MLB Team Report - St. Louis Cardinals - INSIDE PITCH
Now that left-hander Tyler Lyons, after two consecutive poor starts following two average ones, has been sent back to Triple-A Memphis, the Cardinals have only four active pitchers who have made more than one start this season.
A fifth starter isn't needed much in the next couple of weeks because the Cardinals have four off days between Monday and July 8.
However, if there is a need for one, manager Mike Matheny said that it would be Joe Kelly, who worked five innings of scoreless relief Friday after Lyons was knocked out by the Rangers.
"We've drawn up at least a dozen models already," Matheny said, "and we're trying to think of the pros and cons of each. If there is a start to be had, it will be Joe Kelly.
"The off days offer some options. There's a lot of variables that go into it."
One is the club's desire to protect rookie Shelby Miller, an eight-game winner. Miller is likely to receive an extra day of rest more than the other starters.
Kelly, who made 16 starts last year, many of them good ones, pitched into the sixth inning in his lone spot start this year on June 5. Counting Friday's game, he has surpassed 75 pitches twice this month.
Kelly hasn't been used as much as he probably would have liked because there haven't been many occasions when long relief was required, due to the outstanding work of the starters. Several times Kelly has gone a week or more between appearances.
"That role doesn't suit just anybody," Matheny said. "I know that's not what his end goal is -- to be that. But he's certainly been extremely valuable to us."
The Cardinals got a strong start Sunday from Adam Wainwright, but it wasn't enough in a 2-1 loss to the Rangers. Texas completed a three-game weekend sweep.
MLB Team Report - St. Louis Cardinals - NOTES, QUOTES
STREAK: Lost three
PAST 10 GAMES: 4-6
NEXT: Tuesday -- Cardinals (Jake Westbrook, 3-2, 1.76) at Astros (Erik Bedard, 2-3, 4.43)
--RHP Chris Carpenter is back on a throwing program after being shut down for a while with lower back stiffness. Carpenter has been on the disabled list all season due to a nerve problem affecting his right shoulder.
--RHP Jake Westbrook has won his last three starts against Houston, the team he'll face Tuesday night in the opener of a two-game series. Westbrook is coming off an outstanding start, allowing just two hits and an unearned run to the Cubs in a 4-1 victory Wednesday night -- his first win since coming off the disabled list June 14. In seven career starts against Houston, Westbrook is 3-2 with a 5.50 ERA.
--RHP Adam Wainwright wasn't happy to depart with the score tied at 1 in the seventh against Texas, and he probably wasn't thrilled when another run scored moments later, tagging him with a tough-luck loss. Wainwright allowed just one earned run over 6 2/3 innings and pitched like an ace most of the night, but he didn't get the result.
--RHP Joe Kelly will be the No. 5 starter -- when St. Louis needs a fifth starter again. With three off-days coming up on an eight-game, 11-day road trip through the AL West, the Cardinals might not need a fifth starter until July 6. However, Kelly earned his shot at the role after throwing five scoreless innings in relief of ineffective LHP Tyler Lyons on Friday night. Lyons was subsequently demoted to the minors.
--2B Matt Carpenter notched his 31st multi-hit game, which leads the National League, with a 2-for-3 performance Sunday. His leadoff homer in the sixth was his sixth of the year and his third opening an inning. He takes a five-game hitting streak to Houston on Tuesday night.
--1B Matt Adams rapped his seventh pinch-hit of the year in the ninth inning, good for a tie for third in the majors. With St. Louis scheduled to play its next eight games in American League parks, Adams likely will see a lot of playing time as the designated hitter.
--RHP Michael Blazek was recalled from Triple-A Memphis on Saturday, an indication that St. Louis could skip the fifth starter for a turn because of three off-days in an eight-day stretch starting on Monday. Blazek drank a four-day cup of coffee with the Cardinals, May 26-29, but never got in a game. He pitched the ninth inning Saturday night and retired all three men he faced, striking out two.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Every game was close. Every game came down to the last out. It's just part of the game." -- SS Pete Kozma, after the Rangers swept a three-game series from the Cardinals. Kozma's seventh-inning error contributed to Texas' game-deciding rally.
MLB Team Report - St. Louis Cardinals - ROSTER REPORT
--LHP John Gast (left shoulder strain) went on the 15-day disabled list May 26.
--LHP Jaime Garcia (left shoulder strain) went on the 15-day disabled list May 18, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on May 30. He was diagnosed with a torn labrum, and he underwent season-ending surgery May 24.
--RHP Fernando Salas (right shoulder strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 21. He began a rehab assignment at Triple-A Memphis on June 19.
--RHP Jason Motte (muscle flexor strain in right elbow) went on the 15-day disabled list March 22, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on May 14. He had season-ending Tommy John surgery May 7.
--SS Rafael Furcal (Tommy John surgery in March 2013) went on the 15-day disabled list March 20, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on May 3. He is out for the season.
--RHP Chris Carpenter (nerve problem in right shoulder) went on the 60-day disabled list Feb. 22. He threw about 25 pitches in a side session May 29 and reported no pain in his right arm. He experienced tightness in his back after throwing an extended bullpen session June 17 and curtailed workouts for a few days before he resumed throwing.
RHP Adam Wainwright
RHP Jake Westbrook
RHP Lance Lynn
RHP Shelby Miller
RHP Edward Mujica (closer)
RHP Trevor Rosenthal
LHP Randy Choate
RHP Joe Kelly
RHP Seth Maness
RHP Keith Butler
LHP Kevin Siegrist
RHP Michael Blazek
1B Allen Craig
2B Daniel Descalso
SS Pete Kozma
3B David Freese
INF Matt Adams
INF Matt Carpenter
INF Ty Wigginton
LF Matt Holliday
CF Jon Jay
RF Carlos Beltran
OF Shane Robinson