Archive for the ‘Pitchers’ Category

Two months after Joe Magrane won five consecutive decisions as a starting pitcher, the Cardinals gave up on him.

Magrane, 29, was released by the Cardinals 25 years ago on Aug. 15, 1993.

Trying to rebuild his career after being sidelined all of 1991 and most of 1992 because of reconstructive surgery on his left elbow, Magrane returned to the Cardinals’ starting rotation in 1993. He was 1-2 in April and 1-3 in May before posting a 5-1 record and 2.47 ERA in six June starts.

Magrane, however, slumped in July (1-3, 11.50 ERA) and was moved to the bullpen. In two August relief stints, he was 0-1 with a 21.60 ERA.

“Once he went to the bullpen, he didn’t really fit into what we’re doing,” Cardinals manager Joe Torre said to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Right stuff

Magrane was a first-round choice of the Cardinals in the 1985 amateur draft. He made his major-league debut with St. Louis in 1987, earned nine regular-season wins and was the starting pitcher in Game 1 and Game 7 of the World Series against the Twins.

Bright and personable, Magrane, a communications major at the University of Arizona, was popular with the media. “Few players combined his love of word play, his wit and his sharp bluntness _ an oxymoron he might appreciate,” Post-Dispatch columnist Tom Wheatley wrote. “His word choice was precise, as was his diction.”

Magrane wasn’t all talk either. He was the National League leader in ERA (2.18) in 1988 and he was 18-9 with a 2.91 ERA in 1989.

A damaged elbow altered his status. After sitting out the 1991 season, Magrane didn’t pitch again for the Cardinals until September 1992 when he was 1-2 with a 4.02 ERA in five starts.

Hot and cold

Magrane opened the 1993 season as part of a Cardinals starting rotation with Bob Tewksbury, Rheal Cormier, Donovan Osborne and Rene Arocha.

In his first start of the season, on April 10, 1993, at St. Louis against the Reds, Magrane pitched eight scoreless innings before he was relieved by Lee Smith in a game won by the Cardinals, 2-1, in 10 innings. Boxscore

“He was sensational,” said Torre. “… You could tell his ball was moving because the opposition was not hitting it on the good part of the bat when he got behind in the count.”

Magrane showed more signs of returning to form when he won five consecutive decisions from June 6 to June 27 in starts against the Reds, Expos, Pirates, Marlins and Mets.

His June 11 performance versus the Expos was the best. Magrane pitched 7.2 scoreless innings, limiting the Expos to two singles, before he was relieved by Paul Kilgus in a game the Cardinals won, 1-0, at St. Louis. Boxscore

The win was Magrane’s first at Busch Stadium since Sept. 4, 1990. “I’m not the same pitcher I was before,” Magrane said. “I know I’m not throwing as hard and my breaking ball isn’t as good, but I have a better changeup and my location is better.”

July was a different story. Magrane pitched well in one start, against the Braves, and was knocked around in the rest. Magrane gave up 22 hits and 17 runs in seven total innings over his last three starts. “He just got into a dead-arm period,” said Cardinals pitching coach Joe Coleman. “There just wasn’t enough in there to get people out.”

Letting go

When Torre removed Magrane from his last start, “Magrane put his hands on his hips and stared at Torre as he approached the mound,” the Post-Dispatch reported.

Taken out of the starting rotation, Magrane mostly sat in the bullpen and pitched poorly the two times he was used. “I don’t think they have any confidence in me to bring me into a close game,” Magrane said.

The Cardinals offered Magrane the option to go on the disabled list “because of an assortment of minor ailments,” the Post-Dispatch reported. Magrane, however, declined and said, “I thought that was a bad idea … I’ve been on the disabled list enough. My arm feels great and my elbow is a non-issue.”

Torre was torn about what to do _ “I’ve been wrestling with this thing for a while,” he said _ but recommended the Cardinals release Magrane.

“No disrespect intended, but I thought (Torre) panicked a bit,” Magrane said.

Magrane was 8-10 with a 4.97 ERA in 22 appearances for the 1993 Cardinals. He had almost as many walks (37) as strikeouts (38) in 116 innings pitched. “Magrane has Bob Tewksbury’s speed and stuff, but not the control,” Wheatley wrote. “Walks killed him. So did slipshod defense. Strapped to get three outs, he could not muster four.”

In six seasons with St. Louis, Magrane was 51-54 with a 3.34 ERA. “It was not the most successful era in Cardinals history, but it was certainly the most erudite,” Wheatley noted.

Said Magrane: “I was proud to be a St. Louis Cardinal and part of a tradition-rich ballclub. The organization has been good as far as treating you like a man and allowing you to get ready, not meddling with your affairs.”

Empty tank

On Aug. 19, 1993, four days after the Cardinals released him, Magrane signed with the Angels. Whitey Herzog, Magrane’s first manager with the Cardinals, was in the Angels’ front office as senior vice president and director of player personnel and he advocated for Magrane.

Magrane made eight starts for the 1993 Angels and was 3-2 with a 3.94 ERA. They brought him back in 1994 and he flopped, posting a 2-6 record and 7.30 ERA.

After spending 1995 in the minor leagues with the Ottawa Lynx, an Expos affiliate, Magrane pitched his final big-league season in 1996 with the White Sox and was 1-5 with a 6.88 ERA.

Read Full Post »

An umpire’s ruling and an official scorer’s decision prevented the Cardinals from achieving a no-hitter against the Mets.

Forty years ago, on Aug. 12, 1978, John Denny and Roy Thomas combined to pitch a one-hitter in a 5-1 Cardinals victory over the Mets at New York.

John Stearns had the lone hit, an infield single leading off the seventh inning.

Stearns would have been out on the play, but umpire Paul Pryor said first baseman Roger Freed took his foot off the bag too soon while catching a throw from second baseman Mike Tyson.

Pryor called Stearns safe and official scorer Red Foley of the New York Daily News credited Stearns with a single. If Stearns was safe because of Freed’s misstep, the play should have been scored an error, not a hit, the Cardinals argued.

Pitching and fielding

The game matched starting pitchers John Denny of the Cardinals against Kevin Kobel of the Mets. Denny was making his first appearance in two weeks after recovering from “a bad back, a bad left leg and a bad cold,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Kobel was a left-hander and Cardinals manager Ken Boyer decided to give his first baseman, left-handed batter Keith Hernandez, a break in the Saturday afternoon game. Backup first baseman Roger Freed started in place of Hernandez.

The Cardinals scored a run in the first and three in the second against Kobel. Denny limited the Mets to a walk in the first three innings.

In the bottom of the fourth, with one out, Denny walked Lee Mazzilli, who moved to second on a groundout by Willie Montanez. Stearns followed with a grounder to shortstop Garry Templeton, “who lobbed a throw to first,” according to the Post-Dispatch. The ball eluded Freed, Mazzilli scored from second and Templeton was charged with a two-base error.

Playing footsie

The Mets remained hitless entering the seventh against a tiring Denny. Boyer told the Post-Dispatch he planned to lift Denny after the inning, even if the no-hitter was intact. “After the fifth inning, I was losing it rapidly,” Denny said.

Stearns led off the Mets’ half of the seventh with a slow bouncer toward second. Tyson charged, grabbed the ball barehanded and, though off-balance. fired an accurate throw to Freed at first base.

As Stearns reached first, Pryor pointed toward the bag and the fielder, indicating Freed had pulled away too quickly after snaring Tyson’s toss.

“He pulled his foot off the base,” Pryor said to the Post-Dispatch. “Tyson made a hell of a play and, if he (Freed) had caught the ball with his foot on the bag, Stearns would have been out.”

Freed disagreed with the umpire and said, “He blew the play … We had him by a step and a half.”

Stearns and Mets first-base coach Denny Sommers said Pryor made the correct call.

Judgment call

As soon as Pryor declared Stearns safe, Foley scored the play a single.

Tyson disagreed, saying, “If he’s safe, then it’s got to be an error.”

Home plate umpire Ed Vargo told the Post-Dispatch, “It’s got to be an error.”

In Foley’s judgment, though, no error was made because the play was difficult and the fielders executed as best they could.

“It was a tough play for (Tyson) and he had to make a hell of a play just to make it close,” Foley said to the Post-Dispatch. “I’d like to give this guy a no-hitter, but I can’t.”

Denny got the next batter, Steve Henderson, to hit into a double play and Joel Youngblood grounded out to Templeton, ending the inning. Denny was done after yielding one unearned run, one disputed hit and three walks in seven innings.

The Cardinals scored another run in the eighth and Boyer put in Hernandez, who would win the first of 11 consecutive Gold Glove awards that year, as a defensive replacement for Freed. Thomas relieved Denny, allowed no hits and a walk in two innings, and closed out a 5-1 Cardinals victory.

Denny shrugged off any concern about missing a chance to be part of a no-hitter. “The idea is to win the game,” he said. Boxscore

Read Full Post »

Tony Cloninger, a prominent National League starting pitcher in the 1960s, was given an opportunity by the Cardinals to extend his major-league career as a reliever in the 1970s, but it didn’t work out.

Cloninger, who died July 24, 2018, at 77, was acquired by the Cardinals from the Reds for second baseman Julian Javier on March 24, 1972.

A right-hander, Cloninger pitched well for the Reds in 1971, posting a 3.33 ERA in 20 relief appearances and a 3.88 ERA overall, but he didn’t fit into their plans in 1972 and the Reds made him available.

The Reds showcased Cloninger, 31, in a spring training start against the Cardinals on March 23, 1972, and he delivered, yielding one hit in six innings. The next day, the Cardinals, seeking relief help, made the deal for him.

Reliable starter

The trade reunited Cloninger with his friend, Cardinals third baseman Joe Torre. They were teammates with the Braves from 1961-68 and Torre was Cloninger’s catcher during the pitcher’s heyday. Torre caught more of Cloninger’s games, 141, than any other catcher.

Cloninger signed with the Braves as an amateur free agent in May 1958 and, when he made his major-league debut with them at age 20 on June 15, 1961, in a start against the Giants at Candlestick Park, Torre was his catcher. Boxscore

A month later, on July 13, 1961, at St. Louis, Cloninger faced the Cardinals for the first time and catcher Tim McCarver, 19, hit his first big-league home run against him. Boxscore

The next year, on Sept. 5, 1962, Cloninger pitched his first major-league shutout in a 1-0 Braves victory over the Cardinals at St. Louis. Bill White, with a single and double, had two of the Cardinals’ five hits against Cloninger. Boxscore

On Aug. 11, 1963, at Milwaukee, Cloninger pitched another gem against the Cardinals, striking out 11 in a four-hitter won by the Braves, 9-1. Boxscore

From 1964-66, Cloninger was a productive, durable ace for the Braves. He was 19-14 with 242.2 innings pitched in 1964, 24-11 in 279 innings in 1965 and 14-11 in 257.2 innings in 1966. Cloninger was 3-0 against the Cardinals in 1965.

Cloninger also could hit. On July 3, 1966, he produced nine RBI, with two grand slams and a run-scoring single, in a game against the Giants at Candlestick Park. He hit the first grand slam against Bob Priddy and the second against Ray Sadecki, the former Cardinal, and pitched a complete game in a 17-3 Braves victory. Boxscore

In June 1968, the Braves traded Cloninger to the Reds and, though he no longer was an ace, he contributed, earning nine wins for the pennant-winning 1970 Reds. Cloninger also started and lost Game 3 of the 1970 World Series against the Orioles. Boxscore

Taking a chance

The 1972 Cardinals gave a look at another former Reds starter, Jim Maloney, in spring training, but didn’t like what they saw, released him and acquired Cloninger.

“Even though I like Cloninger personally and admire his perseverance, I can’t get excited over the addition of a struggling pitching veteran who has been beset by arm, eye and back troubles,” sports editor Bob Broeg wrote in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Reds manager Sparky Anderson said if the Cardinals “pitch him enough so that he can keep his control, he’ll deliver for them.”

“He still throws hard and his attitude is the best,” Anderson added.

Cardinals manager Red Schoendienst said Cloninger told him he was “ready to start, to relieve or hit fungoes” to help.

“I’ve never talked to a ballplayer yet who played for the Cardinals organization who didn’t think it was fantastic,” Cloninger said to the Dayton Journal Herald.

In his first spring training appearance for the Cardinals, Cloninger yielded two hits in five innings against the Mets and ensured himself a spot on the Opening Day pitching staff.

The Cardinals opened the 1972 season with seven relievers: right-handers Moe Drabowsky, Dennis Higgins, Al Santorini and Cloninger, and left-handers Joe Grzenda, Don Shaw and Lance Clemons.

Gopher balls

Cloninger had a good outing on May 24, 1972, against the Pirates, pitching 3.2 scoreless relief innings, but five days later he took a big step backwards.

On May 29, 1972, the Cardinals carried a 6-3 lead into the ninth inning against the Mets at St. Louis and Schoendienst called on Cloninger to be the closer. After Jerry Grote singled and Bud Harrelson walked, Ken Bowell, batting with one out, hit a three-run home run, tying the score at 6-6. Tommie Agee followed with a single before Schoendienst lifted Cloninger. Agee eventually scored from third on a passed ball by catcher Ted Simmons, the Mets won, 7-6, and Cloninger took the loss.

The home run was the first of the season for Boswell, who entered the game batting .177. Boxscore

Cloninger unveiled a knuckleball and bounced back with some good outings, including a three-inning scoreless stint against the Braves on July 11, 1972, at St. Louis.

His Cardinals career, however, came to a sudden close with one bad pitch.

On July 22, 1972, against the Braves at Atlanta, Cloninger entered in the 10th inning with the score tied at 7-7. His first pitch to the first batter, Dusty Baker, was belted for a walkoff home run and an 8-7 Braves victory.

Before going to the plate, Baker told teammate Oscar Brown, “I think I’ll take a pitch and see what he’s got.” Brown replied, “No, man, go up there swinging,” and Baker did.

Denny McLain, who pitched a scoreless top of the 10th, got his first National League win and the loss went to Cloninger. Boxscore

Four days later, on July 26, the Cardinals released Cloninger, who was 0-2 with a 5.19 ERA in 17 relief appearances. On Aug. 1, Cloninger signed with the Braves, who sent him to their minor-league club at Richmond, Va., where he became a teammate of second baseman Tony La Russa.

Cloninger was 1-1 in seven appearances for Richmond, ending his playing days. He had a 113-97 record in 12 big-league seasons.

Twenty years later, in 1992, Cloninger was hired to be a coach on the staff of Yankees manager Buck Showalter. In 1996, Showalter departed and Cloninger’s old friend, Torre, became Yankees manager. Cloninger was a coach for five pennant-winning teams and four World Series championship clubs with the Yankees under Torre.

In 2002 and 2003, Cloninger was a Red Sox coach for manager Grady Little.

Read Full Post »

With their third baseman, Gary Gaetti, about to turn 40, the Cardinals went looking for a successor and came up with Fernando Tatis.

Twenty years ago, on July 31, 1998, the Cardinals traded pitcher Todd Stottlemyre and shortstop Royce Clayton to the Rangers for Tatis, pitcher Darren Oliver and a player to be named, outfielder Mark Little.

The move upset Gaetti, who wasn’t ready to give up his starting role, and surprised Tatis, who was happy being with the Rangers.

Though his stay in St. Louis turned out to be short, Tatis made it memorable, accomplishing an unusual feat within the most productive season of his career.

Vying for value

The 1998 Cardinals were 50-57 and out of playoff contention entering the last day of the interleague trade deadline on July 31. With Stottlemyre and Clayton eligible to become free agents after the season, the Cardinals looked to trade them rather than have them depart without getting any players in return.

The Cardinals tried to sign Stottlemyre to a long-term contract that summer, proposing three years for $21 million, but he wanted a four-year contract, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “The Cardinals don’t have to apologize for offering $7 million a season,” Post-Dispatch columnist Bernie Miklasz wrote.

Stottlemyre was sought by several contenders, including the Rangers, who were neck-and-neck with the Angels in the American League West Division. Stottlemyre had extensive postseason experience, pitching in the 1992 and 1993 World Series for the Blue Jays and the 1996 National League Championship Series for the Cardinals.

The Rangers offered Oliver, a left-hander, for Stottlemyre. Oliver, 27, was younger than Stottlemyre, 33, and wouldn’t be eligible for free agency until after the 1999 season. The Cardinals liked Oliver, but also wanted Tatis. Cardinals general manager Walt Jocketty told his counterpart, Doug Melvin, the Rangers would have to take Clayton, 28, in exchange for Tatis, 23, if they wanted Stottlemyre. Melvin agreed, projecting Clayton as an upgrade over Kevin Elster at shortstop.

After replacing Ozzie Smith as Cardinals starting shortstop in 1996, Clayton was a National League all-star in 1997, but he slumped in 1998 (.234 batting average) and the Cardinals weren’t interested in offering him a contract before he entered free agency.

“Clayton represented everything wrong with this disappointing team: moodiness and stubbornness,” wrote Miklasz. “He pouted when he didn’t bat leadoff. He never embraced the suggestions to hit smarter with two strikes. Clayton never tried to hit the ball the opposite way.”

All-star potential

While rating Oliver as “a solid third or fourth starter and probably better than that,” Jocketty acknowledged, “The guy we liked is Tatis. We needed to find a third baseman and he was the best guy available.”

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said Tatis had “an above-average arm. He’s got the talent to become an impact-type third baseman.”

Said Melvin: “We don’t like giving him up because we really think he’ll be an all-star third baseman.”

Tatis made his major-league debut with the Rangers in 1997 and he was batting .270 in 95 games for them in 1998 when he was traded.

After joining the Cardinals, Tatis said of the trade, “When I knew about it, I felt really bad. I was just in shock … I loved it over there.”

Gaetti was unhappy about being benched for Tatis. Gaetti, 39, was batting .263 with 23 doubles and 10 home runs when Tatis was acquired. “The third baseman was not the weakest link on this team,” Gaetti said. “It’s just frustrating.”

On Aug. 14, the Cardinals released Gaetti and he signed with the Cubs five days later, on Aug. 19, his 40th birthday.

Ups and downs

Tatis got off to a terrible start with the Cardinals, committing three errors in his first three games and going hitless in his first 11 at-bats.

“It’s asking a lot for him to make plays like Brooks Robinson and hit like Mike Schmidt, but when he settles in he’ll be fine,” La Russa said.

Tatis got on track and batted .287 for the 1998 Cardinals. Oliver made 10 Cardinals starts that season and was 4-4 with a 4.26 ERA.

After dealing Tatis, the Rangers acquired Todd Zeile, the former Cardinal, from the Marlins to play third base. Stottlemyre (5-4), Clayton (.285) and Zeile helped the 1998 Rangers finish in first place in the AL West and reach the postseason.

In 1999, Tatis had the best season of his 11-year career in the big leagues. Tatis had single-season career highs in runs (104), hits (160), home runs (34), RBI (107), walks (82), stolen bases (21), batting average (.298) and on-base percentage (.404) for the 1999 Cardinals.

On April 23, 1999, he became the only major-league player to hit two grand slams in an inning, achieving the feat in the third against Chan Ho Park of the Dodgers. Boxscore

In 2000, Tatis was limited to 96 games, none from April 30 to June 29 because of a groin injury. With Placido Polanco available to play third base, the Cardinals traded Tatis and pitcher Britt Reames to the Expos in December 2000 for pitchers Dustin Hermanson and Steve Kline.

Oliver led the 1999 Cardinals in innings pitched (196.1) and was 9-9. He became a free agent after that season and returned to the Rangers.

Free agents Stottlemyre and Clayton took different paths after the Yankees eliminated the Rangers in the 1998 AL Division Series. Stottlemyre signed with the Diamondbacks and Clayton stayed with the Rangers.

Little, 26, the player to be named in the Rangers-Cardinals deal, made his major-league debut with St. Louis in September 1998 and had one hit in 12 at-bats. After spending 1999 and 2000 with minor-league Memphis, Little was granted free agency and signed with the Rockies.

Read Full Post »

Two years after he established the tone for the 2006 World Series, pitching a Game 1 gem and propelling the club toward a championship, Anthony Reyes and the Cardinals were eager for a divorce.

Ten years ago, on July 26, 2008, the Cardinals traded Reyes to the Indians for minor-league reliever Luis Perdomo and cash.

Reyes, 26, was with the Cardinals’ farm club at Memphis when the deal was made. He began the 2008 season with the Cardinals, clashed with pitching coach Dave Duncan, sprained his right elbow and got demoted to the minor leagues.

Disillusioned, Reyes was ready to be traded and the Cardinals were prepared to accommodate him.

“He needs a change of scenery,” Cardinals outfielder Skip Schumaker said to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Said Reyes: “When you get overlooked and you feel you’re pitching well, you want to go to a place that’s a better fit.”

Hot prospect

Reyes pitched at the University of Southern California and was selected by the Cardinals in the 15th round of the 2003 amateur draft. In 2004, Reyes pitched for two clubs in the Cardinals’ system and had an overall record of 9-2 with 140 strikeouts in 111 innings.

Before the 2005 and 2006 seasons, Reyes was named the top pitching prospect in the Cardinals’ organization by Baseball America magazine.

He made his major-league debut on Aug. 9, 2005, in a start against the Brewers at Milwaukee and got the win, yielding two runs in 6.1 innings of a 5-2 Cardinals victory. Boxscore On June 22, 2006, Reyes pitched a one-hitter for the Cardinals against the White Sox, but lost, 1-0, on a Jim Thome home run. Boxscore

Though he was 5-8 with a 5.06 ERA in 17 starts for the 2006 Cardinals, Reyes was the Game 1 starter in the World Series because veterans Chris Carpenter, Jeff Suppan and Jeff Weaver were unavailable after pitching in a seven-game National League Championship Series against the Mets.

Matched against Tigers ace Justin Verlander in Detroit, the odds didn’t favor Reyes, but he delivered a masterpiece, limiting the Tigers to two runs in eight innings and earning the win in a 7-2 St. Louis victory. Reyes retired 17 consecutive Tigers batters. Boxscore The Cardinals went on to win four times in five games and clinch their first World Series title in 24 years.

Steps backward

After the postseason, the Cardinals allowed Suppan, Weaver and another starter, Jason Marquis, to leave as free agents, figuring Reyes would help fill the void, but Reyes lost his first 10 regular-season decisions with the 2007 Cardinals and finished the season at 2-14 with a 6.04 ERA.

The Cardinals and Phillies discussed a trade of Reyes for outfielder Michael Bourne, but the proposed deal unraveled, Joe Strauss reported in the Post-Dispatch.

Reyes was prone to using high fastballs to entice batters to swing and miss. Duncan wanted him to pitch to contact rather than try for strikeouts. Reyes didn’t embrace the concept and “became a point of frustration” for Duncan, the Post-Dispatch reported.

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said reports of a disconnect between Duncan and Reyes were “nonsense” and caused a distraction. “I regret the fact people mentioned he was not a Dave Duncan style of pitcher,” La Russa told the Post-Dispatch.

The Cardinals moved Reyes to a reliever role in 2008 and he was 2-1 with a save and a 4.91 ERA before spraining his right elbow. After a stint on the disabled list, Reyes was sent by the Cardinals to their Class AAA farm club at Memphis.

“Reyes came to represent the risks of holding on to a young player too long,” the Post-Dispatch reported. “Aware of Duncan’s frustrations with Reyes, some within the organization advocated trading the pitcher after his celebrated win in the first game of the 2006 World Series.”

Fresh start

After the Indians acquired Reyes from the Cardinals, they sent him to their Class AAA affiliate at Buffalo. Working with pitching coach Scott Radinsky, a former Cardinals reliever, Reyes was 2-0 with a 2.77 ERA in two starts for Buffalo before getting called up to the Indians.

Reyes made his Indians debut in a start on Aug. 8, 2008, against the Blue Jays at Toronto and got a win, yielding a run in 6.1 innings of a 5-2 Cleveland victory. Boxscore

“He had a good heartbeat, made pitches when he needed to and was very efficient,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said to the Akron Beacon Journal.

Reyes used the media attention his win attracted to express his frustrations with Duncan and the Cardinals.

“When I’d get sent down in St. Louis, no one ever told me what I was supposed to work on,” Reyes said to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “It wasn’t like it was anything mean, but I was going crazy trying to figure out if I did something wrong. Did I step on someone’s toes?”

In comments to the Beacon Journal, Reyes said, “I felt like I didn’t fit in over there. They didn’t like anything I was doing. It made for some long years.”

After Reyes earned a win in a start at Cleveland against the Royals on Aug, 19, he told the Beacon Journal, “I think I’m getting there. I got in a lot of bad habits the last couple of years, so coming here gives me a chance to get rid of them.”

Elbowed out

Reyes continued pitching well for the 2008 Indians, but on Sept. 5 he was pulled from a start at Kansas City because of elbow pain. Sidelined for the remainder of the season, Reyes was 2-1 with a 1.83 ERA in six starts for the 2008 Indians.

In 2009, Reyes made eight starts for the Indians and was 1-1 with a 6.57 ERA before his right elbow gave out. On June 12, 2009, Reyes underwent reconstructive elbow surgery and never again pitched in the major leagues.

Reyes pitched in the Indians’ farm system in 2010 and 2011. At 30, his final professional season was in 2012 when he pitched for the Padres’ Class AAA Tucson club managed by former Cardinals catcher Terry Kennedy.

In 67 big-league games, Reyes was 13-26 with a 5.12 ERA.

Reyes became a firefighter for the Los Angeles County Fire Department in California in 2017, following in the footsteps of his father, also a firefighter.

Read Full Post »

The Cardinals produced 22 hits, four walks and 11 runs in a game against the Pirates, but it wasn’t enough to compensate for an ineffective bullpen.

Ten years ago, on July 12, 2008, the Cardinals had 10 extra-base hits and led 8-3 after six innings, 9-4 after seven and 10-6 after eight, but lost, 12-11, to the Pirates in 10 innings.

“That’s a game that you can’t lose that we lost,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Jason Bay, who hit a pair of two-run home runs for the Pirates, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “It’s one of our more amazing games that I’ve been involved in. I’ll never forget it.”

Getting weird

The Saturday night game at Pittsburgh matched starting pitchers Todd Wellemeyer of the Cardinals against Yoslan Herrera, making his major-league debut for the Pirates. The Cardinals scored six times in 4.1 innings against Herrera. Ryan Ludwick did the most damage with a two-run home run and a run-scoring triple.

With a 10-6 lead, the Cardinals turned to the franchise’s all-time saves leader, Jason Isringhausen, to close out the ninth. After Isringhausen struck out Jose Bautista, Jason Michaels walked, Jack Wilson got an infield single and Nate McLouth hit a three-run home run, cutting the Cardinals’ lead to 10-9. “We’re all in that dugout, the whole inning, believing this can happen,” McLouth said.

La Russa said Isringhausen’s biggest mistake was issuing the walk to Michaels with a four-run lead.

“It didn’t seem like it mattered what we threw,” Isringhausen said to the Associated Press. “They got a hit or something weird happened.”

Isrnghausen threw two pitches, both outside the strike zone, to the next batter, Luis Rivas, and was relieved by rookie Kyle McClellan. “The home run (by McLouth) really bothered him,” La Russa said in explaining why he lifted Isringhausen before he finished pitching to Rivas.

McClellan yielded singles to Rivas and Ryan Doumit. With runners on first and third, one out, Bay followed with a ground ball to shortstop Cesar Izturis, who threw to Aaron Miles at second base for the force on Doumit. Miles pivoted to make a throw to first to complete a game-ending double play, but he couldn’t get a grip on the ball. “I knew I had to get rid of it quick,” Miles said. “I just couldn’t get it out of my glove.”

Rivas raced from third base to home plate on the play, tying the score at 10-10, and Bay reached first uncontested. “We had a chance to get out of it and we didn’t get away with anything,” said La Russa.

McClellan got Xavier Nady to pop out to shortstop, ending the inning and sending the game into the 10th.

Walkoff win

Troy Glaus led off the 10th for the Cardinals with a home run against Denny Bautista, giving St. Louis an 11-10 lead.

In the bottom half of the inning, Raul Chavez singled, prompting La Russa to take out McClellan and bring in another rookie, Chris Perez. After Jose Bautista popped out to shortstop, Michaels hit a two-run home run, giving the Pirates a 12-11 victory. It was the first walkoff home run for Michaels as a professional ballplayer. Boxscore

“Big situation, coming in like that, chance to protect a lead. I just blew it,” said Perez.

The Cardinals with 22 hits and four walks stranded 12 runners and hit into three double plays. The Pirates had 13 hits, two walks and a hit batsman and left four on base.

Said La Russa: “I don’t care how many hits we had. We got beat. We’ve had games where we pitched and couldn’t get runs. We got runs today and we couldn’t pitch.”

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »