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Winning Is Good

Posted on March 21, 2012 at 7:17 AM
Filed Under: Houston Astros | New York Mets | St. Louis Cardinals
You know, it took a little while for Mike Matheny to get his first spring training win as a Cardinal manager, but now it seems like old hat to him.  

After yesterday's 6-1 win over the Astros, the Cards have won five of their last six, and we can blame that ugly loss on Saturday on those green uniforms, right?  St. Louis is now 9-6 in the spring and, while nobody actually looks at the standings in Florida and Arizona, is only a game behind San Francisco for the Grapefruit League title.  It seems the Cards are showing how they are going to win--no big offensive explosions, just some solid production and some good pitching.

Kyle Lohse was the man on the mound yesterday versus Houston and, though he apparently struggled some with his control, was able to get through five innings relatively unscathed (save for a Chris Johnson home run) and went back to his regular curveball after trying out a variation in the spring.  That's what these games are for--you try something and, if it doesn't work, no harm no foul.

Offensively, Matt Holliday hit a two-run triple, starting the scoring for St. Louis and, as it turned out, providing all the offense that they would need.  A couple of people pushing for roster spots, Erik Komatsu and Bryan Anderson, also had stellar days.  I think Komatsu has probably done enough that, since he's Rule 5, he's going north.  Anderson had a couple of doubles and is hitting close to .500 in the spring.  With the fact that Matheny's been a big Anderson supporter in the past, I'm guessing he may have played his way to St. Louis as well.

Of course, there's still some time to go.  Opening Day is just two weeks (two weeks!) away, though, so time is running out for other people to make an impact and wrest the jobs away from these two.

Nice to see that Allen Craig got a chance to hit in a minor league game yesterday.  Sounds like they tinkered with the rules and had him be pretty much a designated hitter, but just the fact that he's in there against live pitching is a big step in the right direction.  It'll be interesting to see if he can improve quickly enough to get into a regular game before the exhibition season ends.  I'm sure the fans in Springfield would like to see him in that one on April 2!

Cards made some cuts yesterday, though none were unexpected.  Prospects Ryan Jackson and Trevor Rosenthal were among those going down to the minors.  Rosenthal hit 100 again in yesterday's game.  I knew he was a big prospect, but I didn't know he had that kind of arm.  Imagine him, Shelby Miller, Adam Wainwright and Jaime Garcia all in a rotation in a few years!  I tell you, the Cardinals' success window is wide open.

Jake Westbrook goes today against the Mets back home in Jupiter, which may or may not get as much attention as the fact Chris Carpenter is supposed to throw another bullpen session today as well.  The game is on KMOX if you are near a radio or have the GameDay Audio package from MLB.

Housekeeping time!  First off, I wanted to let you know that Out of the Park Baseball 13 is coming out soon.  If you've played OOTP, you know it's a great simulation baseball game and it's only gotten better in 2012.  You can preorder it now and get it three days before anyone else does, so that's definitely some motivation, right?

One of the new features of OOTP is Real-Time Simulation.  It's basically a way to recreate the excitement we saw in Game 162 last year, as you can see what's going on in other games around the league while you are playing your game.  You can see swings in important games, keep up with a no-hitter, and things of that nature.  No longer do you just get the final result--it's like you are always watching the out-of-town scoreboard!

If you are one that would rather do this on the go, there's iOOTP.  Designed for the iPhone and iPad, iOOTP brings you most of the features and all of the fun of the original game to your mobile device.  You'll find it in the App Store on April 5.

OOTP lets you recreate past seasons to see if they'd turn out differently, lets you set up your own league where Bud Selig can't arbitrarily move a team to a different division (though Houston's move to the AL West is incorporated in the game if you play past this season) and lets you get into the game as well.

I'm hoping to get a review copy and if so, I'll let you know what I think of it.  I've played OOTP in the past, so I'm excited to see what this year's looks like!

Playing Pepper with San Diego (and an old friend) today, so check that out later.  Also, if you've not voted in the second round of the All-Time Team Tournament, you need to do that!  PH8 and I70 end today, AMF and here end tomorrow.  All the relevant links can be found in this second round post.

Here's hoping Westbrook can keep his strong spring going and the Cards can take another from the Mets!

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Carlos Beltran (6)
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Matt Carpenter (3)
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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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