The Cardinals' staff allowed only
four earned runs in four games during a brief homestand. Not surprisingly, the
Cardinals won all four games and regained the National League Central Division
Perhaps the Cardinals
aren't surprised, but the rest of baseball is having its eyes opened by
right-hander Kyle McClellan, who achieved a league-high sixth victory with
another brilliant outing Thursday in a 4-2 win over Houston.
McClellan, starting this
season after spending his first three seasons in the bullpen, didn't walk
anybody in eight innings although he threw three wild
In 31 innings by
right-handers McClellan, Jake Westbrook and Kyle Lohse and left-hander Jaime Garcia at home this week, the opposition scored only five runs, four
"That's kind of what
we've seen for six weeks," manager Tony La Russa said. "They've been one of the
bright spots on the club. Our starting pitching has been
McClellan's victory came
four days after the birth of his first child, Olivia
La Russa said, "All of a
sudden, you've got a new member of the family. ... I guarantee you his days and
nights have been different. Outstanding. Very impressive."
downstairs Wednesday night in preparation for Thursday's day game, which was
delayed for 55 minutes at the start because of rain).
"It was just another
start," McClellan said. "I'm going to remember a lot of things from this week
but I don't think this (start) was any more significant than any
Now, the Cardinals are
hoping to get right-hander Chris Carpenter, the staff ace, in gear. Carpenter,
who will pitch Friday night at Kansas
City, has only one win in his first nine
The Cardinals had three
of the top 11 hitters in the league sitting out Thursday. LF Matt Holliday
(tight left quadriceps) and RF Lance Berkman (sprained right wrist) were out
because of injuries and C Yadier Molina was resting. They were hitting .357,
.349 and .323, respectively.
LF Matt Holliday (tight
left quad) might be a designated hitter Friday in Kansas City. "It won't be too long, I can tell
you that," Holliday said. Berkman likely will be out another day or two. But,
manager Tony La Russa, noting the return of CF Colby Rasmus (strained abdominal
muscle) and the continued good play of young OFs Jon Jay and Allen Craig, said,
"We don't have to rush Matt or Lance."
INF/OF Allen Craig, who
had three hits including his second home run, started at his third position in
three days. First, he was in right field, then at second base and finally left
field. "I don't care where I'm playing," Craig said.
RF Jon Jay had his
hitting streak stopped at five games on Thursday, but made a sliding catch in
RHP Fernando Salas is the
closer of the moment. Salas, the fourth pitcher tried in the role by the
Cardinals, earned up his fifth save in five tries by throwing a scoreless ninth
Thursday. Manager Tony La Russa said he was going to be "hard-headed" about
anointing the second-year pitcher the permanent closer but said, "You've got to
acknowledge what he's doing."
C Gerald Laird
contributed a two-run double as he continued to excel in limited duty. The
Cardinals are 8-2 in his 10 starts. Regular C Yadier Molina is a roll, too, with
10 hits in his last 15 at-bats.
1B Albert Pujols starred
defensively, as did RF Jay and 3B Daniel Descalso but Pujols went homerless for
the 24th straight game. He hasn't had a home run in 91
BY THE NUMBERS: 8-1 - Record of the Cardinals in
RHP Kyle McClellan's first nine starts in the majors.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We're professional athletes.
We've got to be able to separate that stuff."
- RHP Kyle McClellan,
making a start just four days after the birth of his first
LF Matt Holliday (left
quadriceps tightness) came out of the game May 18. He indicated after the game
the injury wasn't serious, but he might be out a day or two. Holliday did not
play May 19 but said he might be able to be the designated hitter the following
RF Lance Berkman (sore
right wrist) was injured making a diving catch May 18. He missed the game May 19
and is day-to-day.
INF Nick Punto (right
forearm flexor strain) was placed on the 15-day disabled list May
CF Colby Rasmus (right
rib cage strain) was out May 15-18 and returned to action May
3B David Freese (broken
left hand) went on the 15-day disabled list May 2. He had surgery May 3, and he
is expected to be out until mid- to late July.
2B Skip Schumaker
(strained right triceps) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April
16. He reported to extended spring training May 18 and hopes to return to the
Cardinals within a couple of days.
LHP Bryan Tallet
(fractured right hand) went on 15-day disabled list April 13. He is on a rehab
assignment and should be back Friday.
RHP Bryan Augenstein
(strained right groin) went on the 15-day disabled list April 13 and the 60-day
DL on May 16.
RHP Adam Wainwright
(Tommy John surgery in February 2011) went on the 60-day disabled list March 25.
He will miss the entire 2011 season.
May 20 at ROYALS: Chris Carpenter (1-3, 4.95) vs. Jeff Francis (0-5, 4.83) 7:10
p.m. CDT (FOX Sports Midwest, KMOX Radio and
Cardinals Radio Network).