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"He's Just Not Right"

Posted on March 30, 2012 at 7:10 AM
Filed Under: St. Louis Cardinals
Well, isn't that just what you want to hear about a guy your team gave a two-year contract to in the offseason.

Mike Matheny said those words about Rafael Furcal, whose contributions down the stretch last season got him that new deal with the Redbirds.  To be fair, Matheny's not talking about taking him out of the lineup nor is he trying to start any "shortstop controversy".  Furcal's glove will keep him on the field.  His bat, though, may keep him out of the leadoff slot.

There are numerous possible reasons for Furcal's slump (he's hitting under .200 during spring action) but whatever the cause, the result is that Tyler Greene and Daniel Descalso are going to get a lot of consideration in that leadoff slot.  It also sounds like Matheny's not going to be locked into a person as his leadoff guy, that he may do some mixing and matching depending on who is going well.

Still, it's a bit troublesome to see a guy that the team spent $14 million (over two years) on in part because of his ability to lead off a lineup not be able to do that.  I was a little hesitant over resigning Furcal (though, apparently, I didn't write about it due to the strange focus on a guy that was leaving the team around that time) because I didn't feel he had been as strong in St. Louis as was generally perceived.  Still, the value of having a reliable (hopefully--he's made more errors than anyone else this spring) glove in the middle of the infield was a need and the Cards could have done much worse.  I just hope that Furcal finds his groove, otherwise there might be some regret if payroll is tight because of his deal.

The Cards added Scott Linebrink to the 40-man roster yesterday, meaning that he'll be going north with the club.  That should mean the pitching staff is set, with the five starters and then Jason Motte, Linebrink, Fernando Salas, Kyle McClellan, J.C. Romero, Marc Rzepczynski and Mitchell Boggs finishing it up.

McClellan struggled in yesterday's game, a 3-1 loss to the Marlins.  Lance Lynn started the game and almost had a scoreless outing, allowing a solo home run that tied the game with two outs in the bottom of the fifth.  Still, you have to like what we've seen out of Lynn so far and, at least to start the season, he should be fine sliding into Chris Carpenter's slot.

McClellan came into the game in the sixth and promptly gave the lead to Miami.  Granted, Erik Komastu's error hurt, as the run probably wouldn't have scored when it did if he'd cleanly played Hanley Ramirez's single, but McClellan did give up hits to the first two men he faced, plus walked two in his single inning of work.  I think there's going to be a lot of focus on McClellan in the pen this year, because of his salary and the fact that many of the other arms out there are young and pretty dominant.  With Eduardo Sanchez waiting in Memphis, any slumps by McClellan probably won't be tolerated well by the fans.

Carlos Beltran hit his second home run yesterday, but then was caught stealing home in what must have been a snuffed-out double steal, though I wasn't able to listen to the game.  Matheny is loving the running game, isn't he?

Kyle Lohse gets his last spring training start today against the Mets which can be heard on KMOX today.  Hopefully he'll have a strong one and be ready for Wednesday night's opener.  It's getting closer!

Today on the blog: A Playing Pepper roundup, the final day of the UCB predictions, and a song parody.  I'll send you into your weekend right!

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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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