 innings.

NATIONALS 4, CARDINALS 2: The Cardinals got only two runners to second base other than 3B Pedro Feliz's ninth-inning homer as they lost their fourth series in the last five. They were never ahead in this game and wound up trailing in 12 of the final 13 innings played in the series.

NOTES AND QUOTES

3B Pedro Feliz hit safely for the ninth time in 10 games, homering in the ninth inning. Feliz also has played errorless ball in the field since being acquired from Houston.

C Yadier Molina returned to the lineup after suffering a strained right knee on Thursday night. Molina was on base three times with two hits and an error.

There was no Cardinal retaliation needed against Washington CF Nyjer Morgan for Morgan running into Cardinals catcher Bryan Anderson, who was blindsided Saturday night at the plate. Washington manager Jim Riggleman apologized to Cardinals manager Tony La Russa and then didn't play Morgan on Sunday. "I appreciate the way (the Nationals) handled it," said La Russa.

La Russa said that RHP Kyle Lohse's spot in the rotation is not guaranteed for the final five weeks after Lohse gave up 11 hits and eight runs in five runs on Saturday in his third start back after undergoing forearm surgery. RHP Jeff Suppan (strained groin) will come off the disabled list to start Wednesday in Houston. "We're in a competitive situation. We're running out of games every time we take the field from here to the end," said La Russa. "There's a decision there. The decision goes: who gives you the best chance to win? Is it Soup? Is it Lohse?"

CF Colby Rasmus, who hasn't started in two weeks because of a right calf strain, almost made it to the post Sunday but was a late scratch. La Russa said that when Rasmus does return, he would like to see the second-year player show more consistency and concentration.

"I think he is convinced that he helps us more if he just yanks the ball out of the park," said La Russa. "That normally is not the case, because you're limiting yourself to a side of the park and you're vulnerable to too many pitches." Rasmus, indeed, did strike out as a pinch hitter to end Sunday's game as he represented the tying run.

The Cardinals are hoping that LHP Dennys Reyes' strained left elbow will heal by the time the Cincinnati Reds come to St. Louis next weekend but manager La Russa isn't counting on anything.

"I just know he's not throwing comfortably yet," said La Russa.

By the Numbers:

1.336 - 1B Albert Pujols' OPS for August, with three games remaining.

 

Quote to Note:

"If it happens, it happens. But I don't want to stand here thinking about it."

- Albert Pujols, on his chances for the Triple Crown.

 

ROSTER REPORT

 

Medical Watch:

C Yadier Molina (sore right knee) did not play Aug. 27-28. He returned to play on Aug. 29.

RHP Ryan Franklin (neck stiffness) was unavailable Aug. 28. He is day-to-day.

CF Colby Rasmus (sore right calf) left the Aug. 15 game. He pinch-hit Aug. 17 and 18, but he didn't play Aug. 20-25. He pinch-hit again Aug. 26 but missed his 11th consecutive start Aug. 28.

LHP Dennys Reyes (left elbow strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Aug. 16. He might be able to return as soon as he is eligible.

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 he will be activated to start for the Cardinals on Sept. 1.

RHP Jason Motte (AC sprain in right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Aug. 3. He began a rehab assignment Aug. 25 with Class AAA Memphis.

C Jason LaRue (concussion) went on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 13. He was moved to the 60-day DL on Aug. 19, ending his season.

RHP Adam Ottavino (right shoulder strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 4, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on Aug. 17. He won't need surgery, but he is out for the season.

3B David Freese (right ankle surgery) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 28, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on Aug. 15. He was originally out due to a bone bruise on his right ankle, and then he 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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