5/11/2014 9:18 P.M. ET
Adjusting for Sunday night games irks Matheny
By Jenifer Langosch / MLB.com
PITTSBURGH -- Sunday's nationally televised game drew ample local attention and anticipation as it marked the first Sunday game under the lights in PNC Park history and the first in Pittsburgh since 1996.
The Cardinals, however, would have rather not been a part of it.
While Pirates manager Clint Hurdle associated ESPN's selection of this game as another tangible sign of the Pirates' increase in relevancy, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny dismissed suggestions that his club should feel honored for being chosen for prime-time viewing.
"That's the answer that they keep giving us, is that we should be grateful," Matheny said. "But I have to tell you, there is no gratitude for this. I understand for the good of the game, but there is no benefit for us. Our fan base is going to be able to pick up our games on TV. This isn't like back in the day where if you get coverage from them it's the only time people are going to get to see you. People all over the world are picking up our games.
"It is a compliment that they want to see us on the national scene. I don't think it's taken into consideration at all that it makes it harder for us. You get in at four o'clock in the morning and ... if they tell you that playing the next day that's not going to affect you, I'd say they're wrong. I'm not looking for excuses, but it's happened to us. It happened to us last year and we played through it. You start watching guys getting run down."
Matheny's opinion is certainly influenced by the frequency with which his club appears in these showcased games. In 2013, the Cardinals played six Sunday night games, the maximum allowed per team based upon Major League Baseball's contract with ESPN.
The Cardinals are in a stretch of playing three Sunday night games in a four-week span. All are on the road, which means that a postgame overnight flight is attached to each one. None of the three are followed by an off-day either, something Matheny suggested would help minimize the competitive disadvantage.
"I think a little more consideration needs to be given to the fact that it beats a team up," Matheny said. "Our job is to win games, and I feel this is something that affects us one way or another. There is nobody out there fighting for us on this. It is what it is. I understand that there are big contracts that go toward baseball and our club specifically, too, and I'm grateful for that. But when it comes down to this club in here, we don't feel exceptionally fortunate that these games are put on the national scene. It makes it more difficult for us."
The Cardinals, after playing last Sunday night in Chicago, were not to their Atlanta hotel until close to 4 a.m. ET on Monday. The team had a game against the Braves later that day. The most challenging rebound will come later this month when the Cardinals play under the lights in Cincinnati on May 25 before facing the Yankees in a home Memorial Day afternoon game.
ESPN has already chosen the Cardinals' July 20 home game against the Dodgers as another for its Sunday night telecast. The network still has the flexibility to select two more St. Louis games.
"I'm sure more national exposure for our club is good in some sense, but once again, in here, it comes down to wins and losses," Matheny said. "That is all we look at. And all I look at is trying to keep these guys right, or get them right. And bringing them in on things that get them out of their normal routine isn't easy to do."
Bourjos given day off after getting banged up
PITTSBURGH -- A day after being spiked in his right forearm breaking up a double play and banging into the center-field wall to make a highlight-reel catch, Peter Bourjos said he was not feeling the effects of either. Nevertheless, manager Mike Matheny unplugged him from the lineup for Sunday's series finale in Pittsburgh.
Matheny explained his decision to instead start Jon Jay in center field as part matchup-based -- Jay entered 8-for-16 in his career against Pirates starter Charlie Morton -- but also to give Bourjos a day to recover.
"He's in there getting a workout, said everything feels pretty good," Matheny said of Bourjos. "I know going into today it would be a little sore."
Bourjos has started four of the team's last six games and is expected to continue to get relatively regular playing time for at least a while. As for his full-speed catch on Jordy Mercer's eighth-inning drive to the wall, it was still a topic of conversation a day later.
"It's up there," Bourjos said, when asked where it ranked among his career bests.
Mother's Day celebration brings out pink gear
PITTSBURGH -- There were splashes of pink to complement the Cardinals' red on Sunday, as players and other uniformed personnel incorporated the color into their wardrobes as part of Major League Baseball's Mother's Day initiative to raise awareness of breast cancer.
Both Peter Bourjos and Jhonny Peralta were supplied with pink bats, though Peralta did not use his in the game. Five players -- Matt Holliday, Matt Carpenter, Bourjos, Jon Jay and Allen Craig -- sported black and pink Nike cleats, while Carlos Martinez, Eric Fornataro and Matt Adams were provided additional pink gear from Under Armour.
Other players had the option of wearing pink batting gloves, wristbands, compression sleeves and Phiten necklaces. A pink ribbon was sewn on the front of each jersey, lineup cards were printed on pink cardstock, and pink was stamped onto the bases and balls used in the game.
Several of the pink bats used by players across MLB on Sunday will be auctioned off on MLB.com to raise money for the fight against breast cancer.
The Cardinals also plan to honor their Honorary Bat Girl winner, Karen Neal, one of 30 cancer survivors selected as winners of MLB's contest, later this month. Neal, a St. Louis-area math teacher, was diagnosed with breast cancer last year. In addition to being recognized at Busch Stadium prior to game, she will receive pink MLB merchandise and two game tickets.
• The Cardinals are sending Jason Motte to Triple-A Memphis to continue his rehab stint after he successfully pitched in back-to-back games for Double-A Springfield on Friday and Saturday. Motte, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, made four appearances in total with Springfield.
• Joe Kelly (left hamstring strain) has not resumed throwing off a mound since returning to St. Louis on May 4, manager Mike Matheny said.
• Randal Grichuk, recently optioned back to Memphis, went 3-for-5 on Sunday with two doubles, a home run, two RBIs and two runs scored in the team's 5-1 win. Kolten Wong, Oscar Taveras and Pete Kozma had the only other Memphis hits in the game.
• With his second-inning single, Jhonny Peralta assured himself of hitting safely in all nine games on this road trip. That hit bumped his average up to .246 from .196 at the beginning of the three-city road swing.
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.