It was a tough week for the Cardinals as they went 2-4 between a short two game set at home against the Twins and a four game visit to San Diego. The usually suspects continued to struggle with the exception of Marcell, who had a good week. Wainwright made his first start since a short stint on the DL. Harrison Bader got a chance to show out and The starting pitching remained (mostly) good. Below are some recaps and highlights of the past week in Cardinal baseball. Enjoy!
Monday, May 7th, Minnesota Twins
John Gant earned his second start of the season in the big leagues on Tuesday against the Twins. Most of Gant’s time so far this season has been spent at AAA Memphis, where he has started 5 games and collected 4 wins with an ERA of 2.40.
Only two Cardinals got hits on Monday in Harrison Bader (1), and Paul Dejong (3).
Gant took the L in the first game of the series against the Twins as he gave up 4 runs in 5.1 innings off of 6 hits and 2 walks. Bowman and Gregerson pitched well in their 2.2 combined innings of relief, giving up 1 hit and 1 walk total. Ryan Sherriff Struggled in the 8th as he gave up 2 runs on 4 hits.
Cardinals lose the opener of the series 6-0. Pittsburgh is the only other team to shut out the Cardinals so far this season.
Tuesday May 5th vs Minnesota Twins
After losing the opener of the short 2 game set with the Twins, St. Louis hoped to bounce back and continue their winning ways. The Cardinals sent their best man for the job to the mound, Carlos Martinez. Unfortunately, this was Carlos’ roughest start since his opening game in late March. He only went 5 innings and gave up 4 runs (2 earned) on 4 hits and 3 walks. The rest of the team didn’t do much to help him out as the Birds committed 3 total errors in the game, 1 in the 4th inning and 2 in the 5th inning. The team also provided Carlos less than ideal run support. The only Cardinal run was produced via a Jose Martinez homer in the bottom of the first inning.
In relief, Sam Tuivailala and Tyler Lyons each threw an inning a piece and gave up 3 combined runs. John Brebbia finished out the 7th and 8th innings. He gave up a pair of harmless singles and allowed no runs. Outside of the Martinez homer, Francisco Pena was the only other Cardinal to collect a hit.
St. Louis fell to the Twins by a score of 7-1.
Thursday, May 7th @ San Diego Padres
Mystical control man Miles Mikolas took the hill on Thursday and he pitched another gem, working his 5th quality start in a row. He actually walked someone in this game, something that he hasn’t done since April 14th! In this game he gave up one solo home run to Rafael Lopez in the bottom of the 7th with two outs. The home run was his 100th pitch and ended his evening. The Padres tallied 5 total hits against Miles and his ERA now sits at 2.51 after earning his 5th win of the season.
The Cardinals’ lone bright spot on offense this season, Tommy Pham, returned to play in his first complete game since May 4th due to injury. Pham picked up right where he left off and quickly reminded us how valuable a player he is. Leading off the game, Pham immediately hit a single into the outfield. The Padres helped him get around to third base with a wild pitch and passed ball combination. This allowed Jose Martinez to drive him via a sac fly for an unearned run. In the 5th inning, Pham smashed a solo homer to put St. Louis up 2-0. The Padres solo hr in the 7th was all the offense they could muster and Bud Norris closed things out in the 9th to earn his 8th save of the season.
Hicks got out the only batter he faced. Greg Holland pitched a scoreless 8th and Norris threw a blank 9th.
Pham, Marcell Ozuna, and Paul DeJong each had multi-hit games and Dexter Fowler snagged a single of his own. As of the conclusion of this game, Pham led the NL in OBP at .444 and was 4th in batting average at .330.
— cardinalsgifs (@cardinalsgifs) May 11, 2018
Friday, May 11th @ San Diego Padres
With Cardinal young stud Alex Reyes on his way back to the big club after several rehab starts in the minors, Luke Weaver went into this game with high stakes.
Now, who he will replace in the rotation is to be determined, but right now, it would look like Luke Weaver.
— Tim McKernan (@tmckernan) May 10, 2018
Weaver rose to the occasion and pitched his best game in over a month. He went 5 innings, struck out 4, gave up 4 hits, and walked 1. He earned his third win and now sits at 3-2 on the season with an ERA slightly under 5.
On the offensive side of things, the Cardinals had a breakout game. They hit a total of 5 home runs over the course of the contest. Paul Dejong got the party started with a three run blast in the third inning. In the fifth inning, Harrison Bader led off with a solo shot. After a flyout by Jose Martinez; Marcell Ozuna and Jedd Gyorko joined the fun with back to back homers. The last blast of power came from Tommy Pham in the 6th inning when he hit a solo home run of his own. This accounted for the Cardinals’ 9th and final run of the game.
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) May 12, 2018
The Padres got their first run in the 6th against Matt Bowman. In the 7th inning, John Brebbia gave up a couple of multi base hits and the Padres got two runs back. Finally, in the 9th, the Padres snagged two more runs but ultimately fell short as the Cardinals won 9-5.
Saturday, May 12th @ San Diego Padres
Michael Wacha hit the hill to start the third game of the series. He pitched well, throwing 6 innings and earning his first quality start of the month. The Padres got 3 total hits off of him while he walked 1 and struck out 5. Ever since his first start at the end of Match, Wacha has done well to decrease his ERA and now it is just a shade above 3.
Greg Garcia got the nod over Kolten Wong at 2nd base. He hit in the 8th slot.
The Padres struck payday first as they snagged a run in the bottom of the second on a single-groundout-throwing error-single sequence. St. Louis retaliated in the 6th with their lone run of the game as the result of a Paul DeJong HBP and RBI double by Jose Martinez.
At the end of the ninth inning, the game was….you guessed it…TIED (1-1). Ultimately, the Cardinals left 5 guys on base over the course of their 4 extra at bats. In the bottom of the 13th innings, San Diego capitalized off of John Brebbia’s struggles in his second inning of relief when he walked two batters. Matheny brought in Mike Mayers to try and get the Cards out of the jam, but he gave up a walk off double to Eric Hosmer in his lone batter faced. St. Louis fell by a score of 2-1.
Sunday, May 13th @ San Diego Padres
Fowler and Carpenter sat this game out for rest/renewal purposes. Adam Wainwright made his first start since April 17th after battling some arm issues and being placed on the DL. It was not a pretty one. He only made it through 2.1 innings. He struggled to find the zone and walked 6 batters while striking out 3 and giving up 3 hits. The Padres got 2 earned runs off of him. This performance brought Waino’s record to 1-3 on the year. As much of an icon that Adam has been over the course of his career, the Twitter-sphere is pretty tense right now.
John Gant picked up most of Waino’s remaining innings by throwing 3.2 innings, also giving up 2 runs. Both Wainwright and Gant faced 15 batters in the game.
Adam Wainwright says his elbow injury quickly became an issue again on Sunday: "I warmed up great, and I went out to pitch the first inning, and third-to-last warmup pitch I re-aggravated it." #STLCards pic.twitter.com/JFdlOp8vpE
— FOX Sports Midwest (@FSMidwest) May 13, 2018
Harrison Bader stepped in admirably for Dexter Fowler, earning two hits (triple and home run) in four tries and accounting for 2 of the 3 Cardinal runs. Bader is hitting .258/.370/.435 this season in 62 AB’s. Keep your eye on this 23 year old as he could steal some starts from Fowler if Dexter continues to struggle.
The final score of this one was 5-3, Padres. The series split 2-2, but there were some bright spots in Bader and Gyorko. Since joining St. Louis, Gyorko has hit .421 against his former team (Padres), including 2 home runs and a triple. Free Jedd! Marcell Ozuna also hit well in the series, earning 7 hits in 19 attempts including a home run. Either way, it was fun San Diego, but it’s time to move on.
After losing two straight, St. Louis falls into a second place tie with Pittsburgh, who also sits half of a game back from Milwaukee.
Last week was hopefully the catalyst for his breakout in a Cardinal uniform as Marcell Ozuna hit .304/.385/.435 in 26 PA. In addition, Jedd Gyorko logged 20 PA’s and hit .235/.350/412 over the past week as Matt Carpenter continued to struggle. The bright side is that the Cardinals are third in the NL in homers with 49 on the season. In limited playing time, Gyorko and Bader account for 7 of those dingers combined. Keep an eye on them as they will get some extra run while the usual starters continue to struggle. Overall, the team hitting numbers are not good; 12th in BA, 11th in slugging…yikes.
Thank goodness for consistent pitching *fingers crossed*. St. Louis owns the second best ERA in the national league, mostly in part to the brilliant starting pitching of Carlos Martinez (who needs more run support) and Miles Mikolas. Jordan Hicks and Bud Norris are holding it down in the bullpen as well.
May 15-16, @ Minnesota Twins (2nd in AL Central)
May 17-20, Philadelphia Phillies (2nd NL East) at Home
Featured Image: Getty Images