Team Report - ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

The SportsXchange

INSIDE PITCH

NEW YORK -- At some point this season, manager Mike Matheny will look prescient about predicting an imminent offensive outburst for his club.

"Right now we're real close to taking off as a club," Matheny said Thursday before a series finale against the New York Mets at Citi Field.

Alas, the Cardinals continued to idle for at least one more day in a 4-1 loss. And while Matheny spent much of the series talking about the Cardinals' solid plate approach, he sounded frustrated after the Cardinals' third loss in four games against the Mets -- whom St. Louis outhit 31-22 this week.

"I think guys are playing as if they're not wanting to make mistakes, instead of going out there and being aggressive," Matheny said.

The Cardinals entered Thursday ranked a respectable sixth in the National League in batting average (.248), but they continue to struggle to hit for power or to generate runs.

Entering Thursday, the Cardinals were at or near the bottom of the National League in runs (tied for 13th with 79), home runs (16th and last with 12), slugging percentage (14th at .356) and stolen bases (tied for 14th with eight).

In four games against the Mets, the Cardinals left 15 runners in scoring position, including six at third base.

The Cardinals are getting their usual strong pitching -- they entered Thursday fourth in the NL in both ERA (2.84) and WHIP (1.17) -- and Matheny was surely encouraged to hear the defiant words Thursday afternoon of Lance Lynn, who took the loss despite allowing three runs (two earned) over six innings.

"It's April," Lynn said. "When the starting pitchers are giving up five runs a game but our offense is putting up seven runs, nobody will remember this stretch."

NOTES, QUOTES

RECORD: 12-11

STREAK: Lost two

NEXT: Pirates (RHP Gerrit Cole, 2-1, 3.67 ERA) at Cardinals (RHP Shelby Miller, 1-2, 3.57)

PLAYER NOTES:

--RHP Lance Lynn failed to become the first five-game winner in the majors on Thursday, when he suffered his first loss in March or April as the Cardinals fell to the Mets, 4-1. Lynn allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits and two walks while striking out nine over 6 1/3 innings. He dropped to 4-1 this season and 12-1 in 14 starts in March and April.

--C Tony Cruz continued to take advantage of his limited playing time, going 1-for-3 with the Cardinals' only RBI in a 4-1 loss to the Mets on Thursday. It was the third start of the season for Cruz, who has five hits in 11 at-bats this year, and the third straight time he has caught RHP Lance Lynn. Manager Mike Matheny said the arrangement wasn't turning into a personal catcher situation but that using Cruz behind the plate for Lynn allows All-Star C Yadier Molina to get some time off during a stretch in which the Cardinals are playing 20 games in 20 days.

--SS Jhonny Peralta got a day off Thursday, when the Cardinals lost to the Mets 4-1. Peralta is off to a miserable start in his first season in St. Louis -- he is hitting .151, albeit with four homers and eight RBI, in 73 at-bats -- and manager Mike Matheny said he was hopeful a game on the bench might help the 31-year-old veteran snap out of the slump.

--RHP Eric Fornataro threw another perfect inning Thursday in the Cardinals' 4-1 loss to the Mets. Fornataro, who made his major league debut Monday in the series opener, threw the eighth inning in all three Cardinals losses and struck out two batters without allowing a baserunner.

--RHP Shelby Miller will look to earn his first career win against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night when he takes the mound in the opener of a three-game series at Busch Stadium. Miller fell to 0-5 with a 5.93 ERA in five starts against the Pirates when he gave up five runs in 5 1/3 innings in his season debut on April 4. He has allowed just four runs in 17 1/3 innings over his last three starts and lowered his ERA to 3.57 on Sunday, when he gave up four hits and five walks while striking out seven over 5 1/3 innings in the Cardinals' 3-2 loss to Washington.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's April. When the starting pitchers are giving up five runs a game but our offense is putting up seven runs, nobody will remember this stretch." -- RHP Lance Lynn, after the Cardinals' bats were mostly silent again in a 4-1 loss Thursday.

ROSTER REPORT

MEDICAL WATCH:

--RHP Adam Wainwright (hyperextended right knee) likely dodged serious injury April 22, when he was hurt trying to field the final out in the seventh inning of the Cardinals' 3-0 win over the Mets. He did his usual day-after-start routine on April 23 and said he expects to make his next start, April 27 against Pittsburgh.

--RHP Joe Kelly (left hamstring strain) went on the 15-day disabled list April 17.

--RHP Jason Motte (Tommy John surgery in May 2013) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 21. He pitched in extended spring training April 1, threw 15 pitches in an extended spring training game April 5 and 19 pitches in a simulated game April 8. He threw in another simulated game April 11. He was scheduled to throw at the Cardinals' spring training complex in Florida on April 22.

--LHP Jaime Garcia (left shoulder surgery in May 2013) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 21. He was scheduled to throw at the Cardinals' spring training complex in Florida on April 22. He experienced a setback in spring training, and he will not be back until at least May.

ROTATION:

RHP Adam Wainwright

RHP Michael Wacha

RHP Lance Lynn

RHP Shelby Miller

RHP Tyler Lyons

BULLPEN:

RHP Trevor Rosenthal (closer)

RHP Carlos Martinez

LHP Kevin Siegrist

LHP Randy Choate

RHP Seth Maness

RHP Pat Neshek

RHP Eric Fornataro

CATCHERS:

Yadier Molina

Tony Cruz

INFIELDERS:

1B Matt Adams

2B Kolten Wong

SS Jhonny Peralta

3B Matt Carpenter

INF Daniel Descalso

INF Mark Ellis

OUTFIELDERS:

LF Matt Holliday

CF Peter Bourjos

RF Allen Craig

OF Jon Jay

OF Shane Robinson

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