April 2011

Augenstein suffers groin strain

The Cardinals announced that reliever Bryan Augenstein left tonight’s game with a strained right groin.

After pitching the sixth inning of the club’s game against Arizona, Augenstein hit for himself in the top of the seventh and collected his first Major League hit. He came out to pitch the seventh and struck out Justin Upton. Following his last pitch to Stephen Drew, a pitch on which Drew was called out on strikes, Augenstein fell to the ground in pain.

Augenstein was carried off the field and replaced by Jason Motte.


Tuesday lineups

Tuesday lineups from Chase Field…

1. Theriot SS
2. Rasmus CF
3. Pujols 1B
4. Holliday LF
5. Berkman RF
6. Freese 3B
7. Schumaker 2B
8. Molina C
9. Carpenter RHP

1. Bloomquist LF
2. Johnson 2B
3. Updton RF
4. Drew SS
5. Young CF
6. Branyan 1B
7. Montero C
8. Roberts 3B
9. Galarraga RHP


Monday lineup

Monday lineup from Chase Field, courtesy of media relations:

1. Theriot SS
2. Rasmus CF
3. Pujols 1B
4. Holliday LF
5. Berkman RF
6. Freese 3B
7. Schumaker 2B
8. Molina C
9. McClellan P


Note of the night/Stat of the day, April 10

Note of the night: On just about any other day, Kyle Lohse would have been the hero of my game story. He was simply outstanding, allowing virtually no hard contact through the first six innings. His stuff was strong, his command was excellent. It was a superbly pitched game.

However, when a team scores as many runs in one game as it had in any previous two games, the story is the offense. So Lohse was relegated to second-fiddle status in the game story. Here on the blog, though, a little tip of the cap to Lohse.

When asked about the difference between now and when he was compromised physically, Lohse always points to command. He’s able to locate the ball much more than he was before. But it shows in his stuff, as well. His sinker was particularly impressive on Sunday, moving not only down but left-to-right.

“That’s [the] spin,” he said. “I might have been able to throw it 90 [mph] or whatever it was the last couple years, but there’s a difference between finishing a pitch and just kind of putting it out there and not being able to finish it. I might not have the sinker that you see as huge, but it’s late. That’s part of it and that’s part of why I’m encouraged the way I am right now, is I’m able to do that.”

Dave Duncan also pointed to the late movement on Lohse’s sinker. It’s one way you get weak groundballs, and that’s something that Lohse got plenty of on Sunday.

Lohse stopped short of saying that he can have another year like 2008, but he didn’t rule it out. And while I still think a fairer expectation is for him to return to the slightly less impressive form he showed for most of his career before ’08, I wouldn’t entirely rule out another ’08 either. One thing that’s sometimes forgotten: before Lohse got hurt in ’09, he was off to a very strong start. He had a 3.98 ERA when he first injured his forearm.

Again, it would be somewhat silly to predict a repeat of a guy’s career year. But it would probably also be silly to rule it out.

Stat of the day: The Cardinals are 14th in the National League in batting average, 14th in OBP and 16th in SLG, but they have the third-most walks in the league and the fewest strikeouts.


Sunday tidbits: Holliday in, Franklin still the choice

Yet another beautiful day in San Francisco. If you’ve never been to this park, seriously, get here. For my money, best place for a game in the Major Leagues.

* Matt Holliday is in the lineup and playing with basically no restrictions. He expects to be pretty much an everyday guy from here on out.

* TLR said that Ryan Franklin is still the closer, though Franklin is not available today except in case of emergency. He actually did entertain questions about the topic today, and we had a pretty good chat with him about it. And in short, his answer is that he and the club do not believe that Mitchell Boggs, Jason Motte, Miguel Batista or anyone else is a better option right now. But he didn’t dismiss the topic out of hand.

* Lance Berkman sat out today despite good numbers against Barry Zito, in large part so he can play the next several games in a row. Just a preventative day.

* One topic that came up some last night on Twitter was a relatively quick hook on Jaime Garcia. I asked about it, and La Russa said it was not about getting a pinch-hitter in the game. Instead, he was simply convinced Garcia had had enough. Garcia had begun to look different to him in the 5th and 6th innings.

* Nick Punto continues to progress well, according to John Mozeliak. Punto is working out in extended spring training and is pain-free, the GM said, but he hasn’t yet been cleared to run at game speed. Punto will likely begin taking some at-bats in extended spring games before he’s cleared to play full games.

And, finally, one more Bay Area playlist, potpourri edition:
Counting Crows, “Angels of the Silences”
Primus, “Jerry Was A Race Car Driver”
Tony! Toni! Tone!, “If I Had No Loot”
Digital Underground, “The Humpty Dance”
Huey Lewis and the News, “Walkin’ On A Thin Line”


Sunday lineup

1. Theriot SS
2. Rasmus CF
3. Pujols 1B
4. Holliday LF
5. Craig RF
6. Freese 3B
7. Schumaker 2B
8. Laird C
9. Lohse RHP


Holliday is in

We don’t have a full lineup yet. Headed down to the clubhouse shortly. However, we were just told by media relations that Matt Holliday is in this afternoon’s lineup. More to come.

Holliday has not played since Opening Day, March 31, as a result of an emergency appendectomy on April 1.



Saturday tidbits: Holliday and more

Greetings from another beautiful night by the Bay, though it’s shaping up to be a bit chilly.

* As noted in an earlier post, Matt Holliday said this afternoon that he’s available to pinch-hit tonight and expects to play tomorrow. A little earlier in the afternoon, TLR referred to it more as a 50-50 proposition, but that was before Holliday’s workout. I fully expect him to be in there.

* Ryan Theriot is sitting in part because TLR wanted to get Tyler Greene two games in a row, and partly because Theriot is 3-for-20 against Matt Cain.

* Most of the bullpen is available tonight. Miguel Batista, Jason Motte, Trever Miller and Ryan Franklin are all available. Mitchell Boggs and Brian Tallet are maybes. Augenstein is off limits.

* I was told that Lastings Milledge, recently designated for assignment by the White Sox, doesn’t have much appeal to the Cardinals. He is a right-handed hitting outfielder, but he’s not really a center fielder.

And, finally, the playlist. More Bay Area goodness.
Faith No More, “Midlife Crisis”
Metallica, “Damage, Inc.”
Rancid, “Old Friend”
The Donnas, “Hot Pants”
Green Day, “When I Come Around”


Holliday expects to play Sunday

I’ll have more details both on the blog and the site shortly, but I wanted to go ahead and get this out there now. Just talked to Matt Holliday, who said that he’s available to pinch-hit for tonight’s game and expects to start tomorrow’s game against the Giants.

Holliday last played on Opening Day, March 31. He underwent an emergency appendectomy on April 1. So if he is in the lineup on Sunday, it will be nine days since the procedure and he will have missed eight games.

Again, additional details to follow here and at Cardinals.com.


Saturday lineups

Saturday lineups by the Bay:

1. Schumaker 2B
2. Jay LF
3. Pujols 1B
4. Berkman RF
5. Rasmus CF
6. Molina C
7. Descalso 3B
8. Garcia LHP
9. Greene SS

1. Torres CF
2. Sanchez 2B
3. Huff 1B
4. Posey C
5. Burrell LF
6. Rowand RF
7. Tejada SS
8. DeRosa 3B
9. Cain RHP