Tag: St. Louis Cardinals

Washington Nationals' manager Matt Williams looks on from the dugout during a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Friday, May 2, 2014, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)

Matt Williams puts up another strong performance in his quest to get himself fired


It’s like watching a car crash. Wait, that’s not quite right. A car crash happens quickly and, in the moment, there’s a sense that you can’t do anything to stop it, so that’s not it.

This is more like watching someone slowly pedal a tricycle over a cliff. Only you notice them heading toward the edge 200 feet before they get there, you keep yelling at them to stop, at first panicked and then almost amused at just how determined they are to roll over the edge. But they don’t stop so instead of trying to stop them you just sit back and marvel at their suicidal determination. Hey, if they have no sense of urgency or regard for their own well-being, why in the hell should you?

I’m talking about Matt Williams and his performance behind the handlebars of the Radio Flyer that is the 2015 Washington Nationals. Last night he wheeled them and himself ever closer to the edge, wheels squeaking, horn honking and bell ringing. At this rate, we’ll soon see the little orange flag attached to the back flutter and then watch them disappear entirely.

The Nats carried a 5-3 lead into the eighth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals last night. As Williams said after Monday’s late innings loss, the eighth inning belongs to Drew Storen. Except Storen didn’t have anything. He allowed the first two batters to reach, one via a plunking, and then allowed a run to score on his own throwing error. After an intentional walk he induced a double play which scored a run — fair enough tradeoff I suppose — and then got out of the inning. The game was tied 5-5.

In the ninth inning, Matt Williams had a choice. He could go to Jonathan Papelbon, one of the best closers in baseball history and the big piece for which Mike Rizzo traded at the deadline, or he could go with Casey Janssen, who imploded to give up four runs in Monday night’s debacle, throwing 26 pitches. Williams went with Janssen. Who, after getting two outs, gave up a double and a walk, likely due to the fatigue of throwing 45 high-leverage pitches in two nights to that point.

Why not go with Papelbon, either to start the inning or after it was clear that Janssen was tiring? Here’s Williams:

“We want him closing games out, yeah. So we’re down to two guys. We need a one inning guy there because we’re going to have to hit for the pitcher anyway and we’re going to have to go long with Sammy [Solis] in that regard.”

Which is to say that Jonathan Papelbon, as a closer, needs to pitch only with a lead and can never come in a game in the middle of an inning. Never mind that he’s your best relief pitcher and has hardly been used in the second half. Never mind that Janssen authored the previous night’s loss. Never mind that Williams already knew the Mets lost and that this game gave him a GOLDEN opportunity to make up some ground. And never mind that the Cardinals have scored 10 runs in the seventh through ninth innings over the past two nights, with Jonathan Papelbon not once getting into the game.

The book says you don’t use your closer in a tie game on the road, dammit. And that holds even if the alternative is letting a known arsonist into the fireworks shop and asking him to make sure the place is locked up before he leaves.

The result:


Credit to Brandon Moss and the Cardinals, of course. They’re the best team in the game this year and they’re gonna get theirs more often than they don’t. But they didn’t need to get this one. Or the one the night before. Those are games that even the good teams in the Cards’ position lose and even the bad teams in the Nats’ position win more often than not.

The Nats are not a bad team as we tend to think of bad teams. They just have a bad manager. A bad manager who will be looking for a job soon. As soon as early this afternoon if I or anyone with anything approaching a sense of urgency was running the Washington Nationals.

Matt Adams had a setback in his return to the Cardinals

matt adams getty

As of last week the plan was for first baseman Matt Adams to come off the disabled list and rejoin the Cardinals shortly after September roster expansion, but he’s suffered a setback in his recovery from surgery to repair a torn quadriceps muscle.

Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that Adams “felt some tightness in his left quadriceps” while going through drills at the Cardinals’ minor league complex in Florida. For now it’s viewed as a small setback, but Adams is running out of time to make it back for any regular season action and show that he’s worth having on the postseason roster.

Prior to the injury he hit just .243 with four homers and a .656 OPS in 43 games, but in 2013 and 2014 he posted an .800 OPS. In Adams’ absence the Cardinals have used Matt Reynolds as their primary first baseman, with underwhelming results.

Cardinals skipping Carlos Martinez’s next start due to back issue

SAN DIEGO, CA - AUGUST 22:  Carlos Martinez #18 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park August 22, 2015 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Cardinals will skip right-hander Carlos Martinez on Tuesday against the Nationals and call up left-hander Marco Gonzales to start instead.

According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Martinez is dealing with a back issue which isn’t believed to be serious. The 23-year-old has already thrown a career-high 154 2/3 innings this season while posting a 2.91 ERA, but the results have been mixed over the past month. The Cardinals have their eyes on the postseason, so it makes sense to rest him now. Surely the Nationals won’t complain.

Gonzales, the Cardinals’ first-round pick from 2013, has thrown just 75 1/3 innings in the minors this season due to pectoral and shoulder injuries. The numbers on the whole haven’t been pretty for the southpaw, but he has a 2.66 ERA over his last four starts in Triple-A and will try to keep that going against major league hitters. The 23-year-old had a 4.15 ERA in five starts and five relief appearances in his first taste of the majors last year.

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

Jake Arrieta

Cubs 2, Dodgers 0: The second no-hitter against the Dodgers in 10 days, this one courtesy of Jake Arrieta. The best part of this is that the final inning required him to strike out two past-their-prime former Phillies stars. No, wait, the best part of this was not having to listen to Curt Schilling weigh in on it as it was happening. Arrieta, for what it is worth, is now 17-6 with a 2.11 ERA on the year. The only two guys in the NL who have as good or better a shot at him for the Cy Young Award this year were watching this from the opposing team’s dugout. Our coverage of the no-no can be read here and here.

And yes, he’s wearing pajamas in this pic. Joe Maddon had one of his crazy-Joe Maddon getaway dressup days he’s famous for, which is why Arrieta had to give interviews about the biggest moment of his professional life while wearing longjohns with mustaches on them.

Blue Jays 9, Tigers 2: Four more homers for the Blue Jays including another one from the on-fire Edwin Encarnacion. That gives the Jays 184 homers on the year. That’s seven more than they had as a team all last year and it ain’t even September yet. Russell Martin after the game:

“If this isn’t the feel of a championship team, I don’t know what is. I feel like we’re great offensively, we’re great on defense, we’re pitching great, our bullpen has depth. I like what we have going right now.”

If the baseball was a 19th century melodrama, now would be the time someone would contract a case of dreaded consumption. Or maybe a dark figure would emerge from the Blue Jays’ collective past to bring shame upon them in the community, forcing them to retire to a dark room in their mansion as recluses.

Mets 5, Red Sox 4: The Mets avert a sweep. Michael Cuddyer was 3-for-3 with a walk and singled in the go-ahead run in the seventh. Juan Uribe had a big hit too. If you knew nothing else about the Mets season and I told you a year ago that Uribe and Cuddyer would be big Mets offensive weapons in the second half of 2015 you’d probably assume they were 23 games out of first place or something, yet here they are.

Indians 9, Angels 2: Abraham Almonte hit a grand slam and Josh Tomlin was solid, leading the Indians to their fifth straight win. The Angels, meanwhile, have dropped three in a row, are at .500 and stand three and a half out of the second wild card position. On any other team people would be talking about Mike Scioscia being fired after the season, but I’d sooner expect Arte Moreno to force a Mike Trout trade than to see that happen.

Rays 3, Royals 2: The Rays salvage one against K.C. thanks in part to Brandon Guyer and Kevin Kiermaier homers. That was the first win by Tampa Bay over the Royals in the seven games they’ve played them this season.

Yankees 20, Braves 6: Well that was an ugly slaughter. You may think that this bothers me, but nah. I’m all-in on the Braves tanking the rest of year. They’re only two and a half games “behind” in the race for the number one pick next year. Yes, there are four teams “ahead” of them and it’s always hard to “climb” over that many teams in the season’s final month, but I have “confidence” in this “baseball team.”

Nationals 7, Marlins 4: Jayson Werth homered and drove in three and the Nats came back after being down by three to in by three. Three three three three.

Padres 9, Phillies 4: James Shields got the win. It was his first road win since May. Hey, I wouldn’t want to leave San Diego if I lived there either, so it’s hard to blame him. Matt Kemp, Justin Upton and Yangervis Solarte all hit homers as the Padres avoid a season sweep by the Phillies. Which would’ve been a somewhat more dubious proposition than the Rays being swept for the season by the Royals.

Rockies 5, Pirates 0: Jorge De La Rosa tossed six shutout innings and struck out seven. The Rockies scored their runs on a double, a triple and a two-run throwing error by Pirates pitcher Charlie Morton. That’s a homer, a single and a bases-loaded walk short of the dubious outing cycle.

White Sox 6, Mariners 5: The White Sox tied it in the ninth thanks in part to to a Brad Miller throwing error and than walked it off in the eleventh inning with a Tyler Saladino RBI single. David Robertson tossed two scoreless innings in relief and got the win. That’ll be the upper right hand story in the Closer Newsletter this week. Subscribers will be thrilled with that tale of transgression, adventure and the limits of human endurance.

Brewers 4, Reds 1: Wily Peralta pitched seven strong innings. Of course these days your aunt Tilly could pitch seven strong innings against the Reds. Do people have aunt Tillys anymore? Did they ever?

Twins 7, Astros 5: Ervin Santana struck out ten Astros in seven shutout innings and got the win even though his bullpen tried to sabotage him in the ninth, allowing a five-run Astros rally. Eduardo Nunez and Miguel Sano homered. Sano is hitting .287/.398/.591 on the year with 13 homers in only 49 games. That’s something like a 42 homer pace for a full season. Sano is 22-years-old.

Rangers 6, Orioles 0:Derek Holland is giving the Rangers exactly what they need as they push for the wild card. Here he struck out 11 in a three-hit complete game shutout. Baltimore is now closer to Boston and Detroit in the AL standings than they are to the second wild card.

Cardinals 7, Giants 5: Brandon Moss, Matt Carpenter and Mark Reynolds all hit homers as the Giants drop two of three to the Cardinals. A lot of people are talking about how the Dodgers are a struggling mess, and they sort of are, but the Giants aren’t exactly taking advantage of it.

Athletics 7, Diamondbacks 4: Marcus Semien hit a two-run bases loaded single with two outs in the top of the 11th. Pat Venditte, the switch-pitcher, got his first ever major league win.

Lance Lynn expects to make next scheduled start despite suffering ankle injury Saturday

Lance Lynn, Mike Matheny

Cardinals right-hander Lance Lynn rolled his right ankle in the eighth inning of a shutout bid Saturday against the Giants and had to be pulled from the game, but it sounds like he is going to be fine.

According to beat writer Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Lynn was diagnosed with a “mild” right ankle sprain and team trainers “were encouraged by the limited swelling” in his lower right leg. Lynn was moving around the visitors clubhouse at AT&T Park without a bad limp and even wore his pair of cowboy boots back to the Cardinals’ hotel.

If the husky 28-year-old does need to miss a turn in the rotation, the Cardinals can call on either Tyler Lyons or Tim Cooney. That won’t be difficult with major league rosters expanding on Tuesday.

Lynn worked seven scoreless innings on Saturday in San Francisco and boasts a 2.80 ERA on the year.