Tag:Allen Craig
Posted on: October 3, 2011 10:16 am
 

Cardinals' Holliday could miss entire NLDS

Matt Holliday

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday will have his hand examined in St. Louis on Monday and may not be able to play in the National League division series against the Phillies, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

2011 playoffs

Holliday missed the first two games of the NLDS with a strained tendon in his right palm. After taking batting practice before Saturday's game, Holliday didn't take batting practice on Sunday. Holliday has declined taking a cortisone shot, fearing it would hurt his chances to play, but has used a cortisone cream and received acupuncture.

"I left that (left field) spot open until it was confirmed as yes or now. And quickly the answer was no," La Russa told Strauss. "So I don't know about Tuesday. I know right now I'm more concerned than I was before (Saturday's) game because he took an at-bat and he did had soreness when he swung."

The Cardinals placed Holliday on the 25-man roster for the NLDS hoping he'd be able to play, but if he's replaced now, he would not be eligible for the next round of the playoffs.

"Obviously, when we put our roster together (Saturday) morning, we were optimistic he would be further along," Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak told the newspaper. "But I"m not prepared to say we may have to make a roster move at this point."

The Cardinals have used Lance Berkman in left field in Holliday's position, while using Allen Craig in right.

Holliday hit .296/.388/.525 with 22 home runs and 75 RBI in an injury-filled 2011. Holliday needed an emergency appendectomy in the first week of the season, but missed just seven games, avoiding the disabled list. He struggled with a quad injury in May and June before finally going on the disabled list on June 1. And then in August, he had to leave a game after a moth flew into his ear. HIs latest injury came late in the season while swinging, but he had to leave last Monday's game with the Astros because he couldn't throw the ball without pain and hasn't started a game since.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 2, 2011 4:41 pm
Edited on: October 2, 2011 4:56 pm
 

NLDS Game 2 preview: Carpenter goes on short rest



By C. Trent Rosecrans

Cardinals at Phillies, 8:37 p.m. ET, Citizens Bank Park, TBS

Cardinals Phillies
No. Name Pos No. Name Pos
1 Rafael Furcal SS 1 Jimmy Rollins SS
2 Allen Craig RF 2 Chase Utley 2B
3 Albert Pujols 1B 3 Hunter Pence RF
4 Lance Berkman LF 4 Ryan Howard 1B
5 David Freese 3B 5 Shane Victorino CF
6 Yadier Molina C 6 Raul Ibanez LF
7 Ryan Theriot 2B 7 Placido Polanco 3B
8 Jon Jay CF 8 Carlos Ruiz C
9 Chris Carpenter RHP 9 Cliff Lee LHP

PITCHING MATCHUPS

Carpenter vs. Phillies: The Phillies can't be too excited about facing Carpenter again as the Cardinals' ace has dominated Philly this season. In two starts against Philadelphia, Carpenter's allowed just a single earned run and beaten the Phillies in both outings. Most recently, he held the Phillies scoreless through eight innings in the Cardinals' 5-0 victory at Citizens Bank Park on Sept. 18. On June 23 in St. Louis, Carpenter allowed one earned run on five hits in seven innings, striking out seven and walking one. Utley's had the most success of any Phillies hitter against Carpenter, going 7 for 15 in his career. Pence and Fielder have homered off of Carpenter, but Pence is 4 for 22 (.182) and Howard is 2 for 9 (.222). 

Lee vs. Cardinals: A full sixth of Lee's 42 walks this year have come against the Cardinals, as the Phillies left-hander is 1-1 with a 1.76 ERA in two starts against St. Louis this season. Six of those seven walks, however were in one game, a loss at Busch Stadium on May 16. In his last outing, he pitched a six-hit shutout on June 22 at Citizens Bank Park. Berkman's had the most success against Lee in his career, with five hits in 13 at-bats, including three doubles. Pujols, on the other hand, has just one hit in eight at-bats against Lee. The only Cardinals to homer off of Lee is Furcal, who is 2 for 3 in his career off of the lefty. 

NOTES

Full Playoff Coverage
  • According to Weather.com, there are possible showers Sunday night at Citizens Bank Park, but no real threat of prolonged delays.
  • Matt Holliday is out of the lineup again with a strained tendon in his right palm. Tony La Russa said before Game 1 that he'd be available to pinch-hit and hoped he'd be ready for Game 2. Holliday left the penultimate game of the regular season and hasn't played since.
  • Carpenter is starting on three days rest for the first time in his career. He threw a 105-pitch shutout over the Astros on the final day of the regular season to help the Cardinals win the wild card.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 1, 2011 2:43 pm
 

NLDS Game 1 preview: Holliday out vs. Halladay

Roy Halladay

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Cardinals at Phillies, 5:07 p.m. ET, Citizens Bank Park, TBS

Cardinals Phillies
No. Name Pos No. Name Pos
1 Rafael Furcal SS 1 Jimmy Rollins SS
2 Allen Craig RF 2 Chase Utley 2B
3 Albert Pujols 1B 3 Hunter Pence RF
4 Lance Berkman LF 4 Ryan Howard 1B
5 David Freese 3B 5 Shane Victorino CF
6 Yadier Molina C 6 Raul Ibanez LF
7 Skip Schumaker 2B 7 Placido Polanco 3B
8 Jon Jay CF 8 Carlos Ruiz C
9 Kyle Lohse RHP 9 Roy Halladay RHP

PITCHING MATCHUPS

Lohse vs. Phillies: The former Phillie is 1-1 with a 1.76 ERA in two statrts against Philadelphia this season, beating Halladay and the Phillies on Sept. 19, allowing just an unearned run on seven hits in 7 1/3 innings. Howard is 8 for 16 in his career against Lohse with two homers, while three of Raul Ibanez's nine hits (in 33 at-bats) against Lohse have found the seats. On the other hand, Utley is just 4 for 24 (.167) against Lohse. 

Halladay vs. Cardinals: The Cardinals may be wondering what the big deal about Halladay is -- Halladay is 0-1 with a 3.21 ERA in two starts against the Cardinals this season. He picked up a no-decision on June 21 in St. Louis and then the Cardinals beat him last month, allowing four earned runs on six hits, while walking four. Berkman homered in the first against Halladay in their last meeting, setting the stage for a key Cardinals victory. Berkman has five at-bats against Halladay, with the homer and has also walked twice. Pujols is just 2 for 11 in his career against Halladay. 

NOTES

Full Playoff Coverage
  • There is a 20 percent chance of rain at gametime, according to Weather.com, increasing to 50 percent by 7 p.m. The same weather patterens that postponed Friday night's ALDS could hurt both this series as well.
  • Matt Holliday remains out with an injured tendon in his right palm, but he is on the team's 25-man roster and expected to play later in the series. Tony La Russa said he could pinch-hit in Game 1 and hopes he can start Game 2. Berkman is getting the start in left, he started 16 games in left this season
  • The Cardianls left right-hander Kyle McClelland off the playoff roster because he's dealing with what the team is calling "dead arm." McClelland started the season in the rotation, but was moved back to the bullpen with the addition of Edwin Jackson.
  • Halladay, of course, pitched a no-hitter last year in the first game of the NLDS. It was also against an NL Central team that led the league in batting average.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 28, 2011 1:35 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Red Sox, Rays, Cards get it done



By Matt Snyder


Red Sox offense. They really, really needed this one. And you have to give the Red Sox credit, they came through when it mattered. They fell behind 1-0 in the first inning, but then Jacoby Ellsbury hit a two-run homer. Marco Scutaro would also hit a 2-run homer later in the game. Still, the Red Sox pitching staff allowed seven runs against the Orioles and a huge effort was needed from someone offensively. It was provided by an unlikely source, as emergency catcher Ryan Lavarnway hit two home runs and drove home four in the Red Sox's 8-4 victory. The two blasts were the first two of his career and he became the youngest Red Sox player to homer twice in the same game since Nomar Garciaparra did it in 1997 -- and they were the exact same ago to the day (Ian Browne via Twitter).

Cardinals' offense. Starting pitcher Jake Westbrook was awful, and the Cardinals trailed 5-0 after three innings. It was of no matter in the end, though, because they'd piece together 13 runs in the final six frames to win the game. On the whole, the Cardinals pounded out 17 hits, including four doubles, a triple and two home runs. The biggest hits were Skip Schumaker's three-run double in the fourth, Ryan Theriot's go-ahead, two-run triple in the seventh and Allen Craig's three-run homer in the eighth to put the game out of reach.

Matt Joyce, Rays. Ben Zobrist hit a two-run homer earlier in the game and the Rays bailed themselves out with a huge triple play, but neither would have mattered if Joyce didn't come through with a pivotal three-run bomb in the bottom of the seventh to put the Rays on top 5-3. That was the eventual final score.

Bonus Up No. 1, Prince Fielder: Three home runs is a pretty decent night, don't you think? He hits home runs a lot (230 in his career now and he's only 27), but this was the first three-homer game of his big-league career.

Bonus Up No. 2, Jose Reyes: He went deep twice and maintained his percentage-point lead for the batting title.

Bonus Up No. 3, Jarrod Parker: The 22-year-old Diamondbacks' prospect made his major-league debut against the Dodgers. He went 5 2/3 shutout innings and allowed just four hits. If you don't take the D-Backs seriously yet, imagine them with Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson, Parker, Trevor Bauer (third overall pick this past June) and Archie Bradley (seventh overall pick this past June) in the rotation a few years from now. Oh, and Justin Upton's only 24. That's a strong foundation. And while we're here ... a walk-off grand slam after trailing 6-1 in the 10th? C'mon. Big ups to Ryan Roberts for imitating Kirk Gibson as he rounded the bases, too.



Derek Lowe, Braves. Four innings, six hits, five earned runs, a loss and the Braves are now tied in the NL wild-card race. Oh, and Lowe makes over $15 million a year.

Bronson Arroyo, Reds. How about this one? According to Elias Sports Bureau -- via a Reds' press release -- Arroyo is now the second pitcher in major-league history to have allowed at least 40 home runs and less than 50 walks in the same season. We've all heard the phrase "trust your stuff" when pitchers walk too many hitters. Maybe Arroyo should trust his stuff a bit less. Trade some of the bombs for free passes.

Russell Martin, Yankees. He hit into a huge triple play, but that's just a ground ball with bad timing. My issue came when he tried to beat the throw by diving into first base. See last night's 3 Up 3 Down -- the Nick Punto entry -- for the rant relating to that. (What, is it spreading?)

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: July 21, 2011 9:18 am
Edited on: July 21, 2011 9:33 am
 

Pepper: Matsui hits No. 500

Hideki Matsui

By C. Trent Rosecrans


You may have missed it last night, but Hideki Matsui hit his 168th home run of his Major League Baseball career. Why's that meaningful? Well, in addition to his 332 homers for the Yomiuri Giants in Japan, he has 500 in his professional career.

Sure, 500 combined isn't the same as 500 in MLB, but it's still a cool accomplishment. Sadaharu Oh, who hit 868 home runs, was impressed by the accomplishment.

"To keep hitting home runs during a tough schedule while maintaining your conditioning is not easy," Oh told the Associated Press.

Matsui was less impressed. "It isn't like I've been aiming for this, because I don't really combine numbers from Japan and here. To me, they are two separate leagues," he told the AP.

And he's right, there are differences. The ballparks in Japan are smaller, the ball is slightly different, the pitchers are different and the season is shorter. But still, 500 is a lot of home runs, even if you're in Little League. He was never quite the same feared power hitter here that he was in Japan, but he did produce for many years and has been a good big leaguer, adjusting his game to his new surroundings. 

I lived in Japan when he first came up, and the hype he received is like nothing I've seen in the United States -- I'd say it's more like if Bryce Harper were a Yankee. That's how famous he was even in high school in Japan, where the high school baseball tournament is covered like the NCAA basketball tournament here. 

The 500 mark has been achieved by 25 in MLB and eight in Japan -- and just one, Matsui, has done it combined between the two.

KOTCHMAN QUALIFIED: It's been easy to miss, but Rays first baseman Casey Kotchman is having a heck of a season. He needed four plate appearances Wednesday to qualify for the batting title. Kotchman not only got his four appearances, he picked up three hits, raising his batting average to .337, which is second in the American League to Boston's Adrian Gonzalez (.343). [Tampa Tribune]

UNHAPPY DAYS IN CHICAGO: It's been a severely disappointing season in Chicago, and both managers are none too happy with their teams. White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen had some choice words for his team after a loss to Bruce Chen and the Royals [Chicago Tribune]; Cubs manager Mike Quade targeted his ire on two young players, Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney. [Chicago Sun-Times]. 

STRONG COFFEY: Nats reliever Todd Coffey wasn't too happy about allowing a run in Tuesday night's game and reacted by throwing a water cooler -- nearly drenching Jerry Hairston. Let that be a lesson kids, another reason to wear high socks -- your pants don't get wet if Coffey spills on you. [Washington Post]

SWEET MUSIC: The New York Times music critic writes about the beautiful sounds of a ballpark. Listen to the sweet sound of summer. Maybe they should make it a MP3 so I can listen to it when there's snow on the ground.

JETER FATIGUE: Sick of hearing about Derek Jeter? Well, there's a browser tool for that. If you're using Google's Chrome, you can download the Jeter Filter to avoid all those pesky references to the Captain. Too bad this wasn't around a week or so ago (I kid, I kid). [Big League Stew]

CHAVEZ REVINE IS SAFE: The group that owns the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles says that it is not interested in building a downtown baseball stadium, contrary to earlier reports. "It's not even an idea. It simply doesn't work," AEG president Tim Leiweke told ESPNLosAngeles.com.

CLOSER IN WAITING?: If Florida trades Leo Nunez, it's like Edward Mujica will get the nod as the team's closer. You fantasy baseball folk may want to remember that and get in on him early. [Miami Herald]

SORIANO CLOSE: Yankees setup man Rafael Soriano made his first rehab appearance Tuesday, allowing two runs on two hits in 1 1/3 innings at Class A Tampa. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he didn't know yet how he'd use Soriano upon his return. [New York Daily News]

DARVISH WATCH: One of the big names we'll be sick of hearing come January or so is Japanese import Yu Darvish. The Angels, Yankees and Mets were among the teams that watched his last start. [YakyuBaka.com]

NO MO NO-NO: Monday the Royals' Luis Mendoza of the Royals' Triple-A team in Omaha threw a no-hitter and the next night the Double-A squad in Northwest Arkansas threw a combined no-hitter. Well, Wednesday the Royals not only didn't have a no-hitter, but they had another taken away when the Pacific Coast League stripped Mendoza of his no-hitter, changing an error call to a hit -- again. Monday night outfielder David Lough of the Storm Chasers was charged with an error. Then just minutes after Mendoza celebrated his no-hitter, it was changed to a hit. And then an hour later, it was changed back to an error. And now Wednesday it was changed back to a hit. Mendoza threw a no-hitter for Triple-A Oklahoma City in 2009. [Kansas City Star]

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: May 28, 2011 7:52 pm
 

La Russa believes Craig at 2B a mutual benefit

By Matt Snyder

With all the injuries to the Cardinals' infield this season, we've seen some interesting alignments, including a few games with Albert Pujols at third base. A movement that's been gaining steam in recent weeks and could become close to permanent is Allen Craig -- who played all but four of his 507 career minor-league games at corner infield or outfield positions -- at second base. He's made six appearances at second, including three of his last four starts.

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa believes Craig could thrive at the position and even gave a hint at financial rewards down the road.

"That's one of the things I told him," La Russa said (StLtoday.com). "It's an honest comment. He could be a second baseman and with his offense be a big benefit to the club which would be a big benefit to him as far as playing time and money. It's not a wacky thing where there's nothing to gain."

Obviously the main benefit for the Cardinals is to get Craig's bat in the order in addition to other corner players on a nightly basis. Craig is hitting .316 with three home runs, 15 RBI and an .877 OPS through 92 plate appearances (entering Saturday night).

So long as Craig can handle second base adequately on the defense, La Russa is 100 percent correct in that power hitters at that position are at a premium and it also helps the Cardinals offensively.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Category: MLB
Posted on: February 22, 2011 6:08 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2011 6:30 pm
 

Punto undergoes surgery, out three months

The Cardinals' infield just got a bit thin.

Nick Punto, who was brought in to serve as a bit of an insurance policy for David Freese at third base, will be out three months after having to undergo surgery on a sports hernia, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports .

Punto wasn't just there to spell Freese, as he could also help out at second base behind Skip Schumaker -- so the overall infield depth is affected.

Freese is still set to be the Cardinals' everyday third baseman for the upcoming season, but he was riddled with injuries last year. He missed the final two months and only played 70 games total due to ankle injuries. He did hit .296/.361/.404 when actually on the field and many believe his upside is much higher. He just needs to stay on the field. Reports thus far from spring training have Freese as "limited" and "questionable" for opening day.

With Punto out of the mix for a while, the Cardinals will have to lean on some combination of Allen Craig and Tyler Greene to provide depth behind Schumaker, Freese and Ryan Theriot around the non-Pujols infield spots.

Tony La Russa has had good fortune for years in mixing and matching seemingly also-ran players in these infield spots -- Aaron Miles comes to mind -- so it might not end up being a huge problem, but this is definitely something to monitor in St. Louis.

-- Matt Snyder

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb  on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.


Posted on: August 16, 2010 10:25 am
Edited on: August 16, 2010 12:14 pm
 

Cardinals losing patience with Lopez


Felipe Lopez Tony La Russa is the latest manager to lose his confidence in Felipe Lopez.

Lopez had started 36 of 39 games since David Freese went down and initially played well. From June 28 to July 22, he saw his line improve from .242/.322/.389 before that game to .274/.343/.407. Since then, he's hit .171/.276/.237.

On Sunday, rookie Allen Craig made his first start at third base.

"I don't think this is really doing [Craig] a justice," La Russa told Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch . "It's one of those moves you make because you have to make it, not because you want to make it. I don't hesitate to make it because I really think this guy is a game, a talented gamer. … It's not really good for our club if he has to do it."

Strauss notes Lopez has said his elbow -- which had put him not he DL earlier this season -- hasn't been a problem, but his throwing from third base "has become increasingly erratic."

Lopez has been a baseball vagabond throughout his career -- with enough talent to tease clubs, but enough baggage to have them pass on him.

Lopez broke intuit he big leagues with Toronto in 2001 and was traded to Cincinnati before the 2003 season. The Reds traded him during the 2006 season to the Nationals, who released him in 2008, when he signed with the Cardinals.

After the 2008 season, Lopez was a free agent, signing with the Diamondbacks. In the middle of 2009, he was traded to Milwaukee before becoming a free agent and signing with the Cardinals during spring training.

If the Cardinals want to go to the outside for help, Strauss mentioned Brandon Inge. Edwin Encarnacion has reportedly already cleared waivers, and other options include Chone Figgins, Wes Helms and others. Ty Wigginton would be unlikely to get to the Cardinals on waivers.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.



 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com