Tagged: Tim Cooney

Cubs Sweep Twin-Bill Against Cards

Jake Arrieta pitched strong in the opening game of a double-header sweep for the Chicago Cubs.

Jake Arrieta pitched strong in the opening game of a double-header sweep for the Chicago Cubs.

You disappear for a few days of vacation, come back, and everything looks a little different.

Not hugely different, maybe. Just different.

For example, before heading away for a little rest and relaxation, I fully expected to start focusing more on the National League Wild Card and less on the National League Central.

But things have taken a bit of a turn and the race seems back on. For the moment, anyhow.

We’ll put off bringing the Wild Card into the discussion for just a little bit longer, although your #2 and 3 teams in the division here have pretty decent leads in that race, particularly with the San Francisco Giants having recently lost a whole mess of games.

Let’s dive back in as we usually do here, getting into yesterday’s recaps.

* * * * * * * * *

Coming into yesterday’s day-night double-header, the Chicago Cubs had lost 5 straight to the St. Louis Cardinals and were just 2-8 against them this season.

So it was a bit surprising to see them sweep the Cards, winning 7-4 behind Jake Arrieta‘s 9th win in the afternoon and then 5-3 with a little bit of luck in the night game.

The Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo went 2-for-3 with his 16th homer and a pair of walks in the opening game.

The Cards’ Tim Cooney went 5.1 innings, allowing one run on 3 hits and a walk in the second game, leaving with a 2-1 lead. But the Cubs rattled off 3 runs in the bottom of the 7th, en route to the win.

Game two was a wild one, with Dallas Beeler getting called up and starting for Chicago, going 5-plus strong innings. Beeler, a 41st round draft pick, was only ranked the Cubs’ #24 prospect by Baseball America following the 2013 season.

The big play came with Chicago down 2-1 in the bottom of the 7th with 2 men on and 1 out. Addison Russell faced Seth Maness, hitting a grounder down the 1st base line for a game-tying single. Pretty much everybody on the Cards thought the ball went foul. But the umps ruled it fair. Maness was tossed from the game and Mike Matheny came out to argue for a while.

It was a strange play, as Russell’s grounder hit foul just in front of the plate, then appeared to cross just fair (maybe?) as it came over the first base bag, then veered back foul afterwards. Whole lot of English on that ball…

On the next play, Dexter Fowler hit a grounder back to new pitcher Kevin Siegrist, who turned to try to start an inning-ending 1-6-3 double play, instead throwing it into center field for an error that allowed Chicago to take a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Jason Motte started the 9th with a 3-run lead, putting the first two Cardinals batters on base, eventually allowing a run and putting the tying run on base before retiring Matt Carpenter on a foul pop out to third and Jhonny Peralta on a 6-4 fielder’s choice.

The Cubs have won 7 of their last 9 games.

Game Highlights (MLB.com) – Game 1

Game Highlights (MLB.com) – Game 2

In other Cardinals’ news, left fielder Matt Holliday is hoping to be brought back from the DL for this weekend’s series against the Pirates. Meanwhile, Kolten Wong left the opening game after taking a tumble chasing after a wind-blown pop up, forcing him from the game with signs of a concussion.

* * * * * * * * *

The Pittsburgh Pirates beat the San Diego Padres, 3-2, led by Gregory Polanco‘s tie-breaking RBI triple in the bottom of the 8th inning.

Mark Melancon pitched a scoreless 9th for his 28th save. That’s now 26 straight appearances going back to May 15th without a run allowed. 25.2 innings of work, 16 hits, 4 walks, 20 strikeouts, 1 win, 20 saves.

Francisco Liriano went 6 innings, allowing 2 runs on 4 hits and a walk, striking out 6.

The Bucs have won 7 of their last 8 and 9 of their last 11. On June 28th, they were 9 games back. Now? Half that.

Game Highlights (MLB.com)

* * * * * * * * *

Johnny Cueto continues to look like potential game-changing bait for the upcoming trade deadline, leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 5-0 win over the Washington Nationals while out-dueling Max Scherzer.

Cueto went the distance, striking out 11 while allowing just 2 hits and a walk in a 122-pitch shutout. He’s 6-5 with a 2.61 ERA this season.

His Game Score of 93 tied a career best and the elbow looked just fine, hitting 95 mph routinely with his fastball. Cueto has allowed 1 run in 17 innings of work across his last two starts.

Joey Votto went 3-for-5 with his 15th homer and a double, driving in 3 runs.

Game Highlights (MLB.com)

* * * * * * * * *

The Milwaukee Brewers lost 4-3 at home to the Atlanta Braves.

Khris Davis was brought back from the 15-day DL after having surgery to remove cartilage from his right knee. Davis, who was hitting .250 with 5 HR and 16 RBI in 46 games, took over in left field for Gerardo Parra, who is hitting .309 with 8 HR. Parra also had a stretch of six straight games with multiple hits. Make of that what you will.

Aramis Ramirez went 0-for-4 with a strikeout, also grounding into a double play as his batting average fell to .237 in his farewell season.

Game Highlights (MLB.com)

* * * * * * * * *

Standings

W L GB Strk
St. Louis Cardinals 54 30 L2
Pittsburgh Pirates 49 34 4.5 W4
Chicago Cubs 46 37 7.5 W2
Cincinnati Reds 38 44 15.0 W2
Milwaukee Brewers 36 50 19.0 L2

* * * * * * * * *

Schedule

42-42 Braves Teheran (6-4, 4.60)
36-50 BREWERS Fiers (4-7, 3.83)
1:10 PM CT
38-44 REDS Lorenzen (3-3, 3.58)
46-38 Nationals Gonzalez (6-4, 4.16)
6:05 PM CT
39-47 Padres Cashner (3-9, 4.06)
49-34 PIRATES Morton (6-2, 4.30)
6:05 PM CT
54-30 CARDINALS Wacha (10-3, 2.66)
46-37 CUBS Hammel (5-4, 2.89)
7:05 PM CT

* * * * * * * * *

NL Central Leaders

Home Runs
Todd Frazier (CIN) 25
Anthony Rizzo (CHC) 16
Ryan Braun (MIL) 15
Adam Lind (MIL) 15
Joey Votto (CIN) 15
Strikeouts
Francisco Liriano (PIT) 119
Jake Arrieta (CHC) 114
Gerrit Cole (PIT) 113
Johnny Cueto (CIN) 111
Carlos Martinez (STL) 105
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Cards Drop 2 of 3 Against Tigers

Kolten Wong's solo homer helped the Cardinals avoid a sweep last night.

Kolten Wong’s solo homer helped the Cardinals avoid a sweep last night.

Recapping the NL Central results from over the weekend…

The St. Louis Cardinals took the Sunday night game at home against the Detroit Tigers, avoiding being swept… The Chicago Cubs won their sixth straight on Saturday before the streak was broken by the Pittsburgh Pirates Sunday afternoon at Wrigley Field… The Cincinnati Reds were swept at home by the San Francisco Giants, pushing them back into a tie with the Bucs for 3rd place… The Milwaukee Brewers predictably lost 2 of 3 visiting the New York Mets

* * *

It’s official. Jaime Garcia is joining the Cardinals’ rotation. When Adam Wainwright went down with a season-ending Achilles injury, it was assumed that the spot would be filled in by either Garcia or Marco Gonzales, but both have been rehabbing from injuries. Ultimately, Garcia pitched decently enough and got healthier faster that Gonzales.

Before Garcia was ready, the Cards went with Tim Cooney (1 GS) and Tyler Lyons (3 GS). They combined for a 6.46 ERA in four starts and averaged fewer than 4 innings per start. That’s not getting it done.

Garcia will get the start Thursday, pitching the final game of a 4-game set against the New York Mets.

* * *

The Brewers sent Scooter Gennett to AAA. I remember driving around this winter and listening to Wisconsin sports radio, naively predicting good things for the Crew this year. (I’ve lamented about this before, but for some reason blind optimism just really grates on me.) I remember them calling out Gennett as one of the bright spots for this team.

If Scooter Gennett is somebody you’re pinning your hopes on, your team is in trouble. This is why nobody with an ounce of objectivity was predicting good things for your team, Milwaukee Sports Radio… Gennett never cracked Baseball America’s Top 100 prospects list. His best ranking ever within the Brewers system was #5 following the 2011 season. In other words – not a guy who a whole lot is expected of by people who know these sorts of things.

Gennett was hitting .159/.209/.206 this season. Read it again. Slowly.

He hit .324 in 69 games during the 2013 season but drew just 10 walks for a .356 OBP. Last year he played 137 games and hit .289 with a decent .754 OPS. By Baseball Reference’s calculations, Gennett was a 2.2 WAR player in 2013 and 1.3 last season – not too bad. He was a minus 1.0 thus far in 2015. He may not be given a chance to rebound.

* * *

On Friday afternoon, I sent out this tweet about the Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo.

On Saturday, Tim Healey at SportsOnEarth had stolen all of my hard research and written up this article about Rizzo standing closer to the plate, leading to more plunks.

* * *

Back with the goods tomorrow!

* * *

National League Ranks

Batting Pitching
St. Louis 5th 1st
Chicago 6th 8th
Cincinnati 10th 9th
Pittsburgh 12th 4th
Milwaukee 13th 14th

* * *

Standings

W L GB Strk
St. Louis Cardinals 25 12 W1
Chicago Cubs 21 16 4.0 L1
Cincinnati Reds 18 20 7.5 L3
Pittsburgh Pirates 18 20 7.5 W1
Milwaukee Brewers 13 25 12.5 L2

* * *

Schedule

13-25 BREWERS Fiers (1-4, 5.00)
23-15 Tigers Lobstein (3-3, 4.33)
6:08 PM CT
25-12 CARDINALS Lackey (2-2, 3.226)
22-16 Mets Harvey (5-1, 2.31)
6:10 PM CT

Cards Stick It To Cubs

It's Mark Reynolds, so you know he's either homering or striking out in this picture.

It’s Mark Reynolds, so you know he’s either homering or striking out in this picture.

The St. Louis Cardinals ran their winning streak up to 7, overcoming the 5 runs that Carlos Martinez allowed in the top of the 1st inning and coming back to beat the upstart Chicago Cubs, 10-9.

Mark Reynolds‘ grand slam off of Travis Wood got them right back into the game in the bottom of the 1st and they jumped ahead in the bottom of the 7th, taking a 10-8 lead when the Cubs bullpen couldn’t do their job.

Pedro Strop (L, 0-2) allowed all three batters he faced in the 7th to reach base, then Zac Rosscup allowed them all to score plus one additional run.

Martinez finished with 7 runs allowed in 3.2 innings on 9 hits and 4 walks. Pretty horrible line for a guy who entered the day with a phenomenal ledger in 2015, but he exited the game with a 3.64 ERA.

Wood was pretty bad as well, allowing 6 runs in 5 innings, giving up 6 hits and walking a pair.

Cubs rookie Addison Russell connected for his 2nd homer of the year.

Also, rub your eyes to make sure you’re reading this clearly – Matt Carpenter was 0-for-5 with a pair of whiffs. That can’t be right…

Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina did not play last night, having caught every inning of this past weekend’s 3-game sweep of the Pirates, each of which went into extra frames. Yadi, who is batting just .231/.291/.282 this season, is 3 for his last 30.

The Cubs lost Chris Denorfia (again) with a left hamstring injury that he appeared to tweak while advancing from 1st to 3rd on a base hit into left-center. Rookie Matt Szczur, who opened the season on the 25-man roster with Denorfia injured, is expected to get the call up again. He was removed during the 8th inning of a AAA game after Denorfia went down. Denorfia was hitting .429 in 22 plate appearances spanning 12 games.

The Cardinals turn to Tyler Lyons for the start tonight. Could be interesting with both teams having really taxed their bullpens last night. Lyons is replacing Tim Cooney, who failed in his first start as Adam Wainwright‘s replacement in the rotation last Thursday.

Here’s how many innings the St. Louis bullpen has had to throw since Saturday: 5, 7.1, 5.1. That’s a lot of work. They could use a long start, but I’m not sure it’s coming tonight.

With their win, St. Louis set a franchise record for the best 25-game start to a season.

Given the Cubs’ bullpen woes as of late, could it be long before we see yet another of their rookies?  C.J. Edwards might not be long away.

* * *

Hector Gomez (not Carlos) homered and tripled for the Milwaukee Brewers, who gave new manager (and former player) Craig Counsell the game ball after the team was able to come back against Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers to pull off a 4-3 win.

Kershaw was going for his 100th career victory, but that was put off when Ryan Braun legged out a shattered bat, infield single to third, barely beating the throw and allowing the go-ahead run to cross the plate.

It was the Brewers’ 3rd straight win.

* * *

NL Central Leaders

AVG
Matt Carpenter (STL) .347
Matt Holliday (STL) .329
Adam Lind (MIL) .326
Joey Votto (CIN) .323
Anthony Rizzo (CHC) .313

* * *

Schedule

12-13 CINCINNATI Lorenzen (0-1, 5.40)
12-13 PITTSBURGH Locke (2-1, 4.76)
6:05 PM CT
16-9 Los Angeles Greinke (4-0, 1.93)
8-18 MILWAUKEE Garza (2-3, 4.60)
7:10 PM CT
13-11 CHICAGO Hendricks (0-1, 5.23)
19-6 ST. LOUIS Lyons (NR)
7:15 PM CT

* * *

Standings

W L GB Strk
St. Louis Cardinals 19 6 W7
Chicago Cubs 13 11 5.5 L3
Cincinnati Reds 12 13 7.0 L1
Pittsburgh Pirates 12 13 7.0 L3
Milwaukee Brewers 8 18 11.5 W3

Villanueva Steps Up, Pitches Cards Past Phils

Matt Carpenter is chasing Earl Webb

Matt Carpenter is chasing Earl Webb

Tim Cooney‘s Major League debut went about as you might have expected given some pedestrian numbers in the minor leagues.

Bad.

He faced 15 batters and 8 of them reached base.

Thankfully for the St. Louis Cardinals, the Philadelphia Phillies are really awful and that allowed the Redbirds to win 9-3.

Props to Carlos Villanueva who came on in long relief to replace Cooney and was masterful, tossing 3.2 innings without allowing a single base runner. In 9+ innings this season, Villanueva is sporting a 0.96 ERA.

Ya, it’s early and his career ERA+ is 98, but I still say that you have to consider using Villanueva as your starter to replace Adam Wainwright in the rotation, at least until Marco Gonzales is ready for the call up. Villanueva has played the role of swing man in the past, making 76 starts in his 10-year career.

Also in the running is Jaime Garcia who threw 54 pitches in a simulated game yesterday, going 5 virtual innings (I guess). He’ll throw again Tuesday while Gonzales (recovering from a DL stint) is expected to throw in the minors again on May 10th. Until then, we’ll see if that spot in the rotation can tread water.

Matt Adams went 3-for-5 with a HR (3rd) and 3 RBI. His 2-run shot in the bottom of the 3rd broke a 3-3 tie and the Cards never looked back. “Big City” was hitting .200 with 1 HR and 4 RBI after 11 games, but in the 9 games since then he has hit .412 with 2 HR and 10 RBI. His OPS over that time frame is 1.123 and the Cardinals have gone 7-2 in those games.

Matt Carpenter went 2-for-3 with yet another double and a pair of walks. Carp now has 13 doubles and is hitting .372 this year. Is it too soon to start the Earl Webb Watch? Webb hit 67 doubles in 1931. Carpenter is currently on pace for 100.

Matt Holliday had a pair of doubles (4), upping his average to .379 while driving in two runs.

Jason Heyward, who had had two nice games since being moved down to 6th in the order, batted 5th and went 0-for-4 with a strikeout and also grounded into a double play. He’s hitting .217 this year.

Speaking of Waino, no problems were reported in yesterday’s surgical procedure to repair a torn Achilles tendon in his left heel. He’s still expected to be ready to go in Spring Training 2016.

* * *

Mike Leake (W 1-1, 3.03) went 8 shutout innings and allowed 2 hits and 2 walks, striking out 3 to lead the Cincinnati Reds over the Atlanta Braves, 5-1.

Oh, he also homered.

Injured catcher Devin Mesoraco was reported as still being 7-10 days away from catching again.

* * *

Schedule

5-17 MILWAUKEE Peralta, W (0-3, 5.04)
12-8 CHICAGO Lester (0-2, 6.23)
1:20 PM CT
11-11 CINCINNATI DeSclafani (2-1, 1.04)
10-12 Atlanta Foltynewicz (NR)
6:35 PM CT
12-10 PITTSBURGH Burnett (0-1, 1.80)
15-6 ST. LOUIS Lynn (1-2, 3.63)
7:15 PM CT

* * *

Standings

W L GB Strk
St. Louis Cardinals 15 6 W3
Chicago Cubs 12 8 2.5 L1
Pittsburgh Pirates 12 10 3.5 W1
Cincinnati Reds 11 11 4.5 W1
Milwaukee Brewers 5 17 10.5 W1

Cole Mows Down Cubs; Bourjos Runs Over Phils

Gerrit Cole

Gerrit Cole

The Pittsburgh Pirates avoided the sweep last night at Wrigley Field, trouncing the Chicago Cubs 8-1.

Gerrit Cole was magnificent again, tossing 6 innings and allowing just one unearned run. Cole struck out 8 Cubs and walked one, surrendering three hits. He retired 14 of the last 15 batters he faced.

The 24-year old Cole, who was the top pick in the 2011 draft, is currently among the National League’s Top 10 in ERA (1.76), Wins (4-0), Strikeouts (35) and Strikeouts per 9 Innings (10.3). His 2.19 FIP is 3rd best.

In his 13th appearance of the season, Jung Ho Kang went 3-for-4 with a double, 2 RBI, a walk and a stolen base. Kang has put up a .269/.310/.346 slash line this season.

Although he’s hitting just .194 this season, Andrew McCutchen racked up his 1,000th career hit in the ballgame.

For the Cubs, Jorge Soler continued to struggle, going 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts, also grounding into a double play. He’s now 2 for his last 25.

Other Rookie of the Year hopeful, Kris Bryant, went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts, drawing a walk in his other plate appearance.

The loss snapped a 4-game winning streak for the Cubs.

The Bucs start a big series in St. Louis on Friday night while the Cubs hope Jon Lester can get the ship righted against Milwaukee.

* * *

The St. Louis Cardinals got a 4-run 5th inning, leading them to a 5-2 win at home over the Philadelphia Phillies.

Jason Heyward batted 6th again and went 2-for-4, upping his season average to .228.

Matt Adams (.281) had another pair of hits as well.

Peter Bourjos started and led off, showcasing his speed in that 5th inning by first tying the game at 2-2 with an RBI triple and then scoring at home on a fielder’s choice to put the Redbirds ahead, 3-2. Carpenter grounded one to Ryan Howard at first. He came home with the throw, but Bourjos got in under the tag just before it was applied.

Bourjos later showed off his wheels in the field, taking away a possible double off the bat of Chase Utley, sprinting towards the wall in right-center to make a nice running catch.

Tim Cooney got the call up from AAA and will make his Major League debut for the Cards, taking the place of the injured Adam Wainwright. Cooney grew up a Phillies fan and gets to face off against his childhood team this afternoon.

* * *

In the afternoon, Cincinnati Reds rookie starting pitcher Mike Lorenzen made his debut against the Milwaukee Brewers, taking the loss.

Milwaukee won 8-3 with Ryan Braun going 3-for-5, driving in 5 runs and connecting for a pair of homers (4).

Adam Lind also homered (4) and had a pair of hits to up his season average to .333.

Lorenzen (L 0-1) went 5 innings, struck out 5, and allowed 3 runs on 8 hits and a walk, giving up 3 gopher balls.

Milwaukee should be getting star center fielder Carlos Gomez back as well. On the 15-day DL with a right hamstring strain, Gomez is eligible to return Friday and stated that he expects to be in the lineup this Saturday against the Cubs.

* * *

Schedule

8-14 Philadelphia Buchanan, D (0-4, 7.52)
14-6 ST. LOUIS Cooney (NR)
12:45 PM CT
10-11 CINCINNATI Leake (0-1, 3.90)
10-11 Atlanta Miller, S (3-0, 2.05)
6:10 PM CT

* * *

Standings

W L GB Strk
St. Louis Cardinals 14 6 W2
Chicago Cubs 12 8 2.0 L1
Pittsburgh Pirates 12 10 3.0 W1
Cincinnati Reds 10 11 4.5 L1
Milwaukee Brewers 5 17 10.0 W1

Cardinals Move On Without Wainwright; Cubs Snap Bucs’ Win Streak

Anthony Rizzo

Anthony Rizzo

I find the talk about bringing the designated hitter to the National League sooner rather than later to be a bit ridiculous.

Let me clarify. I am not opposed to the DH in the NL. I prefer keeping the rules as they are.

However, there are multiple reasons that lead me to believe it is inevitable that the DH is introduced to the National League. I’ve written about them before and don’t need to rehash it, but it’s basically something I’m resigned to.

What chafes me, however, is pointing to the Adam Wainwright injury as a point in favor of the DH.

That Achilles injury had nothing to do with being asked to hit. Yes, it happened while he was in the batter’s box. But that’s a matter of circumstance more than anything.

As the broadcasters pointed out during last night’s broadcast, when Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard suffered the same injury a few years back, doctors told him that it was basically a time bomb waiting to go off. There was nothing he could have done about it. It was going happen somehow, someway.

So while Waino’s Achilles tore while starting to run out of the batter’s box, it could just as easily have happened while he was picking up a gallon of milk at the grocery store.

Wainwright, by the way, is a career .198 hitter with 6 homers. Not shabby for a pitcher.

He’s scheduled to have surgery this Thursday.

* * *

In action last night, the Chicago Cubs were winners over the Pittsburgh Pirates, ending the Bucs’ 5-game winning streak.

Jason Hammel went 8 innings for the win, striking out 7 in the 4-0 shutout.

Anthony Rizzo continued to stay hot, picking up two RBI; he has reached base in 32 of his last 60 plate appearances. Jorge Soler broke an 0-for-15 slump with a pair of hits, including a nice hit through the right side on a hit and run play.

* * *

The St. Louis Cardinals couldn’t hold on to a mid-game lead, losing 4-1 to the Phillies.

Philly starter Cole Hamels, an ideal replacement for Wainwright in the St. Louis rotation, went 7 innings for the win, striking out 9 Cardinals.

Cody Stanley entered the game as a pinch-hitter and struck out as the potential tying run against Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon.

Left-handed pitcher Tim Cooney (AAA: 2-1, 3.63), one of the possible guys to replace Wainwright in the rotation, was pulled from his start in Memphis last night. So take that as a strong indicator that he’ll be starting this Thursday.

The Cardinals got good news on Marco Gonzales‘ injury, with an MRI revealing “no structural damage” and him being cleared to resume throwing tomorrow. He seems to be the more likely long-term guy to plug into the rotation and he has plus stuff.

* * *

The Cincinnati Reds handed the Milwaukee Brewers another loss.

To keep with the theme of pointing out pitcher’s hitting abilities, Reds starter Jason Marquis had a hit and an RBI, also pitching 8 innings in the 9-6 win.

Jimmy Nelson had a horrible outing, with four unintentional walks, matching his total from his previous three starts. Nelson’s line: 2.1 IP, 7 R, 6 ER, 6 H, 5 BB.

The Milwaukee staff walked nine, hit a batter, and threw four wild pitches.

It was a blowout until Milwaukee staged a little rally in the 9th. Aroldis Chapman struck out Ryan Braun, who entered the game as a pinch hitter and represented the tying run at the plate, to end the game. Braun is hitting .226 in 66 plate appearances with just one extra-base hit.

For the Reds, Jay Bruce homered (4th) and had a trio of walks. On the flip side, Joey Votto went 0-for-5 with a pair of strikeouts and also grounded into a double play.

* * *

Another starting pitcher goes down, with the Reds’ Homer Bailey going on the DL with a right elbow ligament strain. Like Wainwright, this should be the end of Bailey’s season.

Bailey had surgery last September and started this year on the DL, eventually going 0-1 with a 5.56 ERA in 2 starts.

* * *

Schedule

4-16 MILWAUKEE Lohse (1-3, 7.94)
9-10 CINCINNATI Cueto (1-2, 1.86)
6:10 PM CT
11-9 PITTSBURGH Locke (2-0, 3.32)
11-7 CHICAGO Wood, T (1-1, 3.24)
7:05 PM CT
8-12 Philadelphia Gonzalez, S (NR)
12-6 ST. LOUIS Wacha (3-0, 1.33)
7:15 PM CT

* * *

Standings

W L GB Strk
St. Louis Cardinals 12 6 L2
Chicago Cubs 11 7 1.0 W3
Pittsburgh Pirates 11 9 2.0 L1
Cincinnati Reds 9 10 3.5 W1
Milwaukee Brewers 4 16 9.0 L1

Wainwright Suffers Achilles Injury

Adam Wainwright

Adam Wainwright

Saturday afternoon in Milwaukee. Top of the 5th inning. 1-2 count.

St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright was at the plate and hit a pop up to Adam Lind at first base.

At first glance, it appeared the ball would drift foul. So Wainwright stood in the batter’s box, looking up to watch the ball soaring into the air.

Noticing the ball was coming back towards play, with Milwaukee Brewers‘ first baseman Adam Lind positioning himself underneath it, Wainwright motioned to jog towards first base.

Only that first step never really happened.

Wainwright lurched forward, trying to force himself down the line.

But whatever damage was going to occur had already been done.

It appears to be an Achilles injury, which is a long and difficult path back.

4 shutout innings in the books to go along with 4 strikeouts, no walks and a 1.44 ERA on the 2015 season.

And that’s how we might be remembering Adam Wainwright until next season, because this could very well be it for the 33-year old veteran leader of the pitching staff.

You’re going to hear a lot about how this is the end of the Cardinals’ season, but I’m not buying it.

Yes, it’s obviously a huge blow. John Lackey, 36, is the only other veteran left in the starting rotation. I don’t see him stepping up to be the new leader; he’s a relative newcomer to the franchise.

But it’s not as though Lance Lynn, 28, isn’t capable of being that veteran face of the staff. He’s in his 5th year in the Bigs, all spent with the Cardinals, and owns a 50-30 lifetime record with a 3.47 ERA and 8.8 strikeouts per 9 innings.

The Cards came into the season with a surplus of pitching in case this sort of thing came up, as it so often does for a team during the course of a 162 game season.

Don’t worry about the Cardinals. They’ll be fine. They’re still going to be favorites to win the division. They always seem to find a way.

2015 will still likely be a successful season.

It just won’t be the same without Wainwright.

* * *

Internally available candidates who have been mentioned to replace Wainwright in the rotation:

* Marco Gonzales – He almost made the team out of spring training and has started well in AAA but was recently placed on the 7-day DL with a sore pectoral. Possibly the Cards tread water with this spot in the rotation for a turn or two until Gonzales can get the call up.
* Carlos Villanueva – The relief pitcher has often worked in a “swing” role before.
* Tim Cooney – Doing so-so in AAA this year, but questions remain about the lefties ability to get righties out at the big league level. The peripherals don’t look so great.
* Tyler Lyons – The lefty made 12 ineffective starts for the Birds last year, had a bad spring and is getting tagged at AAA.
* Zach Petrick – 25-year old right-hander with a bloated ERA (8.66) at AAA but some decent peripherals (12/2 K/BB ration in 17 innings).
* Jaime Garcia – Had a nice spring in trying to work his way back to the bigs, but injuries will likely keep him out another couple of months.

Waino’s turn in the rotation is due up Thursday, so look for one of those first three names to take his spot until Gonzales and Garcia have recovered from injuries they are dealing with.

I have a strange feeling we’ll see the Cards pull off a trade that brings in a stud to replace Wainwright. They’ll have an opportunity to scout Cole Hamels tonight, in fact, going up against the lefty and the Philadelphia Phillies at home.

The bright spot, if you believe in those sorts of things, is that Wainwright missed out on the 2011 season with Tommy John surgery. That was the most recent World Series win for the franchise.

Also don’t forget that they already have some young kids contributing in a huge way, namely Carlos Martinez and Michael Wacha. It’s not as though Wainwright himself was the sole reason the Cards lead the National League with a 2.24 team ERA.

* * *

National League Ranks

Batting Pitching
St. Louis 9th 1st
Chicago 3rd 7th
Pittsburgh 7th 2nd
Cincinnati 11th 12th
Milwaukee 14th 15th

* * *

Schedule

4-15 MILWAUKEE Nelson (1-1, 1.35)
8-10 CINCINNATI Marquis (1-1, 7.20)
6:10 PM CT
11-8 PITTSBURGH Worley (2-1, 4.00)
10-7 CHICAGO Hammel (1-1, 5.19)
7:05 PM CT
7-12 Philadelphia Hamels (0-2, 3.75)
12-5 ST. LOUIS Lackey (1-0, 4.34)
7:15 PM CT

* * *

Standings

W L GB Strk
St. Louis Cardinals 12 5 L1
Chicago Cubs 10 7 2.0 W2
Pittsburgh Pirates 11 8 2.0 W5
Cincinnati Reds 8 10 4.5 L3
Milwaukee Brewers 4 15 9.0 W1