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Taking The Fifth

Posted on March 26, 2013 at 6:59 AM
Filed Under: Minnesota Twins | New York Mets | St. Louis Cardinals
As we expected before the spring (though not necessarily throughout the camp), Shelby Miller will be the fifth starter in the Cardinal rotation.  While the loss of Jason Motte, freeing up a bullpen spot, didn't hurt Miller's case (as Joe Kelly was probably better suited to the 'pen than Miller was), Miller came out and earned it on his own, putting a capper on it yesterday.

Getting the start against the Twins, Miller wasn't dominant--six hits in 4.1 innings--but did strike out two and only allowed one run to cross the plate.  His main competition, Kelly, wasn't as fortunate, allowing two runs in two innings and putting the Cards in a hole that they were a bit lucky to be able to climb out of.

We also got a chance to see the new-look late inning bullpen, as Trevor Rosenthal worked a scoreless eighth (though he did walk two) and Mitchell Boggs got the save in the ninth in Jason Isringhausen-esqe fashion, allowing two hits in the process.  It might not have been good for the heart, but it did get the job done.

Miller really seems to appreciate his role, something that he might not have done a year or so ago.  His struggles in Memphis last year seem to have focused him on the right path, which seems to bode well for the real start of his major league career.

Offensively yesterday it was Matt Adams and Oscar Taveras.  Adams drove in three of the four runs and had the only extra-base hit.  Two of those RBI came in the ninth, when the Cards rallied for three to win the ballgame.  It's hitting abilities like that that will have Adams riding in a red convertible a week from Monday.

Taveras, perhaps sensing an opportunity if Carlos Beltran's broken toe doesn't heal up quickly, went four-for-five with a stolen base, his second of the spring.  While it does appear that Beltran will likely start the season in St. Louis (though that really will depend on how well he handles the pain of his toe in a game, probably today against the Mets), Taveras can't hurt his stock with games like that.

The injury situation in general doesn't seem to be nearly as dire as it was just 24 hours ago.  Beltran we've alluded two, though the fact that it was a hairline fracture rather than a bruised toe was made clearer yesterday.  He's been told he can't make it worse--which hopefully he doesn't take as a challenge--and it's completely up to him.  If he does play in today's game, that'll give him and the Cardinals a much better idea if he can handle playing in Arizona on Monday.  Even if he can't, this doesn't sound like a long-term enough issue to warrant Taveras.  Just don't tell him that.

The other major offensive calamity also seemed more positive on Monday.  David Freese had an MRI and the club was encouraged with what they saw and now won't rule out Opening Day.  Sounds like there's just some inflammation and no actual damage, so with rest and the proper treatment, he could be back out there pretty shortly.  More news in that vein should be available Wednesday or Thursday.

The Cardinals also got some good news off-the-field yesterday as Kyle Lohse finally signed a deal, giving them an extra pick in this year's draft.  That he signed it with the Brewers meant that the Cards are going to see a lot of their old friend, perhaps as early as the series against the two teams in a couple of weeks.  There were a lot of knee-jerk reactions comparing Lohse to Jeff Suppan and that's completely understandable.  Both had some great years in St. Louis, both seemed to develop under Dave Duncan, and now both take a long-term deal (Suppan's was four years, $42 million) to go to the Brewers.  Of course, Suppan was cut by the Brew Crew during the last year of the contract and made his way back to St. Louis for a last hurrah.  Perhaps that means if the club needs some help in the stretch run of 2015......

With the season coming close, a lot of stuff going on.  Later this morning, the next UCB prediction week picks will be up, looking at the NL East.  This afternoon, we play some pepper with the Texas Rangers.  There's also the Egraphs contest still going on (only seven entries so far, so you're getting some good odds) and don't forget to sign up for The Bird's Eye View.  Man, we need the season to get started just to take a breather!

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Heroes
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)

Goats
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%)

2012
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%)

2011
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%

2009
Rick Ankiel 83.9%
Chris Duncan 69.1%


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