By Rob Rains
Their bullpen has struggled and the offense has been inconsistent, but the Cardinals’ starting rotation has kept the team in the middle of the NL Central race the last two months.
Luke Weaver just wishes he could have provided a little more help to the other starters.
Weaver saw his record fall to 1-6 in his 11 starts since April 13 with the Cardinals’ loss to the Padres Wednesday night at Busch Stadium, a loss that left them with a 4-5 record after playing their last nine games against the three last place teams in the National League.
Weaver’s only win over the last two months came on May 11 in San Diego, when he worked five scoreless innings, but on Wednesday night he allowed two runs in the first and was charged with two more in the sixth. It was the sixth time in his last 11 starts he allowed at least four runs.
He is 0-4 in his six starts since the win in San Diego.
Here is how the game broke down:
At the plate: The Cardinals had 25 hits in the three games against the Padres but did not hit either a double or a triple. Twenty-one of the hits were singles and four were home runs, three on Monday night and a two-run homer from Marcell Ozuna on Wednesday night in the sixth, following a single by Tommy Pham, to account for their only runs. It was Ozuna’s eighth homer of the year … The Cardinals had only two other runners reach second base, Ozuna after he singled and went to second on a single by Jedd Gyorko in the fourth and Gyorko in the sixth when he singled and advanced on a wild pitch.
On the mound: The two runs in the first were the first runs allowed by the Cardinals in 17 games, since May 26, and the first runs they gave up in the opening inning at home since May 19. Weaver allowed five hits over the next four innings but kept the Padres from adding to their lead until the sixth when he gave up a double and triple to the last two hitters he faced. … The final run scored when Austin Gomber gave up a single to the first hitter faced … John Brebbia pitched two perfect innings in the eighth and ninth, striking out three.
Key stat: The Cardinals sent 101 batters to the plate in the three games against the Padres and did not draw a walk. It’s the first time since 2003 and only the second time since 1978 they have played three consecutive games without drawing a walk; the last time it happened in the same series was in 1978. The franchise record is four consecutive games without a walk, set in 1908.
More draft signings: The Cardinals announced the signing of right-handed pitcher Griffin Roberts, first baseman Luken Baker and shortstop Mateo Gil on Wednesday. The team has now signed its top four picks in the draft. All three will report to the Gulf Coast League Cardinals to begin their pro careers. Baker is still recovering from a broken leg but said he hopes he will be able to play by early July … Baker said he played against Cardinals’ reliever Jordan Hicks from the time they were 9 years old through high school. He also already had a relationship with Gil, hosting him on Gil’s official visit to TCU last year … Roberts, who was both a starter and reliever at Wake Forest, said he has been told the Cardinals plan to develop him as a starter … The Cardinals have signed several more of their draft picks and those are expected to be announced in the next couple of days.
Worth noting: Jose Martinez will fly back to Venezuela on Thursday so he can be on hand for the birth of his daughter. He will go on paternity leave on Friday and miss this weekend’s series against the Cubs. Luke Voit was sent to Springfield from Memphis on Wednesday so he would be closer to St. Louis and will rejoin the Cardinals on Friday. Voit hit a home run for Springfield on Wednesday night … Greg Holland will report to Springfield on Thursday to begin the next step of his rehab since Memphis is playing on the road … Paul DeJong has his next doctor’s appointment on Thursday and expects to receive permission to ramp up his baseball activities, including being allowed to begin hitting off a tee … Matt Bowman is expected to be activated from the disabled list before Friday’s game.
Looking ahead: After Thursday’s day off, Michael Wacha will get the start in the opener of the series against Chicago on Friday night, with Jon Lester scheduled to start for the Cubs.
By Rob Rains