April 18: Cubs @ Cardinals

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Records: Cardinals (7-5, -2.0 in NL Central), Cubs (9-3, +2.0 in NL Central)

First pitch: 7:09 pm CT

TV/Radio: Fox Sports Midwest, ESPN, 1120 KMOX

Cardinals lineup: Matt Carpenter (3B), Jeremy Hazelbaker (CF), Matt Holliday (LF), Brandon Moss (1B), Stephen Piscotty (RF), Yadier Molina (C), Kolten Wong (2B), Aledmys Diaz (SS), Mike Leake (RHP)

Cubs lineup:  Dexter Fowler (CF), Jason Heyward (RF), Ben Zobrist (2B), Anthony Rizzo (1B), Kris Bryant (3B), Miguel Montero (C), Jorge Soler (LF), Addison Russell (SS), John Lackey (RHP)

Transactions: Ruben Tejada is activated from the 15-day DL; Greg Garcia is optioned to Triple-A Memphis

Reading material:

  • Another win; another unexpected contributor. This time: Eric Fryer (link)
  • Michael Wacha shakes off early error, makes quality start to notch series win (link)
  • Yadier Molina adds to his Gold Glove hardware collection (link)
  • What’s up with Seth Maness? (link)
  • Game recap from the Cardinals’ 4-3 win over the Reds on Sunday (link)

Follow me on Twitter (@Langosch), Instagram (LangoschMLB) and Facebook (Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com)

34 Comments

It’s not surprising that Garcia was sent to Memphis but hasn’t he outperformed Gyorko overall? It will be interesting to see if their knowledge of Lackey can translate into offense.

Naw, I don’t see it that way, Bob. To me? It seems like Garcia bobbles the ball as often as he doesn’t. Gyorko appears to be the more consistent fielder in my opinion.
Besides, I have no doubt that Greg will be back one of these days soon. As our luck’s been running? Aren’t we just about due for another injury? Hehehe.
It’ll certainly be tres’ interesting to watch Lackey pitch to his old teammates this evening.

Oh, and I think we can expect the Cubs’ fans to be a little extra rowdy at Busch Stadium tonite. Our good ole’ St Louis Blues are also playing the Blackhawks here this evening, both vying for the Stanley Cup. Rivalry tension should definitely be be kicked up a notch for both games.

Update? From what Mo said just now, pre-game….”Don’t be surprised to see Tejada at 2B.” That could mean Gyorko will be Carp’s main back up….with Diaz as the starter at SS, and Tejada taking turns backing up Diaz & Wong?
Whoa…and if I saw it right? The Cards have the no #1 team BA in the NL thus far. Something crazy like .311???

Excuse me…but who in our line-up doesn’t know that Lackey’s first pitch is typically right down central?

Lyon’s up next? I can’t watch…

The uncertain middle infield is a major problem as DIAZ shows again today. Not great when Cards have so many ground ball pitchers. And Lackey and Heyward (on defense at least) show how the management really fell short this off season. The offense is also back to earth against a competitive team and if pitching and defense don’t improve they will have trouble keeping pace. Lackey has been good but surely Cards hitters should have anticipated his stuff better.

So OK, Diaz bobbled the one ball. Errors should not be allowed to be part of a game, granted. But I have faith that he’ll improve…
That aside? If I were the Card’s pitching coach? Pre-game? I’d have totally & most passionately insisted, even begged….that every, SINGLE batter swing at Lackey’s VERY first pitch. THAT btw…is how the Reds kinda’ approached us…remember?
As for Lackey & Heyward? I have confidence that Piscotty in RF, can successfully replace Heyward 100%. Maybe even do a little better, if ya wanna’ take the BA’s into account.
We needed to pass on Heyward considering the exorbitant cost, and we’re danged lucky he didn’t bite at the Cards’ offer. Maybe similar to how the Pujol’s deal went?
I honstly don’t see the middle infield as a problem. As long as the players are OK with “musical chairs”. Think about it. If the Cards experience any more injuries…any sudden/unexpected trip to the DL, may become a “non-issue” with the back-ups we have an abundance of.

Ilove the cardinals as much as anyone. i think the cubs are far superior in all facets. the cards have no power in middle of the lineup, and this was diaz’s second error in a key situation, 1st against pittsburgh. the cubs can execute and the cardinals can’t. as a cardinal fan, i still insist a bat like justin upton was needed. as for heyward, i was not upset when he left for the cubs. his 13 homers and 60 rbi’s can be made up by anyone. i hate to say that the hated cubs are the better team, but i do. hope i am wrong.

jim kane

0 and 3 vs. the Pirates, And now 0 and 1 vs the Cubs. Not the way to win the Central when you haven’t beaten your top two competitors in the division yet.

Yeah…they gotta’ up their game, to be very sure. If the Red Birds can’t turn out win tonite? That’ll say something, but not something very good.
I’m still ticked off that Mo didn’t grab Lackey early on. Al Hrabowski thinks Lackey would’ve signed for $20M with the Cards (had they made the offer), instead of the $32 the Cubs signed him for. Ugh.
Tejada’s slotted at SS in this evening’s game, with Adams on 1B. No Moss or Piscotty tonite, at least in the starting line-up.

OK, I just SAID this the other day! Aggressive base-running (stealing) is NOT the best way to go as a rule….especially, for someone like Adams. Gosh MM, please give it a rest, would ya’?????

0 and 5

you fellas are rite. why is adams of all people attempting to steal. it looks to me that he needs to go on a diet. for my part, adams is bust. cards have no answer at first base. if the cards can’t beat cubs or pirates, they are in trouble. the cubs will be dominant in the central. i stated previously, the cards did nothing of consequence in the off season but sign a dissapointing jed gyorko, and mike leake. leake was a good signing, but nothing done to upgrade offense. the famous cardinal way may not work this year. hope i am wrong.

Welcome aboard the S.S.Adams. Gilligan thrown out at second,big surprise. Many complained about LaRussa and some of his moves, but he won. MM seat is getting warmer.

That base running is a problem especially as it turned out to be a close game. Jaime has been fairly consistent so far but they needed run support and have been unable to score much at all against quality opponents. Still a long season but the talent level doesn’t seem to be there at present.

Matheny, Mabry and Liliquist have not really faced a situation where they have to make do and play catch up in the division. It will be interesting to see if they can respond as there is time to turn things around. They may need to step up player development and be willing to spend a bit to keep up with the Cubs in particular from now on.

(And while Heyward’s defection is disappointing, I hope fans keep it classy – there are rumors it has been personal and nasty which is never OK).

Can we count a rain out at home as a win?

If this game is called or resumed and they hold on, it is a bit hopeful. Martinez has been a bright spot and dependable so far. The offense took advantage of Hendricks weaknesses. Our lead off hitter is till in a funk though. Hopefully at least they probably avoided the sweep and we will see if their “ace” can regain form on Friday. He seems determined at least.

That game ended well despite Oh’s wavering, and Rosenthal stepped up strongly.

Check out this excellent photo of Brock’s Hall of Fame induction:

Yep, St Louisans sure do love their Lou Brock.
And it might be that Oh needs to get over some initial nervousness. It’s no small move, going from Korea/Japan baseball to the MLB.
He’s basically been decent so far. Hopefully, he’ll get better each time he goes out to the mound.
As for Rosie? No question…he totally killed it! ; )

Waino ???????

I dunno’ WHAT’S going on with Wainwright. Jim Edmonds kept saying, “Waino’s not keeping the ball down. He’s been throwing too many pitches up & over the plate.”
OK, duh. Clearly, Waino had to realize that. Placement tho’, has seldom been an issue for him in past years.
So maybe his grip on the ball was weak (e.g; damaged finger tendon), a sore shoulder or elbow?
Any OTHER pitcher would be relegated to the bull-pen, even back to the minors or to the DL. Gonna’ be a tricky situation in about 5 days, next time Waino’s due up in the rotation. It’s pretty befuddling. What DO you DO???
Oh, and Diaz made that rookie mistake, yeah….trying for home plate from 3B when he saw they’d bobbled the ball at 2B (no outs, I believe).
HOWEVER, I feel a good portion of the blame should go on MM’s shoulders. For example…to constantly encourage aggressive base-stealing when we only have one out (almost a quote)….is outright stupid! (…AS we witnessed the other day, when Adams tried it. Really? Someone as lumbering as Adams?)
I strongly suspect that Diaz assumed MM would want him to risk taking a shot at home-plate, considering.
Playing conservatively, always has it’s place. Ya’ listening MM???

Several worrisome signs – the lead-off man was 0-for again with two K’s . Clean-up guy also 0-for. A pretty weak offense to go along with the Wainwrights problems. Will see what the next week brings, but too many holes now to easily plug soon.

You’re right, Bob. Carp didn’t have a good day either.
The Cards may simply not have it this year. Hard pill to swallow for us fans who’re used to being in contention.

Unless a real change occurs my 84 win total may be what they are. Wong may have to be sent down for awhile. Waino may be becoming a 5 inning pitcher. Grichuk seems to be pressing. Holiday’s average is down I think because he’s trying to be the main power source. AND as far as base running goes I have now idea what kind of team they’re trying to be, but whatever it is it’s not working. Wacha zero Ks 4 walks, curious. Rotation seems to be upside down right now based on performances thus far.

Yup, Dave….it does look like your prediction may end up being jussssst about right. ; )
Grichuk’s a powerful hitter, sure…but he struggles with staying consistent. Too many whiffs, too often. He’s improved a bit lately, but still has plenty of work to do.
Unfortunately, the starting rotation HAS become iffy. Can’t believe how hit-able Wacha & Waino appear to be, of late.
Let’s just hope Alex Reyes is somewhere training on his own, so he’ll be ready to rock & roll after May 18th, which is game #50 of Reyes’ suspension.
OK, I am NOT kidding.
If I see 1 more player try to steal a base, with either 1 or no outs? I’m immediately switching channels! Unless of course….one of the team’s slim, younger, speedier guys feels he can do it. (But WITHOUT it being an MM directive, I mean.)
No joke! I came THIS close to hurling my coffee cup at the TV screen when I saw Adams attempt that steal (& get caught) during the Cubs’ game.
“Hey, MM….we only lost by one run that day, if you didn’t notice!”
Aha, no Wong or Holliday in this afternoon’s starting line-up.
Glad we have Gyorko as a utility infielder. A smart acquisition, he was.
Whoa, a little payback today. The Cubs are spankin’ the Reds, 9-zip.

They just mentioned that the Cards are #1 in BA when swinging at first pitches. Something to keep in mind.
And Grichuk’s steal was great, more of an instinct than an MM rule of thumb.

I sure wish MM would trust Oh, more…and keep him in for more than one inning. : (

Well Leake was “leaky” again but at least they pulled out a W. Now on to the desert.

Jaime’s up against Grienke tonite. We can only hope that Jaime will bring it.
Then, it’s Miller-time vs Martinez tomorrow, I think?
Wow, Gyorko’s on a tear, isn’t he? Ya’ always wonder if a traded player has extra incentive to perform well, in front of his old team. With Tejada & Diaz vying for SS duties, it looks like Gyorko instead of Wong might stay at 2B for the next few games. Unless that is, Gyorko needs to give Carp a break from 3B.
I guess we need to have faith that Aledmys’ fielding will improve with regular playing-time.
There are some articles out there, suggesting the Cards may trade Adams in July. The primary reason being that he’s the only 1B option, who doesn’t play another position. ‘Course it IS kinda’ fun to watch Adams skip around the bases after one of his killer HR’s. Hahaha.

Diaz at SS. If this is our off year, and it looks that way, give the kid a chance to improve himself. How else are we going to know if he’s the future at SS. Anyone else out there starting to think management might be souring on Wong?

Interesting. Jen wrote a new post for tonite’s game…but I didn’t receive it in my inbox like usual. So I clicked on recent posts up top, on the right…and voila. There was Jen’s game blog for today’s game. I don’t think I unsubscribed, so not sure how that happened. I guess I’ll just have to click on “next post” (below) from now on???

“Supposedly”….Wong’s been dealing with the flu? Hazelbaker’s batting 1st tonite, Carp 3rd. Holliday’s out, on a day-to-day watch. Moss on 1B.
KMOX pre-game, says nonchalant (late) throws to bases by Gyorko & somebody else, was weird. Nothing mentioned about Carp’s slip in the infield, tho’….

Under “recent posts” up top to the right, Jen’s posted the preview for tonite’s game. (See you there.)
Tejada’s playing 3B and Carp’s switching to 1B. How ’bout it. That’ll be fun to watch.
Wong’s apparently getting an extended “time out”.
I can’t believe the stats so far. The Cards are tops in several catagories. Hits, BA, HR’s triples, doubles, etc. Check it out: http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/team/_/stat/batting/league/nl

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