6/14/2014 6:40 P.M. ET
Cardinals hurlers keep racking up the zeros
By Alex Halsted / MLB.com
ST. LOUIS -- There has been something in the air of late for the Cardinals, both figuratively and literally.
With Friday's 1-0 victory against the Nationals, the Cards' pitching staff recorded its fourth shutout in the last five games. The key, possibly, has been each pitcher aiming to one-up his predecessor.
"I think they do have a lot of that healthy competition where they're trying to one-up the previous guy," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "They do it all day long, whether they're golfing, whether they're in batting practice or whether they're in the cage bunting. They're always competing against each other knowing it's for the good of the club."
The Cardinals have already shut out 14 opponents in 35 wins, the best mark in the Majors, and just one shy of last season's total of 15 shutouts. The franchise record for shutouts in a season is 30 in 1968.
And while the Cardinals themselves have been shut out six times this year, Matheny doesn't have an answer for the high total or at times low-scoring offensive affairs.
"It just seems universally the ball is just not carrying for whatever reason," Matheny said. "We're talking about a lack of home runs with some of our guys, but we've got some balls hit hard enough. They come off the bat and you think, 'That ball's gone.' And it's not."
The team's one run Friday came off a home run from Matt Adams, but the Cardinals ranked 29th in the Majors with 37 homers entering Saturday.
The answer is quite possibly in the air, and Matheny believes those numbers will rise as the Cardinals progress into the summer.
"That's usually the statement: it heats up and the ball carries a little bit more," Matheny said. "We're not necessarily hoping that for the opposing team, but we do believe there is going to be more power production from our club."
Wainwright to miss Monday start with tendinitis
ST. LOUIS -- The guessing game is over. Battling tendinitis, Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright has been scratched from his next scheduled start Monday.
"I think this is more precautionary than anything else," Cards general manager John Mozeliak said. "It was something we just didn't want to push if we didn't have to, and he agreed with that. We are anticipating him making that next start [next Saturday]."
That decision to skip Wainwright's start Monday came Saturday after he played catch at Busch Stadium. Wainwright had disclosed after his Tuesday start against the Rays in St. Petersburg that he has been battling tendinitis, and he returned to St. Louis on Wednesday to have an MRI exam on his right elbow. Tests revealed no major issues except for tendinitis, and Wainwright had an anti-inflammatory shot to help it subside.
Despite feeling some improvement following the shot, the Cardinals prefer to be safe, and scratched Wainwright from Monday's start. Who will fill the void in the Cardinals' rotation remains uncertain.
With last Thursday's off-day the Cardinals have the option to move Michael Wacha to Monday, but Mozeliak said the team would instead opt to give him an extra day of rest, keeping him in line to start Tuesday's game against the Mets.
Other options include having a combination of relievers get the team through Monday's game, making a roster move to bring up a spot starter or having someone in the bullpen stretch out to make the start.
Reliever Carlos Martinez, who made 16 starts between Double-A and Triple-A last season, could be an option, though Mozeliak didn't name any specific pitchers.
"We could sit here and triangulate who might get this opportunity, but we haven't spoken with anybody yet," Mozeliak said. "The fact is it could change depending on how the next couple of days go, so it's fluid."
Mozeliak said the plan was to talk with a pitcher Sunday, leaving Monday's starter as to be determined. How fresh the bullpen is after the next two games against the Nationals will likely play a large role.
What has been determined is that Wainwright's injury isn't thought to be serious. While his return to St. Louis sent red flags around baseball because the right-hander had Tommy John surgery in 2011, Wainwright insisted his elbow is fine.
"I really want people to know that my elbow, structurally, that you could see my ligament on the tape. ... It's as thick as an oak tree and strong as can be," Wainwright said Friday. "I just want to clear the air there. It has nothing to do with my ligament whatsoever."
If Monday's outing didn't fall in mid-June, there would also be more reason for Wainwright to push through the tendinitis. He has posted a 2.15 ERA this season in 100 1/3 innings.
"I think if this were October, he'd pitch," Mozeliak said. "That just doesn't make sense to this week."
Instead, Wainwright is expected to return to the hill Saturday against the Phillies.
Cards ink four draftees, including Gomber, O'Keefe
ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals announced the signing of four more players from the 2014 First-Year Player Draft on Saturday, including fourth-round selection Austin Gomber and seventh-round pick Brian O'Keefe.
Gomber, a left-handed starter out of Florida Atlantic, was the staff ace the last two seasons. In three seasons at Florida Atlantic, Gomber made 41 starts, logging 244 2/3 innings and posting a 3.27 ERA.
He has a three-pitch arsenal, and has developed a strong changeup to go with a fastball -- which touches 90 mph -- and a slider. The slot value for the 135th pick is $374,100, but terms of Gomber's deal were not disclosed.
O'Keefe, a catcher out of Saint Joseph's University (Pa.), hit .350 this past season, with seven homers and 43 RBIs. He was a First Team Atlantic 10 All-Conference player in 2014.
The other two signees are center fielder Collin Radack (20th round) out of Hendrix College in Arizona, and right-handed pitcher Tyler Bray (26th round) from Louisiana-Monroe.
O'Keefe and Radack have reported to the Cardinals' New York-Penn League affiliate in State College.
The Cardinals have signed 22 of their 42 Draft selections.
• Reliever Kevin Siegrist, who has been sidelined with a left forearm strain and who last pitched May 23, is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Sunday. Siegrist threw a bullpen on Friday. It remains uncertain how many sessions the left-hander will need before going on a rehab stint.
• Marco Gonzales, the Cardinals' top choice in last year's First-Year Player Draft and rated their No. 4 prospect by MLB.com, recorded a career-high 10 strikeouts for Double-A Springfield on Friday night. The lefty allowed an unearned run on two hits. In six starts at Double-A this season, he has a 2.16 ERA with 42 strikeouts in 33 1/3 innings.
• Matt Holliday's streak of reaching base in every game at Busch Stadium to start the season came to a halt at 30 games Friday night, when he failed to reach. He was three shy of the franchise record of 33 games set by Solly Hemus in 1953.
Alex Halsted is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.