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That's (Almost) A Wrap

Posted on April 2, 2012 at 6:52 AM
Filed Under: St. Louis Cardinals | Washington Nationals
The Cardinals are done with Florida, even as they look toward a return.

St. Louis finished the Grapefruit League portion of their spring with a win against the Mets on Friday, a win against the Nationals on Saturday, and a 2-1 loss to the Nats on Sunday.  In the last, Jaime Garcia had a good tuneup for the season with six innings of one-run ball.  No pitch count information, of course, but he didn't walk anyone which was a good sign.  Hopefully once the season starts we'll see him in the seventh and eighth more often.

The Cards wound up with a 16-9-2 mark in the spring, better than any other National League team and third in the Grapefruit League behind Toronto (23-6, which is amazing) and Detroit (19-7).  Oakland also had a better mark out in Arizona, though with fewer games due to their travel to Japan.  While spring training results don't mean anything, of course, it's better anytime you are playing to win rather than lose.  And when you think of how rough the spring started out in the standings, this has the Cardinals going in the right direction as the season approaches.

There were a lot of good things in this camp.  Jake Westbrook gave hope that 2012 is going to be a lot better than 2011.  Adam Wainwright was healthy and very effective.  Matt Carpenter had a strong spring and earned a bench role.  Erik Komatsu will play in St. Louis instead of going back to Washington after his work.

Of course, you have the injury concern with Chris Carpenter and you have Skip Schumaker and Allen Craig starting the season on the disabled list, but no spring is perfect.  Nobody seemed to turn in a disappointing performance or a stat line that makes you worried other than Rafael Furcal.  The team looks sharp and ready.

Interestingly enough, the one job that we as fans focused on this spring, the starting second base role, hasn't actually been decided.  Both Tyler Greene and Daniel Descalso will get time there, depending on the day's matchups, as Mike Matheny seems to be carrying the competition into the season, even if he won't term it in that way.

The Cardinals are ready.  They are loose--witness Lance Berkman's April Fool prank on Wainwright--and they are wanting to show that 2011 wasn't a fluke.  In a couple of days, they'll begin that quest.

In the meantime, though, there's a little traveling to do.  Tonight, the Cards play in Springfield, Missouri, home of the AA club.  Trevor Rosenthal, who is actually going to start his season at that level after an impressive spring, will be on the mound for the big club.  He'll have at least a few of the big leaguers behind him, such as Matt Holliday, David Freese and Jon Jay.  The Springfield faithful won't get to see Carlos Beltran, Yadier Molina or Berkman, which will be somewhat disappointing, I'm sure, but at least it's not completely a minor league exhibition.  I know Kevin from Cards 'N Stuff is in that area and most likely is going to the game, so be sure to check out his blog for his thoughts and reaction to the game.

Couple of good articles from this weekend.  First off, a new examination of Matheny-as-manager, now that we've gotten a few games under his belt.  All the same thoughts seem to be out there, about how he's gained the respect of the players quickly and they all seem to be excited to play for him.  The tactics will come and they aren't necessarily the hardest part of this job, but it's going to be interesting to see how people react when he doesn't pull a pitcher or does pull a pitcher and it doesn't work out.

Secondly, there was an excellent examination of that one moment in time in 2006, the curveball from Wainwright to Beltran, and what it has meant for those two players since that time.  I found it interesting that Wainwright made the call once Beltran was signed to make sure everything was OK between the two.  Beltran said he's moved on from that, which is what Waino wanted to hear.  Give it a read to get the depth of the whole thing.

Cards and Springfield, then a day off, then Opening Day.  Baseball is here!

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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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