Cardinals Major League Notebook: 09/03/10

The Cardinals need more than a weekend sweep over Cincinnati, but it would be a good start.



Making perhaps their last stand, at least as far as competing in the National League Central, the Cardinals need no less than a sweep at home this weekend against division-leading Cincinnati.

Even if they win all three games, they'd still be five games behind.

"We can't win seven games in the three-game series against the Reds," said left fielder Matt Holliday after the Cardinals had lost the finale of a 10-game trip in Houston on Wednesday.

However, Holliday said, "We've got to start winning and winning a lot. It can be done. It's September. There's one month left. There's no time to put it off. We've got to start playing better."

After the three-game series - and homestand - the Cardinals will head back onto the road for three at Milwaukee and four at Atlanta. St. Louis' road record is just 28-39 after a 2-8 trip.

"We've been stinking up the place," manager Tony La Russa said.


As they did before their three-game sweep in Cincinnati in early August, the Cardinals have lined up their three aces, LHP Jaime Garcia and RHPs Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter, for the Reds series this weekend. That means RHP Jake Westbrook will start the series opener in Milwaukee on Monday, with probably RHP Kyle Lohse, who was skipped a turn, to follow.

The Cardinals need a winning September, which they haven't had since 2004, when they were 16-12. The Cardinals are 50-60 in September games since 2006, when they won the World Series. "There's no easy answer for that (record)," manager Tony La Russa said.

Hitting coach Mark McGwire, in his first year on the job, said he would "really love to be a hitting coach for many, many years." McGwire admitted that in his maiden voyage he had "a lot of sleepless nights. I've had a lot of great nights." McGwire's future as hitting coach may be tied to La Russa's future in St. Louis as manager.

1B Albert Pujols gave the bat with which he hit his 400th home run to a boy at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston. The young fan, who has a brain tumor, had hoped to see his favorite player, Pujols, during the Cardinals' series in Houston this week, but he was hospitalized. Pujols had not used the bat since hitting his 400th in Washington on Aug. 26.

The Cardinals have been held to two or fewer runs in seven of their last 15 games. They have lost all seven.

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.




Medical Watch:

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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