Cardinals right-hander Mike Leake said he considers Nationals manager Dusty Baker a mentor. Leake said it's tough to put into words how he feels about Baker. Leake played for Baker with the Reds from 2010-13.
Cardinals shortstop Jhonny Peralta suffered a minor setback to his rehab when he cut his right thumb opening a box Saturday and required three stitches. Saturday was Peralta's birthday, but Cardinals manager Mike Matheny did not know whether Peralta was opening a birthday present.
Greg Garcia was supposed to be in Las Vegas on Saturday night, playing for the Memphis Redbirds of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. That was the plan, at least, before Garcia's hot bat turned him into a Nationals nightmare and Cardinals hero.
All the offense the Cardinals needed in Friday night's 6-2 win over the Nationals came via one swing, a grand slam from Stephen Piscotty. The long-ball, which gave St. Louis a 5-0 lead in the third inning, came on an 0-1 hanging slider from Nationals starter Max Scherzer.
Mike Leake threw two pitches he'd like back Thursday. One of them, in the sixth inning, Bryce Harper launched to the third deck in right field. The other, an inning later, Danny Espinosa deposited into the home bullpen.
Danny Espinosa's solo home run, which followed Bryce Harper's monster tying blast an inning earlier, lifted the Nationals over the Cardinals, 2-1, at Nationals Park in Thursday night's four-game series opener.
Jake Arrieta seems nearly untouchable most of the time. He had allowed nine earned runs all season and came into Wednesday's game with eight wins and a 1.29 ERA. He left Busch Stadium with nine victories after the Cardinals fell short in a 9-8 loss to the Cubs, but Arrieta's numbers continue to take a turn for the worse when he sees the birds on the bat.
The intrigue wasn't over, as many may have expected, when the Cubs handed their starter, Jake Arrieta, a five-run second-inning lead. But despite their ambitious comeback against a pitcher who hasn't lost in 10 months, the Cardinals fell short of flipping the results on Wednesday afternoon. Instead, Chicago escaped Busch Stadium with a 9-8 victory and second series win over its rivals this season.
In the minutes following Wednesday's 9-8 defeat to the Cubs at Busch Stadium, the Cardinals' clubhouse was brewing with a mélange of frustration and satisfaction. It was a group irked that it had fallen just short, yet still proud of the spirited comeback that positioned it one ninth-inning hit away from stealing a win.
The Cardinals added to their outfield depth on Wednesday by acquiring Jose Martinez from the Royals for cash considerations. Martinez, 27, has been assigned him to the Cardinals' Triple-A Memphis roster.
Any chance the Cardinals had of rolling over momentum from their series-opening walk-off win evaporated before they could send their first batter to the plate on Tuesday, as the Cubs opened the night with a six-run first and then cruised to a 12-3 victory that evened the three-game set at Busch Stadium.
Rhys Hoskins has hit his share of home runs this season, but none have been bigger than the walk-off grand slam he hit Tuesday to lead Double-A Reading past Erie, 11-9. Hoskins was among the top prospect performers on Tuesday.
After trudging through the season's first month trying to enact changes to the setup of his swing, Kolten Wong has found positive traction recently, and entered Tuesday enjoying a 10-game stretch in which he hit .355/.444/.516 with a .961 OPS.
With a walk-off home run by Randal Grichuk, the Cardinals completed a 4-3, come-from-behind win on Monday to carve into the Cubs' lead in the National League Central. The victory, which came in front of a sellout crowd at Busch Stadium, pulled the Cardinals to within six games of the Cubs, the closest they've been since the second day of May.
With the days dwindling until the MLB Draft on June 9-11, the Cardinals' new scouting director, Randy Flores, will spend one more week on the road before returning to St. Louis to meet with his staff and make final preparations for the three-day, 40-round event.