St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook: Week of March 12-18

photo: Luke Weaver (Scott Rovak/USA TODAY Sports)

Spring Training game recaps

Monday, March 12 – Off Day

Tuesday, March 13 – Cardinals 11 at Marlins 4

Dexter Fowler (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

The St. Louis Cardinals pounded the Miami Marlins, the latter playing as the visiting team in Jupiter.  Leadoff hitter Dexter Fowler batted 2-for-3 with three RBI.  Jose Martinez was also 2-for-3 with three RBI.  Marcell Ozuna was 2-for-4 with a run driven in and two runs scored.  Yadier Molina was 2-for-3 with two RBI, as was Yairo Munoz.

Catcher Steven Baron was picked off first base.  Martinez made a throwing error.

On the mound for the Cardinals was starter Carlos Martinez, who earned his first Grapefruit League win.  Martinez gave up four runs, three earned, on four hits while fanning five and walking two.  The righty was followed by Matt Bowman, Brett Cecil, Preston Guilmet, John Brebbia, and Bud Norris; each pitched a scoreless inning of relief.

Wednesday, March 14 – Cardinals 3 at Astros 1

Adam Wainwright (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

The Cardinals topped the Astros on Wednesday at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.  Starter Adam Wainwright earned his the first spring win.  The veteran right hander pitched five innings, surrendering one run on four hits.  Wainwright struck out three and walked one.  Relieving Wainwright were Dominic Leone, Tyler Lyons, Ryan Sherriff, and Sam Tuivailala, the latter earning his first spring save.

All three St. Louis runs came via the long ball.  Matt Carpenter blasted a two run home run in the third inning off Astros starter Justin Verlander.  Luke Voit hit a solo shot, also against Verlander, in the fifth.  Carpenter was 2-for-2.  Marcel Ozuna was 3-for-3.

Tommy Pham was caught stealing for the second time this spring.  Patrick Wisdom made a throwing error, and catcher Carson Kelly had a passed ball.  Randy Arozarena had an outfield assist.

Thursday, March 15 – Cardinals 0, Orioles 1

Jack Flaherty (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

The Redbirds were edged by the Orioles on Thursday in Jupiter.  Singles by Dexter Fowler, Jedd Gyorko, and Luke Voit were the only St. Louis hits.

Greg Garcia made a throwing error.

Starter Jack Flaherty pitched well but took the loss.  The right hander tossed five innings, giving up one run on three hits.  Flaherty fanned eight Orioles and walked two.  Brett Cecil and John Gant relieved with four scoreless innings.

Friday, March 16 – Cardinals 4, Marlins 2

In a split squad game at home against the Marlins, the Redbirds came out the victor.  Starter Michael Wacha won his first Grapefruit League game, pitching six innings and surrendering one run on five hits.  The right hander struck out three and walked none.  Tyler Lyons gave up one run in relief.  Dominic Leone and Bud Norris each pitched scoreless innings.

Yadier Molina had a big day.  The catcher hit two home runs, both solo, in the first and seventh innings.  Molina also doubled and singled, ending the day 4-for-4 with three RBI and three runs scored.  In the field, Molina also distinguished himself by picking off a runner at first base.  Luke Voit drove in the other St. Louis run on a single.  Marcell Ozuna doubled, and Tommy Pham tripled.

Adolis Garcia was caught stealing for the first time.  Kolten Wong made a throwing error.  Pham and Garcia had outfield assists.

Friday, March 16 – Cardinals 2 at Nationals 4

Miles Mikolas (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

In the second split squad game on Friday, the Cardinals fell to the Nationals at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.  Jedd Gyorko hit his first spring home run, a solo shot in the fourth inning.  Dexter Fowler’s RBI single plated the other Redbirds run.  Yairo Munoz went 2-for-3.

Francisco Pena stole his first Grapefruit League base.

Starter Miles Mikolas pitched five scoreless innings, giving up three hits, fanning two and walking one.  Ryan Sherriff followed and gave up all four Nationals runs without recording an out.  Josh Lucas relieved for a scoreless inning.  Mike Mayers pitched the final two scoreless innings, but the offense could not come back.

Saturday, March 17 – Cardinals 3 at Braves 0

Luke Weaver (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

The Cardinals blanked the Braves at their home park at Disney World on Saturday.  Starter Luke Weaver earned his second Grapefruit League win, tossing 4 1/3 scoreless innings and surrendering only one hit.  The right hander struck out six and walked three.  Matt Bowman, John Brebbia, Preston Guilmet, Jason Motte, and Edward Mujica all pitched scoreless innings of relief.

The Redbirds didn’t score until the fifth inning, when Patrick Wisdom drew a bases loaded walk.  In the seventh, Paul DeJong doubled in a run, and Randy Arrozarena added an RBI single.  DeJong was 2-for-3.

Arozarena stole both second and third base.  Kolten Wong was caught stealing for the second time.

Sunday, March 8 – Cardinals 10, Nationals 0

Jose Martinez (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

The Cardinals pummeled the Nationals in a laugher on Sunday in Jupiter.  St. Louis’ offense scored ten runs on 13 hits against Nats pitching.   Jose Martinez hit the only long ball, a solo shot in the fourth inning.  He then drove in two in the sixth on a double.  Martinez had the only multi-hit game, going 2-for-3 with three RBI.

Also in the sixth, a run scored on a fielding error, Jedd Gyorko drove in one on a single and a double play off the bat of Luke Voit plated another run.  In the seventh, a Tommy Pham single and a Wilfredo Tovar double brought two additional runs home.  In the eighth, Voit doubled home a run, and Yairo Munoz added an RBI single.  Randy Arozarena tripled, Dexter Fowler, Steven Baron, and Harrison Bader doubled.

Starter John Gant tossed two scoreless innings, surrendering only one hit and fanning two.  Sean Gilmartin followed with two scoreless frames.  Josh Lucas, Brett Cecil, Sam Tuivailala, Bud Norris, and Luke Gregerson each pitched a scoreless inning.  Gilmartin was the winning pitcher.

Regular starter Carlos Martinez was diverted to the minor league fields, where he yielded a three-run home run and five runs overall in six innings against Miami Marlins farmhands.

The big picture

Yairo Munoz (Scott Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

The seven Spring Training games for the fourth week are complete, with a 5-2 record and the team holding an overall 12-10-2 record for the spring.

St. Louis’ offense has improved slightly, with the unit’s .258 batting average and .725 OPS ranking 25th and 26th, respectively, of 30 MLB teams this spring. The pitching has been far better, with the team ERA of 3.92 ranking fifth overall, and representing an improvement of a full run for the second consecutive week.

Three .300 hitters remain in camp – the youthful trio of Yairo Munoz (.366) and Randy Arozarena (.314) and Adolis Garcia (.310). Jose Martinez’ 12 RBI are tops on the club and his three long balls tie Yadier Molina for the team lead and five doubles are also most (tied with Harrison Bader).

Mike Mayers has allowed just five baserunners in nine scoreless innings while striking out 10. Josh Lucas has fanned 12 in 9 1/3 scoreless. Luke Weaver has been changed with just one earned run in 13 1/3 spring innings, on five hits and four walks. He also has 15 K’s.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.

Transactions

3/18 The Cardinals optioned RHPs Jack Flaherty and John Gant, LHP Ryan Sheriff, C Carson Kelly, INF Breyvic Valera, and OF Oscar Mercado to the Memphis Redbirds. Details here.

Luke Gregerson (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

Injury Report

OF Tyler O’Neill (right hamstring strain) will miss the remainder of Spring Training but may possibly be ready to play by Opening Day. He was optioned out in the previous round of cuts.

RP Luke Gregerson (oblique) pitched the ninth inning on Sunday for his first action since March 3.

Looking Ahead

The last full week of Grapefruit League play before Opening Day begins in the upcoming week.  Monday, March 19 is an off day for the Cardinals, with play restarting on Tuesday against the Mets in Jupiter.  No starter has been announced for Tuesday’s contest. It would be Adam Wainwright’s turn, but he may work in a minor league game instead, as with Carlos Martinez on Sunday.

On Wednesday, the Cardinals take on the Marlins as the visiting team in Jupiter.  The Redbirds remain in Jupiter on Thursday to play the Braves.  On Friday the Cardinals travel to Port St. Lucie to face the Mets and host the Mets again on Saturday in Jupiter.  In the final Florida game, on Sunday the Cardinals visit the Nationals at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Two exhibitions against the Blue Jays in Montreal follow next Monday and Tuesday nights.

Spring Training information, including the schedule, can be found here.

The regular season begins on Thursday, March 29 as the Cardinals play the Mets in New York in the first of a four game series.  A three game set against the Brewers in Milwaukee follows the Mets series.  The Cardinals home opener is on Thursday, April 6, against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Blast from the Past

This week’s history segment features the 2003 Cardinals.  The 2003 season was the team’s 122nd season, and the 112th in the National League.

The Cardinals were 85-77 on the season and finished third in the National League Central, three games back of the first place Chicago Cubs.  The manager was Tony La Russa, the general manager was Walt Jocketty, and the principal owner was Bill DeWitt, Jr.

The Opening Day lineup was Fernando Vina (2B), Edgar Renteria (SS), Jim Edmonds (CF), Albert Pujols (LF), Scott Rolen (3B), Tino Martinez (1B), Eli Marrero (RF), Mike Matheny (C), and Matt Morris (SP).

2003 St. Louis Cardinals

The longest losing streak was five games, from April 19-24.  The longest winning streak was seven games, from April 27-May 4.  The largest winning margin was two 13 run games, a 15-2 defeat of the Brewers on April 16, and a 13-0 drubbing of the same Brewers on Sept 18.  The worst loss was a 13-1 defeat by the Red Sox on June 11.  Splits were 48-33 at home, and 37-44 on the road.

The top starting pitcher was Morris, with a record of 11-8 and an ERA of 3.76. The best offensive performer was Pujols, who hit .359/.439/.667 with 43 HRs and 124 RBI.

Catcher Matheny, SS Renteria, 3B Rolen, and CF Edmonds each won National Leaue Gold Glove Awards.

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