Wacha, Cardinals Continue Series vs. Phils

ST. LOUIS- The Cardinals will try to capture a series victory over the Phillies when the two teams square off in the second of three meetings Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia (6:05 pm CT, FS-M).

Michael Wacha will take the ball for St. Louis (32-37) in an attempt to recapture some of his form. The righty has struggled through his last 5 outings, logging just over 21 innings to the tune of an 8.86 ERA. Wacha is 3-3 on the season. Matheny and the Cardinals hope that a lessened workload between starts will allow him to have better control and feel for the baseball.

The Phillies (22-47) will hand the ball to rookie Nick Pivetta in hopes of snapping a 4-game slide. Pivetta tossed 7 shutout innings against Boston in his last start on June 15, scattering just 4 hits while walking 2 and striking out 9.

Chirp Notes

  • The Cardinals are attempting to win their 5th straight game against the Phillies this season. St. Louis swept a three game series against Philadelphia at Busch Stadium June 9-11.
  • Matt Carpenter and Dexter Fowler have continued to prove themselves as worthy table setters for the Cardinals. Both Fowler and Carpenter walked and scored to begin the 11th inning on Tuesday, where the Cardinals scored 7 runs en route to a series opening victory over Philadelphia. The 7 runs were the most for the Cardinals in any inning in any game so far this season.
Wacha, Cardinals Continue Series vs. Phils

Struggling Cardinals Prepare for Interleague Play vs. O’s

ST. LOUIS – After dropping 3 of 4 games to the division rival Brewers at home, the Cardinals fly east to open up a 3 game set in Baltimore beginning with Friday night’s contest (6:05 pm CT, FS-M).

The Cardinals (30-35) will send ace Carlos Martinez to the hill for game one hoping to snap a 3 game skid that has pushed them further behind in the NL Central Division race. Martinez dazzled in his last appearance against the Phillies on June 10, where he went the distance for his first ever complete game shutout. He struck out 11 and allowed just 4 hits over his 9-inning masterpiece.

St. Louis opens play on Friday sitting in 3rd place, 4.5 games behind Milwaukee.

The Baltimore Orioles (32-33) will send RHP Kevin Gausman to the mound on Friday. Gausman is 3-5 this season with a 6.49 ERA. He lasted just 3.1 innings in his last start on June 11 against the New York Yankees, allowing 8 hits and 7 earned runs to go along with 6 free passes.

The Orioles enter Friday 6.5 games behind the AL East leading Yankees.

Chirp Notes:

  • Carlos Martinez has struck out at least 8 batters in four consecutive starts. With another 8 strikeout game on Friday, Martinez would be the first Cardinal pitcher to record at least 8 punch outs in 5 straight outings since Chris Carpenter did so in 2005.
  • The Cardinals have dropped 8 of their last 10 interleague games entering Friday’s contest against Baltimore.
Struggling Cardinals Prepare for Interleague Play vs. O’s

Cards Set to Host Brewers in Key Series

ST. LOUIS – As the old cliche goes, there is no time like the present.

For the Cardinals (29-32), taking advantage of their upcoming opportunity will be highly important, as they enter a 4-game bout with the division leading Brewers starting with Tuesday’s day/night doubleheader at Busch Stadium.

The Cardinals entered Friday of last week having lost 7 straight games, but enter their series with the Brewers on the heels of a sweep against the Phillies over the weekend. St. Louis outscored Philadelphia 16-7 in those three games, with ace Carlos Martinez picking up his first career complete game victory, a 4-hit, 11 K shutout in the middle tilt. The Birds will need similar pitching performances in order to contain the Brewers, who entered Sunday sporting the National League’s third best team home run total at 87.

Much of the Cardinals’ success over the weekend was due in large part to better defense (error count), stronger pitching, particularly out of the bullpen, and timely hitting, all reasons why the club has struggled through 61 games in 2017. It seems at least to some degree that the shakeup John Mozeliak provided recently has, even if only slightly, begun to move the Cardinals in a better direction…(let’s not forget about the continued baserunning issues, which the Cards showed fans plenty over the weekend).

The Cardinals will send Lance Lynn to the hill in Tuesday’s opener at 1:15 pm, where he’ll look to build off of a 5-inning, 78 pitch no decision on June 7th against the Reds. Lynn surrendered just one run on three hits before exiting for a pinch hitter in the 6th inning.

The Brewers will take a 2.5 game lead into the doubleheader matchup with the Cardinals to open up the series, and will look to end a 2-game slide against Arizona while maintaining the top position in the division.

Notes:

  • Yadier Molina missed all three games against the Phillies this weekend due to back soreness. The Cardinals could have their gold-glove catcher back behind the plate on Tuesday depending on how he feels.
  • Marco Gonzales will be called up from Triple A Memphis on Tuesday to start game two of the Cardinals’ twin bill. Gonzales underwent Tommy John surgery in April of 2016 and will make his first start at the big league level since 2015.
  • The Cardinals have won 4 of their 7 meetings against the Brewers so far this season.
Cards Set to Host Brewers in Key Series

Kevin Shattenkirk Turns Down Latest Trade Offer

ST. LOUIS – According to several sources, including TSN’s Bob McKenzie and Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Blues defensemen Kevin Shattenkirk is said to have vetoed a 7-year, $42 million deal.

The 28-year-old pending free agent, it is reported, was likely to have been involved in a trade with an Eastern Conference franchise, speculated to be the Tampa Bay Lightning. The deal would have sent Shattenkirk to Tampa in exchange for a high-value return, however, it is unclear which asset(s) St. Louis would have acquired in the deal.

The Blues and GM Doug Armstrong have been working to move their highly sought-after point producing d-man for some time. Shattenkirk turned down a contract that would have sent him to the Edmonton Oilers last summer (June 2016).

For St. Louis, the goal is to acquire a higher-value return ahead of the March 1 NHL trade deadline, but in order to do so, Shattenkirk would need to agree to an extension with another franchise. Shopping the defensemen as a “rental” or allowing him to enter free agency at the end of the season would yield a less profitable situation for the St. Louis Blues.

Shattenkirk has produced 42 points (11 G, 31 A) in 60 games this season for St. Louis.

 

 

Kevin Shattenkirk Turns Down Latest Trade Offer

Cardinals Will Battle Marlins in Spring Opener

ST. LOUIS – The Cardinals will kick off their 2017 spring schedule on Saturday with an exhibition against the Miami Marlins from Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, FL.

First pitch is slated for 12:05 pm local time (TV: FS-MW, Radio: KMOX 1120).

Pitching prospect Luke Weaver, who posted a 1-4, 5.70 ERA showing in 9 games for St. Louis a year ago, has been tabbed the starter.

Weaver will be one of several young pitchers trying to impress his club to open up the spring docket. John Gant and Austin Gomber are also expected to make appearances on the bump for the Cardinals in Saturday’s opener.

Gant went 1-4 with a 4.86 ERA as a member of the Atlanta Braves in 2016, his first season in the majors. Gant was one of three prospects acquired by the Cardinals in a trade with the Braves for LHP Jaime Garcia.

Gomber, a 2014 fourth round pick by St. Louis, has spent three years in the Cardinals’ farm system. He began 2016 in Springfield AA.

Cardinals Will Battle Marlins in Spring Opener

Paul Stastny Returns Tonight vs. Panthers

ST. LOUIS – After missing the past 4 games with a lower-body injury, the Blues will welcome veteran center Paul Stastny back into the lineup tonight against the Florida Panthers (7pm, NHLN, FS-MW).

Stastny, who suffered the injury in a game on February 9 against Toronto, is expected to re-join fellow line mates Vladimir Tarasenko and Alexander Steen on the Blues’ top line.

“I feel comfortable, mentally and physically,” Stastny told John Kelly of Fox Sports Midwest. “Excited to be back and get that game in before the break.”

Despite winning 3 of 4 games in his absence, the Blues have missed their first line center in the face-off dot, where Stastny is 6th in the NHL this season (55.6%) on draws.

In his 54 games played this season, Stastny has posted 35 points (15 G, 20 A).

Paul Stastny Returns Tonight vs. Panthers

Blues Set to Host Panthers at Scottrade Center

ST. LOUIS – After the Buffalo Sabres dealt the Blues their first loss in two weeks, St. Louis will look to get back in the win column as they face off against Jaromir Jagr and the Florida Panthers at Scottrade Center Monday (7pm, NHLN, FS-MW).

The Panthers (27-20-10) are coming off a victory over the Los Angeles Kings on February 18. Florida is currently perfect on their road trip (4-0-0), which will conclude in Monday night’s tilt against the Blues. Florida has 64 points and remain very much in the race for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, sitting just a point out of the second wild card.

The Blues (31-23-5) are coming off just their second loss since Mike Yeo took over as head coach on February 1. St. Louis is currently 6-2-0 in their past 8 games, and come into Monday holding the third place position in the Central Division. St. Louis trails second place Chicago by 10 points.

Vincent Trocheck leads the Panthers in points (41) and goals (20) this season, and has at least a point in 5 straight games.

Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko, who scored the opening goal against Buffalo on February 18, has 28 goals and assists this season for the Blues (56 points), and has 4 points (3 G, 1 A) in the last 5 games overall.


Game Notes:

This will be the first of two meetings between the Blues and Panthers this season (April 6).

Both teams have been good on the penalty kill so far in 2016-2017. The Panthers are ranked third in the NHL (85.0%), with the Blues just behind them, ranked fourth (84.6%).

Blues Set to Host Panthers at Scottrade Center