UCB Newsletter, Week Of May 21

by Cardinal70 on May 21, 2012

WEEKLY RECAP (Christine, Aaron Miles’ Fastball)

There have been better weeks for the Cardinals this season — like every one until now. Hopefully this is the worst and things will improve. Because a 2-5 week and adding three players to the disabled list is definitely not something anyone wants to repeat. The odd schedule wasn’t too friendly either, with back-to-back two-game series that featured evening then afternoon games, first against the Cubs in St. Louis and then in San Francisco against the Giants.

Last Monday, what started off as a pitcher’s duel between Jake Westbrook and Ryan Dempster for four innings turned into each allowing the opponent a four-run inning. No surprise that new Cardinal killer Bryan LaHair had a homer either. An Alfonso Soriano single off Mitchell Boggs in the eighth gave the Cubs a lead and they ultimately won 6-4. Tuesday afternoon was a slugfest from the very beginning, with the Cubs scoring three off Kyle Lohse in the first and the Cards scoring two in the first and one in the second off Paul Maholm. Of course LaHair had a homer — his fifth of the year off the Cards. Matt Carpenter had one that gave the Cards a 6-5 lead in the bottom of the eighth, until Soriano hit one off Jason Motte in the top of the ninth. But Yadier Molina singled home Matt Holliday in the bottom for a walk-off win (and their only victory in a 1-4 home stand).

Wednesday night in San Francisco it was back-to-back wins, as Jaime Garcia pitched his best game of the year. He allowed one run while striking out nine in 7 1/3 innings. David Freese put the Cards on top with a seventh inning homer in what became a 4-1 victory. Thursday was Ugly Tux Day … and a really ugly game to go along with it. Errors by Matt Carpenter, Lance Berkman and Freese didn’t help Adam Wainwright, nor did the four walks and six hits he allowed in 5 2/3 innings. Kyle McClellan gave up two runs in the 7-5 loss, left with a sore elbow and landed on the DL Friday. So did Allen Craig, who strained a hamstring Wednesday night.

Then came the weekend against the Dodgers. Perhaps the less said, the better? Here’s a brief summary: Friday night — pinch-hit go-ahead homer by Lance Berkman, then a walk-off walk by Fernando Salas. Ouch. Saturday night — Clayton Kershaw and a six-hit shutout, though most painful of all was Berkman’s knee injury in the second inning. Much, much bigger ouch, literally and figuratively. Sunday night — Matt Adams‘ major league debut with two hits, though Scott Van Slyke‘s three-run pinch-hit homer gave the Dodgers the sweep. Berkman went on the DL yesterday and has an MRI today, but even he’s said it’s not looking good.

A LOOK AHEAD (Corey, Balls & Strikes)

After a long and costly trip to the west coast where the Cardinals (22-19) posted a dismal 1-5 record, the team returns home and is bringing the west cost with them. The Cardinals will play host to the San Diego Padres for a three-game series marking the first time in 2012 the teams have matched up. The Padres, 16-26, coming to town is a good opportunity for the Cardinals to make up some ground they lost in the division race over the past two weeks.

After the Padres leave town, the last place Philadelphia Phillies will make their only trip to St. Louis of the season for a four-game series. With a misleading record of 21-21, The Phillies are looking to heat things up against non-NL-East opponents. They’ve struggled bad in their division and rightly so. The NL East is seen by many as the strongest division in baseball this year and the fact that only five games separate first and last place just drives the point home. With that being said, this seven game homestand is the perfect opportunity for the Cardinals to stack together a few wins and get their season back on the right track.

PITCHING MATCHUPS (Daniel, C70 At The Bat)

Monday: Clayton Richard (2-5, 4.94 ERA) vs. Jaime Garcia (3-2, 3.68)
Tuesday: Edinson Volquez (2-3, 3.04) vs. Adam Wainwright (2-5, 5.77)
Wednesday: Jeff Suppan (2-2, 3.00) vs. Lance Lynn (6-1, 2.31)
Thursday: Joe Blanton (4-4, 3.74) vs. Jake Westbrook (4-3, 2.58)
Friday: Cliff Lee (0-2, 2.66) vs. Kyle Lohse (5-1, 2.91)
Saturday: Kyle Kendrick (0-3, 5.96) vs. Garcia
Sunday: Roy Halladay (4-3, 3.22) vs. Wainwright

Best bet: If Wainwright can find his regular form, seeing him and Halladay match up on Sunday could be a real treat.  Also, Cardinal fans get to welcome back an old friend in Suppan in a game that could be intriguing.

TWEETS OF THE WEEK (Tara, Aaron Miles’ Fastball)

We just can’t ignore the Ugly Tuxedo tweets. And in that respect, David Freese wins, hands down!

“With Carptenter. Tuxedo trip to LA. http://t.co/XOt6WeWP” — @dfreese23

But Jason Motte provides some tough competition. This one had me laughing.

“I know they say theres no stupid questions but stupid question RT @WarrenLevi: @JMotte30 Who do you think has the best beard in baseball?” — @JMotte30

DOWN ON THE FARM (Tom, CardinalsGM)

Memphis Redbirds (AAA)

Week: 3-3

Highlights: Shelby Miller snapped the team’s nine-game losing streak on Tuesday, striking out five in six scoreless innings.  Matt Adams hit three home runs, two on Friday night, before being pulled from Saturday’s game and sent to the big squad.  Recently promoted John Gast and Sam Freeman made their AAA debuts.  Gast had a quality start, but Freeman was hit hard in relief.  Memphis is 16-27 and third of four in the Pacific Coast League American Northern Division.

Springfield Cardinals (AA)

Week: 4-3

Highlights: Kolten Wong hit .481 with five multi-hit games and two home runs during the week.  On Tuesday, Trevor Rosenthal gave up just one hit over six innings and on Sunday, he threw seven scoreless innings to drop his ERA to 2.81.  Scott Gorgen got his first win of the season on Friday, striking out 10 in the process.  Springfield is 19-24 (13-7 at home) and sits third (also out of four) in the Texas League North Division.

Palm Beach (A Advanced)

Week: 3-4

Highlights: On Sunday, Carlos Martinez gave up five runs in just four innings and later in the week was placed on the disabled list.  Mike O’Neil has a .333 average on the season after three multi-hit games this week.  Todd McInnis was unable to get the win, but threw five strong innings Tuesday and has a 1.88 ERA to this point of the season.  Palm Beach is in third (of six) in the Florida State League North Division with a 22-21 mark.

Quad Cities (A)

Week: 1-5

Highlights: The River Bandits struggled in the pitching department this week, having blown saves on Monday and Tuesday, then seeing Samuel Gaviglio and Tyrell Jenkins both pitch fewer than five innings and allow six and eight runs, respectively.  Garrett Wittels had a four-hit day on Friday and Luis Mateo had three multi-hit games and hit two home runs on Sunday.  Quad Cities is 21-23 and sits fifth (out of eight) in the Midwest League Western Division.

For more details on the week that was in minor league baseball, be sure to check out the recap at CardinalsGM.

THIS WEEK’S PODCASTS

UCB Radio Hour (Wednesday, May 16)
Gateway To Baseball Heaven (Sunday, May 20)

This week’s UCB Radio Hour hosts: Jon Doble and Kevin Reynolds

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