2015 St. Louis Cardinals season

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2015 St. Louis Cardinals
National League Central Champions
Major League affiliations
Location
Results
Record 100–62 (.617)
Divisional place 1st
Other information
Owner(s) William DeWitt, Jr.
Fred Hanser
General manager(s) John Mozeliak
Manager(s) Mike Matheny
Local television Fox Sports Midwest
(Dan McLaughlin, Al Hrabosky, Rick Horton, Tim McCarver)
Local radio KMOX (1120AM)
St. Louis Cardinals Radio Network
(Mike Shannon, John Rooney, Al Hrabosky, Rick Horton, Mike Claiborne)
Stats ESPN.com
BB-reference
< Previous season     Next season >

The St. Louis Cardinals 2015 season was the 134th for the Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise in St. Louis, Missouri, the 124th season in the National League (NL), and the 10th at Busch Stadium III. They entered the 2015 season as two-time defending NL Central division champions and having made four consecutive National League Championship Series (NLCS) appearances.

The Cardinals' 2014–15 offseason began tragically with the death of rookie outfielder Oscar Taveras in a traffic collision on October 26. On November 17, they acquired right fielder Jason Heyward and pitcher Jordan Walden from the Atlanta Braves in a blockbuster trade for pitchers Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins. The Cardinals inducted Curt Flood, Bob Forsch, George Kissell and Ted Simmons into the franchise Hall of Fame. Forbes valued the Cardinals at $1.2 billion in 2015, ranking them 27th out of all sports franchises in the world, and the sixth-highest in all MLB.

By winning 22 of their first 29 games of the season, the Cardinals secured their best start since 1887, and became the first major league team of the year to 50 wins, the fastest since the Chicago White Sox in 2005. Outfielder Matt Holliday set a new National League record by reaching base in his first 45 games of the season. In June, reports surfaced that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) were investigating an incident involving the Cardinals hacking into the Houston Astros' computer networks, the first known such case of corporate espionage in professional sports.

By winning their 100th game on September 30, the Cardinals clinched their third consecutive division title. It was the first time since 2005 they had won at least 100 games in a season. However, they lost to the Chicago Cubs in the Division Series, ending their streak of four straight NLCS appearances.

Contents

Off-season[edit]

Overview[edit]

The St. Louis Cardinals ended their 2014 regular season as the National League Central division champions with a 90–72 won–loss record, their second consecutive Central division title and ninth overall.[1] They finished sixth in the league in batting average (.253), fifteenth (last) in home runs (105), and ninth in runs scored (619). They also ranked seventh in earned run average (3.50).[2]

St. Louis finished two games ahead of the runner-up Pittsburgh Pirates, who qualified for the Wild Card Game.[3] In the National League Division Series (NLDS), the Cardinals defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers, three games to one.[4] They surrendered the National League Championship Series (NLCS) in five games to the San Francisco Giants,[5] the eventual World Series champions.[6] Despite the NLCS defeat, the Cardinals already had four consecutive LCS appearances, the first team to do so since the New York Yankees from 19982001 in the American League Championship Series. Since 2000, it was their ninth NLCS appearance.[7]

Right fielder Oscar Taveras, who died in a car accident on October 26, 2014

However, tragedy launched Major League Baseball's 2014–15 off-season when Cardinals rookie right fielder Oscar Taveras was killed in a car accident in the Dominican Republic on October 26, 2014. It was 10 days after the conclusion of the NLCS,[8][9] and moments before the first pitch of Game 5 of the World Series.[10] Reports confirmed alcohol intoxication on Taveras' part,[11] making it the second alcohol-related fatality of a Cardinals player in a car accident since pitcher Josh Hancock in 2007. General manager John Mozeliak lamented the circumstances of both players' deaths, amplifying that the team would take a greater role in instructing young players "to avoid reckless actions."[12]

Just 22 years old, Taveras was an immensely popular athlete and heralded prospect with fans, around Major League Baseball, and in his native Dominican Republic.[10][13][14][15][16] On October 28, the Cardinals left the right field lights on at Busch Stadium[17] and released a Twitter photo of the scene the next day.[18] The following January, Cardinals chairman William DeWitt, Jr., announced plans for the team to renovate a baseball field in Taveras' hometown of Sosúa in his honor, and that the team would also wear black circular patches inscribed with the initials "OT" inside a white circle on their jerseys for the 2015 season. Further, a large decal was posted in his memorial on the wall of the home team bullpen of Busch Stadium along with those of Hancock and Darryl Kile, another pitcher who died during the 2002 season while still active as a player.[12]

Bench coach Mike Aldrete vacated the Cardinals on October 27 for the same avocation with the Oakland Athletics.[19] The day after the World Series ended, October 30, Mark Ellis, Justin Masterson, Jason Motte, Pat Neshek, and A. J. Pierzynski all filed for free agency.[20] Four of the five players in the group signed with different teams in the 2014–15 off-season.[21][22][23][24] Only Motte, a former closer, had played for the Cardinals prior to 2014. He acceded a one-year contract with the Chicago Cubs.[22] The only free agent who did not endorse with another club was Ellis, who announced his retirement as a player on February 26, 2015.[25]

The Cardinals picked up the 2015 option on starting pitcher John Lackey's contract on October 30, equivalent to the minimum salary of $507,000 ($524,104.3 today), an unusually low number on for a veteran of his achievement level and competitiveness.[26] Acquired from the Boston Red Sox at the trade deadline in 2014,[27][28] he signed his current contract as a free agent before the 2010 season. The Red Sox inserted a provision in the contract that, in lieu of paying insurance in case he missed any season due to an elbow injury, the club could choose to pick up an option in 2015 for the league minimum salary. At that time, the Red Sox medical staff demonstrated concern that Lackey's elbow was found not to be fully sound during a physical examination. When he missed the 2012 season due to Tommy John surgery, the league-minimum option for 2015 was actuated.[29][30] The Cardinals added performance bonuses before the start of the season.[31]

Jason Heyward with the Atlanta Braves in 2010
Shelby Miller pitching for the Cardinals in 2013
Jason Heyward and Shelby Miller headlined a trade with the Atlanta Braves before the start of the 2015 season.

The Houston Astros appointed longtime scout Charlie González as a special assistant on November 1.[32] Two days later, the Cardinals signed assistant hitting coach David Bell to a two-year contract to replace Aldrete as bench coach.[33] To fill the position Bell vacated, the Cardinals hired former Cubs hitting coach Bill Mueller as assistant hitting coach on November 17.[34]

With a void in right field that emerged following the death of Taveras, the Cardinals settled a surprising blockbuster trade with the Atlanta Braves on November 17. St. Louis arrogated former Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year Jason Heyward and relief pitcher Jordan Walden in exchange for starting pitcher Shelby Miller and reliever Tyrell Jenkins.[35] For the second time in the 2014–15 off-season, the Athletics drew from the Cardinals' staff, hiring director of scouting Dan Kantrovitz to be assistant general manager on November 24.[36] To replace Kantrovitz, director of baseball development Chris Correa was promoted to director of scouting on December 2.[37] One week later, the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame announced former ace Chris Carpenter as an inductee in their 2015 class.[38]

The Cardinals signed free agents relief pitcher Matt Belisle (December 2), from the Colorado Rockies,[39] and first baseman Mark Reynolds (December 11) from the Milwaukee Brewers.[40] They initially imported veteran reliever Carlos Villanueva on a minor league deal in February,[41] but selected him for the major league roster out of spring training.[42]

In March 2015, Forbes appraised the Cardinals' outright value at $1.4 billion,[43] making them the 27th-most valuable sports franchise in the world,[44] and sixth-principal franchise in Major League Baseball (MLB).[43] It was an increase from an $800 million pricing and eighth in the echelon in 2014.[45] Their revenue was $294 million while their operating income was $73.6 million,[43] and their overall assessment was approximately $200 million higher than the MLB average of $1.2 billion. Mike Ozanian of Forbes remarked that the Cardinals were "baseball's biggest anamoly", with outsize value outpacing their status as one of baseball's "smallest markets", and the recently opened Ballpark Village – adjacent to Busch Stadium – was a popular destination for dining and entertainment. The Cardinals' local television ratings (7.76) graded the highest among all major league teams.[46]

Acquisitions, departures and roster moves[edit]

Ownership, club officials, managers, and coaches[edit]

Players[edit]

Season standings[edit]

National League Central[edit]

NL Central W L Pct. GB Home Road
St. Louis Cardinals 100 62 0.617 55–26 45–36
Pittsburgh Pirates 98 64 0.605 2 53–28 45–36
Chicago Cubs 97 65 0.599 3 49–32 48–33
Milwaukee Brewers 68 94 0.420 32 34–47 34–47
Cincinnati Reds 64 98 0.395 36 34–47 30–51


National League playoff standings[edit]

National League head-to-head records[edit]

Regular season summary[edit]

April[edit]

First-ever MLB Opening Night[edit]

For the first time in his career, 23-year-old Carlos Martínez made the Cardinals starting rotation, earning the fifth starter spot out of spring training.[68] Participating in the first-ever night game Opening Day to commence an MLB season, the Cardinals faced off against the Chicago Cubs on April 5, partners in an historic sports rivlary. Also dubbed "Opening Night", Adam Wainwright made his fourth career Opening Day start. St. Louis, in turn, made team history as they won 3–0.[69] Their four stolen bases (SB) set a team record for Opening Day, and Yadier Molina became the first catcher in club history with 11 consecutive Opening Day starts.[70] Right fielder Jason Heyward debuted for the Cardinals in this game, garnering three hits, including two doubles, and a stolen base.[71] Left fielder Matt Holliday opened the season with a 12-game hitting streak. His 12th game was also his first four-hit performance of the season.[72]

Matt Carpenter was named the National League Player of the Week on April 19.
Opening Night starting lineup[73]
at Wrigley Field, April 5, 2015
defeated CHC, 3–0
No. Name Pos.
13 Matt Carpenter 3B
22 Jason Heyward RF
  7 Matt Holliday LF
27 Jhonny Peralta SS
32 Matt Adams 1B
  4 Yadier Molina C
16 Kolten Wong 2B
19 Jon Jay CF
50 Adam Wainwright P

Matt Carpenter's doubles in seven consecutive games[edit]

From April 12–19, third baseman Matt Carpenter netted seven consecutive games with at least two hits and one double, tying Ripper Collins for the franchise record he set in 1935.[74] That same streak was also the longest in the Major Leagues since Paul Molitor achieve the same as a member of the Brewers in 1991. Carpenter also batted .480 with an .880 slugging percentage (SLG), seven doubles, one home run (HR), five runs batted in (RBI) and an-NL leading 22 total bases. MLB subsequently named him to his first NL Player of the Week Award for that period.[75]

Making his 99th career start on April 15, starter Lance Lynn earned his 50th career win in a 4–2 victory over Milwaukee. It was his 13th win in the month of April since 2012, the highest total in MLB.[76] Setup man Kevin Siegrist earned his first major league save by pitching the last two innings of a 6−1 win against the Reds on April 17.[77] Heyward hit his first home run as a Cardinal on April 18 against the Cincinnati Reds at Busch Stadium.[78]

Harris first Naval Academy graduate in MLB in 94 years, Wainwright out for season[edit]

The club placed OF Peter Bourjos on three-day paternity leave on April 21, replacing him on the 25-man roster with RHP Mitch Harris. Harris was the first United States Naval Academy graduate to be called up to the majors since pitcher Nemo Gaines of the Washington Senators in 1921.[79] On April 25, Harris made his major-league debut, substituting for Wainwright in a game against Milwaukee after he suffered an ankle injury, and struck out his first batter, Adam Lind. Catcher Cody Stanley, who replaced Wainwright on the 25-man roster,[80] got a hit in his first major league at bat.[81] The Cardinals announced that Wainwright had an Achilles tendon rupture and would likely miss the remainder of the season.[82]

Left-handed pitcher (LHP) Tim Cooney took Wainwright's next spot in the rotation.[83] It was his major league debut, but was a disappointment, going only ​2 13 innings and giving up seven hits and a walk. The following day, the Cardinals called up RHP Miguel Socolovich and sent down Cooney.[84] To make room on the 40-man roster, OF Tommy Pham was moved to the 60-day disabled list. Through his first four starts of the season, Martínez' ERA was 1.89.[85] Through the month of April, Holliday maintained an MLB-best .500 OBP.[86]

May[edit]

Sweep of each game of home series with walk-off hits[edit]

The month of May increased the trend of unique and rare achievements for the Cardinals, both affirmative and dubious. In the May 1–3 series at home against the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Cardinals swept by winning each game in extra innings. In the last game of that series, Kolten Wong hit his second career regular-season walk-off home run; his first also occurred against the Pirates. St. Louis became the first team since 1925 to sweep by winning each game in extra innings when the Cincinnati Reds did so against the Boston Braves from June 4–7.[87] Of course, because the games were at Busch Stadium, St. Louis each won in walk-off fashion: first baseman Matt Adams with a bases-loaded single in the first game,[88] and Carpenter with a sacrifice fly in the second.[89]

Best 25-game start since at least 1900[edit]

Miguel Socolovich made his Cardinals debut on May 3 against the Reds, completing one inning with a strikeout and no hits or walks.[90] Setup man Jordan Walden went on the DL on May 3 because of a biceps injury, and it changed manager Mike Matheny's bullpen strategy by using his most capable relief pitchers more, including closer Trevor Rosenthal, setup man Matt Belisle and middle reliever Seth Maness. Each were either injured or because less effective later in the season. Kevin Siegrist, who originally filled the seventh inning, moved to the eight-inning setup role, leaving a hollow in the seventh inning.[91]

The Cardinals defeated the Cubs on May 4 for their seventh straight win, making their record on the season an MLB-best 19–6. It was their best start after 25 games since at least 1900.[90] In that contest, Mark Reynolds hit his fourth career grand slam in the 10–9 score.[92] Despite getting a no-decision, Martínez allowed seven of the nine runs in this game.[93] In the next game, also against the Cubs, Reynolds' pinch-hit double drove in the go-ahead runs as the Cardinals were victorious, 7–4.[94]

The Cardinals called LHP Tyler Lyons up from Memphis to take Wainwright's next turn in the rotation on May 5. Lyons completed ​4 13 innings with seven strikeouts, two walks, six hits, and four runs (three earned). In ​7 23 IP against the Cubs on May 7, RHP John Lackey struck out 10. He also drove in his third career run with a double, his third career extra base hit in a 5–1 win.[95]

Flood, Forsch, Kissell and Simmons announced as new Cardinals Hall of Fame inductees[edit]

Four new members of the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame Museum were announced on May 5, including Curt Flood, Bob Forsch, George Kissell and Ted Simmons. In 12 seasons with St. Louis, center fielder Flood won seven Gold Gloves, was a three-time All-Star, and a member of the 1964 and 1967 championship clubs. However, Flood is best known for challenging the reserve clause, which in spite of the United States Supreme Court ruling in MLB's favor, eventually led to free agency. Forsch, the only pitcher in franchise history to throw two no-hitters, ranked third with 163 wins and second with 401 starts. Kissell spent 65 years in the Cardinals organization as a minor league player, manager, scout and instructor. Simmons, a catcher, played 13 years in St. Louis, was a six-time All-Star, and set the National League record for hits (188) by a catcher in 1975. He batted .298 with 172 HR and 929 RBI as Cardinal.[96]

Molina hit into first-ever 4–5–4 triple play in MLB[edit]

In the next series against the Pirates on May 9, Martínez continued to struggle as he allowed 14 runs on 16 hits and 11 walks including the previous two starts totaling nine innings. His ERA jumped from 1.89 from before the previous start against the Cubs to 4.73 after the start against the Pirates.[85] The next day, the Cardinals fell victim to the first "4–5–4" triple play (where the second baseman records the out, throws to the third baseman, who records a second out, and finally back to the second baseman, who records a third and final out of the inning, all in one play) in MLB history. In this play, Molina lined out to Pittsburgh second baseman Neil Walker, who threw to third baseman Jung-ho Kang to double up Jhonny Peralta for the second out. Kang briefly pirouetted the ball in his hand, albeit confused, then threw back to Walker to tag Jason Heyward for the final out.[97]

Cardinals batters struck out record 18 times[edit]

Reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber of the Cleveland Indians struck out 18 Cardinals on May 13, setting a record for a Cardinal opponent and tying Bob Feller for the Indians' nine-inning franchise record in Cleveland's 2–0 win.[98] After striking out five times on May 18, Grichuk followed up with two doubles and a triple the next night against the New York Mets as the Cardinals prevailed 10–2.[99] A 3–1 victory over the Detroit Tigers on May 17 gave Mike Matheny his 300th win as manager.[100] Jaime García, reactivated from the 60-day disabled list for a start against the Mets on May 21, made his first MLB appearance in nearly one year. He completed seven innings but received the loss, allowing five hits, two runs (both earned), five walks, and striking out three.

Mike Matheny guided the Cardinals to his 300th win while managing on May 17 against Detroit.

The Cardinals won each of Michael Wacha's first nine starts while he received the win in seven of them. That ninth game spanned through May 24 against the Kansas City Royals. His ERA was 1.87. Wacha was the first Cardinal pitcher to start with a 7–0 record since Matt Morris started 8–0 in 2005.[101] Matt Carpenter homered for his 500th career hit and 300th career run scored.[102] On May 25, Jhonny Peralta hit a walk-off home run in the tenth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks, his seventh home run of the season.[103] García's first win in nearly a year was on May 26 against the Diamondbacks, in which worked six innings in a 6–4 victory.[104]

Matt Holliday's record on-base streak[edit]

Holliday reached base each of his first 43 games of the season through May 27 against the Diamondbacks, breaking Albert Pujols' franchise and National League records, which he set in 2008. Holliday had also reached base in 45 consecutive games dating back to 2014, which was 10 short of Stan Musial's overall franchise record, and 29 short of Ted Williams' MLB record.[105][106] Heyward's home run in the ninth inning that game tied the game at 3–3, and the Cardinals eventually won, 4–3.[107] IF Matt Adams was placed on the 15-day disabled list May 28 with a torn right quadriceps and replaced on the 25-man roster with C Ed Easley. He had surgery May 29 and was expected to miss three to four months, effectively the rest of the season.[108]

Tribute to Taveras[edit]

On May 31, the Cardinals paid an official tribute to the deceased Oscar Taveras, who debuted for them in the major leagues exactly one year earlier. They played the Los Angeles Dodgers that day. Martínez, the Cardinals starting pitcher and close of friend of Taveras, struck out eight and extended a personal scoreless inning streak to ​20 13 innings as St. Louis prevailed, 3–1.[109] It was the longest scoreless-inning streak in the NL for a starting pitcher through that point in the season.[110]

Through their first 50 games and two of the months of the season, the Cardinals were an MLB-best 33–17 (.660 winning percentage), including 20–6 at home. They produced the best run differential at plus-60 and were the only team with a staff ERA lower than 3.00, at 2.73. The bullpen had a 2.21 ERA. The offense produced a seventh-best .737 on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS).[111]

June[edit]

Matt Holliday set the National League record for reaching base in the most consecutive games to start a season with 45.

In his third start of the season on June 1 against the Milwaukee Brewers, García logged seven innings, while allowing one run and strking out four with less than 90 pitches. However, he ended up with a 1–0 loss, bringing his record for the season to 1–2 with a 2.70 ERA.[112] In his time with the Cardinals through June 1, Peralta ranked first in extra-base hits (80) and home runs (29), third in RBI (101), second in slugging percentage (.461) and OPS (.804) and fourth in on-base percentage (.361) among MLB shortstops. On defense, although he did not rely on heavily on range, but on smart positioning and making the routine plays, qualifying him for +1 defensive runs saved after saving 17 the year before.[113] Holliday's National League-record on-base streak to start the season ended at 45 games – 47 overall – on June 2 against the Brewers in a 1–0 win. Umpire Joe West ejected him for arguing a called third strike in the seventh inning, and also ejected manager Mike Matheny, who had joined the argument.[114] It was the longest such streak in the major leagues since Derek Jeter garnered 53 in 1999.[115]

Holliday, the second Cardinal of the season with a torn quadriceps muscle[edit]

Martínez' next start, also against the Dodgers, came on June 5. Over seven innings, he gave up just one run on three hits and struck out 11, a new career high, in a 2–1 victory. By giving up the run in the second inning, the scoreless inning streak stopped at ​21 23, also a career-high.[116] On June 8, Holliday suffered a right quadriceps strain while attempting to catch a fly ball off the bat of Carlos González during a game against the Colorado Rockies. The Cardinals placed Holliday on the 15-day DL, and recalled Socolovich to take his place on the roster. At the time, Holliday was batting .303 with three HR and 26 RBI,[117] and was third overall in the NL All-Star balloting. He was second among outfielders to Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals, which would translate as a spot as a starting outfielder in the All-Star Game if that placement held for the final vote tally.[118] In the MLB Draft, the Cardinals selected outfielder Nick Plummer with the 23rd overall and team's number-one pick from Brother Rice High School in Michigan.[119] In a June 12 start against the Royals, Jaime García netted his 500th career strikeout by getting Omar Infante as the Cardinals won 4–0. It was García's 102nd career start; he had also not issued a walk in his first 30 IP of the season.[120]

Lyons, whom the Cardinals recalled from Memphis to take the place of an injured Lance Lynn on June 13, stopped a winless streak of 13 MLB starts by pitching a 3–2 victory over the Royals. He struck out five in six innings. Closer Trevor Rosenthal strung together a ​17 23 scoreless inning streak while saving his NL-leading 21st game of the season.[121] The Cardinals' first back-to-back home runs of the season occurred on June 15 against the Twins, which Molina and Reynolds accomplished. It was Molina's first home run of the season and first in 95 games, dating back to June 27, 2014. The Cardinals' previous back-to-back home runs occurred when Holliday and Grichuk delivered against the Reds on September 19, 2014.[122]

First alleged case of cyber espionage in professional sports[edit]

Reports surfaced on June 16 that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) were reviewing an alleged incident involving Cardinals' front office officials hacking into the Houston Astros' database of players, scouting reports and proprietary statistics. It was regarded as the first known case of corporate espionage involving computer network hacking in professional sports.[123]

Rookies Grichuk, Garcia and Scruggs help deliver wins[edit]

In his first major league action of 2015, second baseman Greg Garcia collected two hits in 12–4 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on June 19.[124] Molina, Wong and Grichuk all homered as Lyons earned his second win of the season. At the plate, Lyons collected both his first major league run batted in and base on balls and while hitting two singles. He reached base and scored in all three plate appearances.[125] Garcia and IF Xavier Scruggs had been called up from Memphis on June 19 in preparation for the series against the Phillies, with Harris and Easley optioned back to the AAA club.[126] The Cardinals were also victorious the next game by a 10–1 score. Grichuk followed with a two more home runs and his second consecutive three-hit game. Heyward also contributed three hits and two RBI. Lackey, the Cardinals' starting pitcher, completed seven innings, for the fourth time in five starts. He improved his record to 6–4 with a 3.41 ERA.[127]

Scruggs provided three hits and two RBI, Heyward hit his eighth home run, and Reynolds drove in the go-ahead run with a bases-loaded infield single on June 23 against the Miami Marlins in a 4–3 win.[128] The Cardinals activated Lynn from the DL the next day prior to the series finale against the Marlins.[129] Heyward homered again the next game, and Wong hit his ninth HR as García improved to 3–3 in a 6–1 victory and series win over the Marlins.[130] The Cardinals optioned Lyons back to Memphis to make room on the roster for Lynn,[131] who started the next game against the Marlins, pitching six scoreless innings in a 5–1 victory and series sweep. Wong's RBI double broke a scoreless tie and put the Cardinals ahead for good. Pete Kozma, filling in for Peralta at shortstop, scored on that double had three hits and reached base in four plate appearances,[132] snapping an 0–21 streak that dated back to May 19.[133]

Greg Garcia's first major league home was on June 26 in the eighth inning against Pedro Strop of the Cubs, tying the score in an eventual 4–3 Cardinals win, where they walked off when Bourjos scored on an error in the 10th inning. The Cardinals improved to an MLB-best 27–7 at home.[134]

Best start in MLB in ten years[edit]

The Cardinals won their fifth straight game on June 27 by a score of 8–1, also at home against the Cubs, extending their major league-best record to 50–24. Scruggs provided another three-hit night as all nine starters collected at least one hit. Wacha improved to 10–3 and Carlos Villanueva pitched the last three innings for his first save of the season and fourth career with three or more innings pitched. Each of the second, third and fourth innings with the Cubs batting ended with a double play.[135]

The Cardinals became the first club of the season to reach 50 wins and the fastest to win 50 since the Chicago White Sox in 2005. In the last 50 years, the 2015 Cardinals were just the 18th club to reach 50 wins before losing their 25th game, of which, 13 went on to win 100 or more games and only two missed the playoffs. The only other time in Cardinals' history with such a start or better occurred in 1944 (52–21–2), a season that concluded with 105 regular-season wins and the World Series title. The 2015 club held the major leagues' best run-differential at +95, and their staff ERA (2.63) was the lowest through 74 games in a season since the Baltimore Orioles in 1972 (2.31).[136]

Wacha and Martínez both with nine wins before July[edit]

Winning again against the Cubs on June 28, the Cardinals swept as Martínez won his ninth decision. Thus he and Wacha were the first teammate duo aged 23 and under to win nine games or more in their team's first 75 since Dwight Gooden and Sid Fernandez did so with the Mets in 1986.[137] On June 30 against the Chicago White Sox, the Cardinals again fell victim to a strikeout record against an American League Central pitcher. By striking out 12 Cardinals hitters, Chris Sale matched Pedro Martínez with 10 or more strikeouts in each of eight consecutive games, which Martínez accomplished in 1999. The Cardinals fell to the White Sox, 2–1, in extra innings[138] for just their second loss at home of the month. Grichuk hit a 448 feet (137 m) home run off Sale into the Big Mac Land section, the longest home run of the year at Busch Stadium by a Cardinals player through that point. The bullpen finished with an MLB-best 1.52 ERA for the month of June.[139]

July[edit]

Dismissal of Correa for unauthorized access[edit]

On July 2, news reports including those by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch indicated that the Cardinals had dismissed scouting director Chris Correa after he had admitted to illegally accessing the Astros' scouting database in 2013.[140][141]

On January 8, 2016, Correa pleaded guilty in federal court to five counts of unauthorized access to a protected computer from at least March 2013 through June 2014. Officials in MLB's commissioner's office said they will review the results of the federal investigation and determine if and when any penalties will be assessed against the Cardinals.[142]

End of Rosenthal's scoreless streak[edit]

Trevor Rosenthal's ​23 23 IP scoreless streak ended on July 3 against the San Diego Padres. Jedd Gyorko singled home the go-ahead run in the ninth to send the Cardinals to their fourth consecutive loss. Rosenthal's streak, which dated back to May 5, was the longest among relief pitchers in the National League to that point in the season.[143] The Cardinals recalled Harris and optioned Greg Garcia back to Memphis on July 4.[144]

Pham's first MLB double and home run help win two games[edit]

On July 4, the Cardinals defeated the Padres 2–1 as center fielder Tommy Pham, just recalled from Memphis, was influential in helping snap the four-game losing streak. He doubled for his first major league hit, then, later in the game, pilfered his first stolen base and scored the winning run.[145] The next game, Pham hit his first major league home run and drove in his first major league runs, driving in all three runs in a 3–1 victory and propelling the Cardinals to the series split with the Padres.[146] The Cardinals placed Jaime García with a right groin strain and recalled Cooney from Memphis. García sustained the injury on June 24 while running the bases against Miami.[147]

Six selected for All-Star Game[edit]

Yadier Molina was selected for his seventh consecutive All-Star game in 2015.

Six Cardinals were selected to compete for the National League All-Star team in the 86th All-Star Game at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, including Matt Holliday, Carlos Martínez, Yadier Molina, Jhonny Peralta, Trevor Rosenthal and Michael Wacha. Peralta and Holliday were voted to start the game by fan vote on July 6. Peralta garnered the most votes among NL shortstops, while Holliday placed third among NL outfielders, which automatically assured him one three starting outfield spots. Molina and Rosenthal were selected by fellow players on July 7; NL manager Bruce Bochy also selected Wacha that day. Additionally, Martínez was nominated as a contender for the All-Star Final Vote,[148] which he won on July 10 for was his first All-Star selection.[149]

Although it was Holliday's seventh All-Star selection, it was first time he was selected by fan vote, and thus, as a starter.[150] He was held out of participating due to the quadriceps injury.[151] Peralta made his third All-Star team and first playing for the National League. Molina was selected for his seventh appearance, and Rosenthal and Wacha were both selected for the first time.[148] Through July 10, Martínez completed ​107 13 innings and notched a 10–3 record with a 2.52 ERA. Over his previous 10 outings, his totals included 10 consecutive quality starts with a 1.20 ERA and 7–1 W–L.[149] Rosenthal elected not to play due to a sore arm.[152]

In the Reds' clubhouse for the All-Star Game, Molina was assigned the locker of second baseman Brandon Phillips. A rift had developed between the two in 2010 when Phillips called the Cardinals a derogatory name to the press, and an altercation between them during one of Phillips' at bats the following game ignited a bench-clearing brawl. Since then, the two mended their schism, and Molina has a photograph of their two families together.[153] When informed with whom he shared, Molina replied, "This is Phillips' locker? How about that? I'll have to write something to him."[154]

While the pregame roster introductions were made, Reds fans booed all six Cardinals players, and even former Cardinal Albert Pujols. When Molina was introduced, the booing reached a crescendo, and he smiled and turned and pointed his thumbs toward the back of his jersey. Pujols provided levity when he then joined in the booing. After the game, Molina remarked to reporters, "when you spend 12 years coming to Cincinnati and you beat them so many times, they're going to boo you." In his career to that point, he hit .319 with a .352 on-base percentage and .500 slugging percentage in 270 career at-bats at Great American Ball Park.[155]

Pirates' three straight wins over Cardinals to end first half[edit]

In the morning of July 12, the Cardinals dropped their second straight game (that had started the night before) to the second place Pirates, after Andrew McCutchen hit a walk off home run off Nick Greenwood in the bottom of the 14th inning. Earlier in this game, Mark Reynolds hit his first multiple home run game of the season – and 22nd of his career[156] – while John Lackey delivered his sixth straight quality start, and 12th in 15 outings.[157] The next game ended with a 6–5 extra-inning defeat of the Cardinals, this time in the bottom of the tenth inning. The loss shrunk the Central division-leading Cardinals' lead over the Pirates to ​2 12 games; it was also the Pirates' third consecutive victory over the Cardinals in as many days. Gregory Polanco's bases loaded single in the bottom of the tenth off Rosenthal gave the Pirates the win.[158][159] Rosenthal's first blown save since May 3, it stopped a streak of 18 consecutive conversions.[160] This match was the tenth meeting between the two clubs to this point in the season, of which they had split evenly, and the fifth to go into extra innings.[159]

Despite withstanding both a three-game and four-game losing streak within their previous 14 games, the Cardinals entered the All-Star break with the best record in the major leagues at 56–33. According to STATS LLC, St. Louis abdicated a 2.71 ERA, the leading at-the-break ERA in the majors since the 1981 Astros allowed a 2.81 ERA. Between Lackey, Lynn, Martínez, and Wacha – the four with the most starts – their unified ERA was 2.84, the top figure for the club since 1968, the season of Bob Gibson's 1.12 ERA. Their record at Busch Stadium was 31–11 for a .738 winning percentage, the highest in the major leagues. They also had a 2.31 ERA at home.[161]

Start of second half[edit]

On July 18, the Cardinals defeated the Mets 12–2 behind Lackey's seven innings and one run performance, Heyward's five hits and Grichuk's six RBI. Through his previous seven starts, Lackey's ERA was 1.63. Grichuk also had two home runs in the game, and a seven-game hitting streak, with 13 hits in 25 at bats (.520). It was his first six-RBI game. Heyward's five hits were his first in a game in two years.[162] In the last game of the series, the Mets defeated the Cardinals 3–1 in 18 innings, in spite of stranding 25 runners, which tied their franchise record set in 1974. The game lasted five hours and 55 minutes.[163]

Matt Holliday's first home run in his return from the disabled list was a grand slam against Carlos Rodon of the Chicago White Sox in an 8–5 win on July 21.[164] It was his sixth career grand slam. Stephen Piscotty, appearing in his first major league game, singled in his second at bat for his first MLB hit.[165] In the next game, also against the White Sox, Piscotty hit his first career double. With the bases loaded, Molina hit his first triple since 2011 and in more than 2,000 at bats. This triple provided the decisive run in a 3–2 outcome and made the Cardinals the first team of the season to 60 wins.[166]

Cooney earned his first major league win by pitching a career-high seven innings in a 4−2 win over the Atlanta Braves on July 24. He had previously received no-decisions in each of his first five major league starts. Further, Cooney had a 12-inning scoreless streak that ended in the sixth inning. Grichuk hit a two-run home run, and, setup man Kevin Siegrist, filling in for closer Trevor Rosenthal, recorded his fifth save of the season.[167] On July 25, Martínez pitched his 11th consecutive quality start, tying him with Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers for longest current streak, and the longest for the Cardinals since Chris Carpenter in 2010.[168] Piscotty's sacrifice fly scored Kozma and was the only run of the game, giving the Cardinals a 1–0 win. It was Piscotty's first MLB RBI.[169]

Kolten Wong's second career grand slam provided the margin in a 4–1 win over the Reds on July 27.[170] The Reds then shut out the Cardinals on consecutive days. Holliday reaggravated the quadriceps injury on July 29 that he had sustained the month prior, and was placed on the 15-day DL.[171] Lackey gave up just one run with eight strikeouts while allowing one walk and two hits. It was the fewest hits he allowed through that point in the season. He also allowed three runs or fewer in all but of one of his prior 17 starts.[172]

However, the Cardinals' offense returned the following night (July 30) in a 9–8 home victory over the Colorado Rockies. After slumping to a .216 batting average over three months since being moved down in the order, Matt Carpenter returned to the lead off position for his first career multi-home run game. He also had four hits, four runs scored and four RBI. The game involved multiple lead changes, poor fundamental play and angry exchanges between the two clubs. Starting pitcher Carlos Martínez hit DJ LeMahieu with a pitch in the fifth inning; when the inning was completed, Martínez flashed an obscene gesture on full public display toward the visitors' dugout with Rockies players and personnel. Corresponding aggressive verbal exchanges ensued, including those between Molina and Nolan Arenado. In the seventh inning, Rockies pitcher Christian Friedrich hit Kolten Wong. The umpires issued warnings in the fifth inning but no ejections followed. Kevin Siegrist committed two throwing errors in the eighth inning involving Rockies baserunners, that, along with Randal Grichuk's throwing mistakes from center field (not officially ruled as errors), allowed Colorado to take an 8–6 lead. The Cardinals came back in the bottom of the ninth, winning on Greg Garcia's bases loaded walk-off walk. Carpenter was again instrumental, starting the rally with a ground rule double. Jhonny Peralta later delivered a game-tying two-run single before the Cardinals loaded the bases and Garcia drew the decisive walk. Martínez' streak of 11 quality starts ended with this game after allowing five runs in five innings.[173][174]

Non-waiver trade deadline acquisitions[edit]

Jonathan Broxton with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2010
Steven Cishek with the Miami Marlins in 2013
Brandon Moss with the Cleveland Indians in 2015
The Cardinals augmented their bullpen by adding former closers Jonathan Broxton and Steven Cishek and their lineup with Brandon Moss before the July 31 trade deadline. Cishek and Broxton were the fourth and fifth pitchers with at least 30 saves in one season to play for the Cardinals in 2015.

To help offset the loss of batting production from Holliday's return to the DL, the Cardinals acquired first baseman and outfielder Brandon Moss from the Indians for LHP Rob Kaminsky.[175] The following day, the Cardinals acquired another former closer in Jonathan Broxton, who was Milwaukee's setup man. The Brewers also sent cash, as the pitcher's 2015 salary was $9 million ($9,303,626.7 today), and he would have been arbitration eligible in 2016 with a $2 million ($2,067,472.6 today) buyout. The Cardinals sent outfielder Malik Collymore (minors, not on 40-man roster) to the Brewers.[176]

On July 30, it was announced the Cardinals had agreed to a new television deal with Fox Sports Midwest. It was an extension of the current deal, which would expire at the end of the 2017 season. The new deal would extend through 2032 and be worth $1 billion overall. It also guaranteed the franchise a minority stake in the network. The Cardinals' current deal would have been worth about $35 million in its final year, then climb to roughly $55 million in 2018, increasing with inflation each year afterward.[177]

August[edit]

Moss' first RBI for St. Louis occurred on August 2, a game-winning single that scored Jason Heyward in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Rockies.[178] Carpenter hit five home runs from July 30 to August 5.[179] On August 5 against the Reds at Great American Ball Park, Grichuk doubled in the sixth inning and hit the game-winning home run in the top of the 13th for a 4–3 win.[180] After closing out a 6–0 contest against Milwaukee on August 7 with three scoreless innings, Carlos Villanueva earned his second save of the season, and second of three innings.[181] By shutting out the Brewers 3–0 on August 8, Cardinals pitchers induced 36 consecutive scoreless innings. Jaime García was the starter and winning pitcher in this game, improving to 4–4.[182] The Cardinals extended their season-high scoreless streak to 38 innings against the Brewers on August 9, but lost the contest 5–4. They had also completed 62 innings without allowing a home run, which also ended in this game.[183]

Due to his increased frequency of home runs, Carpenter received consideration for a second NL Player of the week Award for August 9. He batted .348 with four home runs, eight RBI, seven runs scored, a 1.000 SLG and .423 OBP.[184] Baseball America released their annual Tool Box Awards for 2015 on August 12, rated by managers and coaches league-wide. Those rating at or near the top of various categories included Carpenter for "best strike zone judgment" (third), Yadier Molina for both "best hit and run artist" (tied for first) and "best defensive catcher" (first), Trevor Rosenthal for "best reliever" (third), and Mike Matheny for "best manager" (second).[185]

In a 10–5 loss to the Pirates on August 13, starter Lance Lynn recorded just two outs while allowing seven runs total, three earned, in the first inning. Lynn allowed six hits while throwing 41 pitches. The Pirates scored four unearned runs after Matt Carpenter's throwing error. Pedro Álvarez, with six hits in 12 at bats, two home runs, and two doubles in the series, also homered in the first inning.[186] That gave him 18 home runs in 80 games against the Cardinals. Lynn became the first Cardinals starter since Anthony Reyes on October 1, 2006, to fail to complete the first inning by reason other than injury.[187] Tyler Lyons, making his first relief appearance of the season, took over for Lynn and completed ​5 13 scoreless innings. It was the Cardinals' first scoreless relief outing of at least five innings since Manny Aybar did so in 1999.[188]

Jaime García pitched ​8 13 innings against the Miami Marlins at Busch Stadium on August 14 in a 3–1 win. One of the hits he allowed was to Ichiro Suzuki, his 4,191st hit in top-level professional baseball, matching Ty Cobb.[a][189] Ichiro passed Cobb the next night with two singles as the Cardinals won, 6–2. John Lackey (10–7) was the Cardinals' starter and recorded his 12th consecutive season with at least 10 victories. In ​8 13 IP, he struck out six, and allowed the two runs after nine hits and one walk. At one point, he retired nine consecutive batters.[190] Randal Grichuk and Mark Reynolds both homered and Stephen Piscotty collected three hits.[191] Piscotty then hit a home run in the next game, also against the Marlins, for his in the major leagues, and Jason Heyward homered twice for his first multi-home run game with the Cardinals. It was not enough run support as Miami won, 6–4.[192]

After injuring his right elbow, the Cardinals placed Grichuk on the DL on August 17 due to a strain, and recalled Tommy Pham in his place.[193] With his first major league triple, Piscotty set up the go-ahead run in a 2–1 win over the San Francisco Giants on August 17.[194] Molina's 100th career home run on August 19 was well-timed, becoming the game-winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning at Busch Stadium in a 4–3 win over the Giants.[195]

The Cardinals won seven of ten games on their West Coast road trip from August 21–30. After losing the first two games of the series against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park by a combined 17–3 score, the Cardinals won on August 23, 10–3. Piscotty set a new career high with five RBI, and his first multi-home run game. Michael Wacha won his 15th game.[196]

The Cardinals swept the Arizona Diamondbacks in four games at Chase Field August 24–27.[197] After saving his 40th game on August 26, Rosenthal became the third-youngest MLB pitcher to record back-to-back 40 save seasons, and just the second Cardinals pitcher to do so. Lee Smith registered 40 saves each season from 199193.[198] In the final game of the series against the Diamondbacks, Brandon Moss hit his first home run as a Cardinal, and Tony Cruz hit his first home run of the season in a 5–3 win.[199] The Cardinals announced on August 28 that they had chosen Randy Flores, a former relief pitcher who had played for the Cardinals' 2006 World Series championship team, as their next director of scouting.[200][201] Matt Carpenter reached 20 home runs for the first time in his career on August 30 in a 7–5 win over the Giants.[202] Reynolds and Moss also homered,[203] and Heyward singled, doubled, and tripled, and Siegrist got his sixth save. It was the final game of the West Coast road trip.[204]

September and October[edit]

John Lackey, who led the Cardinals in innings pitched and posted a career-best 2.77 ERA, started Game 1 of the NLDS.[205]

St. Louis won their second successive, 8–5, come-from-behind victory at Busch Stadium over the Washington Nationals on September 1. Brandon Moss provided a three-run, walk-off home run.[206] Marco Gonzales made his first appearance of the season in this game, allowing four runs in less than three innings.[207] This win placed the club at 40 games above .500 for the first time on the season.[208] The club activated center fielder Jon Jay from the disabled list on September 4 after missing 57 games due to a wrist injury.[209] Jaime García achieved his 50th career win in a 4–1 decision over the Pirates on September 5, also reaching 100 IP in a season for the first time since 2012.[210]

The Cardinals reactivated Grichuk on September 6. Four days later, he played center field against the Cubs, but was not permitted to throw as his elbow had still not fully recovered.[211] In an eight-game stretch, the Cardinals allowed 52 runs (6.5 per game), while scoring just 20, including a loss of 9–0 to the Cubs and another loss of 11–0 to the Reds. First baseman Matt Adams, on the DL since late May, returned to play on September 11.[212] On September 12, MLB announced an 80-game suspension of catcher Cody Stanley after testing positive for 4-Chlorodehydromethyltestosterone, a prohibited substance under their drug policy.[213] The club activated reliever Matt Belisle from the DL on September 12,[214] and reactivated Matt Holliday three days later after missing 41 games.[215]

The Cardinals swept the September 15–17 series against Milwaukee to give them their first four-game winning streak of the month. On September 16, Pham tripled and hit his first multi-home run game in a 5–4 victory. He actually homered in three consecutive plate appearances spanning his last at bat previous to the game, September 13 against Cincinnati.[216] In the next game, Pham's line drive ricocheted off the head of starting pitcher Jimmy Nelson. Although Nelson had to leave the game, he was able to walk off the field in his own ability, and a magnetic resonance image (MRI) revealed a contusion. The Cardinals won, 6–3. Pham doubled and tripled in this game, giving him six hits and eight RBI in consecutive games against Milwaukee.[31] With seven scoreless innings, Lackey reached 200 IP for the sixth time in his career and first time since 2010. He had a 2.23 ERA over his last 17 starts.[217] By reaching 200 IP, he triggered a $400,000 bonus, bringing his earnings for the season over $2 million.[31]

With the Cubs seven games back, the first-place Cardinals visited Wrigley Field on September 18 to start a three-game series, continuing a renewed Cardinals–Cubs rivalry with Chicago being more competitive than in recent years. After Cubs pitcher Dan Haren hit Matt Holliday in the back of the head in the fifth inning, Belisle grazed Anthony Rizzo behind the knee in the seventh inning, prompting his ejection. The Cubs won, 8–3. Remarked Cubs manager Joe Maddon about Belisle hitting Rizzo, "I have no history with the Cardinals except I used to love them growing up. That really showed me a lot today in a negative way. I don't know who put out the hit. I don't know if Tony Soprano is in the dugout. I didn't see him in there. But we're not going to put up with it, from them or anybody else."[218]

Chicago defeated St. Louis again the next game, 5–4, but the Cardinals clinched at least a spot in the wild-card play-in game with the Giants' loss to the Diamondbacks,[219] the first team of the season to advance to the playoffs. Matheny became the first manager in MLB history to guide his club to the postseason in each of his first four full seasons.[220] In the third game of the series against the Cubs on September 20, the bases were loaded with no outs in the eight inning. Addison Russell hit a fly ball that Heyward caught running and threw home to Molina to tag out Rizzo by two steps, helping preserve a 4–3 win. However, Molina injured his left thumb as he applied the tag.[221] An MRI revealed a partial ligament tear the following day. The same day, the Cardinals announced Adam Wainwright was cleared to resume baseball activities ahead of schedule after diligently rehabilitating his Achilles tendon rupture throughout the season.[222] Pham drove in two of the runs in a 3–1 win over the Reds on September 22.[223]

Catcher Travis Tartamella debuted on September 23 in the eighth inning of a 10–2 win against the Reds and singled on the first pitch of his first plate appearance.[224] Martinez' season ended early in a start against the Brewers on September 25 in which threw only seven pitches; he also missed the postseason. The injury was a shoulder strain; however, surgery was not deemed necessary and that he would recover in time for the 2016 season.[225] While playing the Pirates on September 28, Piscotty was injured on a fly ball into left field when he collided with Bourjos' knee, which hit him in the head. He suffered a bruise, but tests results were negative for injury, including concussion.[226] The Cardinals won the contest 3–0, and Rosenthal gained his 48th save, establishing a new single-season franchise record.[227]

Making his first appearance of the season since April, Wainwright pitched an inning of relief in the first game of a doubleheader against Pittsburgh on September 30, an 8–2 loss. He gave up one run on two hits with a strikeout and no walks. He had returned from injury at least four months ahead of schedule.[228] In the second game, the Cardinals won their 100th game of the season while clinching their third consecutive National League Central division title by an 11–1 score. The Pirates, who had kept close with the Cardinals for nearly the entire season, had won their 96th game of the season earlier in the day. They already qualified as one of two wild card entrants, along with the Cubs. Heyward hit a grand slam to highlight the second game, the second of his career, and robbed both Francisco Cervelli and Michael Morse of hits. Tyler Lyons, filling in for the injured Carlos Martínez, completed seven scoreless innings with just four hits and no walks allowed. Carpenter doubled and tripled, and Peralta added three RBI. Seigrist, making his major league-leading 80th appearance of the season, became just the third left-handed pitcher in franchise history to make that many appearances in a season.[229][230]

The Cardinals finished their regular season October 1–3 against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field, which the Braves swept. They held the Cardinals scoreless in their final 27 innings of the regular season.[231]

Schedule and results[edit]

Game log[edit]

2015 St. Louis Cardinals Game Log (100–62)[232]
Legend:           = Win           = Loss           = Postponement
Bold = Cardinals team member

Roster[edit]

2015 St. Louis Cardinals
Roster
Pitchers Catchers

Infielders

Outfielders

Other batters

Manager

Coaches

Injury report[edit]

In-season acquisitions and roster moves[edit]

Postseason[edit]

Game log[edit]

2015 Postseason (1–3)
Legend:           = Win           = Loss           = Postponement
Bold = Cardinals team member

National League Division Series[edit]

The Cardinals faced off in a best-of-five series against the rival Chicago Cubs in the postseason for the first time since joining the National League in 1892. The first two games took place at the Cardinals' home venue, Busch Stadium. John Lackey started Game 1 for the Cardinals, opposing Jon Lester, who had both faced St. Louis in the 2013 World Series as members of the Boston Red Sox. Lackey held the Cubs to hitless through the first five innings on the way to pitching ​7 13 shutout innings in a 4–0 win. Rookies Stephen Piscotty and Tommy Pham both hit their first career postseason home runs.[277] Jaime García, the starter for Game 2, pitched with illness and was ineffective, allowing five unearned runs in just two innings. Two errors, including his own, allowed the Cubs to take an early 5–1 lead. The Cardinals scored all runs on solo home runs from Matt Carpenter, Kolten Wong, and Randal Grichuk.[278]

The series shifted to Wrigley Field, the Cubs' home park, for the next two games. In the third game, the Cubs hit six home runs, and led 8–4 going into the ninth. After Piscotty's two-run home run, the Cardinals trailed by two, but this was the outcome as the Cubs won 8–6.[279] The Cubs also won the final game, 6–4, to move on to the National League Championship Series and end the Cardinals' season. Anthony Rizzo hit his second home run in two days off reliever Kevin Siegrist for the go-ahead run.[280]

Statistics[edit]

Batting statistics[edit]

Legend
 Pos  Position   R  Runs scored  HR  Home runs   SB Stolen bases  AVG  Batting average
  G Games played   H  Hits  RBI  Runs batted in   CS Caught stealing  OBP  On-base percentage
 PA  Plate appearances  2B  Doubles  BB  Bases on balls  HBP  HBP  SLG  Slugging percentage
 AB  At bats  3B  Triples  SO  Strikeouts  GIDP  GIDP  OPS  On-base plus slugging percentage
Pos Player G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG OPS
C Yadier Molina 136 530 488 34 132 23 2 4 61 32 59 3 1 .270 .310 .350 .660
1B Mark Reynolds 140 432 382 35 88 21 2 13 48 44 121 2 3 .230 .315 .398 .713
2B Kolten Wong* 150 613 557 71 146 28 4 11 61 36 95 15 8 .262 .321 .386 .707
3B Matt Carpenter* 154 665 574 101 154 44 3 28 84 81 151 4 3 .272 .365 .505 .841
SS Jhonny Peralta 155 640 579 64 159 26 1 17 71 50 111 1 4 .275 .334 .411 .745
LF Matt Holliday 73 277 229 24 64 16 1 4 35 39 49 2 1 .279 .394 .410 .804
CF Peter Bourjos 117 225 195 32 39 8 3 4 11 19 59 5 8 .200 .290 .333 .623
RF Jason Heyward* 154 610 547 79 160 33 4 13 60 56 90 23 3 .293 .359 .439 .797
Pos Player G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG OPS
OF Randal Grichuk 103 350 323 49 89 23 7 17 43 16 93 4 1 .276 .329 .548 .877
LF Stephen Piscotty 63 256 233 29 71 15 4 7 39 20 56 2 1 .305 .359 .494 .853
CF Jon Jay* 79 245 210 25 44 5 1 1 10 19 36 0 2 .210 .306 .257 .563
1B Matt Adams* 60 186 175 14 42 9 0 5 24 10 41 1 0 .240 .280 .377 .657
CF Tommy Pham 52 173 153 28 41 7 5 5 18 19 41 2 0 .268 .347 .477 .824
C Tony Cruz 69 151 142 6 29 7 1 2 11 6 32 0 0 .204 .235 .310 .545
1B Brandon Moss* 51 151 132 11 33 7 1 4 8 17 42 0 1 .250 .344 .409 .753
IF Pete Kozma 76 111 99 15 15 0 0 0 2 10 21 3 1 .152 .236 .152 .388
IF Greg Garcia* 49 87 75 7 18 5 0 2 4 10 12 0 0 .240 .337 .387 .724
1B Xavier Scruggs 17 43 42 5 11 2 0 0 7 0 10 1 0 .262 .279 .310 .589
1B Dan Johnson* 12 21 19 1 3 0 0 0 2 2 4 0 0 .138 .258 .158 .396
C Cody Stanley* 9 10 10 2 4 1 0 0 3 0 1 0 0 .400 .400 .500 .900
C Ed Easley 4 7 6 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000
C Travis Tartamella 3 2 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .500 .500 .500 1.000
IF Dean Anna* 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000
Pos Player G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG OPS
P John Lackey 33 70 62 0 7 2 0 0 3 4 124 0 0 .113 .167 .145 .312
P Carlos Martínez 32 63 56 2 8 2 0 0 0 1 23 0 0 .143 .172 .179 .351
P Michael Wacha 30 62 52 5 8 1 0 0 4 4 20 1 0 .154 .214 .173 .387
P Lance Lynn 31 55 50 3 8 2 0 0 1 0 26 0 0 .160 .160 .200 .360
P Jaime García* 20 44 41 1 4 0 0 0 1 2 15 0 0 .098 .140 .098 .237
P Tyler Lyons* 17 20 16 3 3 1 0 0 1 2 4 0 0 .188 .278 .188 .664
P Tim Cooney* 6 11 10 1 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .300 .300 .400 .700
P Carlos Villanueva 35 11 8 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000
P Adam Wainwright 7 10 10 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000
P Seth Maness 77 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000
P Randy Choate* 55 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1.000
P Trevor Rosenthal 52 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000
P Mitch Harris 16 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000
P Miguel Socolovich 11 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000
TEAM TOTALS 162 6139 5484 647 1386 288 39 137 619 506 1267 69 38 .253 .321 .394 .716
Rank of 15 teams in NL 9 11 6 4 4 11 4 6 11 10 6 5 9 8
Non-pitcher totals 162 5786 5173 632 1345 280 39 137 609 492 1144 68 38 .260 .330 .409 .738
Pitcher totals 152 353 311 15 41 8 0 0 10 14 123 1 0 .132 .172 .158 .329
G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG OPS

Pitching statistics[edit]

Legend
 Role  Pitcher   G  Games pitched  ShO  Shutouts   HR Home runs allowed    H/9  Hits per nine innings pitched
   W Wins  GS  Games started   SV  Save   BB Bases on balls allowed   BB/9  Bases on balls per 9 innings pitched
   L Losses  GF  Games finished   IP  Innings pitched   SO Strikeouts   SO/9  Strikeouts per 9 innings pitched
 ERA  Earned run average  CG  Complete game    H  Hits allowed  WHIP  Walks plus hits per inning pitched  BFP  Batters faced by pitcher
Role Name W L Win% ERA G GS GF CG ShO SV IP H HR BB SO WHIP H/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
SP John Lackey 13 10 .565 2.77 33 33 0 1 0 0 218.0 211 21 53 175 1.183 8.7 2.2 7.2 3.30
Michael Wacha 17 7 .708 3.38 30 30 0 0 0 0 181.1 162 19 58 153 1.213 8.0 2.9 7.6 2.64
Carlos Martínez 14 7 .667 3.01 31 29 1 0 0 0 179.2 168 13 63 184 1.286 8.4 3.2 9.2 2.92
Lance Lynn 12 11 .522 3.03 31 31 0 0 0 0 175.1 172 13 68 167 1.369 8.7 3.5 8.6 2.46
Jaime García* 10 6 .625 2.43 20 20 0 0 0 0 129.2 106 6 30 97 1.049 7.4 2.1 6.7 3.23
Role Name W L Win% ERA G GS GF CG ShO SV IP H HR BB SO WHIP H/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
CL Trevor Rosenthal 2 4 .333 2.10 68 0 57 0 0 48 68.2 62 3 25 83 1.267 8.1 3.3 10.9 3.32
SU Kevin Siegrist* 7 1 .875 2.17 81 0 13 0 0 6 74.2 53 4 34 90 1.165 6.4 4.1 10.8 3.42
MR Seth Maness 4 2 .667 4.26 76 0 13 0 0 3 63.1 77 7 13 46 1.421 10.9 1.8 6.5 3.54
LR Carlos Villanueva 4 3 .571 2.95 35 0 20 0 0 2 61.0 50 6 21 55 1.164 7.4 3.1 8.1 2.62
MR Matt Belisle 1 1 .500 2.67 34 0 10 0 0 0 33.2 34 1 15 25 1.455 9.1 4.0 6.7 1.67
Role Name W L Win% ERA G GS GF CG ShO SV IP H HR BB SO WHIP H/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
SP Tyler Lyons* 3 1 .750 3.75 17 8 1 0 0 0 60.0 59 12 15 60 1.233 8.9 2.3 9.0 4.00
SP Tim Cooney* 1 0 1.000 3.16 6 6 0 0 0 0 31.1 28 3 10 29 1.213 8.0 2.9 8.3 2.90
RP Miguel Socolovich 4 1 .800 1.82 28 0 11 0 0 0 29.2 25 1 10 27 1.180 7.6 3.0 8.2 2.70
SP Adam Wainwright 2 1 .667 1.61 7 4 0 0 0 0 28.0 25 0 4 20 1.036 8.0 1.3 6.4 5.00
LS Randy Choate* 1 0 1.000 3.95 71 0 4 0 0 1 27.1 29 2 5 22 1.244 9.5 1.6 7.2 4.40
MR Mitch Harris 1 1 .500 3.67 26 0 7 0 0 0 27.0 30 4 13 15 1.593 10.0 4.3 5.0 1.15
SU Jonathan Broxton 3 3 .500 2.66 26 0 5 0 0 0 23.2 20 2 12 26 1.352 7.6 4.6 9.9 2.17
SU Steve Cishek 0 0 2.31 27 0 8 0 0 1 23.1 18 2 13 20 1.329 6.9 5.0 7.7 1.54
RP Sam Tuivailala 0 1 .000 3.07 10 0 2 0 0 0 14.2 13 2 8 20 1.432 8.0 4.9 13.2 2.50
SU Jordan Walden 0 1 .000 0.87 12 0 2 0 0 1 10.1 7 0 4 12 1.065 6.1 3.5 10.5 3.00
SP Marco Gonzales* 0 0 13.50 1 1 0 0 0 0 2.2 7 1 1 1 3.000 23.6 3.4 3.4 1.00
RP Marcus Hatley 0 0 0.00 2 0 1 0 0 0 1.1 1 0 2 2 2.250 6.8 13.5 13.5 1.00
RP Nick Greenwood* 0 1 .000 1 0 1 0 0 0 0.0 2 1 0 0
TEAM TOTALS 100 62 .617 2.94 162 162 161 1 0 62 1464.2 1359 123 477 1329 1.254 8.4 2.9 8.2 2.79
Rank of 15 teams in NL 1 15 1 8 4 1 3 5 2 7 7
Role Name W L Win% ERA G GS GF CG ShO SV IP H HR BB SO WHIP H/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB

Records, awards, honors and milestones[edit]

Records
Performer Organization Accomplishment Date Ref.
St. Louis Cardinals St. Louis Cardinals Opening day record four stolen bases April 5 [76]
Yadier Molina St. Louis Cardinals 11 consecutive Opening Day starts as catcher April 5 [70]
St. Louis Cardinals St. Louis Cardinals 18 strikeouts while batting May 13 [98]
Matt Holliday National League 45-game on-base streak to open a season June 2 [105]
Mike Matheny Major League Baseball Playoff appearances in first four seasons as manager September 19 [220]
Trevor Rosenthal St. Louis Cardinals Single-season saves total (48) September 28 [227]
Accomplishments
Performer Organization Accomplishment Date Ref.
St. Louis Cardinals St. Louis Cardinals Best start after 25 games (19–6) since 1900 [90]
Yadier Molina Major League Baseball Hit into first-ever 4–5–4 triple play May 10 [97]
St. Louis Cardinals Major League Baseball Fastest team to 50 wins since 2005 Chicago White Sox June 27 [136]
Randal Grichuk St. Louis Cardinals Longest home run of season at Busch Stadium, 448 feet (137 m) June 30 [139]
St. Louis Cardinals St. Louis Cardinals Longest streak of season without home run allowed, 62 innings August 1–9 [183]
St. Louis Cardinals St. Louis Cardinals Longest streak of season without run allowed, 38 innings August 5–9 [183]
Tyler Lyons St. Louis Cardinals First scoreless relief appearance of 5+ IP since 1999 August 13 [188]
Trevor Rosenthal Major League Baseball Third-youngest pitcher with back-to-back 40-save seasons August 26 [198]
Trevor Rosenthal St. Louis Cardinals Second pitcher with back-to-back 40-save seasons August 26 [198]
Major League Baseball All-Star Game selections
Cardinals representing the National League (Primary source:[148])
Player Pos. Sel. Notes Ref.
Matt Holliday OF 7 Voted to start by fans, but did not play due to injury [151]
Carlos Martínez RHP 1 Final Vote winner [149]
Yadier Molina C 7 Voted by fellow players
Jhonny Peralta SS 3 Voted to start by fans
Trevor Rosenthal RHP 1 Voted by fellow players, but did not play due to injury [152]
Michael Wacha RHP 1 Selected by manager
Awards
Regular season awards
Performer Date Accomplishment Ref.
Randal Grichuk 2015 Baseball America All-Rookie Team Outfielder [281]
Matt Carpenter 2015 Baseball America Toolbox Award for Best strike zone judgment (3rd) [185]
Mike Matheny 2015 Baseball America Toolbox Award for Best manager (2nd) [185]
Yadier Molina 2015 Baseball America Toolbox Award for Best hit and run artist (1st) [185]
Yadier Molina 2015 Baseball America Toolbox Award for Best defensive catcher (1st) [185]
Trevor Rosenthal 2015 Baseball America Toolbox Award for Best reliever (3rd) [185]
Jason Heyward 2015 Fielding Bible Award at right field [282]
Adam Wainwright 2015 Hutch Award [283]
Matt Carpenter April 12–19 National League Player of the Week [75]
Jason Heyward 2015 Rawlings Gold Glove Award at right field [284]
Yadier Molina 2015 Rawlings Gold Glove Award at catcher [284]
Yadier Molina 2015 Rawlings Platinum Glove Award [285]
Mitch Harris 2015 Tony Conigliaro Award [286]
Randal Grichuk 2015 Topps All-Star Rookie at outfield [287]

Awards voting results: National League Most Valuable Player Award: Carpenter, 12th; Heyward, 15th; Rosenthal 17th. National League Cy Young Award: Lackey, 9th. National League Rookie of the Year Award: Piscotty, 6th. National League Manager of the Year Award: Matheny, 2nd.[288]

Milestones
Regular season milestones
Performer Accomplishment Date Ref.
Lance Lynn 50th career win April 15 [76]
Kevin Siegrist 1st career save April 17 [77]
Cody Stanley 1st career hit April 26 [81]
Mike Matheny 300th career win as manager May 17 [100]
Matt Carpenter 500th career hit May 24 [102]
Matt Carpenter 300th career run scored May 24 [102]
Jaime García 500th career strikeout June 12 [120]
Tyler Lyons 1st career run batted in June 19 [125]
Greg Garcia 1st career home run June 26 [134]
Tommy Pham 1st career hit July 4 [145]
Tommy Pham 1st career home run July 5 [146]
Tim Cooney 1st career win July 24 [167]
Stephen Piscotty 1st career run batted in July 25 [169]
Matt Carpenter 1st career multi-home run game July 30 [173]
John Lackey 12th consecutive season with 10+ wins August 15 [190]
Stephen Piscotty 1st career home run August 16 [192]
Stephen Piscotty 1st career triple August 17 [194]
Yadier Molina 100th career home run August 19 [195]
Stephen Piscotty 1st career multi-home run game August 23 [196]
Trevor Rosenthal 2nd consecutive season with 40+ saves August 26 [198]
Jaime García 50th career win September 5 [210]
Tommy Pham 1st career multi-home run game September 16 [216]
John Lackey 200 innings pitched for season September 17 [31]
Travis Tartamella 1st career hit September 23 [224]
Postseason milestones
Performer Accomplishment Date Ref.
Stephen Piscotty 1st career home run October 9 [277]
Tommy Pham 1st career home run October 9 [277]

Executives and club officials[edit]

Source: Cardinals front office

Executive officers
Baseball operations department
  • Senior vice president of baseball operations / general manager (GM): John Mozeliak
  • Assistant general manager: Mike Girsch
  • Special assistants to the GM: Ryan Franklin, Mike Jorgensen, Cal Eldred, Willie McGee, and Red Schoendienst
  • Director of player development: Gary LaRocque
  • Director of player personnel: Matt Slater
  • Director of Major League administration: Judy Carpenter-Barada
  • Director of baseball administration: John Vuch
  • Baseball operations coordinator for player development: Tony Ferreira
  • Director of scouting: Randy Flores[c]
  • Director of international operations: Moisés Rodríguez
  • Assistant director of international scouting: Luís Morales
  • Manager for baseball information: Jeremy Cohen
  • Baseball development analysts: Matt Bayer, Kevin Seats, Dane Sorensen
  • Baseball developers: Pat Casanta, Brian Seyfert
  • Additional coaching staff
    • Senior medical advisor: Barry Weinberg
    • Head athletic trainer: Greg Hauck
    • Strength/conditioning coach: Pete Prinzi
    • Equipment manager: Rip Rowan
    • Traveling secretary: C. J. Cherre
Communications department
  • Vice president: Ron Watermon
  • Director: Brian Bartow
Cardinals Care and community relations department
  • Vice president for community relations & executive director for Cardinals Care: Michael Hall
  • Vice president for event services and merchandising: Vicki Bryant
Finance and administration department
Operations department
  • Vice president: Joe Abernathy
Ticket sales, marketing & corporate sales department
  • Senior vice president of sales & marketing: Dan Farrell

Minor league system and first-year player draft[edit]

Teams[edit]

Level Team League Division Manager W–L/Stats Standing Refs
AAA Memphis Redbirds Pacific Coast American–South Mike Shildt 73–71 5 GB / 2nd [289]
AA Springfield Cardinals Texas North Dann Bilardello 64–76 7 12 GB / 3rd
A+ Palm Beach Cardinals Florida State South Oliver Marmol 75–63 12 GB / 2nd
A Peoria Chiefs Midwest Western Joe Kruzel 75–63 ¤ 13 GB / 4th
A (SS) State College Spikes New York–Penn Pinckney Johnny Rodriguez 41–35 5 GB / 3rd
Rookie Johnson City Cardinals Appalachian West Chris Swauger 27–38 11 12 GB / 5th
GCL Cardinals Gulf Coast East Steve Turco 34–25 ƒ – GB / 1st
DSL Cardinals Dominican Summer Boca Chica North Fray Peniche 34–38 16 GB / 3rd

‡ – Clinched playoff berth with 43–25 record and first place in second half[290]
¤ – Clinched playoff spot[291]
ƒ – Clinched division title

Overview[edit]

Left-handed starting pitcher Tim Cooney, playing for the Memphis Redbirds of the Pacific Coast League (PCL), was named the PCL Pitcher of the Week after allowing a 0.66 ERA in ​13 13 IP against the New Orleans Zephyrs and Omaha Storm Chasers. He also held batters to a .143 batting average against (7-for-49).[292] For the week ending June 7, Tyler Lyons, also a left-handed starter playing for Memphis, was named PCL Pitcher of the week after defeating both the Salt Lake Bees and Iowa Cubs. He allowed a 0.00 ERA, 0.54 WHIP and .136 batting average against while striking out 13 in 13 IP.[293]

Right-handed pitcher Alex Reyes was selected to represent the World team in the All-Star Futures Game. Just coming off a 13-strikeout performance on June 17 with the Class A Advanced Palm Beach Cardinals, he led all of the minor leagues with a 13.4 strikeouts per nine innings. For the season, he was 2–5 with a 2.08 ERA, while striking 90 and walking 30 in ​60 23 IP. Reyes' fastball could reach 100 miles per hour (160 km/h) and he also threw a power curveball.[294] Luís Perdomo, pitching for the Peoria Chiefs of the Midwest League, replaced Reyes in the Futures Game due to injury. Converted from playing outfield after a major league tryout in front of scouts, he totaled 13 starts, a 2.79 ERA, 76 BB and 26 BB in ​77 13 IP.[295] Jim Callis ranked Reyes as the Cardinals' top prospect for 2015, and the best prospect not to make MLB.com's top 100 list of all professional baseball.[296]

On July 2, reports emerged that the Cardinals had signed five international free agents, including Noel De Jesús (RHP from the Dominican Republic), Raffy Ozuna (shortstop, Dominican Republic), Brian Pirela (RHP, Venezuela), Álvaro Seijas (RHP, Venezuela), and Anthony Trompiz (RHP, Venezuela). At the time, Seijas, 16, was the 11th-ranked international prospect per MLB.com's top 30 list, and received a $762,500 signing bonus. Ozuna, also 16, received a $600,000 signing bonus.[297]

While carrying out a rehabilitation assignment with the Peoria Chiefs on July 23, RHP Jaime García pitched in a combined no-hitter and 2–0 win against the Clinton LumberKings, a Seattle Mariners affiliate. The starter for the game, García pitched the first five innings and struck out six. Steven Sabatino and Cody Schumacher finished the contest.[298][299]

Awards[edit]

  • MLB.com's Cardinals 2015 top 30 prospects list
  • Names in bold denote player appeared on Cardinals' major league roster in 2015.
  • † – both a midseason and postseason All-Star selection

All-Star (midseason) selections[edit]

All-Star (postseason) selections[edit]

Rawlings Gold Glove Award[edit]

St. Louis Cardinals minor league system awards[edit]

Major League Baseball Draft[edit]

The Cardinals selected a total of 42 players in the annual 40-round draft that took place from June 8–10 in Secaucus, New Jersey. The club's first pick of the draft, and 23rd overall, was outfielder Nick Plummer from Brother Rice High School in Michigan.[119][325] He was the first high school player from Michigan taken in the first round since 1997. The Cardinals acceded him with a $2.124 million signing bonus.[326] The Cardinals also signed each of the following selectees of the first ten rounds: Jake Woodford (RHP, 1A), Jordan Hicks (RHP, third round), Paul DeJong (LF, fourth), Ryan Helsley, (RHP, fifth), Andrew Brodbeck, (2B ninth), and others in the later rounds. Other selections notified the Cardinals of their intention to continue playing college baseball: Kép Brown (10th round), Gio Brusa (23rd), Matt Vierling (30th) and Parker Kelly (34th).[327]

Names in bold indicate the player was signed. Sources:[328][329]

References[edit]

Footnotes

  • a Ichiro's hit on August 14 was his 2,913th hit in Major League Baseball (MLB), following 1,278 hits in nine seasons in the Nippon Professional Baseball league (NPB) in Japan. Although the achievement of surpassing Cobb received wide acclaim, as of 2015, Ichiro's combined totals in NPB and MLB were not counted toward either organization's official career hit records.
  • b The September 11 game was interrupted by rain in the eighth inning and resumed the next day just prior to the official September 12 game. Because the September 11 game was tied 2–2 at the time of the delay, it was declared suspended rather than ended early.[333]
  • c Flores assumed the role of scouting director on September 1, replacing Chris Correa, who was dismissed July 2.

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