Tagged in: St. Louis Cardinals

Schwarber debuts, leads Nats over Cardinals 5-2

Kyle Schwarber doubled home a run in his delayed Nationals debut, Andrew Stevenson had a pinch-hit homer and Washington defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 5-2 Monday night.

Schwarber, Josh Bell and Josh Harrison were in the starting lineup after being sidelined for Washington’s first six matches by a coronavirus outbreak that prompted the postponement of the team’s season-opening series and left the club short-handed.

The Nats ended a five-game skid, while the Cardinals lost their third consecutive. “We talked about it before the game: Fresh start for all of us, our guys are back,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “So let’s forget about the first six games and start today.”

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Stevenson hit his first homer of the season into St. Louis’ bullpen in right field leading off the seventh inning, putting Washington ahead 4-2. The solo shot was just his fourth homer in 221 career at-bats.

Kyle Finnegan (1-0) pitched 1 1/3 innings, giving up a run on one hit. He struck out two.

Schwarber, acquired in the offseason after the Chicago Cubs declined to offer him a contract, hit a 1-0 pitch from starter John Gant into right-center to drive in Juan Soto, who singled to start the sixth.

“I felt like a lot of guys had great at-bats all night, working deep counts and making that guy grind out there,” Schwarber said. “You know, that’s contagious.”

The Nationals added a run on the next pitch from reliever Giovanny Gallegos when Starlin Castro hit a sacrifice fly to foul territory in right, driving in Bell.

Gant (0-1) went five innings and gave up three runs. He permitted six hits, struck out four and walked three.

“The challenge tonight was not getting them all out,” Gant said about the sixth inning, when the first three batters reached against him. “They got a couple of knocks and got me out.”

Washington had an opportunity to break the game open when the first four batters reached to start the eighth against reliever Andrew Miller, including Castro singling home Bell. Ryan Helsley struck out Yan Gomes, and pinch-hitter Ryan Zimmerman flied out to center fielder Dylan Carlson, who threw out Schwarber at home to end the inning.

Yadier Molina hit his second homer of the season in the sixth to pull the Cardinals to 3-2.

Matt Carpenter ended an 0-for-12 start to the season with a bunt single in the third and scored on Tommy Edman’s hit, tying the game at 1. Carpenter has struggled at the plate since spring training, with just two hits in 37 at-bats, including 13 strikeouts.

“I was just glad to get one on the board,” Carpenter said. “Sometimes the first one is the hardest. It obviously was for me.”

Victor Robles led off the game with his second triple of the season and scored on Soto’s one-out single to give the Nationals a 1-0 lead.

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St. Louis Cardinals bring Yadier Molina back on 1-year deal

The St. Louis Cardinals are bringing back Yadier Molina for an 18th season, the team revealed Monday.

St. Louis agreed to a one-year deal with the catcher, a source told ESPN’s Jesse Rogers, confirming multiple reports.

Molina is a rarity, having spent his entire career — 2,025 games — with the Cardinals. The only two players to play more games in a Cardinals uniform in franchise history are Hall of Famers Stan Musial (3,026) and Lou Brock (2,289).

Molina shared a video of his career highlight on Instagram on Monday and ended it with the words “I’m back.”

The nine-time All-Star played 42 of 60 games during the pandemic-shortened campaign, hitting .262 with four home runs and 16 RBIs.

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Molina also became the 12th catcher in major league history to join the 2,000-hit club, and his 2,001 hits currently rank fifth among all active players (and sixth in Cardinals franchise history). Behind the plate, Molina has been a steadying influence for the Cardinals’ pitching staff while also being credited with 170 defensive runs saved as a catcher since 2004.

He has caught 1,989 games, the most with a single franchise in major league history and No. 6 all time among all catchers.

“I think about [the Hall of Fame],” Molina told ESPN before last season. “When I started my career, I had to overcome a lot of obstacles. … All I’ve done is work hard to get better and better every single year to become the best catcher I can be. And my numbers are obviously there. I think that, because of the way I catch, that I’m one of the best catchers to have ever played in baseball.”

Molina, 38, tested positive for COVID-19 in August as the Cardinals were hit by an outbreak just three games into the 2020 season.

He was critical of the statistical-based process — without the usual input from managers or coaches — used to determine the Gold Glove finalists in 2020. The nine-time winner, which ranks third among catchers, had hoped to tie Hall of Famer Johnny Bench for second with 10.

Molina has been a key component to the Cardinals’ success over the years, having helped lead the team to four National League pennants and two World Series titles.

He has a career .281 average with 160 home runs, 932 RBIs, 66 stolen bases and has caught 350 of the would-be 869 baserunners trying to steal a base (40% success rate).

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St. Louis Cardinals officially acquire Nolan Arenado from Colorado Rockies

The St. Louis Cardinals completed their blockbuster trade to obtain All-Star third baseman Nolan Arenado from the Colorado Rockies on Monday night.

St. Louis dealt left-hander Austin Gomber and four minor leaguers to the Rockies: infielders Elehuris Montero and Mateo Gil along with right-handers Tony Locey and Jake Sommers.

As part of the trade, Colorado will send cash to St. Louis to offset part of the money Arenado is due in his contract.

Arenado had been set to be paid $199 million over the remaining six seasons of a $260 million, eight-year contract. As part of his agreement to waive a no-trade provision, Arenado agreed to add a season to his deal, which now extends for seven seasons through 2027.

His deal had given him the right to opt out and become a free agent after the 2021 season. His new contract gives him the right to opt out and become a free agent after either the 2022 or 2023 season.

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“Many have heard me say that one of the great things about baseball is that you always have a chance to get better,” Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said in a statement. “Today we got better! A deal of this nature, acquiring a player of Nolan’s considerable talents, are the ones that can set you apart in many ways.”

The 29-year-old Arenado has hit .293 with an .890 OPS over eight seasons, averaging 35 home runs and 114 RBIs per 162 games. Aided in part by hitter-friendly Coors Field, he has led the National League in home runs three times and topped the majors in RBIs twice.

The Cardinals concluded second in the NL Central last season and lost a first-round playoff matchup versus the San Diego Padres.

Arenado will bump Matt Carpenter out of his role as the starting third baseman and play in an infield with All-Stars Paul DeJong at shortstop and Paul Goldschmidt at first base.

Arenado slumped during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, hitting .253 with eight home runs and a .738 OPS over 48 games before going on the injured list Sept. 21 with a bruised left shoulder. He earned $12,962,963 in prorated pay and won his eighth consecutive Gold Glove. Arenado led the majors with 15 defensive runs saved.

St. Louis brings back much of the same team that made last year’s postseason, including veteran pitcher Adam Wainwright, who finalized an $8 million, one-year deal Friday.

Wainwright is returning for his 17th season with St. Louis, matching Bob Gibson (1959-75) for the second-most seasons with the Cardinals among pitchers, one behind Jesse Haines (1920-37).

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Free agent Adam Wainwright uncertain of his future with St. Louis Cardinals

Longtime St. Louis Cardinals star and current free agent Adam Wainwright is in wait-and-see mode.

“I know the nature of the business of baseball with salaries, and not sure what the revenues will be like next year,” Wainwright told ESPN this week. “Or the fan situation.

“St. Louis is very dependent on their fan situation to bring in revenues to offset player costs. They said that, and I really believe them. They don’t have the billion, billion, billion dollar TV deals that some other teams do.”

Between 2013 and 2019, the Cardinals ranked second in the National League in attendance, behind only the Los Angeles Dodgers, despite playing in the 23rd-largest market in the country.

Like many teams, St. Louis is trying to thread the needle of putting a winning product on the field while being cognizant of revenue uncertainty, meaning the futures of both Wainwright and fellow longtime Cardinal Yadier Molina are up in the air.

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“They’re going to put a winning team on the field,” Wainwright stated. “It’s going to be interesting to see what they do, though. Yadier is a free agent too. We just don’t know what they’re going to be offering — or if they will offer.”

It’s the existing situation many free agents find themselves in, and they’re bound to have some company come Dec. 2, the deadline for arbitration-eligible players to be offered contracts for 2021.

Those who are non-tendered on or before Dec. 2 become free agents, meaning the market could be flooded with players who are in their peak years along with the older free agents like Wainwright. The expectation is teams will lighten their payroll obligations this offseason by letting go more players than ever.

“That’s what I’m expecting, yes,” Wainwright said. “There’s so much uncertainty among teams and players, it’s just going to be a wild ride. This is whole situation is different than anything we’ve ever faced.”

Wainwright broke in with the Cardinals in 2005, spending the entirety of his 15-year career with them. But that relationship is in jeopardy for the 39-year-old right-hander, who pitched well in 2020 despite all the difficulties, including a COVID-19 outbreak on his team.

“Every player has an expiration date,” Wainwright stated. “It’s just the nature of the game. You will never hear me say a bad word about the city of St. Louis or the Cardinals organization. They’ve done so much for me. They’re amazing people from top to bottom. I’ve been so blessed.”

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Injured starters Mike Clevinger, Dinelson Lamet not on San Diego Padres roster

San Diego Padres right-hander Mike Clevinger will not pitch in the wild-card round, and he could miss the remainder of the postseason with an arm injury that did not resolve during a bullpen session Tuesday, sources told ESPN.

Clevinger is not the only Padres starter with an injury. Dinelson Lamet, who concluded the season with a 2.09 ERA and was expected to be their No. 2 starter, is also out for the three-game, opening-round series versus the St. Louis Cardinals.

He has a biceps injury. San Diego named Chris Paddack its Game 1 starter in lieu of Clevinger. Padres general manager A.J. Preller announced Wednesday that Zach Davies will be the Game 2 starter, and if there’s a Game 3 it will be “all hands on deck.”

Right-hander Garrett Richards and left-hander Adrian Morejon also have started games for the Padres this year.

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The Padres obtained Clevinger, 29, from the Cleveland Indians at the trade deadline and expected him to lead their playoff rotation.

Clevinger left a Sept. 23 start after one inning, and while he has attempted to throw in the week since, concerns about his short- and long-term health persist, according to sources.

Rotation depth, while not vital in the wild-card round, will become paramount in the division series and championship series, during which there will be no off days.

The Padres acquired Clevinger, outfielder Greg Allen and a player to be named for a six-player package. Clevinger had fallen out of favor with the Indians after he and teammate Zach Plesac broke curfew during a trip in Chicago.

Teammates blamed Clevinger of lying to them and they criticized him during a meeting, following which he and Plesac were demoted. Beyond this year, the concerns about Clevinger’s arm are acute.

He has two years before he reaches free agency, and the Padres spent significant prospect capital at the deadline in hopes of him anchoring the rotation over the next few years as they try to obtain the franchise’s first championship.

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St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates

St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh PiratesCheck WagerWeb and find the best online betting site!!!!

(espn.go.com) – The Cardinals drew closer to a third straight NL Central title on Monday night with a 3-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates, a triumph dimmed by a frightening collision between outfielders Stephen Piscotty and Peter Bourjos in the seventh that ended with Piscotty in the hospital.

It certainly would have been fun to see the Pirates sweep the Cardinals in this series, tie up the National League Central and set up a potential Monday tiebreaker game to determine the division title.

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Piscotty and Bourjos were tracking a fly ball to the gap in left-center by Pittsburgh’s Josh Harrison when Bourjos’ left knee slammed into a diving Piscotty’s head. Bourjos made the catch while his rookie teammate lay motionless on the grass at PNC Park.

Piscotty was strapped to a backboard and carted off, his head bloodied, though he managed to raise his left hand before disappearing into a tunnel. The Cardinals said tests on Piscotty were negative. He was expected to remain in the hospital overnight for observation.

St. Louis recovered in time to reduce its magic number to clinch a third straight NL Central title to two after getting to Pittsburgh closer Mark Melancon (3-2). The Cardinals can wrap up the division crown with a win in Pittsburgh on Tuesday night.

Matt Carpenter singled with one out in the ninth and scored all the way from first to break a scoreless tie when Pittsburgh right fielder Gregory Polancooverran Jon Jay’s hit and center fielder Andrew McCutchen couldn’t pick the ball up cleanly.

Reynolds then drilled his 12th homer of the year to give closer Trevor Rosenthalsome cushion for his 48th save. Jonathan Broxton (4-5) earned the win on a night the Pirates crowded the basepaths but never crossed home plate.

Pittsburgh, already assured of at least a wild-card berth, left 16 runners on base while falling four games behind the Cardinals with five to go.

It’s one the Pirates want to win to prevent the Cardinals from popping champagne in the visitor’s clubhouse at PNC Park. St. Louis’ victory took some of the buzz out of one of the most anticipated regular-season series in Pittsburgh since the park opened in 2001.

The Pirates have been relentlessly chasing the Cardinals for five months and began the final week of the regular season with a chance to catch their rivals if they could sweep a three-game series at home in a matchup of the teams with the two best records in the majors.

Instead, St. Louis did what it has done all year, relying on its pitching and just enough hitting to keep Pittsburgh at bay.

The Cardinals survived on a night they issued 10 walks. Pittsburgh put runners on base in every inning except the first, but none could find their way home on a night the Pirates went 0 for 12 with runners in scoring position, including 0 for 3 in the ninth with the tying run at the plate.

St. Louis starter Lance Lynn labored his way through five scoreless innings, most of them out of the stretch while the Pirates kept wasting opportunities to take control. Starling Marte was nailed at the plate to end the second while trying to score on a shallow fly to center by Jordy Mercer — Jason Heyward’s throw beat the speedy Marte by three steps.

Marte then struck out with the bases loaded to end the third. Polanco led off the fifth with a double only to run into an out at third on a chopper to shortstop by Josh Harrison. Lynn needed 96 pitches to retire 15 batters, walking four with six strikeouts.

Pittsburgh starter J.A. Happ, a revelation since being acquired at the non-waiver trade deadline from Seattle, was decidedly more efficient. The lefthander allowed only Kolten Wong’s single leading off the third.

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