Tag Archives: Saint Louis Cardinals

As 2019 countdown reaches eight, Phillies remain in postseason hunt

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Phillies need Bryce Harper to play like a superstar to reach playoffs

Our weekly countdown towards the end of the 2019 Major League Baseball regular season now reaches ‘8’ – just eight more weeks left for the Philadelphia Phillies as they attempt to return to the postseason for the first time in eight years.

The Phillies are coming off another disheartening weekend, one in which the club dropped two of three to the lowly Chicago White Sox, owners of the seventh-worst record in MLB even after winning the series.
Still, the Fightin’ Phils remain tied with the division-rival Washington Nationals for the second National League Wildcard playoff berth at the moment. Those two have just one more loss than the Saint Louis Cardinals, who currently control the top Wildcard spot. Two are available.
Three more teams are right behind the Phillies and Nationals, all in the race still. But the real threat may be coming from a team that was way back just a few weeks ago.
Another NL East rival, the New York Mets, have won 15 of their last 20 games to move within a game of the .500 mark and within three games in the Wildcard race. Having obtained Marcus Stroman at the MLB trade deadline, the Mets may have the best starting pitching among all the teams still in the hunt.
This current winning streak from New York makes them one of three teams from the division to get hot over a lengthy stretch. The Braves won 28 of 38 between June 1 and July 15 to take over the division lead. After a horrendous start, the Nats went 36-15 pver two full months from May 24 to July 24.
The Phillies are the only team to have no such streak this season. The club has won as many as four in a row on four different occasions, the last more than a month ago in late June. The saving grace for the Phillies is that they have largely avoided fully tanking. From May 30 to June 24, the club lost 16 of 22. Outside of that, they have just two streaks of as many as three losses in a row all season long.
Can the Phillies take their turn, and go on a true winning spurt? If so, they not only would likely open up some distance in the Wildcard race, but they would get back into the hunt for a division crown. Do they have another big losing downturn in them? If so, they drop out of things, much as what happened with the 2018 ball club. Or maybe they simply tread water all year long. That might be the outcome which causes more angina and hair loss among the fan base than any other.
The following are the division and Wildcard standings with this week’s schedules in parentheses:


  1. Atlanta Braves 66-47 (at MIN – 3, at MIA – 4)
  2. Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals 58-53 (Phillies: at ARZ – 3, at SF – 4)


  1. Saint Lous Cardinals 58-52 (at LAD – 3, PIT – 3)
  2. Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals 58-53 (Nats: at SF – 3, at NYM – 3)
  3. Milwaukee Brewers 57-56 (at PIT – 3, TEX – 3)
  4. Arizona Diamondbacks and San Francisco Giants 56-56 (Dbacks: PHI – 3, at LAD – 3) / (SF: WAS – 3, PHI – 4)
  5. New York Mets 55-56 (MIA – 4, WAS – 3)

Phillies and Cardinals try to dodge tornadoes to get in series opener

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A wave of strong storms is due to hit Philly this week

Weather permitting, the Philadelphia Phillies (31-22) will host the Saint Louis Cardinals (26-26) on Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park in South Philadelphia.

That weather should indeed prove a major factor per The Weather Channel. There is a 75% chance of storms at the scheduled 7:05pm first pitch time, increasing to 95% between 8-9pm and continuing at 60% by 9pm as the storm system which spawned damaging tornadoes in Ohio last night moves through our area.
If they play, the Phillies will continue to try extending their solid work during this current rough stretch of the schedule. Beginning on May 13 the club began a stretch that we have referred to here at Phillies Nation as a 23-game “crucible” of games. All are against competition outside the division, all against winning or traditionally tough opposition.
To this point the club has gone 8-6 over the first two weeks of this stretch. After this current three-game series with the Cardinals concludes, the Phillies will head out to the west coast to visit the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres.
The Phillies took two of three from the Cardinals out in Saint Louis earlier this month, getting shutout in the opener but then roaring back to dominate the final two games. That is what the Phillies are trying to accomplish, win series, as they attempt to return to the postseason for the first time in eight years.
With today’s breaking news that Odubel Herrera was arrested following an incident at an Atlantic City casino in which he has been charged with domestic assault of his 20-year-old girlfriend, the Phillies have re-called Nick Williams. The club has also re-called pitcher Nick Pivetta, and both players will be in tonight’s starting lineup.



  1. Andrew McCutchen CF
  2. Jean Segura SS
  3. Bryce Harper RF
  4. Rhys Hoskins 1B
  5. J.T. Realmuto C
  6. Cesar Hernandez 2B
  7. Scott Kingery 3B
  8. Nick Williams LF
  9. Nick Pivetta


  1. Dexter Fowler RF
  2. Paul Goldschmidt 1B
  3. Paul DeJong SS
  4. Marcell Ozuna LF
  5. Matt Carpenter 3B
  6. Yadier Molina C
  7. Kolten Wong 2B
  8. Harrison Bader CF
  9. Adam Wainwright P


CARDINALS: one of the healthiest teams in the game, the Cards only key player on the IL is lefty reliever Brett Cecil. He is suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome in his left throwing arm and could return sometime in June.
PHILLIES: as we all know, the Phils bullpen has been seriously depleted by injuries with the following arms all on the IL: David RobertsonVictor AranoTommy HunterPat NeshekEdubray Ramos. Outfielder Roman Quinn is also on the IL with a groin strain. He took batting practice last week, and could return in early June. None of the pitchers is due back this series.


  • Nick Pivetta: 2-1, 8.35 ERA, 2.127 WHIP, 31 hits allowed over 18.1 IP with a 16/8 K:BB
  • Adam Wainwright: 4-4, 4.82 ERA, 1.414 WHIP, 51 hits over 52.1 IP with a 41/23 K:BB


  • The Phillies won the season series a year ago 4-3. They’ll try to do the same this season after taking two of three earlier this month.
  • Phillies have won 18 of 28 home games this season and their .643 winning percentage at home ranks T-5th in MLB. Phillies have drawn a total of 1,006,503 fans in 28 home games this season, an average of 35,946 per game which ranks 6th in MLB
  • Phillies have won 18 of their last 29 games (4/25-current) and their .621 winning percentage in that span is tied for the second-best record in the National League
  • In his last start against STL on 6/18/18, Pivetta struck out a career-high 13 batters
  • Lefty reliever Adam Morgan has not allowed a HR to his last 118 LHH (since 6/7/18) and only 1 HR to the last 193 LHH he faced (since 8/2/17)
  • Closer Hector Neris has converted 12 straight saves since 5/21/18 (2nd-longest streak of his career) and 20 of 23 since the start of last season. In those last 12 save opportunities, has pitched 13.2 IP and allowed 1 run on 5 H and 2 BB with 20 K’s.


Phillies welcome in the Saint Louis Cardinals for three late-May games

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The Saint Louis Cardinals visit Philly for three late-May games

Saint Louis Cardinals (26-26) of the NL Central Division in a three-game series scheduled to begin on Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park.

The Phillies remain on top of the NL East Division standings by 1.5 games, two in the loss column, over the Atlanta Braves. Meanwhile, the Cardinals have been slumping, falling to four games off the pace set by their arch-rival Chicago Cubs.
Earlier this month, the Phillies took two of three games from the Cards in a series at Busch Stadium. Saint Louis won the opener in a 6-0 shutout, then the Phils stormed back for 11-1 and 5-0 wins to take the series.
After a victory on May 1 over the Washington Nationals, the Cardinals sat 10 games over the .500 mark and three games up in their division. But since that time they have collapsed, dropping 16 of their last 22 games.
The main culprit has been their anemic offensive attack, which has put more than four runs on the scoreboard just nine times in that stretch. However, their pitching staff has also allowed the opposition to score in double-digits four times during what has turned into a nightmarish month of May.
The Cardinals scoring offense has produced similar results to the Phillies over the full course of the season. They are averaging exactly five runs scored per game, while the Phillies average is at 4.96 per game.
Saint Louis is 7th and the Phillies 8th ranked in the National League in OPS, and the Cards have slugged three more home runs. They are also much more prone to run, ranking in a tie for 2nd in the NL in stolen bases with 30, while the Phillies 17 steals puts them near the bottom of the league.
The Cardinals pitching staff is 5th in the NL in batting average against (.241), far better than the Phillies staff (.259) rank of 14th in the league. Neither staff is particularly overpowering, with the Phillies hurlers ranking 12th and the Cardinals pitchers 13th in the NL in strikeouts.
I’ve been talking for a couple of weeks now about this crucible of a schedule stretch which the Phillies are currently navigating their way through. To this point they have held their own, going 8-6 against tough opposition over the last two weeks.
This grueling stretch of games against talented teams will head back out on the road following this brief home series with Saint Louis. The Phillies will travel out to face the National League’s top team and the winners of the last two NL pennants, the Los Angeles Dodgers, over the weekend. The stretch will then end early next week with three games at improved San Diego.
Winning series. That’s what it continues to be all about for these 2019 Phillies. Taking at least two of three here against Saint Louis will be important before heading out to the west coast.



  • Paul Goldschmidt: The 31-year-old first baseman was traded from Arizona to Saint Louis back in December for three prospects and a draft pick. He is slashing .264/.357/.433 and is second on the club with 10 homers. An NL All-Star for the last six straight seasons. Runner-up for the NL MVP in both 2013 and 2015, 3rd in voting in 2017. Three-time Gold Glover and four-time Silver Slugger Award winner.
  • Marcell Ozuna: The 28-year-old right fielder was acquired during the Miami Marlins fire sale back in December 2017 for four prospects. He is slashing .230/.316/.508 and leads the club with 14 homers and 45 RBIs.
  • Paul DeJong: A 25-year-old shortstop who was runner-up for the 2017 NL Rookie of the Year Award, DeJong has broken out as a potential All-Star this season. He is slashing .295/.396/.518 and has been the club’s most consistent offensive performer, leading the team with 26 extra-base hits and 39 runs scored.


Yadier Molina: The perennial NL All-Star and possible future Hall of Famer turnes 37-years-old in mid-July. He has been an NL All-Star in nine of the last 10 seasons, and won eight Gold Gloves at catcher over the last 11 years. Molina is hitting .317 over the course of his big-league career against the Phillies, and his 11 homers against them are the most he has hit against any non-divisional opponent. He is hitting .309 with seven of those homers coming at Citizens Bank Park.


  • Adam Wainwright (37): 4-4, 4.82 ERA, 1.414 WHIP, 51 hits allowed over 52.1 IP including 8 HR with a 41/23 K:BB
  • Genesis Cabrera (22): a native of the Dominican Republic, this will be his big-league debut.
  • Dakota Hudson (24): 3-3, 4.22 ERA, 1.631 WHIP, 63 hits over 53.1 IP including 9 HR with a 38/24/K:BB


  • Harrison Bader: 25-year-old righty bat outfielder slashing .265/.379/.449
  • Matt Wieters: 33-year-old backup catcher formerly starter with Orioles is slashing .333/.346/.458
  • Michael Wacha: 27-year-old righty was just moved to the bullpen after making nine starts
  • Jordan Hicks: 22-year-old second-year righty has 10 Saves as the closer, with a 4.24 ERA and 1.235 WHIP
  • John Gant: 26-year-old righty having strong season with 1.26 ERA, 0.698 WHIP, 31/8 K:BB over 28.2 IP
  • John Brebbia: 29-year old righty also strong with a 1.61 ERA, 1.000 WHIP, 33/10 K:BB over 28 IP
  • Andrew Miller: 34-year-old lefty famous with Indians, 4.19 ERA, 1.397 WHIP, 25/10 K:BB over 19.1 IP


Mike Shildt is in his second season at the helm after taking over around the mid-point of last season. He took over from longtime skipper Mike Matheny with the club just a game over the .500 mark in third place and 7.5 out in the division. Club went 41-28 under his guidance, finishing just three games out of an NL Wildcard berth.
The 50-year old Schildt was a scout and minor league coach in the Cardinals organziation. He was given a chance to  manage with their short-season affiliates back in 2009 and rose through their organizational and coaching ranks, becoming third base coach in Saint Louis in 2017. Schildt was named the interim manager after Matheny was fired, and then in late August 2018 was given a three-year contract and became the permanent skipper.


This could be a touch-and-go series as far as the Philadelphia weather goes. There is a 90% chance of precipitation on Tuesday and 80% on Wednesday, dropping to 40% or less on Thursday. There is a strong chance of storms just prior to game time for Tuesday’s opener, and then a 90-95% chance of thunderstorms between 7-9pm.
For Wednesday, there is a 60% chance of storms at the scheduled first-pitch time after an afternoon of rain. However, once that system passes the chances or precipitation drop to 15% by 8pm. Thursday looks fine at this point, but with a chance of afternoon storms.

Phillies bats explode as Aaron Nola grounds the Cardinals

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Aaron Nola shuts down Cards behind offensive outburst

The Philadelphia Phillies (20-15) downed the host Saint Louis Cardinals (21-15) by an 11-1 score on Tuesday night at Busch Stadium in what was a complete reversal of the series opener between the two clubs.

After suffering a 6-0 defeat in that opener, a game in which they generated just six hits, the Phillies offense exploded. The lineup produced a dozen hits, with the heart of the order producing 10 of those, and scored in double-digits for the fifth time this season already. The 2018 Phillies scored in double-digits just nine times all season.
Meanwhile, starting pitcher Aaron Nola shut down the Cardinals lineup for most of the night. Nola allowed just three hits over six innings, striking out seven and walking one. The right-hander had a shutout going into the bottom of the 6th when pinch-hitter Matt Wieters got to him for a solo home run.
The Phillies put up a big crooked number by scoring six in the top of the 2nd inning. Odubel Herrera got things started with a double to center. He then moved to third on a passed ball by the usually reliable Cardinals veteran backstop Yadier Molina.
Cesar Hernandez then drew walk and Maikel Franco reached on a fielder’s choice that included a throwing error on Cards’ second baseman Kolten Wong and a victorious challenge by manager Gabe Kapler. Herrera scored on that play, putting the Phillies on the board first. Nola then also reached on a force play with Hernandez scoring to make it a 2-0 game.
Andrew McCutchen worked a walk to load the bases. One out later, Bryce Harper stepped to the plate. The struggling right fielder worked the count to 2-1 and then drove a slider from Cardinals starter Dakota Hudson out to right field for his first-ever grand slam in a Phillies uniform. Harper’s seventh home run of the season pushed the lead out to 6-0.
In the top of the 5th inning, consecutive singles from Harper, Rhys Hoskins and J.T. Realmuto produced another run. Hoskins then scored when Herrera grounded into a force play and it was 8-0 in favor of the Phillies.
Nola finished out the bottom of the 6th after surrendering Wieters’ home run and gave way to the bullpen. Juan Nicasio tossed a pair of shutout frames and then 22-year-old rookie Edgar Garcia wrapped things up with a scoreless 9th inning.
The Phillies offense wasn’t done, however. Hoskins one-out double was followed by a Realmuto single to put runners at the corners in the top of the 7th inning. Herrera then doubled to right to score Hoskins and a sac fly by Cesar Hernandez scored Realmuto to push the Phillies up to double-digits at 10-0.
In the top of the 9th inning, Hoskins put a cherry on top by blasting his 11th home run of the season out deep to left field. It was the fourth hit of the night for the Phillies first baseman.
On Wednesday afternoon the Phillies will be attempting something that the club has not accomplished since 2012, winning a series in Saint Louis. Jerad Eickhoff will take the mound for the Phils with talented 23-year-old Jack Flaherty going for the Cards. Then during a Thursday off-day they travel to Kansas City for a weekend Inter-league series with the Royals.


  • Aaron Nola: 6 IP, 3 hits, 1 earned, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts, 101 pitches with 63 for strikes
  • Dakota Huson: 5 IP, 7 hits, 8 runs (2 earned), 3 walks, 3 strikeouts, 79 pitches with 44 for strikes


The Phillies ace produced his third straight solid start and best of the season. After Harper’s grand slam gave him an early cushion, he shut the Cards down and never allowed them into the game.
It was good to see Harper crack that blast. He had two hits, a walk, and scored twice. Hoskins blasted a homer as part of a four-hit night. But the most important story of this victory was the performance by the club’s starting pitcher.


  • Wednesday May 8 at 1:15 pm vs the Saint Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium III
  • TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia; MLB Network (out-of-market only)
  • Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP, WTTM 1680 (Spanish)

Phillies and Cardinals continue early May series between first place ball clubs

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Phillies continue tough series with Cardinals in Saint Louis

The Philadelphia Phillies (19-15) lead the National League East Division standings by 1.5 games, two in the loss column, over the Atlanta Braves with the New York Mets four back and the Washington Nationals five back in the loss column.

The Saint Louis Cardinals (21-14) lead the National League Central Division standings by a half-game and .006 percentage points over their arch-rivals, the Chicago Cubs. However, the Cubbies have one fewer loss that than the Cards, who have played three more games.
On Tuesday night the two division leaders will meet in the second game of a three-game set at Busch Stadium III in Saint Louis. The Cards took the opener by a dominating 6-0 on Monday night with the Phillies offense producing just five hits.
Prior to last night’s white-washing the Phillies offense had been rolling, scoring 26 runs over the previous four games. but this was also the 14th time in their first 34 games that the lineup has produced three or fewer runs. It has very much been an all-or-nothing group.
The Cardinals had dropped four straight games prior to Monday night. Before that little mini-losing skid they were scorching hot, with 10 wins over the prior 11 games to get back into the central race following a slow start to the season.



  1. Andrew McCutchen
  2. Jean Segura
  3. Bryce Harper
  4. Rhys Hoskins
  5. J.T. Realmuto
  6. Odubel Herrera
  7. Cesar Hernandez
  8. Maikel Franco
  9. Aaron Nola


  1. Matt Carpenter
  2. Paul Goldschmidt
  3. Paul DeJong
  4. Marcell Ozuna
  5. Jose Martinez
  6. Yadier Molina
  7. Dexter Fowler
  8. Kolten Wong
  9. Dakota Hudson


  • Aaron Nola: 2-0, 5.06 ERA, 1.607 WHIP, 44 hits allowed over 37.1 IP with a 38/16 K:BB
  • Nola has been way off his 2018 pace. He has allowed at least seven hits in his last five starts. Looked better over his last two outings, allowing just two runs over 12.1 IP but with just 10 strikeouts and four walks, 14 hits allowed.
  • Nola has pitched well during his career against Saint Louis: 2-2 record with a 2.84 ERA, 17 hits allowed over 25.1 IP across four starts with a 27/6 K:BB. In three games at Busch Stadium he is 1-2 with a 3.50 ERA, 13 hits over 18 IP with a 19/4 K:BB ratio.
  • Dakota Hudson: 2-2, 4.80 ERA, 1.733 WHIP, 37 hits allowed 30 IP with a 26/15 K:BB
  • Hudson is a 24-year-old rookie-eligible who made 26 appearances last season, all as a reliever. This season has made six starts over seven appearances. This will be his first career appearance against the Phillies.
  • Hudson is a native of Chattanooga, Tennessee who was the Cardinals first round pick at 34th overall in the 2016 MLB Draft out of Mississippi State.


  • With this series the Phillies have begun a stretch of 35 games outside the NL East Division. They had played 23 of their first 32 games within their division, more than any other team in baseball.
  • The Phillies are now just 3-13 in Saint Louis over their last 16 games following last night’s defeat. They are just 12-25 at Busch Stadium since the start of the 2010 season, and have not won a series in Saint Louis since 2012.
  • The Phillies are 14-4 when they score first, 16-4 when scoring four or more runs, 17-1 when leading after six innings, 10-1 when they out-hit their opponents, and 16-6 when hitting at least one home run.
  • Over their last 11 starts the Phillies pitching rotation has accumulated a 2.81 ERA, the best in the National League, with the club posting a 7-4 record over that span.
  • Rhys Hoskins is slugging .620 against right-handed pitching in 2019, fourth-best among all qualified hitters in baseball. For his career, Hoskins has a .572 slugging percentage against righties, ranking 5th among all righty bats in MLB since 1974.
  • J.T. Realmuto has thrown out 10 of 21 base stealers (47.6%), which is both the most base stealers thrown out and the
    highest percentage among all catchers in baseball. Realmuto leads all players in MLB in overall defensive value per FanGraphs’ “Defensive” metric with his 7.7 fielding runs above average.
  • Outfielder Marcell Ozuna has faced Nola more than any Cardinals player, and over 19 at-bats is hitting .316 off the Phillies righty with two home runs. Dexter Fowler has beaten Nola up over their careers to the tune of a .571 average with two homers.


  • Tuesday May 7 at 7:45 pm vs. the Saint Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium
  • TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia; MLB Network (out-of-market only)
  • Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP, WTTM 1680 (Spanish)