4/27/2014 2:31 P.M. ET
Matheny searching for answers to offensive funk
By Jenifer Langosch / MLB.com
ST. LOUIS -- Baffled by the Cardinals' sluggish offensive stretch, manager Mike Matheny has attempted to inject some life into his lineup through any means available without a change in personnel.
He's utilized 21 different batting orders in 26 games and has shuffled players in and out looking to maximize matchups and hot streaks. On Saturday, he urged his players to take a mental respite by giving them a late report time and cancelling batting practice. The Cardinals responded by scoring just once.
It was the opposite approach on Sunday, when players were all at Busch Stadium no less than five hours before first pitch and did take the field for extra morning hitting. Coaches are prioritizing individual adjustments with individual players, yet also preaching the same collective message of an aggressive-under-control approach.
Matheny has even infused a bit of self-deprecating humor.
"I had a career of this, so I can sympathize very much so with all of them," said the third-year manager, a career .239 hitter. "Mine was actually the opposite -- I used to start really good and fool everybody for a while. Then the real guy came back. That's what I talk to these guys about. The real guy is going to come back."
That remains the foundation of the Cardinals' patience. Knowing that this is a lineup with several proven Major League hitters has assuaged early panic -- the clubhouse remains a mostly relaxed environment -- and has also kept the organization from reacting by making roster changes.
Patience will, however, wear thin if the offense remains missing for much longer. The Cardinals have gone the last 10 games without a home run and the last seven without scoring more than three runs.
The one thing Matheny, ever the optimist, has not changed through the struggles is his belief in the power of positive reinforcement. He continues to search out silver linings.
"I think sometimes if they buy into some of the talk around here, they'd think we're 0-40 right now," Matheny said. "We're able to scratch out some wins against some pretty good pitching and against some pretty good teams, and that's without offense. Are we anywhere close to where we should be? The answer on a consistent basis is, no. But we are finding a way. We're finding to win, not as many as we'd like, but we also can't sit there and fall into the trap of thinking that we're doing worse than we actually are."
Cards to stay with rotation with off-day ahead
ST. LOUIS -- Rather than use Thursday's off-day to skip the fifth spot in the rotation, the Cardinals will keep all of their starters in line and therefore have lefty Tyler Lyons start on Friday. That will be Lyons' third start since joining the big league club to fill in for an injured Joe Kelly.
The Cardinals could have had Adam Wainwright, Sunday's starter, also pitch on regular rest Friday and roll over the rotation from there. That would have left the club without the need for a fifth starter until May 6 in Atlanta. While that option was considered, manager Mike Matheny decided there was value in having all the starters take that extra day of rest.
Thursday's day off will be the first for the club in a three-week stretch.
"I believe he's earned another opportunity," Matheny added as a nod to what Lyons has done in two spot starts.
Though Lyons has lost both games, he has not pitched all that poorly. He posted five 1-2-3 innings on Saturday but was doomed by a four-run third. In his first start, walks and his own error contributed to the Mets scoring two runs off of him in six innings. The Cardinals' offense has scored a total of one run in his two games.
McCarver to join Cards' broadcast booth Monday
ST. LOUIS -- Tim McCarver is set to make his booth debut for Fox Sports Midwest on Monday for the first of 30 Cardinals games he'll call this season. He will also be behind the microphone Tuesday before joining the Cardinals in Chicago over the weekend.
McCarver, who ended an 18-season partnership with Joe Buck as a FOX analyst last October, was added to the FSM team over the winter. This is a familiar place for McCarver to return to, as he played 12 seasons with the Cardinals, beginning in 1959. He was a member of the 1964 World Series club, along with Cardinals radio broadcaster Mike Shannon, and a two-time Cardinals All-Star.
He later embarked on what has been a successful second career as a broadcaster. In addition to his time at FOX, McCarver has called games locally for the Phillies, Yankees, Mets and Giants. He was elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2012 as the winner of the Ford C. Frick Award.
• Matt Carpenter and Yadier Molina were presented with their 2013 Silver Slugger Awards during an on-field ceremony on Sunday. The award is presented annually to the best hitting player at each position in each league. Both players are first-time winners. Carpenter is also the first second baseman in franchise history to attain the honor, while Molina joins Ted Simmons (1980) as one of two Cardinals catchers.
• Left-hander Kyle Hald pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings in what finished as a 2-0 win for Double-A Springfield on Saturday. Five pitchers combined to pitch Springfield's second shutout of the season.
• Infielder Greg Garcia extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a 1-for-4 game in Triple-A Memphis' loss Saturday. Tim Cooney suffered his first defeat of the season despite allowing just two runs on six hits and striking out eight in seven innings.
• The Brewers' rotation for their upcoming visit to Busch Stadium has been set, and the Cardinals are scheduled to face, in order: Yovani Gallardo (2-0, 1.42 ERA), Kyle Lohse (4-1, 2.38 ERA) and Matt Garza (1-2, 4.09 ERA).
• Sacramento Kings shooting guard Ben McLemore, a St. Louis native, threw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to Sunday's game.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.