Found August 07, 2013 on
Fox Sports Midwest:
ST. LOUIS -- Yadi Molina hasn't caught a game for the Cardinals in seven whole days and won't for at least eight more.
And guess what?
The Cardinals' world has not shattered. Despite not having the services of the frontrunner for the NL MVP, the Cardinals still look pretty much like the Cardinals.
They trailed the Pirates in the NL Central by 2.5 games when Molina's right knee forced him to the disabled list, and their deficit stood at 2 games heading into Wednesday night's contest against the Dodgers.
Tony Cruz, formerly known as the rarely used backup, has done just fine, thank you very much.
The Cardinals have gone 4-2 in Cruz's starts since Molina left the lineup and the opposition has scored a total of 14 runs in those games. Adam Wainwright might have shook off Cruz more in one start than he shakes off Molina in half a season but otherwise, Cruz has been in control.
Surprised? The Cardinals insist they aren't.
"This is the same guy we've seen," manager Mike Matheny said. "We didn't have a whole lot of doubt of what Tony could do. When you have a player like Yadi, you often fall into situation like we've had. We want to keep watching what he does because he does it so well. But never has that been because of a lack of faith or trust in Tony Cruz."
Just because Cruz has been a model backup doesn't mean he isn't equipped to play regularly. Instead of pouting about all the bench-warming, Cruz uses his time working alongside the game's best catcher to soak up as much knowledge as he can. He not only watches video, attends meetings and talks constantly with Molina, he also sits in the dugout and calls pitches as if he were playing.
"I don't have it right all the time but my goal is to call a similar game to what he's doing," Cruz said.
Cruz also can pick up pointers watching Molina hit, too. Cruz has gone 7 for 24 with a double, homer and six RBIs in Molina's absence. On Tuesday, he singled off Clayton Kershaw to drive in the Cardinals' first run, then scored from third on an infield grounder with what proved to be the winner. "That was a huge hit," Matheny said.
The Cardinals drafted Cruz more for his bat than his glove when they made him a 26th-round pick in 2007. After a year of splitting time between third and first base, the Cardinals converted him to full-time catching in 2008. He spent at least one season at each level before arriving in the majors in 2011.
He knew playing time would be hard to come by, and he hasn't been wrong. Molina leads the majors in games started behind the plate since 2011, leaving Cruz with mostly late-inning mop-up appearances and the spot start.
The past week has been the first time he's started games on as many as four consecutive days since he was in the minors. And yes, he is enjoying the opportunity even if it has meant spending a little more time in the training room.
"It's a dream come true when you come up and get to play in the big leagues," Cruz said. "But to come out here and be able to play, I still take it like that first day."
Like any 26-year-old, Cruz wants someday to be a real regular catcher. "I don't think anybody wants to be a backup forever," he said.
But he knows this run as a regular is likely to end sooner than later as long as Molina continues to heal as the Cardinals say he is. Matheny said Molina played catch on Tuesday and will be resuming more baseball activities anytime. The club remains optimistic that Molina will be able to return Aug. 15, the first day he is eligible to come off the DL.
Ever the team guy, even Cruz looks forward to Molina's return.
"He is an MVP guy. As I've said, you can't replace that guy," Cruz said. "We'll be more than glad to have him back."
Until then, Cruz has shown he can keep the Cardinals' world from falling apart.
You can follow Stan McNeal on Twitter at @stanmcneal or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
The St. Louis Cardinals will have a difficult decision to make during the winter of 2013. Although their focus is currently on making the post-season, as is should be, the Redbirds will have to contemplate the pros and cons of resigning some key free agents. Carlos Beltran, Chris Carpenter, and Rafael Furcal will all be free agents after the 2013 season has run its course. Beltran...
...and the present is pretty bright too.
While other teams (such as the Cubs) spend years rebuilding, the Cardinals have found success retooling each year, making them seemingly perennial contenders.
Part of that success comes from a farm system that keeps churning out major leaguers at a nice rate, while also supplementing that farm system with wise investments in free agents...
ST. LOUIS -- On Wednesday, I asked Brock Peterson how it felt to be back.
"I knew there was a chance," the 29-year-old rookie said. "After you are on the roster, it's a lot easier for them to make that decision to call you back up, but I didn't think it would happen that quickly."
Come Thursday morning, he was gone.
Peterson, who can play the outfield...
ST. LOUIS -- You can tell the world you never was my girl, but don't tell my eyes to forget what they just saw.
Or something like that.
What will now be forever burned into your memory is St. Louis Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright singing the Billy Ray Cyrus hit 'Achy Breaky Heart' while, of course, wearing a mullet wig.
The video stemmed from an 80's-themed charity...
ST. LOUIS -- Carlos Martinez's first start in the majors didn't quite measure up to the debut starts made by other Cardinals' rookies this season. He failed to last five innings while giving up four runs and taking the loss in the Dodgers' 5-1 victory at Busch Stadium.
But the 21-year-old right-hander accomplished something that his fellow rookies didn't. Martinez...
The St. Louis Cardinals recalled right-hander Carlos Martinez from Triple-A Memphis to make his first career start Thursday night against the Dodgers.
The Cardinals also recalled left-hander Sam Freeman from Memphis, and optioned right-handed reliever Keith Butler and first baseman/outfielder Brock Peterson to that team.
It's the third call-up this season for the 21-year-old...
ST. LOUIS -- It's to the point where people in the press box just expect it.
And they're not the only ones.
"The other day we mentioned Maness to (Carlos) Beltran," Mike Matheny says. "He said, 'That's the ground ball guy, right?'"
"When he doesn't get a double play," Joe Kelly says, "We are like ..."
In Jake Westbrook's head it all made sense.
Fall on the sword, head to the bump a day early and even if you give up some runs.... well, you kept the Cardinals in a game where the starter was knocked out after 2 pitches. You cowboy'd up. You were a team player.
In Mike Matheny's head it all made sense.
Westbrook knows his body. Miller...
St. Louis Cardinals' pitcher Chris Carpenter has been battling arm problems the last two seasons. Although he is continuing his rehab program, he had to shut down his second Minor League rehab start and his future is very much up in the air.
As reported by Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com,
"With the recent recurrence of numbness in his arm, Chris Carpenter
The St Louis Cardinals have called up pitching prospect Carlos Martinez to make a start against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Busch Stadium. Martinez had previously been used in the Cardinals bullpen this season.
In his pair of bullpen stays with the Cardinals, Martinez combined to allow 12 hits and seven earned runs in 11 1/3 innings.
The 21-year-old right-hander has posted a...
St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny changed his lineup several hours before game-time to get power-hitting Matt Adams on the card.
The revised lineup had Adams batting sixth and playing first base in his second start of the month and Allen Craig getting a night off Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Dodgers and right-hander Ricky Nolasco. Matheny said it was just a rest...
JUUUST A BIT OUTSIDE
YouTube Rapper Nelly disappointed his St. Lunatics Tuesday with a wild ceremonial first pitch at Busch Stadium before the Dodgers-Cardinals game. Cardinals third baseman David Freese was set up behind the plate and, according to Nelly, called for a pitch-out but never reacted to it. Nelly, or Cornell Iral Haynes, Jr., was a standout high school baseball player in St. Louis. Judging...
The St. Louis Cardinals will call up Michael Wacha to start Saturday’s game against the Chicago Cubs.
This will be Wacha’s second call-up this season. The 22-year-old right hander made three starts from the end of May to early June. During that time Wacha had a 4.58 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP. His last start came against the Mets where he allowed two runs on five hits and...
The St. Louis cardinals have taken the phrase 'fun at the old ballpark' to a whole new galaxy -- a galaxy far, far away to be exact.
Busch Stadium was transformed with Star Wars-themed sights and sounds on Wednesday night when the Cardinals battled the Dodgers.
Jeff RobersonAssociated Press
Fans were able to buy a special Star Wars Theme ticket and with the purchase received...
The Baby Birds were 3-3 at the time this post was published. Memphis and Springfield were still in action. Palm Beach, Peoria, and the GCL Cards (game 2) won. While State College, Johnson City, and the GCL Cards (game 2) all lost.
Here are quick game summaries followed by the official box score:
The Memphis Redbirds were in action in Reno at the time this article was published....