Mar 8, 2012; Jupiter, FL. USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Jaime Garcia (54) delivers a pitch against the Boston Red Sox at Roger Dean Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Red Sox 9-3. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE

Rants Daily: Jaime Garcia looks sharp for Cardinals


The St. Louis Cardinals are going to need Jaime Garcia to step it up this season. He has had two successive productive seasons, but in order to alleviate the pressures on the top two starters, Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright, Garcia is going to need to take his game to the next level. Yesterday at Roger Dean Stadium, Garcia took the first step toward that goal with two innings of no-hit ball with four strikeouts against the Boston Red Sox. The Cardinals notched their first victory of the Grapefruit League season and the first for new manager Mike Matheny by a score of 9-3.

Mar 8, 2012; Jupiter, FL. USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Jaime Garcia (54) delivers a pitch against the Boston Red Sox at Roger Dean Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Red Sox 9-3. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE

Garcia was matched up against Red Sox starter Josh Beckett, who was equally effective. Beckett tossed three scoreless innings allowing only two hits. The Cardinals have had their issues so far this season with the opposing team’s starting pitcher. They have yet to score off one.

Matt Adams kept up his mashing with a three-run triple in the Cardinals’ sixth inning, giving them a 3-0 lead. Adams has 7 RBI in the early part of spring training. Shane Robinson had a three-run double in the Cardinals’ six-run eighth inning. Adron Chambers had three hits in the game.

There was a lengthy rain delay in the fifth inning and none of the starters returned to the field when play resumed.

Mitchell Boggs had an afternoon to forget. In his first game action of the spring he allowed all three of Boston’s runs on three hits and walk. Boggs seemingly has a spot in the bullpen, but performances like this could force Matheny to think otherwise.

WAINWRIGHT TAKES THE MOUND TODAY VERSUS TWINS

Wainwright is set to make his first spring start today at 12:05 CT in Fort Myers, Fl. against the Minnesota Twins. Wainwright has been said to be jittery and rightfully so. He is making his first start since the end of the 2010 season. Last spring he was hurt prior to any games being played. He underwent Tommy John surgery just over a year ago.

It is expected that Wainwright will work two innings today. While he may have the jitters, Wainwright has had a very good spring so far with no setbacks and feels ready to go. MLB.com reporter Jenifer Langosch quotes Wainwright:

Strangely, it went by fast. Looking back, it was a breeze. I can’t really complain about the rehab that I had. I think it went as smooth as it possibly could.

 

Here is the lineup provided by Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

  1. Rafael Furcal, SS
  2. Skip Schumaker, 2B
  3. Lance Berkman, 1B
  4. Jon Jay, CF
  5. Tony Cruz, C
  6. Daniel Descalso, 3B
  7. Matt Carpenter, RF
  8. Shane Robinson, LF
  9. Zack Cox, DH

 

Tyler Greene gets his first day off after starting the first four games of the exhibition season. Schumaker and Descalso, Greene’s competitors for the second base job, are in today’s lineup.

CARPENTER TO GET SECOND OPINION ON NECK

Carpenter is dealing with a sore neck and it has become troublesome enough that he left camp to seek a second opinion according to Joe Strauss of the Post-Dispatch. Carpenter has gotten in very little work this spring due to a training program established to limit his time on the field. The intention was to prevent Carpenter from overworking after throwing 270 innings last season. Now a neck problem may have nothing to do with the workload from last season, but it could have everything to do with the fact that he turns 37 at the end of April. These types of aches and pains are part of aging even for players in good physical condition. This looks like it may affect the rotation for at least the next turn. It is expected that Shelby Miller could get Monday’s start in place of Carpenter.

This also makes Wainwright’s start today even more significant than it already was. As it stands now, Strauss notes, that Wainwright is in line for the opening day start. This is something I felt was possible, but doubtful considering the Cards have Carpenter and would not want to press Wainwright. Now, it may be inevitable that Wainwright opens the season in Miami against the Marlins on April 4th.

NOTEWORTHY
  • Carlos Beltran, who missed Thursday’s game with the flu, will also be out of the lineup today.
  • Kolten Wong was among seven players sent to minor-league camp.
  • Berkman was not scheduled to make the trip today, but asked to go since he was taken out of the game yesterday after the rainstorm.

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Tags: Adam Wainwright Adron Chambers Carlos Beltran Chris Carpenter Daniel Descalso Jaime Garcia Jon Jay Josh Beckett Kolten Wong Lance Berkman Matt Adams Matt Carpenter Mike Matheny Mitchell Boggs Rafael Furcal Shane Robinson Shelby Miller Skip Schumaker Tony Cruz Tyler Greene Zack Cox