This is the first installment of a weekly feature here at Redbird Rants. Each Monday we will recap all the games played the previous week. Today we recap the games from the first week of Spring Training, so if you missed any of the games and want something better than a box score, this is the place to get it. Enjoy.
Monday, March 5, 2012—Cardinals 3, Marlins 4
The Cardinals weren’t really in this one offensively until the 9th inning, having only 3 hits in the first eight innings. A single by Matt Adams in the second inning, followed by a Tyler Greene double and a walk by Dan Descalso, loaded the bases with 2 outs. Alex Cora then flew out to right field to end the rally. The bases were loaded again in the 5th inning on 3 walks, but all were left stranded when Carlos Beltran popped out to the second baseman. In the meantime, the Marlins scored 1 run in the 2nd on a Greg Dobbs homerun, and scored three in the 4th on 4 straight hits off of pitcher Brandon Dickson, making it 4-0 Marlins. Then in an inning reminiscent of the Cardiac Cardinals of 2011, Bryan Anderson started off the 9th with a double to centerfield. Mark Hamilton walks, but then Eugenio Velez flies out to centerfield. With men on first and second, Matt Carpenter smoked a hard ground ball double to right field, scoring Anderson and Hamilton. Kolten Wong draws a walk, and a wild pitch sends Matt Carpenter to third. Pinch hitter Steven Hill hits a line drive single to centerfield, scoring Carpenter. However, Shane Robinson strikes out looking and Adron Chambers grounds out to the pitcher, ending the rally and the game. Starting pitcher Kyle Lohse has a strong outing, but takes the loss.
Tuesday, March 6, 2012—Cardinals 6, Mets 8
Again, the first four innings were a disappointment for the Redbirds offensively, managing only a single by Mark Hamilton in the 2nd. On the other hand, the fans were treated to a spectacular caught stealing throw by Yadier Molina in the 1st inning, when Mets second baseman Jordany Valdespin attempted to do what his teammates apparently didn’t warn him not to do. The Mets scored one in the 3rd and 3 in the 4th to make it again a 4-0 deficit for the Birds. In the 5th, the Cardinals scored 2 on three straight hits by Yadier Molina, Mark Hamilton, and Matt Carpenter and a fielder’s choice grounder by Pete Kozma. The Mets scored again in the 6th, making it 5-2. The 7th brought an offensive outburst by both teams. The Cardinals scored 4 runs in the 7th as a result of walks by Kozma and Shane Robinson, a single by Eugenio Velez, and then a grand slam knock to left center field by Matt “Pujols in waiting” Adams. Eric Komatsu followed with a double, but was left stranded when Steven Hill flew out to centerfield. Cardinals lead 6-5. But, not to be undone, the Mets come up in the bottom of the 7th and score 3 runs via a walk, a double, and a fielding error by Pete Kozma. Mets take the lead 8-5 and that is how it ends as the Cardinals were set down in order in both the 8th and the 9th. Pitcher Jake Westbrook threw 2 solid innings, relief pitcher Adam Reifer takes the loss.
Wednesday, March 7, 2012—Cardinals 3 Nationals 3
Pitching prospect Shelby Miller makes his starting pitching debut in this game. Miller is a little shaky in the 1st, giving up 1 run on 2 hits and a walk, but he follows it by setting the Nats down in order in the 2nd. The Cardinals, however, score no runs on 5 hits in the first four innings. Speed demon Tyler Greene does steal his first base of Spring Training in the 2nd but is doubled off second base on a fly ball to left field, ending the inning. The Birds get on the boards in the 5th on a solo homerun by “Dirty Dan” Descalso. The Cardinals score two more in the 7th, when Descalso hits a soft fly ball single to center, followed by an Adron Chambers line drive single and a throwing error by the Nats second baseman on a force attempt, scoring Descalso. Tyler Greene then singles in Chambers, making the score 3-1 Redbirds. The inning ends with two groundouts to second base from Mark Hamilton and Steven Hill. Unfortunately, in the 9th, the Nats stage a comeback on a single and a two run homerun off of Lance Lynn, and the game ends in a tie, 3-3.
Thursday, March 8, 2012—Cardinals 9 Red Sox 3
A pattern is seemingly starting to develop with the Cardinals not scoring until the mid to late innings. The Cardinals were aided in this one, however, by the Sox not being any better. No scoring on either side (and not much hitting either) until the 6th inning. The Cardinals’ half of the inning starts with a single by Adron Chambers. With Matt Carpenter batting, Chambers commits second base burglary. Carpenter walks and then Mark Hamilton walks, loading the bases. Matt Adams then hits a bases clearing triple to center. Cardinals lead 3-0. Adams is stranded on third when Tony Cruz pops out to short, Eric Komatsu grounds out to third and Xavier Scruggs strikes out swinging. The Sox tie the game in the top of the 8th, scoring 3 on two singles, two stolen bases, a walk, and a triple to right field. In the bottom of the 8th, the Birds feed off Sox pitchers Not Cardinals’ Chris Carpenter and Garrett Mock. Mark Hamilton walks. Matt Adams walks. Tony Cruz singles to left field, loading the bases. Not Cardinals’ Chris Carpenter walks Eric Komatsu, scoring Eugenio Velez, who had pinch run for Hamilton. Carpenter gets the hook and is replaced by Mock, who gets Kolten Wong to fly out to center, but that pesky man on third with no outs causes Matt Adams to score. Pinch hitter Daniel Descalso singles, loading the bases again. Sugar Shane Robinson powers a line drive double to center, scoring Cruz, Komatsu, and Descalso. Adron Chambers strikes out swinging. Matt Carpenter draws a walk. Cody Stanley, who pinch hits for pinch runner Eugenio Velez, reaches on a fielding error by the Sox first baseman and Shane Robinson scores, fortunately before Matt Carpenter is thrown out trying to reach third. The massacre ends there. The Sox go out with a wimper in the 9th and the Cardinals record their first win of Spring Training.
Friday, March 9, 2012—Cardinals 3 Twins 2
Low scoring yawner, the only bright spots being the long-awaited 2012 back from TJ surgery debut of future Cy Young pitcher Adam Wainwright, and a solo homerun by Rafael Furcal. The Cardinals get on the board first in the 3rd inning starting with a double by Zack Cox, who is subsequently plated by a sacrifice fly by Skip Schumaker. There were no further runs in the inning, but fans were delighted by a stolen base by Lance Berkman, on a non-throw by Twins catcher Ryan “I can’t throw out Torty Craig” Doumit. The Twins tie the game in the fourth after Twins third bagger Chris Parmelee reaches first on a wild pitch third strike by relief pitcher Trevor Rosenthal. A single and two walks eventually scores Parmelee. The Redbirds take the lead again in the 5th when Rafael Furcal smokes one outta there in right field. The Birds score again in the 8th. Daniel Descalso singles, but then is eliminated on the bases by a force out. The perpetrator of the forceout, Eugenio Velez, steals second base and then scores on a single by Shane Robinson. Zack Cox strikes out to end the inning. Score now Cardinals 3, Twins 1. The Twins score a ‘too little too late’ run in the bottom of the 9th. Wild pitch man Trevor Rosenthal ends up getting the win.
Saturday, March 10, 2012—Cardinals 1 Marlins 3
So far the Birds are not doing so well against their Roger Dean Stadium compatriots. Of course, both times they must face Marlins ace pitcher Josh Johnson. Starting pitcher Kyle Lohse gives up a solo homerun in the 1st inning to Omar Infante. Tyler Greene steals another base in the 2nd but is stranded. The Cardinals finally score in the 5th to tie the game when Adron Chambers walks and scores on a triple by Eric Komatsu who later is thrown out at home trying to score on a ground ball to third by Steven Hill. The Marlins score two more in the 5th however, on two doubles and a single off relief pitcher Brandon Dickson. No more runs are scored by either team and the game ends in regulation, but not without some controversy surrounding an hour and 49 minute rain delay in the 5th which apparently could have been shorter if the Marlins hadn’t been having a Player’s Association meeting in the middle of it. Cardinal skipper Mike Matheny not happy.
Sunday, March 11, 2012—Cardinals, Nationals, postponed due to rain
The Nationals were leading this one 1-0 in the 4th when the rain hit. Unlike the previous day, the game was called after the 4th. You didn’t miss anything. It should be replayed some time or other.
That’s it. Stay tuned for more recaps next Monday courtesy of Jason Evans. I will be vacationing in Florida the week of March 19th, and I will be watching the March 21st game against the Mets live and in person. Maybe I will have some interesting insights when I do the recap on March 26.