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A Loss And Some Cuts

Posted on March 15, 2012 at 6:59 AM
Filed Under: St. Louis Cardinals
It's nice in the spring to be able to just look at the game and take the positives out of it without worrying much about the negatives, isn't it?  The emotional ties we have to each win and loss will come soon enough, but right now we can more dispassionately look at the box scores and just appreciate the fact that it's baseball.

For instance, even though the Cards fell to Houston yesterday 4-3, we don't have to worry about that means for the team as a whole.  Adam Ottavino struggled mightily, giving up all four runs in just two-thirds of an inning.  Ottavino isn't likely to start the season in St. Louis, though if he pitches more like the rest of his spring, he's got a chance to be a bullpen arm with the club before it's all said and done.  (I guess if the idea of Kyle McClellan to the Orioles took hold, Ottavino could be in competition for that last bullpen role while Chris Carpenter is on the shelf, but that's a lot of ifs.)

Otherwise, it was a very good day for the Cards.  Leading off the good news was the outing by Lance Lynn.  Lynn, who as you know is being put into the starting rotation for the rest of the spring in case Carpenter can't go to start the season, responded in his first outing by throwing three scoreless innings, striking out three.  Per BJ Rains on Twitter, he was hitting 96 in his last inning as well, meaning that maybe he can keep some of that bullpen velocity even if he has to transition.  Granted, this was against Houston, but it's still a great thing to see.  Lynn's still getting adjusted to his limbo-like status, but he's looking strong right now.

The bullpen save Ottavino looked good as well.  Scott Linebrink, who is a lot of people's sleeper pick to make this squad, put out Ottavino's fire and pitched another scoreless inning.  Eduardo Sanchez didn't strike anyone out this time, but threw a scoreless third of an inning, though he did walk one.  Sanchez's command is about the only thing keeping him from being a dominant arm in the late innings.  Mitchell Boggs had a perfect one-inning outing.  Even though there were a few guys (Kevin Siegrist, Chuckie Fick) that are minor-league bound in the mix, it was still good to see everyone holding the line.

Offensively, the Cardinals got 13 hits, but only one--Zack Cox's double--went for extra bases.  Matt Holliday was three for four, Yadier Molina two for three, David Freese two for three.  While a little more pop would have been nice, it'd be good to see the offense be able to do this as well this year.  Sometimes power gets a little quiet, so being able to nickel-and-dime a team sometimes can be an effective weapon.

The game was somewhat overshadowed by a game of catch played earlier in the morning.  Chris Carpenter was involved, though, so you can understand while people tended to pay attention.  According to the man himself, the discomfort is lessening daily and he's not having any problems throwing the ball.  If that is the case, I'd expect to see him back on the mound earlier next week.  I remember someone (however, I don't remember who) suggesting that he had to be pitching by March 20 to have a chance for Opening Day.  It sounds like that's still a possibility, though I doubt the Cards rush him unless he looks just very good.  Even making him the fifth starter for a while means he could start on April 9 or, with the off day, he could go on April 10 behind Adam Wainwright in the Reds series and still be second in the rotation.  That'd give him 20 days to get ready (assuming a return by next Tuesday) which seems reasonable for a guy like Carpenter.  Then again, if you want the breakdown of the first month's rotation, you've really got to listen to Kevin's podcast.

After the game, the Cards sent some people down to the minor league camp.  The most notable name was Shelby Miller, but that wasn't any surprise.  Miller probably would have gone down in the first round had Carpenter been healthy, but the uncertainty around him gave Miller one more start with the big club.  Also going down were Zack Cox (at least he got a solid hit in his last big-league game), Maikel Cleto, Pete Kozma, Brandon Dickson, Joe Kelly and Kevin Siegrist.  (I'm going to be honest, I'd never heard of Siegrist until a game or so ago. I need to look him up, I guess.  What I get for slacking on reading Future Redbirds.)

If you are interested in reading some good baseball fiction, St. Louis professor and, now, published writer Joe Schuster has a book coming out called The Might Have Been.  You can read more about Schuster and how he came to write this book in this piece in an feature over at the Riverfront Times.  The RFT was also able to snag a two-chapter preview of the book, which you can find over here.

Later today we'll have the New York Yankees edition of Playing Pepper and also look for an announcement of a big project that's going to start today that this blog will be a part of.  It's going to be a lot of fun, so be sure to check back!

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Carlos Beltran (6)
Yadier Molina (5)
Matt Holliday (4)
Jon Jay (4)
Matt Carpenter (3)
Daniel Descalso (3)
Jaime Garcia (3)
Pete Kozma (3)
Shelby Miller (3)
Adam Wainwright (3)
Allen Craig (2)
Lance Lynn (2)
Tyler Lyons (2)
Edward Mujica (2)
Jake Westbrook (2)
David Freese (1)
Joe Kelly (1)
Seth Maness (1)
Trevor Rosenthal (1)
Michael Wacha (1)
Ty Wigginton (1)

2012 Top Hero: Matt Holliday (17)
2011 Top Hero: Lance Berkman (24)
2010 Top Heroes: Matt Holliday and Albert Pujols (24)
2009 Top Hero: Albert Pujols (28)
2008 Top Hero: Albert Pujols (25)

Jon Jay (6)
David Freese (5)
Mitchell Boggs (4)
Joe Kelly (4)
Pete Kozma (4)
Matt Carpenter (3)
Allen Craig (3)
Daniel Descalso (3)
Jaime Garcia (3)
Yadier Molina (3)
Matt Adams (2)
Carlos Beltran (2)
Matt Carpenter (2)
Matt Holliday (2)
Lance Lynn (2)
Seth Maness (1)
Shane Robinson (1)
Fernando Salas (1)
Adam Wainwright (1)
Jake Westbrook (1)

2012 Top Goat: Rafael Furcal (11)
2011 Top Goat: Ryan Theriot (12)
2010 Top Goat: Brendan Ryan (14)
2009 Top Goats: Rick Ankiel and Todd Wellemeyer (13)
2008 Top Goat: Troy Glaus (13)

Cardinal Nation Approval Ratings (March 2013)
Yadier Molina 96.2% (up 8.8%)
Chris Carpenter 89.8% (down 0.3%)
Derrick Goold 89.1% (up 6.3%)
Matt Holliday 88.4% (up 0.9%)
Allen Craig 88.3%
Adam Wainwright 88.2% (down 3.7%)
Jose Oquendo 87.1% (up 2.4%)
Jason Motte 86.9%
John Mozeliak 86.5% (up 1.1%)
United Cardinal Bloggers 85.2% (up 6.3%)
Bill DeWitt 85.1% (up 5.3%)
Mike Shannon 85.1% (down 0.2%)
John Rooney 84.5% (up 3.0%)
Mike Matheny 84.4% (up 3.3%)
David Freese 82.9% (down 2.6%)
Jon Jay 81.8% (up 10.7%)
Lance Berkman 80.6% (down 8.0%)
Jenifer Langosch 79.5%
Lance Lynn 79.5%
Dan McLaughlin 76.0% (up 8.0%)
Jim Hayes 73.0% (up 1.1%)
Ricky Horton 65.5% (down 2.0%)
Jaime Garcia 64.1%
Albert Pujols 59.2% (up 4.3%)
Ballpark Village 58.3%
Joe Strauss 54.3% (down 13.4%)

Tony La Russa 88.2% (up 17.4%)
Mark McGwire 82.6% (up 20.1%)
Skip Schumaker 73.3% (up 9.2%)
B.J. Rains 69.5% (down 0.9%)
Kyle Lohse 68.9% (up 13.8%)
Al Hrabosky 66.4% (up 3.2%)
Colby Rasmus 46.5% (down 35.3%)

Dave Duncan 87.9% (up 0.9%)
Matthew Leach 85.5%
Pop Warner 76.7%
Ryan Franklin 72.8% (up 3.1%)
John Vuch 68.9%
Jeff Luhnow 66.4%
Dan Lozano 58.7%

Rick Ankiel 83.9%
Chris Duncan 69.1%

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