=================== ST. LOUIS CARDINALS =================== INSIDE PITCH Cardinals off to aggressive start on basepaths ST. LOUIS — OK, so these may not be the running Redbirds of Whitey Herzog, Vince Coleman, Willie McGee and Ozzie Smith. However, the St. Louis Cardinals definitely are making strides to avoid being the station-to-station that which often needed three […]
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
Cardinals off to aggressive start on basepaths
ST. LOUIS — OK, so these may not be the running Redbirds of Whitey Herzog, Vince Coleman, Willie McGee and Ozzie Smith.
However, the St. Louis Cardinals definitely are making strides to avoid being the station-to-station that which often needed three hits — every once in a while four — to score a run last year.
The Cardinals’ 4-0 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday was another example of that. In the sixth inning, left fielder Matt Holliday drove in the first run with a single that plated third baseman Matt Carpenter from second.
On the first pitch to shortstop Jhonny Peralta, who took the pitch, Holliday lit out for second. Getting a big jump on pitcher Mike Fiers, who probably didn’t suspect he would have to worry about a steal, Holliday beat catcher Jonathan Lucroy’s throw on a close play and later scored on a Mark Reynolds double.
Aware that the Cardinals probably won’t be among the league leaders in homers — they were last in the National League last year with 105 — manager Mike Matheny is encouraging more aggression on the basepaths.
“If you say you’re going to open it up, you’ve got to let them be aggressive,” Matheny said. “When you see Matt take advantage of that opportunity and then score, it shows they’re staying consistent with what you want.”
STREAK: Won two
NEXT: Reds (RHP Johnny Cueto, 0-1, 0.64 ERA) at Cardinals (RHP Michael Wacha, 1-0, 1.42 ERA)
–RHP John Lackey pitched through jams in the third, fourth and fifth innings to keep the game scoreless and was rewarded with his first win of the year. Lackey fanned eight in seven scoreless innings, allowing just five hits and a walk. He threw 75 of his 105 pitches for strikes, hitting spots with his fastball and then getting Milwaukee to bite on breaking balls in the dirt.
–RHP Michael Wacha draws the start Friday night when St. Louis opens a weekend series in Busch Stadium against Cincinnati. Wacha beat the Reds and their ace, RHP Johnny Cueto, 4-1 on Saturday, pitching into the seventh inning as Cincinnati made a spate of early outs. Wacha is 7-1 with a 2.31 career ERA in 15 starts at Busch Stadium, and he is 2-1, 2.15 in seven career outings against the Reds.
–SS Jhonny Peralta is locked in offensively. He picked up two more hits Thursday to push his hitting streak to 11 games, dating back to 2014. Peralta really loves Brewers pitching, having posted a .351 average in 27 career games and 114 at-bats against them. He is 12-of-33 (.364) this season and rarely looks fooled at the plate.
–C Yadier Molina has caught every inning of the season’s first eight games, following up a night game by starting in the day game less than 15 hours later and going 2-for-4 with an RBI. Molina is hitting .421 over his past five games, and while his power might be slow to return, he is stinging the ball with authority up the middle.
–1B Mark Reynolds got a start in place of Matt Adams and recorded his first multi-hit game as a Cardinal, going 2-for-4 with an RBI double in the sixth inning. Reynolds is 3-for-9 with St. Louis, and he could force himself into some more playing time should Adams continue to struggle at his present .167 clip.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “We did make some loud outs (early), but fortunately, we were able to put together some rallies late. Sometimes, you can do that and it’s the seventh inning, and the pitcher’s still standing out there and you’ve done nothing with him.” — Manager Mike Matheny, after the Cardinals’ 4-0 win over the Brewers on Thursday.
–LHP Jaime Garcia (left shoulder inflammation) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 27. He threw a bullpen session April 12 and another one April 15. He might throw batting practice April 17.
–OF Tommy Pham (left quad strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 27. He had his quadriceps drained April 6, and he is expected to be re-evaluated in mid-April.
RHP Adam Wainwright
RHP Lance Lynn
RHP John Lackey
RHP Michael Wacha
RHP Carlos Martinez
RHP Trevor Rosenthal (closer)
RHP Jordan Walden
LHP Kevin Siegrist
LHP Randy Choate
RHP Seth Maness
RHP Matt Belisle
RHP Carlos Villanueva
1B Matt Adams
2B Kolten Wong
SS Jhonny Peralta
3B Matt Carpenter
INF Mark Reynolds
INF Pete Kozma
LF Matt Holliday
CF Jon Jay
RF Jason Heyward
OF Peter Bourjos
OF Randal Grichuk