Tag:Cardinals
Posted on: July 21, 2011 2:22 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2011 2:31 pm
 

Cardinals finally steal a base (and it's Molina)

The strangest streak of the year ended in the strangest possible way.

Yadier Molina stole a base Thursday for the Cardinals.

Molina stole a base after no Cardinal had stolen a base in more than a month. Molina, who has 23 steals in 891 career games, broke a steal-less streak that had extended 33 games, since a Tyler Greene steal on June 9 against the Astros.

According to research through baseball-reference.com, the 33-game streak is the longest in baseball since 1977, when the Indians went 35 games without a steal. It's the longest by a Cardinal team since the 1950s.

"I don't want that record," manager Tony La Russa said Wednesday.

They won't get it. In the ninth inning of their 6-2 win over the Mets, Molina took off and reached second base without a throw.

Just like that, the strangest streak was over . . . in the strangest way.



Posted on: July 20, 2011 8:36 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2011 9:09 pm
 

A strange Cardinals streak

NEW YORK -- The Cardinals have stolen more bases this year than the Cubs or the Braves. They've stolen more bases this year than the Tigers.

They had 35 steals in 96 games entering play Wednesday, and while that's not a lot, it's a normal number.

This isn't: The Cardinals haven't stolen a single base since June 9. Entering Wednesday, they'd gone 32 games since Tyler Greene stole a base in the fifth inning against the Astros.

According to research through baseball-reference.com, that's already the longest streak in the big leagues since 1977, when the Indians went 35 games without a steal. It's the longest streak by a Cardinals team since the 1950s.

"I don't want that record," manager Tony La Russa said Wednesday.

The Cardinals have gone 12-20 during their steal-less streak, but it's hard to blame the record on the lack of steals. If anything, the lack of steals probably goes along with a lack of runners on base. The Cardinals have attempted nine steals during the streak, getting thrown out each time.


Category: MLB
Posted on: July 20, 2011 8:12 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2011 8:37 pm
 

Cardinals look for a starter

NEW YORK -- Like the Tigers, the Reds, the Indians and probably more teams as well, the Cardinals are out looking for a starting pitcher this month.

"They're in on all the same guys everyone else is," a rival club official said Wednesday.

The hope, according to people in baseball who have talked to the Cardinals, is that they can add a starter and then move Kyle McClellan back to the bullpen. McClellan hasn't been bad as a starter, but as far back as spring training manager Tony La Russa was talking about how much McClellan meant to his bullpen last year.

"Could he be moved [to the bullpen]? He could, but I hope he doesn’t, because we need starting pitching," La Russa said before McClellan started against the Mets Wednesday night.

That changes, of course, if the Cardinals trade for a starter.

La Russa said he's not sure that's possible.

"It's what's out there, and what you can realistically get," he said. "All you need is the best effort [from the front office]. As long as they try, if they don't do anything, things could work out and we could win with this club."


For more trade deadline news, click here.
Posted on: July 11, 2011 8:50 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 9:10 pm
 

Polanco asks, 'Where's Albert?'

PHOENIX -- Albert Pujols has 18 home runs and 50 RBI. Albert Pujols is widely acknowledged as the best hitter in baseball.

Albert Pujols isn't at the All-Star Game.

Huh? Seriously?

Pujols is having, by his standards, a subpar season. He was on the disabled list when the teams were picked. Then, when it came to naming All-Star replacements, National League manager Bruce Bochy decided he'd rather have a third catcher (Miguel Montero) than a great hitter.

So he's not here, even though people who know Pujols say he wanted to be picked.

"I'm not happy because I thought he deserved it," said Pujols friend Placido Polanco. "I wanted to be on the same team as him."

Pujols shocked almost everyone by coming back to the Cardinals less than three weeks after breaking a bone in his hand. He didn't shock Polanco.

"I saw him the day after he got hurt, and when he shook my hand, he was so strong," Polanco said. "I said, 'Are you sure it's fractured?'"

Polanco is in Phoenix, but he won't play in the All-Star Game because of a bulging disk in his lower back.

"I'm trying to avoid getting a shot on the spine," Polanco said. "I really don't want to get a shot."


For more All-Star coverage from CBSSports.com, click here.


Posted on: July 3, 2011 9:13 pm
Edited on: July 4, 2011 1:25 am
 

3 to Watch: The Jeter returns edition

The last time Derek Jeter came off the disabled list, he got six hits in his first three games.

The time before that, he had eight hits in his first three games. The time before that, he had six hits in his first two games.

So with Jeter set to come off the disabled list as the Yankees begin a three-game series in Cleveland, does that mean Derek Jeter is going to get his 3,000th hit in George Steinbrenner's hometown?

No more than fact that Jeter has six hits in only one of the 16 three-game series he has played in this year means that he won't.

All we really know is that Jeter (who returns from the DL with 2,994 career hits) has a history of fast starts when coming off the disabled list. And also that Jeter is not the same hitter he was in 2003, the last time he went on the DL.

For what it's worth, we know that Jeter is a career .343 hitter against the Indians, and that he's a career .370 hitter at the ballpark that was known as Jacobs Field when he first played there, and now goes by the name Progressive Field.

We know that two members of the 3,000-hit club -- Tris Speaker and Nap Lajoie -- reached the milestone in Cleveland, and that one member of the club -- Robin Yount -- did it against the Indians.

And we know that the Yankees insist that they're not worried about giving Jeter a chance to get to 3,000 this weekend at Yankee Stadium.

"I know there are conspiracy theories, but we need to win games," general manager Brian Cashman told reporters Saturday in Trenton, N.J. "We dopn't have time to play around with milestone stuff and all that extra stuff. I can honestly tell you, I could care less."

If the Yankees did care, they wouldn't be the first. As I pointed out last month, in 1978 Reds manager Sparky Anderson said he would pull Pete Rose from a game, rather than take a chance that he would get 3,000 in New York.

"I will not allow Pete Rose to do it anywhere but Cincinnati," Anderson said then. "I would not cheat those people. It's a must that he do it at home."

The Yankees have three games in Cleveland, followed by four games at home against the Rays, followed by a trip to Toronto and Tampa Bay after the All-Star break.

When will 3,000 come?

We can only tell you that history says it might not take long.

On to 3 to Watch:

1. Before Jeter's calf injury, and before his return was scheduled for Monday, we thought the game of the day would be in St. Louis. It still might be, because Reds at Cardinals, Monday night (6:15 ET) at Busch Stadium, brings the renewal of what has become one of the most heated rivalries in the game. It's quite a week in the National League Central, where the top four teams finished play Sunday separated by just two games. The Cardinals and Brewers begin the week tied for first, and the Reds (two games back) play three games this week in St. Louis followed by four in Milwaukee.

2. Our C. Trent Rosecrans says Roy Halladay should be the National League starter in the All-Star Game. I'm not going to disagree, but I will say that Jair Jurrjens would be a good option, too. Halladay doesn't pitch again until Friday, so Jurrjens (who leads the majors with a 1.89 ERA) has a chance to become the NL's first 12-game winner when he starts in Rockies at Braves, Wednesday night (7:10 ET) at Turner Field.

3. Jeter's return from the DL will get more attention, but Phil Hughes' return, in Yankees at Indians, Wednesday night (7:05 ET) at Progressive Field, may be more important to the Yankees' chances this season. The reports from Hughes' minor-league rehab starts have been good, but you can bet everyone will be checking the radar gun readings and the box score line from his first big-league start since April 14. Oh, and maybe you should watch Jeter, too. He's 5-for-12 in his career against Justin Masterson, who will start for the Indians.




Posted on: June 20, 2011 2:25 pm
Edited on: June 20, 2011 2:49 pm
 

The NL Central has become injury central

I'm guessing Jonny Gomes won't be dancing around or singing. I'm guessing Ryan Braun won't be, either.

But when I talked to one Reds person a few minutes after we found out that Albert Pujols will miss the next month with a broken wrist, his reaction was exactly what you'd expect.

"You hate to see anyone get hurt," he said. "But this is great news for us."

Pujols' injury is horrible news for the Cardinals, and bad news for baseball in general -- no Pujols in the All-Star Game, for one thing -- but it's great news for the Reds and for the Brewers . . . if they can stay healthy themselves.

Seriously, has any division race in baseball been as dominated by injuries this year as the National League Central?

The Cardinals have been without Adam Wainwright all year, without Matt Holliday for two tough stretches, without other lesser-known but key pieces like David Freese and Nick Punto, and now without Albert.

The Reds were without two of their five starters (Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey) for the first month of the season, and now they're without Bailey again. Key reliever Aroldis Chapman has spent the last month on the DL, as well, although his injury is much less serious than his continuing control problems. And Scott Rolen has already been on the DL once, and plays with significant enough pain that he's always a threat to go back there.

The Brewers missed Zack Greinke for the first month, and Corey Hart and Jonathan Lucroy for most of the first month. And Shaun Marcum left his last start early with a hip problem. And key reliever Takashi Saito appeared in just two games before going on the DL, where he remains.

Every year in spring training, someone reminds us that it's often not the best team that wins, but the healthiest. Every year, some very talented team doesn't make the playoffs, and injuries are one of the biggest reasons (2010 Red Sox).

But what happens when an entire division gets hurt?

We'll see this year, in the NL Central.

*****

As it turns out, C. Trent Rosecrans of our Eye on Baseball team was in the Reds clubhouse Sunday when Pujols was hurt, and he can confirm that neither Gomes nor any of the other Reds were singing about it.

"The only thing I heard was someone talking about being upset that he was hurt," Rosecrans said.

You might remember the minor stir in spring training, when Gomes was reported to be happily singing about Wainwright's injury (a report that Gomes stridently denied).
Posted on: June 13, 2011 12:41 pm
Edited on: June 13, 2011 8:10 pm
 

Holliday ranks top in big week for returns

Sunday night, after the Giants activated Pablo Sandoval from the disabled list, I asked on Twitter which of the five big-name players coming off the DL this week would have the biggest impact on the pennant race.

One problem: I missed two of them.

There aren't five big-name players that could come off the DL this week. There are seven.

Seven players who have combined for 17 All-Star appearances, six batting titles, one MVP and two runners-up, four Gold Gloves and 15 Silver Sluggers.

And I didn't even include Jason Heyward, who began a rehabilitation assignment with the Braves' Triple-A Gwinnett team, and could be activated as soon as Wednesday.

Anyway, I'll ask the question again: Which one will have the biggest impact on the pennant race?

And I'll try to answer it:

1. Matt Holliday, Cardinals, left quadriceps, last played May 31, could return Thursday. When Holliday missed seven early-season games with appendicitis, the Cardinals scored just 18 runs and went 2-5. He's missed the last 11 games, and they've scored 49 runs and gone 5-6. They're a first-place team that scores plenty of runs when he plays, a sub-.500 team that struggles to score when he doesn't. Fortunately for the Cardinals, it looks reasonably certain that this Holliday absence won't last much longer.

2. Travis Hafner, Indians, right oblique, last played May 17, could return late this week. Even with Hafner, the Indians may not be good enough to hold on in the American League Central race. But it's clear that without him, they've got no chance. The numbers are skewed a little by the strong pitching Cleveland has faced since Hafner went out, but it's still stunning to see that they were shut out just once with him in the lineup -- and six times in the 24 games he has missed. The Indians were hitting .271 as a team when Hafner got hurt. They've hit .224 as a team (with a .289 on-base percentage and a .346 slugging percentage) without him. The Indians will go as far as their talented young hitters can take them, but those young hitters are hurting without Hafner's presence in the lineup. Hafner is due to begin a rehabilitation assignment Tuesday at Double-A Akron. The Indians have told him they'd like him to stay there three or four days.

3. Joe Mauer, Twins, bilateral leg weakness, last played April 12, could return Thursday. If the Twins weren't already nine games out, Mauer would top this list. If they were still 20 games under .500, as they were a couple weeks back, he'd be farther down the list. The Twins aren't nearly the same team without Mauer, but his impact on the pennant race is limited by how bad they've been without him -- and by the continuing uncertainty about how effective he'll be when he returns.

4. Hanley Ramirez, Marlins, back inflammation, last played May 29, expected to return Tuesday. The Marlins, finishing up a brutal offensive homestand that cost hitting coach John Mallee his job, obviously need a boost. Ramirez, a one-time National League batting champ, could obviously provide it. But will he? Ramirez hit just .210 in 48 games before going on the DL. Even with that, the Marlins were just two games behind the Phillies when Ramirez last played. They're seven games out now, and he'll be back for the start of a four-game series in Philadelphia.
 
5. Magglio Ordonez, Tigers, right ankle weakness, last played May 10, returning Monday night. If he hits .172, as he did before the Tigers put him on the DL, he's the least important guy on this list. If he's a .300 hitter, as he has been for most of his career (including last year), he's as important as anyone, and might be enough to make the Tigers clear favorites in the AL Central.

6. Pablo Sandoval, Giants, fractured hamate bone, last played April 29, will return Tuesday. The way the Giants struggle to score runs, some will make the case that the Panda is as important as anyone. I dropped him down only because the Giants went 25-16 in his absence. Yes, Buster Posey is out of the lineup now, but the Giants are above .500 since he's been out, too.

7. Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals, abdominal surgery, last played April 9, expected to return Tuesday. The Nationals without Zimmerman might be the worst offensive team in the game. The Nationals with Zimmerman could hope to escape last place by passing the Mets. It's hard to say Zimmerman will impact the pennant race, except by making the Nationals a significantly tougher opponent.






Posted on: June 10, 2011 10:36 am
Edited on: June 10, 2011 10:49 am
 

3 to Watch: The CC sees the Indians edition

CC Sabathia won't pitch against the Indians this weekend, so the Yankees left-hander will have plenty of time to go see his ex-teammates.

If he can find any.

It hasn't even been three years since the July 2008 trade that sent Sabathia from Cleveland to Milwaukee to start off the latest Indians rebuilding project. But the lineup from Sabathia's final Cleveland start includes just two players (Grady Sizemore and Shin-Soo Choo) who are still with the Indians now.

The current lineup, which has the Indians (barely) holding on to first place in the American League Central, features two players (Michael Brantley and Matt LaPorta) who were acquired in the Sabathia trade, another (Carlos Santana) who was acquired in the Casey Blake trade three weeks later, and another who (Asdrubal Cabrera) was acquired in a deal two years earlier when the Indians traded the guy who just became the Marlins hitting coach (Eduardo Perez).

"They seem to be able to trade everyone and start over," Sabathia said this week. "That's what they did when they traded for Cliff [Lee] and Grady [Sizemore]."

He's right. Sabathia was 21 years old and in his second year with the Indians when Cleveland traded Bartolo Colon to Montreal for Lee, Sizemore, Brandon Phillips and Lee Stevens. That trade built the Indians team that lost to the Red Sox in the 2007 American League Championship Series.

Four years later, Colon is Sabathia's teammate in New York, and the Indians have rebuilt again, with the trades of Sabathia, Lee, Blake and Victor Martinez playing big parts in it. And while it's hard to believe they can hang on to win the AL Central -- their lead over the fast-charging Tigers is down to one game, heading into the weekend -- the young players acquired in those deals have inspired renewed hope for the future.

One part-time Indians fan now pitching for the Yankees is inspired.

"I was excited [earlier this year], and I am excited," Sabathia said. "It's a really good team."

It's an Indians team that needs a few wins, after a 4-11 stretch that has seen Cleveland's division lead drop from seven games down to one.

Sabathia wouldn't go so far as hoping the Indians win this weekend, but after they leave town Monday, you can bet he'll be pulling for them again -- even if all his old friends are gone.

On to 3 to Watch:

1. Carlos Zambrano created a stir last week, when he said the Cubs were "playing like a Triple-A team." But scouts who have watched the Cubs recently say Zambrano had truth as his defense. The Cubs have been awful of late, even if Zambrano (2.03 ERA over his last four starts) hasn't. Zambrano has actually outpitched Roy Halladay (3.41) in that span, but Halladay's Phillies won all four of his start, while Zambrano's Cubs won only two of his. Now they meet, in Cubs at Phillies, Friday night (7:05 ET) at Citizens Bank Park.

2. You think Sabathia has a hard time finding ex-teammates who are still in Cleveland? How about Colon? The last time he pitched for the Indians, his manager was Charlie Manuel, his closer was Bob Wickman, and the Indians lineup featured Ellis Burks, Jim Thome and Travis Fryman. Oh, and Frank Robinson was in the other dugout, managing the Expos. Colon has faced the Indians eight times since (going 4-3 with a no-decision), and will again in Indians at Yankees, Saturday afternoon (1:05 ET) at Yankee Stadium.

3. If Cardinals-Cubs is the old rivalry in the National League Central, and Cardinals-Reds is the "new rivalry," then what do we call Cardinals-Brewers? They're in first and second place, respectively, they have some history, and they meet this weekend. The matchups even work out, with Zack Greinke facing Chris Carpenter in Cardinals at Brewers, Saturday night (7:10 ET) at Miller Park. Greinke has some history with the Cardinals, too. He faced them six times in the I-70 interleague rivalry with the Royals, and hasn't lost to them in four appearances since 2005.


 
 
 
 
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