When you split your forces, I guess you should be happy with splitting the games. Of course, you always want to win them all and the Cardinals had their chances to do that, but weren't able to seal the deal.
On the upside, the Cards took a 5-4 decision over the Braves in Jupiter. Kolten Wong, who has already been sent to the minor league camp but got a chance to play with the big boys due to the lack of players, singled home the game-winner in the ninth after the Braves had tied it up against Jason Motte.
You don't want to read anything into a blown spring training save, so I'll not talk about that much more. It apparently wasn't much of a day for pitchers, as the Braves walked 11 and the Cardinals walked eight. Either it's spring training for the umps too, the conditions played into it, or it was just one of those days.
Jaime Garciastarted this one and went two innings. With this being the second time through the rotation, you'd have expected him to go three, but he walked two and threw 40 pitches in his time out there. That's been one of the knocks against Garcia in the past, that he can be inefficient, and you hate to see that rearing its head already. Of course, it should be pointed out that he was going on three days' rest (which seems really strange in the spring. I know it's due to Chris Carpenter's neck issue, but they couldn't throw someone else out there to keep the other starters on schedule? I'm not sure I'm grasping why that is, unless it was to move everyone up a day for the regular season) and that he's never done that before in the big leagues.
One person that likely made a big impression, though, was Bryan Anderson. He picked off a guy at second (which is never easy) and threw out another guy trying to steal third in the second inning. For a guy that isn't supposed to be known for his defense, that has to be a big gold star in his file for review. We'll have to see if it was a one-time thing or if he's really made some major strides behind the plate.
Another player that's having a pretty good spring is Erik Komatsu. The Rule 5 player drove in two of the Cardinals' five runs yesterday and on the spring he's hitting .333 with an OPS of .922. Earlier in the spring it didn't sound like the coaching staff was that excited about him, but Komatsu may force the issue if he continues to go strong like this. There's still a good chunk of the spring to go, of course, but his early start is intriguing.
Down the road at the Nationals' place, the Cards dropped an 8-4 decision. Shelby Miller didn't have the best of followups to his earlier outing, allowing two home runs and throwing 47 pitches in less than two innings. It's really the first time Miller has struggled in a big-league game, though granted he's usually be limited to relief roles. There's no indication that wind or any conditions played a role, so hopefully Miller has learned something from the start. Again, it doesn't impact his chances to make the club (he has none), but still, it's not something that the fan base wants to see. Still, everyone has a rough game now and again and if Miller gets another start in camp, I'm sure he'll have shaken this one off.
David Freesehit a three-run home run in the first. As someone remarked on Twitter, that was his first home run since Game 6 of last season. That was also Freese's first hit of the spring. He's been relatively quiet, but does only have eight at-bats over the first few games as the Cards make sure not to overextend him.
Freese did get some pretty high praise yesterday. Chipper Jones, who knows a little bit about playing third base, rated Freese over players like David Wright and Ryan Zimmerman, guys who have proven to be top-notch guys at the hot corner. Jones said he liked Freese before October, but he thinks that kind of experience can create confidence in a player that can carry them throughout their career. Hopefully he's right. I think one of the subliminal fears for some Cardinal fans is that Freese was a fluke, that he was a guy that got hot at the right time but never will be able to live up to that. If what one of the elder statesmen of the game is saying is correct, we might just be in for a good long ride.
Someone that has made an impact this spring is Eduardo Sanchez. I thought there was a chance the Cards would send him to Memphis to make sure he was fully recovered from last season's injury. I'd say he's fine. Five strikeouts yesterday and nine of the 11 outs he's recorded in the spring have come via that manner. He's walked three, so his command could be a touch sharper, but I don't think there's any doubt he'll be in St. Louis to start the season.
Besides the games, the news from yesterday was that Carpenter might not be ready for Opening Day, which wasn't a surprise, and that Lance Lynnwould be stretched out to be the fifth starter if Carp can't go. Lynn isn't too much of a surprise and the change in roles shouldn't affect him much when he slides back into the bullpen whenever Carpenter is healthy enough. I like Lynn more in the bullpen, because it seems like his stuff plays up when he's out there, but I'm sure he'll do a fine job in the rotation as well, especially if it's not for very long.
You'd almost expect that Kyle McClellan would have gotten the role since he did that last year and has been stretched out the last few springs, but it could be that the club saw how he faded last year and didn't want to add any extra innings to him. It also could be another indication of how things have changed in the clubhouse, that Mike Matheny and Derek Lilliquist would rather him in the bullpen.
For those of you that might be going down to Florida next week to see the club and enjoy the atmosphere, one, I don't want to hear about it and two, Jane Leavy, author of the Mickey Mantle book The Last Boy and a book on Sandy Koufax entitled A Lefty's Legacy, will be speaking at the Blake Museum in Stuart, Florida on March 22 at 3 PM. According to Google Maps, Stuart's about 30 minutes from Jupiter and Leavy most likely will tell a few Cardinal stories about the 1964 World Series.
Adam Wainwright is on the mound today as the Cardinals take on the Mets. Not only that, but it's on MLB.tv if you are signed up for that service. Any day with Waino going has to be a good day, right?
Twins are up for their Playing Pepper hacks, so be sure to check them out. Also, if you missed it, yesterday's slew of posts included the UCB roundtable transcript and a look at the Cardinals Hall of Fame exhibit, so scroll down on the main page and check those out!
The BBA has, as a secondary aim, the goal of producing year-end
awards in a similar fashion to the Baseball Writers of America. These
awards can be found at the official site in October with links back to the voters,
ensuring transparency and, most likely, the onset of some good baseball