LEADING OFF: Cardinals getting playful with pitching staff

May 22, 2022, 11:52 AM | Updated: 11:53 pm
St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Yadier Molina reacts to giving up a two-run home run to Pittsbur...

St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Yadier Molina reacts to giving up a two-run home run to Pittsburgh Pirates' Jack Suwinski during the ninth inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, May 22, 2022. The Cardinals won 18-4. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

A look at what’s happening around the majors today:

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WINGING IT FOR THE CARDS

First, Albert Pujols. Then, Yadier Molina.

Anyone else want to pitch for St. Louis this season?

First-year manager Oliver Marmol is definitely mixing fun with wins when it comes to who he puts on the mound.

Exactly a week after the slugging Pujols made his first pitching appearance in the majors, Molina got his turn Sunday, closing out an 18-4 romp at Pittsburgh. As the perennial Gold Glove catcher got loose, Pujols went behind the plate to catch Molina’s warmup tosses.

Both All-Stars finished their one-inning stints with a 36.00 ERA.

Topping out at 69 mph, Molina gave up four runs, including two homers, and four hits. He threw 14 of 20 pitches for strikes, without a strikeout or walk.

Pujols also permitted four runs and two homers in one inning while closing out a rout of San Francisco. Pujols gave up three hits, walked one and struck out none.

Naturally, the two stars poked each other over who threw it best.

“Mine was better. I didn’t give up a double like he did,” Pujols told St. Louis media.

Retorted Molina: “I didn’t walk anybody.”

But it was not all fun and games for St. Louis. Starter Steven Matz lasted only four pitches before being pulled with stiffness in his left shoulder.

“Sometimes stuff comes up,” Matz said. “I felt it a little bit in the bullpen. I was trying to work through it a little bit. … Just try to get through this, get some outs.”

Right-hander Miles Mikolas (3-2, 1.68 ERA) starts at Busch Stadium as the Cardinals open a two-game series against righty José Berríos (3-2, 4.83) and the Blue Jays.

CATCHING SOME Z’S

It’ll be Zack Greinke vs. Zach Davies when Kansas City begins a nine-game homestand by taking on the Diamondbacks.

The 38-year-old Greinke is still trying for his first win in his return to the Royals — he made his major league debut with them in 2004, won a Cy Young Award there and stayed with the team for seven seasons.

Greinke is 0-2 with a 3.48 ERA in eight starts. He pitched for Arizona in 2016-19 and was a three-time All-Star there.

Davies is 2-2 with a 4.35 ERA for Arizona.

GREEN SURGERY

Yankees setup man Chad Green will have Tommy John surgery, a rare setback this season for the team with the best record in the majors.

The 30-year-old righty had recently gone on the injured list. He was 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA in 14 games this season.

Green has long been one of New York’s top relievers. He has a 3.17 ERA, 11 saves and 494 strikeouts in 383 2/3 innings for the Yankees since 2016.

Also, the Yankees put outfielder Joey Gallo and catcher Kyle Higashioka on the COVID-19 IL on Sunday. Manager Aaron Boone said neither player had tested positive but both are showing symptoms of the coronavirus.

Ace Gerrit Cole (4-0, 2.89 ERA) was set to start at Yankee Stadium in the series opener against Baltimore.

REMEMBER ME?

Rockies right-hander Chad Kuhl returns to Pittsburgh to face his former team to open a three-game series at PNC Park.

The 29-year-old Kuhl was a ninth-round pick of the Pirates in 2013. He spent his first five seasons with Pittsburgh, going 25-30 in 100 games.

Kuhl signed with Colorado as a free agent in the offseason and is off to a nice start with his new team. He’s 3-2 with a 3.86 ERA in seven outings.

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LEADING OFF: Cardinals getting playful with pitching staff