MLB Team Report - St. Louis Cardinals - INSIDE PITCH
Even though the Cardinals had a bad start from right-hander Jake Westbrook, who couldn't find his sinkerball Sunday (six runs in four innings), as the season reached the halfway point officially, the Cardinals wound up the first 81 games with a starters' ERA of 3.18, tops in the league, while the relievers' ERA is 3.60.
To illustrate the pitching depth, consider that 10 of the 12 pitchers on the active roster have ERAs under 3.00 and the other two, right-handers Lance Lynn and Joe Kelly, are quite respectable at 3.52 and 3.86, respectively, for a cumulative effect of a team ERA of 3.30.
Included in this group are six rookies currently on the staff, whose ERAs range from 0.00 for left-hander Kevin Siegrist (10 games) and right-hander Michael Blazek (two games) to 2.70 for valuable middle reliever Seth Maness, another rookie who threw two shutout innings Sunday in a 7-5 loss at Oakland .
None of the five Cardinals' pitchers who made their big-league debuts out of the bullpen this year -- Blazek, Keith Butler, Maness, Carlos Martinez and Siegrist -- were scored on in their first outing.
Siegrist is here, in large part, because he can get left-handed hitters out. Lefty hitters are just 2-for-18 against him. But right-handed hitters are 0-for-14.
Right-hander Butler has been scored on in just one of 10 outings and Maness has thrown eight double play balls in 26 2/3 innings.
The rookie starters who made their debuts this year should be included, too. Tyler Lyons pitched six scoreless innings in his first start before being scored on and John Gast and Michael Wacha had five and four, respectively, before allowing a run.
Staff ace Adam Wainwright said, "They don't scare."
"We've got a lot of exciting pitching," pitching coach Derek Lilliquist said. "They're getting groomed the right way. You plug them in and see what we've got."
Addressing how he and his fellow rookies have performed, Blazek, seemingly a steal as the 1,068th player taken in the 2007 draft, said, "I think it just kind of shows you what we have in our organization and the lower-level players we're developing."
MLB Team Report - St. Louis Cardinals - NOTES, QUOTES
STREAK: Lost one
PAST 10 GAMES: 4-6
NEXT: Cardinals (Lance Lynn, 10-2, 3.52) at Angels (Jered Weaver, 1-4, 4.15)
--RHP Edward Mujica benefits from playing on one of the winningest teams in baseball. No doubt about it. But sometimes the Cardinals are just too good for the closer's good. Mujica hasn't blown a save all season and entered Sunday's game with the best WHIP (0.73) in the National League. But he's no better than third in the NL in saves with 21. You can blame the St. Louis offense for that. Of the club's 49 wins this season, 24 have been by four or more runs and thus did not present a save situation. Mujica hasn't been in a save situation since June 19, with the Cardinals having scored 26 runs in their last three victories, winning by an average of 6.3 runs in those games.
--RHP Lance Lynn will try to keep an impressive streak going when he faces the Angels on Tuesday night. Lynn has never lost consecutive starts in his career, a distinction that's in jeopardy Tuesday with him having been beaten by the Houston Astros 4-3 in his previous start last Wednesday. Lynn will have his work cut out for him in the series opener in Anaheim. The Angels are heating up, staff ace Jered Weaver is scheduled to be the pitching rival and Lynn has been less than stellar in previous interleague matchups, going just 1-1 with a 4.70 ERA. He's never faced the Angels in his career.
--CF Jon Jay is positioned to erase Curt Flood's name from one line of the Cardinals' record book later this week, perhaps even before the team returns home from its current road trip. Jay, who was used as a late-game pinch hitter and played only one inning in the field in Sunday's series finale against the Oakland A's, has not recorded an error in his last 224 games, which is two shy of Flood's record. With the Cardinals facing all right-handed pitchers in their three-game series at Anaheim beginning Tuesday (Jay almost always starts against righties), it's possible Jay will have broken the record before the club's next home game, which will be Friday against the Miami Marlins. Jay's last error occurred Aug. 24, 2011. Jay's 224-game run is the longest current errorless streak in the National League.
--1B Matt Adams loves the designated hitter. With the Cardinals having played four consecutive road games at American League sites Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, the big guy got a chance to make three starts while teammates Carlos Beltran, Matt Holliday and Allen Craig took turns DH'ing. He feasted on the Houston Astros and Oakland A's pitching to the tune of 4-for-11 with two home runs over that stretch. Unfortunately, he missed an opportunity to add to that success Sunday when a bout with what was labeled food poisoning made him a late scratch from the starting lineup. He was able to pinch hit (a strikeout) in the ninth inning, and following a day off Monday, Adams should be healthy enough to attempt to pad his stats further when the Cardinals visit the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for three games. Adams has gotten at least one hit in 14 of his 19 starts this season.
--1B/LF Allen Craig accomplished a major league first in the past 25 years by having hit only eight home runs in the Cardinals' first 80 games. Craig entered Sunday ranked second in the National League with 62 RBIs. The last time a player recorded as many as 62 RBIs in a club's first 80 games without having hit at least 10 home runs was when Boston's Dwight Evans had seven homers and 62 RBIs in his team's first 80 games in 1988. The last time a Cardinal accomplished the feat was 1985, when Tommy Herr knocked in 65 runs and had only three home runs in St. Louis' first 80 games. Craig hit homer No. 9 in game No. 81 Sunday, a solo shot that increased his RBI total to 63.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "That was the kind of game I anticipated having. Obviously, I hoped we'd be on the other side (of the final score). We knew coming in (to the series) it was going to be good competition." -- Manager Mike Matheny, after Sunday's 7-5 loss to the A's.
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 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