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Posted on March 9, 2012 at 6:58 AM
Filed Under: Approval Ratings | Boston Red Sox | St. Louis Cardinals
I don't think there were any champagne celebrations or any Gatorade showers, but Mike Matheny is now the proud owner of a "1" in the win column on his managerial record.  Well, any managerial record that shows spring results, which is pretty much none of them, but quit trying to ruin the moment, will ya?

Before we talk about all the positives out of the 9-3 win over Boston, you have to say it was a little bit disappointing to see Mitchell Boggs implode in his first time out.  Given a three-run lead, Boggs did his best magician act and made it disappear, helping the cause with a couple of walks.  The walks are the worst part, because being that we couldn't watch the game (though it was on KMOX), we don't know how windy it was and other related issues.  Walks, though, they'll get you every time and that's something you can't see from a reliever.

I've speculated before that the last slot on the pitching staff may be between Boggs and Lance Lynn.  Of course, Lynn hasn't been perfect this spring either, so the competition may still be close, but that's not the first impression Boggs wanted to give.

That said, the Cardinal offense was rolling yesterday, especially in the six-run eighth.  Before that, it was Matt Adams coming through again with a three-run triple (something you wouldn't expect with a man that size) to give them the lead Boggs eventually relinquished.

It's been a lot of fun to see Adams mash this spring.  He's probably had the biggest offensive impact so far, what with a grand slam to go along with his results from yesterday.  He's hitting .417 in the four games so far, which makes you drool when you put that with his power.  That said, it's the first few games of spring.  What's the phrase Tony La Russa used to use?  Never fall in love early in the spring?  That probably applies here, though there's no doubt Adams is a talent that's making an impact.

I continue to maintain he's going to Memphis, but I think there is a way that he starts the season in St. Louis.  That's a technicality, though.  I could, in theory, see that if Allen Craig was only supposed to be out two weeks and Adams had this outstanding spring, the Cards take him north for the two weeks then send him down for regular play once Craig is healthy.  Then again, that is service time and that may cause a complication the Cardinals don't want to get into.  It's a very small chance, but you can't say for 100% certain that he's Memphis-bound.  99.8%, maybe.

Adron Chambers had a big day, going three for four.  Chambers would be a fun player to have around in a bench role, but again, I think the Cards probably want him playing on a regular basis, and there are already going to be four outfielders vying for time once Craig returns.  Shane Robinson also had a bases-clearing double in the eighth, padding the lead into secure territory.

On the pitching side of things, Jaime Garcia seemed to come out on a mission.  Four strikeouts in just two perfect innings is a remarkable occurrence and makes for the tantalizing possibility that Garcia is going to be more focused and tap into his talent more this year.  It's just two innings so you can't draw any conclusions, but to have him rocking and rolling behind the two big guys could make for a lot of winning streaks this summer.

Eduardo Sanchez looks good in the box score as well.  He had two innings and four strikeouts, though he did have a couple of walks as well.  Still, it appears he's back to the Sanchez we saw before the injury and, if so, he's going to be an incredible weapon in the seventh or eighth innings this season.

Of course, the news wasn't all good coming out of Cardinal camp.  Chris Carpenter is dealing with neck stiffness and doesn't know when he'll pitch in a game yet.  He's penciled in for one of the split squad games, but that's sounding kinda iffy.  It doesn't sound like it's a major deal and you'd much rather hear about Carpenter's neck than his elbow or shoulder, but it's still something worth monitoring.  Hopefully he'll be able to shake that off and move forward in the spring.  If nothing else, it'll curtail the innings he's throwing in Florida, which was the plan anyway.  That also may mean Shelby Miller will get another start with the big club before being sent over to minor league camp.

Speaking of that, the Cards made their first cuts on Thursday.  Nothing too surprising, but Kolten Wong and Tyrell Jenkins were among the names heading over to that side of the complex.  That doesn't mean we've seen the last of them, of course, as sometimes minor league players get called over to play a game here and there when there's a need.

Today is the widely anticipated return of Adam Wainwright to the center of the diamond and, by happy coincidence, he's also the player we examine on our last day of the approval ratings.  Wainwright's got quite a following in St. Louis, which is no surprise when you are a genial player who has two top-3 finishes in Cy Young voting.

Even with the injury, we still love Waino.  He had eight perfect scores and garnered a 91.9% mark, which is the highest of any player we've looked at this year.  That score is actually down a bit from the 94-95 range that he's used to, but a number of people factored in the injury and the uncertainty about what he'd be like when he returned.  If he has a Wainwright-like season, I expect that to be back to normal next year.

From one extreme to the other, as our media member of the day is Joe Strauss.  It can't be denied that Strauss is a good reporter and often has things before other outlets.  That said, hmmm, how do I say this diplomatically?  Perhaps that his personality tends to rub people the wrong way, especially when you follow him on Twitter.  You, gentle reader, can fill in whatever wording you like to explain that phenomenon.

Anyway, Strauss must be growing on some people because he registered a 67.7% mark this season, up about 10 points from where he was last year.  While there were a number of people that gave him a zero, there were a fair number of people that had him in the nineties, perhaps giving more credence to what he does than how he does it.

When I was putting these together, I wanted nine in each category, since nine's a good baseball number.  The players were easy.  The media was pretty easy.  However, this last category took some work.  After rating management and rating our former members, there was still one slot left.

So I decided to get feedback on what the readership thought (if they did) about our merry band of United Cardinal Bloggers.  This fall will mark the fifth anniversary of our founding and I thought it'd be good to see if we have a high opinion among those that read and know about us.

I'm not sure the experiment was a success, as almost half of the respondents to the survey left that one blank, much higher than any other person on the ballot.  Of those that did respond, though, the group managed a 78.9% mark with about five perfect scores.  It is always gratifying, though, to have comments such as "I think they have the potential of being irreplaceable" and that was are "MOSTLY knowledgeable and educated Cardinal fans."

Happy Wainwright Day to you all!  Waino's facing the Twins and the game will be on their radio station if you have MLB GameDay Audio.  Look forward to seeing what he can do!


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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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