Cards face off against Marlins in final home fame of spring

 

Photo Credit: Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports
 
The countdown to Opening Day is down to four days, and the Cardinals are ready for their last home game of the spring. The team will face off against the Miami Marlins, a team they share the complex at Roger Dean Stadium with. 

Tuesday’s game was rained out in the top of the 4th, so we’ll scrap that one. But, in the time Adam Wainwright did pitch he was lights out. Nobody scored off of him, and he looked ready to go for the start of the regular season.

Wednesday Michael Wacha will make his final start before the season. If the rotation remains the same as it is now, Wacha will be the number two and will likely start the Cardinals home opener at Busch Stadium on April 11.

Here’s a look at the lineup the Cardinals will put on the field Wednesday against the Marlins. One person of note is Jeremy Hazelbaker. He’ll start in center and bat sixth. Hazelbaker is considered by many as an on the bubble guy to break camp with the big club.

Matt Carpenter (3B)

Stephen Piscotty (RF)

Matt Holliday (LF)

Matt Adams (1B)

Yadier Molina (C)

Jeremy Hazelbaker (CF)

Jedd Gyorko (2B)

Ruben Tejada (SS)

Michael Wacha (RHP)

Wednesday’s game can be seen on Fox Sports Midwest. First pitch is scheduled for 12:05.

Molina out as Waino makes final spring start

 

Photo Credit: Jeff Roberson/Associated Press
 
Catcher Yadier Molina isn’t in the lineup for a second straight day because of a bruised toe, according to MLB.com writer Jennifer Langosch.

It’s a definite concern after so much positive news about Molina’s health as of late. If Molina can’t go Sunday against the Pirates, it will be the first time since 2005 #4 hasn’t been in the lineup on Opening Day.

The Cardinals will take on Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals for the final time Tuesday. Adam Wainwright will make his last start before the season opener. 

Here’s the starting lineup:

Matt Carpenter (3B)

Kolten Wong (2B)

Matt Holliday (1B)

Randal Grichuk (CF)

Brandon Moss (LF)

Jedd Gyorko (SS)

Tommy Pham (CF)

Eric Fryer (C)

Adam Wainwright (RHP)

Tuesday’s game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Midwest. First pitch is at 12:05.

Martinez impressive in final spring start

  
Carlos Martinez looks to be primed and ready for the 2016 baseball season. The young righty pitched a solid six innings allowing just three hits and one run against the New York Mets on Monday.

Martinez will pitch in a minor league game Saturday before making his first start of the 2016 season April 9th. 

Martinez wasn’t the only pitcher who impressed Monday. Relief pitcher Jordan Walden pitched the 8th and gave up two hits while striking out two batters. That appearance solidified where he thinks he should be come Opening Day, the bullpen.

Matt Holliday blasted his first home run of the spring off Bartolo Colon in the first inning. He picked up another hit later and finished 2-2 on the day. 

Tuesday afternoon will be Adam Wainright’s final tune up game before he takes the bump Sunday against the Pirates for the first game of the season. In four starts this spring Wainwright is sporting a 4.80 ERA with six walks and 11 strikeouts.

Tuesday’s game against the Washington Nationals can be seen on Fox Sports Midwest at 12:05 pm.

Cardinals set to start last week of Spring Training games

 

Photo Credit: (AP/Brynn Anderson)
 
The countdown to Opening Day is down to six days and the Cardinals currently have 34 people on their active roster. The team will have to cut nine more players to get to 25, and these next four days will be important for those trying to head north with the big club.

The Cardinals had a roller coaster weekend of spring training games against the Nationals and Marlins respectively. The team was shutout 7-0 on Saturday and couldn’t hold onto a two-run lead Sunday and lost 4-2. 

Monday the Cardinals will take on the New York Mets, and they’re sending out a similar lineup that fans can expect to see Opening Day. 

Carlos Martinez will start his last game of spring training Monday. In three starts, Martinez has a 2.79 ERA and has struck out 12 in 9.2 innings pitched. 

Starting Lineup:

Carpenter 3B

Piscotty RF

Holliday LF

Adams 1B

Grichuk CF

Molina C

Wong 2B

Tejada SS

Martinez RHP

At first glance, that lineup is what fans could see Sunday afternoon against the Pirates. In my opinion, Mike Matheny will try to put as many right-handed hitters up against lefty Francisco Liriano. 

I think Holliday will start at first base and Tommy Pham will start in left field. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Jedd Gyorko at second base.

-tvteddy

Cardinals face a lose-lose situation 

(AP Photo/John Raoux) The Associated Press

The Cardinals lost more than just a game Sunday. The team announced during the game against the Miami Marlins that 3B coach Jose Oquendo will be on medical leave for the “foreseeable future.” 

Losing a base coach may not be a huge deal to some, but Oquendo is very important when it comes to defensive coaching and positioning. He always seems to have guys in the best position to make a good play on a ball in a game.

The Cardinals started the afternoon off great. Jaime Garcia no-hit the Marlins through four innings, but things got messy in the 5th. The Marlins scored two runs to tie it, and never looked back. They scored two more late to beat the Cardinals 4-2.

Sunday’s game was Garcia’s last start of the spring and he didn’t disappoint. His final line was 5 innings, 2 hits, 2 runs and 4 strikeouts. Tommy Pham was responsible for the team’s only runs of the game after he blasted a pitch over the wall in left center. 

Korean reliever Sueng Hwan Oh pitched the 7th inning and went 1-2-3. He’s had a solid first spring so far sporting a 2.35 ERA in 7.2 innings pitched.

The Cardinals play four more tune up games before heading to Pittsburgh to open the 2016 season. 

-tvteddy

Birds look to take flight against fish

 

Photo Credit: Jeff Roberson/AP

 
The countdown to Opening Day has hit Matt Holliday’s number on this Easter holiday. That means just one more week until the games count, and one more week until everything is right in the world.

Sunday, however, the Cardinals are looking to rebound against the Miami Marlins after an ugly game against the Washington Nationals on Saturday.

The Cardinals committed five errors and were shutout 7-0. Mike Leake had a tough outing, and the defense behind him didn’t help matters. 

Jaime Garcia will face off against the Marlins’ Jose Fernandez Sunday afternoon. The teams have played five games against each other this spring and the Cardinals have won three of those games.

Garcia has pitched 9.2 innings and compiled 11 strikeouts this spring. His ERA is above six. Sunday will mark one of his last tune ups before the regular season.

Here’s how the Cardinals will look on the field this afternoon:

Starting Lineup

Carpenter 3B

Piscotty RF

Moss LF

Adams 1B

Gyroko SS

Peña C

Pham CF

G. Garcia 2B

J. Garcia LHP

First pitch from Roger Dean Stadium is at 12:05. The game will be televised on Fox Sports Midwest. 

 

Cardinals commit five errors in loss to Nationals

It was a day of face palms both offensively defensively for the Cardinals on Saturday. The team committed five errors and left 11 stranded in a 7-0 shutout loss to the Washington Nationals. The team also went 0-8 with runners in scoring position.

Kolten Wong was among the players who had at least one error in the game. It was his 5th of the spring after coming off a 2015 campaign where he had a career high 17. It’s certainly a concern for Cardinals fans seeing as how he can be hot and cold at the plate. Saturday, Wong went 2-2 with a double at the plate. Matt Carpenter (2), Ruben Tejada (1) and Greg Garcia (1) accounted for the other four errors.

Saturday was also Mike Leake’s toughest go around since joining the Cardinals pitching staff. He pitched 5 innings and gave up 7 hits and 4 runs including a home run off the bat of Ryan Zimmerman. One good note, Leake struck out seven.

Lefty reliever Kevin Siegrist and right hander Jonathan Broxton pitched the 8th and 9th respectively. They combined for three strikeouts and gave up just one hit and helped stop the bleeding caused by Leake and Rule 5 draft pick Matt Bowman.

Sunday will mark one week until Opening Day against the Pittsburgh Pirates and Jaime Garcia will make one of his last starts of spring training against the Miami Marlins. Jose Fernandez will take the mound for the fish.

-tvteddy

Leake Takes the Hill for Birds in Saturday Matchup

The St. Louis Cardinals take on the Washington Nationals Saturday in Jupiter, Florida and Mike Leake will take the mound for St. Louis.

Leake is posting an ERA of .82 allowing just one run off 8 hits in 11 innings in this spring. He’s also struck out 12 with just one walk. He’ll certainly look to keep it rolling with just 8 days to go until Opening Day against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the steel city.

Matt Holliday will get another crack at first base and the overall the lineup looks pretty similar to what it could look like come next Sunday against the Pirates. Another player to watch this afternoon is Randal Grichuk who hit his second home run of the spring yesterday in a game against the Mets that ended in a 5-5 tie.

Ben Fredrickson of the St. Louis Post Dispatch is reporting all signs indicate Yadier Molina will be behind the plate Opening Day.

Here’s the lineup for today’s game against the Nationals which will be televised on Fox Sports Midwest.

First pitch is scheduled for 12:05.

Matt Carpenter (3B) 

Kolten Wong (2B) 

Matt Holliday (1B) 

Randal Grichuk (CF) 

Brandon Moss (LF) 

 Yadier Molina (C)

 Tommy Pham (RF) 

Ruben Tejada (SS)

Mike Leake (RHP)

Baseball, Beer and Bat Flips: Get over it, Goose

I’ll be honest, I was always against showboating in baseball. That is, until I recently listened to some more viewpoints on the issue.

You see, much like television and the Internet has evolved over the years, so has the game of baseball. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still America’s past time. Baseball is in an era now where more and more Cubans are leaving their country to come play in the big leagues. 

There are players like Yasiel Puig, Yoenis Cespedes, Jose Abreu etc. who grew up playing baseball in Cuba where the culture is different. It’s not rare to see a player openly question an umpire or yell at a manager or teammate in the dugout. 

That brings me to my next point: players in Cuba are taught to have fun while playing the game. Sure, you play little league as a kid and your coach tells you to go out and have some fun, but there are some rules you have to follow. There’s a certain level of respect you’re taught to have. In Cuba, bat flips and staring at your home runs are common. To them it’s just their culture.

Baseball in 2016 isn’t what it was back in the 20th century when guys like Goose Gossage and Mike Schmidt played the game. I don’t have a problem with a hitter watching a home run or flipping his bat after a clutch home run or a big hit. If a pitcher punches out a guy with the bases loaded and wants to pump his fist or scream into his glove, good for him. 

I’m not trying to disrespect the older generation of fans that disagree with me. But, I do ask that you take a look around at the league. The elite players today are 25 and under, and there are a lot of them. It’s the new era of baseball, and I’d much rather be talking about this era of baseball than the steroid era. 

-tvteddy

What the Ruben Tejada signing means for Cardinals

Historically the St. Louis Cardinals have tried to fill voids from within the organization before jumping to the free agent pool or picking up the phone to work a trade. But when Jhonny Peralta went down early this spring with a thumb injury, an external move needed to be made. 

The Cardinals have signed former Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada to a one year deal. You might remember him from the playoffs last year where he tried to turn a double play but was taken out by a dirty slide, courtesy of Chase Utley. Tejada broke his fibula, but seems to be ok this spring.

Cuban prospect Aledmys Diaz just wasn’t cutting it at SS for the Cardinals this spring and there’s a reason why the San Diego Padres didn’t see Jedd Gyorko as the answer to fill a SS void there. 

I think the Tejada pickup is a good move. Peralta will be back around June, and Tejada can play second and third base as well. Last year with the Mets he hit .261 with three home runs and drove in 28. This spring he’s hitting .278 with a home run and 5 RBI in 8 games. 

He’s not a guy that’s going to hit a bunch of home runs, that’s just a fact. He’s got 10 in his career. If you’re hoping for that, you’ll be let down. He is however a pretty solid defender and can hit the ball pretty good. 

The plan (in my opinion) is for Tejada and Gyorko to platoon at SS until Jhonny Peralta’s thumb is good to go. The two can also rotate at second base to give Kolten Wong a rest, especially against lefties. 

Both are in the lineup today against the Miami Marlins. Tejada will start at SS, Gyorko at 2B. First pitch is at noon on Fox Sports Midwest.

Check back for more of my thoughts on the St. Louis Cardinals’ season. 

-tvteddy