photo: Dakota Hudson (David Dermer/Imagn)
The St. Louis Cardinals had a strong 5-1-1 week as the offense has come to life. The outfielders are hitting well, with the exception of Dexter Fowler and Justin Williams. Yairo Muñoz left the team and was released. Dakota Hudson leads the pitching staff. Our history feature highlights Cardinals number 17.
Spring training game recaps
The St. Louis Cardinals defeated the visiting Minnesota Twins 6-1 in the first meeting of both teams in Grapefruit League play. Tyler O’Neill’s single in the first inning plated the first run. In the second, Edmundo Sosa’s sac fly, a double by Tommy Edman, and a single off the bat of Yadier Molina brought three runs home. Jose Godoy added a two-run single in the seventh.
Genesis Cabrera got the start for the Cardinals but only pitched one inning, exiting early with a cracked fingernail. Cabrera allowed one hit, struck out one and walked two. Jose Ramirez. Brett Cecil, Johan Oviedo, Zack Thompson, Alex FaGalde, and John Brebbia followed. FaGalde yielded the lone Twins run.
When the Astros came to Roger Dean Stadium, the Cardinals jumped out to a lead and kept it throughout. Starter Dakota Hudson pitched four innings, yielding one run on two hits with two strikeouts and one walk. Alex Reyes, Matthew Liberatore, Tyler Webb, Giovanny Gallegos and Jesus Cruz pitched in relief. Reyes and Gallegos surrendered a run each.
St. Louis’ offense got on the board in the second inning on a force out RBI by Dylan Carlson and a Max Schrock double. Paul Goldschmidt hit a solo home run in the third, and Matt Wieters did the same in the fourth. Kolten Wong plated a run on a ground out also in the fourth and Schrock scored on a wild pitch for the third score in that inning.
Elehuris Montero committed a throwing error. Evan Mendoza stole his first base of the spring.
The Cardinals fell to the Mets 4-1 in Port St. Lucie on Wednesday. The only Redbird score came in the eighth inning on a solo home run by Nolan Gorman.
Jack Flaherty started and tossed four innings, giving up three runs on five hits. The right hander struck out two and walked one. Daniel Ponce de Leon and Junior Fernandez followed with Ponce de Leon pitching three innings and Fernandez taking the eighth. Ponce de Leon relinquished the fourth Mets run in his outing.
Tommy Edman was caught stealing for the first time this spring. Austin Dean was picked off second base.
One of two Thursday split squad games ended in a tie with the Mets in Jupiter. Adam Wainwright took the mound to start and hurled four innings, yielding five runs on eight hits. The right hander walked one. Kwang-Hyun Kim, Johan Oviedo, John Brebbia and Kodi Whitley pitched the rest of the way. Brebbia gave up the tying runs in the eighth.
St. Louis’ offense played catch up in a big way after falling behind 5-0. In the fourth, Paul DeJong began with a solo home run, and Lane Thomas followed with a three-run shot. Not to be outdone, Matt Carpenter sent a two-run blast over the center field wall to give the Redbirds the 6-5 lead. Aaron Antonini added a sac fly in the seventh to increase the lead to 7-5.
Kolten Wong stole his first base of 2020. Harrison Bader committed a throwing error.
Just down the road from Jupiter, the Cardinals blew out the Nationals in an evening game in Palm Beach. St. Louis plated three runs in the second inning on an Austin Dean double and a two-run home run by Andrew Knizner. Tommy Edman hit a two-run shot in the fifth and Tyler O’Neill doubled in a run to make it 6-0. Edman added an RBI single in the sixth for a seventh score. In the seventh inning, doubles by Rangel Ravelo and Dean, and a two-run home run by Justin Williams ran the score up to 11-0.
Carlos Martinez was excellent in his start, going five scoreless innings, allowing three hits and fanning two. Zack Thompson, Jake Woodford, and Ryan Helsley combined for the remaining four scoreless frames.
Friday, March 6 (off day)
The Cardinals welcomed the Astros back to Jupiter on Saturday, and the Redbirds were the victors, 5-1. Starter John Gant tossed four scoreless innings, yielding one hit, fanning three and walking two. Austin Gomber followed the next three innings and gave up the lone Astros score. Tyler Webb and Giovanny Gallegos followed with a scoreless inning each.
Matt Wieters put the first Cardinals run on the board on a force out in the second inning. Wieters then doubled in the fourth to plate another. Kolten Wong added a two-run double, also in the fourth. In the seventh, Edmundo Sosa’s solo home run closed the scoring.
Wieters stole his first spring base, as did Tommy Edman. Matt Carpenter made a throwing error and Justin Williams had a fielding miscue.
The final spring game of the week was a 7-3 win for the Cardinals over stadium mate Miami. The first inning included Paul Goldschmidt’s double that plated two, followed by an RBI single from Yadier Molina. Molina plated his second run on sac fly in the fifth. Also in that inning, Tyler O’Neill was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, and Harrison Bader singled to score two more.
Dakota Hudson started and hurled 3 2/3 innings. The right hander surrendered one run on two hits, struck out five and walked three. Hudson yielded to Junior Fernandez, Genesis Cabrera, Brett Cecil, John Brebbia, and Kodi Whitley. Cabrera and Brebbia gave up a run each.
Dexter Fowler had an outfield assist, nailing a runner at third base.
The Big Picture
The Cardinals began the week with a 3-6 record and ended the week 8-7-1, going 5-1-1 in the process. The team lost to the Mets on Wednesday and tied them in a Thursday split squad game. The Cardinals won twice over the Astros, once each against the Twins, Nationals, and Marlins.
The Cardinal are 12th of 30 MLB teams in offense with a team slash line of .258/.352/.443. The team is ninth of 30 teams in pitching with a team ERA of 3.75.
Dylan Carlson stands out among all position players in offense, leading in average (.357) runs scored (10), OBP (.471) and OPS (1.006). Carlson has yet to hit a home run, however. Paul DeJong leads in that category with four. DeJong also leads in RBI (8), and hits (11). Tyler O’Neill leads in slugging at .560. Carlson, Austin Dean, and Rangel Ravelo are tied for the most doubles at three each. Carlson, Andrew Knizner, and Max Schrock each have one triple. Carlson, Schrock and Harrison Bader are tied with the most walks at six each.
In pitching, Dakota Hudson is the standout. He leads in ERA (2.92), strikeouts (12), WHIP (0.97), and innings (12.1).
With multiple players battling for an outfield spot, veteran Dexter Fowler has shown little in the spring to justify starting, hitting a mere .080/.179/.080 for a .259 OPS. On the other hand, Tyler O’Neill is slashing .280/.438/.560 with a .998 OPS and Harrison Bader is slashing .296/.441/.481 with a .923 OPS. The other top contender, Lane Thomas, is hitting .259/.375/.519 with an .894 OPS. Justin Williams is struggling, however, hitting .091/.167/.364 with a .530 OPS. Others in the mix – Austin Dean and Rangel Ravelo – are also having good springs at the plate.
With 14 games left in spring training, things could change, but the question arises whether Fowler’s veteran status and high dollar contract will be enough to overcome his poor spring training showing. In addition, Carlson’s standout performance so far is making the decisions even more difficult for the Cardinals to make.
Cardinals make spring cuts, release Munoz
The first cuts of spring were made on Saturday, with 13 players either optioned or reassigned to minor league camp. LHP Ricardo Sanchez and 3B Elehuris Montero were optioned to Springfield, while RHP Alvaro Seijas was optioned to the Palm Beach.
Reassigned to minor league camp were non-roster players Akeem Bostick, Nabil Crismatt, Seth Elledge, Alex FaGalde, Griffin Roberts, Angel Rondon, and Ramon Santos, all RHP. First baseman Luken Baker and catchers Julio Rodriguez and Alexis Wilson were also reassigned.
57 players remain in camp with just over two weeks remaining in spring training. More cuts will be forthcoming in the next several weeks.
In addition to the cuts, a surprising announcement was made concerning injured utility player Yairo Munoz. The Cardinals placed Munoz on release waivers on Saturday, due to him leaving camp without notice and returning to his home in the Dominican Republic.
Munoz injured his hamstring on a run to first base a week ago. He was scheduled for an MRI but did not show up. Munoz texted a teammate and informed him that he had flown home to the DR with no indication of returning. Munoz had complained about his playing time last season and was apparently frustrated with what he saw as limited opportunities going forward. Munoz was battling for a roster spot with other utility infielders, notably Tommy Edman, Edmundo Sosa, and the newly signed Brad Miller.
Munoz’ release leaves a spot open on the 40 man roster.
Cardinals settle contracts with 0-3 year players
On Sunday, the Cardinals announced that they agreed to terms and signed one-year contracts for the 2020 season with their 24 pre-arbitration players. The team also renewed the contract of pitcher Jack Flaherty. For the second consecutive year, the staff ace disagreed in protest of the current player compensation system in place across MLB.
More details here.
Trade and Acquisition Rumors
There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.
- 3/7 The Cardinals optioned 3B Elehuris Montero to the Springfield Cardinals.
- 3/7 The Cardinals optioned LHP Ricardo Sanchez to the Springfield Cardinals.
- 3/7 The Cardinals optioned RHP Alvaro Seijas to the Palm Beach Cardinals.
- 3/7 The Cardinals released Yairo Munoz.
- RHP Miles Mikolas (right flexor tendon) had a second PRP injection in his right arm to battle a recurrence of inflammation in his right flexor tendon early in camp. The latest update is that Mikolas will not be ready to start the season and will likely be out until mid-April.
- RHP Jordan Hicks (Tommy John surgery) was placed on the 60-day injured list and is expected to be out until after the All-Star break.
- IF Brad Miller (back stiffness) continues to be held out of spring games out of caution but is taking some swings. Miller participated in a full workout on Sunday, and will be evaluated on Monday for a return to play.
- LHP Andrew Miller (left arm nerve problem) is doubtful for opening day. Tests were performed but no results have been announced. Miller threw a light bullpen session on Saturday.
- LHP Genesis Cabrera had been day to day with a cracked fingernail but appeared in relief in Sunday’s game.
- 2B Kolten Wong exited Sunday’s game after being hit by a pitch on his left leg. The diagnosis was left calf contusion. Wong is day to day, and will be reevaluated on Monday.
On Monday, March 9, the Cardinals travel to the Gulf Coast to take on the Minnesota Twins at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers. Kwang-Hyun Kim is scheduled for the start. On Tuesday, the Cardinals will face the Red Sox at JetBlue Park, also in Fort Myers.
The Cardinals return to the Atlantic Coast to play the Mets on Wednesday in Port St. Lucie. On Thursday, St. Louis as the home team will take on the Marlins.
The Astros return to Roger Dean Stadium on Friday. On Saturday, the “visiting” Cardinals will face the Marlins again.
The Red Sox travel to Jupiter to play the Cardinals on Sunday.
The full spring training game broadcast schedule can be found at TCN here.
Blast from the Past
We return to the series on Cardinals player nicknames with another standout from the Gashouse Gang era.
Jay Hanna Dean, a/k/a Jerome Herman Dean was born on January 16, 1910 in Lucas, Arkansas. Dean only attended school through the second grade. His younger brother, Paul, also played baseball for the Cardinals.
Dean may be best known as the last National League pitcher to win 30 games in a season. Dean debuted for the Cardinals on September 28, 1930 and was with the Cardinals through the 1937 season. During his time in St. Louis, Dean led the league in innings pitched in 1932, 1935, and 1936, and in strikeouts from 1932-35. He was the National League MVP in 1934 and a four-time All Star.
Dean was known for his eccentric personality. The story behind his nickname “Dizzy” was that he enlisted in the Army in 1926 by lying about his age, and a sergeant gave him the nickname after he had done something stupid.
With the Cardinals, he demonstrated his quirky personality on many occasions. Once on a hot July day, Dean built a fire in the dugout and covered himself with a wool blanket as a mocking gesture to the heat. He and teammate Pepper Martin used to throw bags of water out of hotel windows on walkers below. Another time he brought a black cat to the ballpark to put a hex on the opposing team.
Dean suffered an arm injury in 1937 after changing his pitching motion to compensate for a fractured toe. Dean was never the same pitcher after, and in 1938 the Cardinals traded him to the Cubs. He remained with the Cubs for the next two seasons, then pitched in only one game in 1941 to end his playing career.
From there, Dean went into broadcasting. He called games for the Cardinals from 1941-1946, the Yankees from 1950-51, and the Braves from 1966-68. He also called national games for ABC and CBS from 1953-1965. He was well known for butchering the English language.
Dean was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1953 and was inducted into the Cardinals Hall of Fame in the 2014 inaugural class.
After retiring from broadcasting in the late 1960s, Dean returned to his home in Bond, Mississippi. He passed away on July 17, 1964 in Reno, Nevada of a heart attack and was buried in the Bond Cemetery.
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