The St. Louis Cardinals need Jaime Garcia to take the next step in his progression as a major league pitcher. In the early goings of Spring Training, he has failed to show that he can elevate his game. Despite being staked to a 3-0 on a two-run home run from Matt Holliday and a run scoring single from David Freese, Garcia had trouble finding the plate. In the fourth inning the Tigers made him pay in route to a 10-3 loss to the Detroit Tigers.
Garcia was fortunate to get out of a bases-loaded jam in the second inning on a liner turned into a double play by second baseman Tyler Greene. In the fourth, the Tigers got a leadoff single from Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, who the Cardinals have seen for many years, did something they didn’t see often. He hit a sharp grounder past Tony Cruz that went all the way to the right field wall and Fielder lumbered into third for a triple, scoring Cabrera. Delmon Young was next with a double to left field scoring Fielder. Young scored later in the inning crossing home plate before a double play finished off the inning.
Garcia made it out for the fifth inning and was lifted after a one-out double by Austin Jackson. Jackson later scored with R.J. Swindle on the mound, the run charged to Garcia. Garcia’s final line; 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 5 H, 3 BB and 2 K. He threw 60 pitches but only 33 for strikes. His spring ERA stands at 5.40 and his WHIP is 1.56.
The hitting star was once again Holliday, who is on a tear. He drove an Adam Wilk pitch over the left centerfield wall after Greene led off the game with a double. Holliday is hitting .474 this spring with 2 HR and 4 RBI. Greene scored another run in the third, when he singled, moved to second on a walk, stole third base and then came in to score on the Freese single. That was the end of the scoring for the Cardinals.
Swindle allowed three more runs in the fifth. Jason Motte came in for the sixth and allowed a run on a hit and two walks. Kyle McClellan also allowed a run in the seventh and Scott Linebrink pitched a scoreless eighth in his bid for a bullpen spot. Linebrink has yet to allow an earned run.
Garcia said he was pleased with the outing and according to Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Garcia felt his line was more attributed to the Tigers’ lineup than his own effort. “They’ve got a really good lineup. I made a couple of mistakes and I paid the consequences.” What else is he going to say?
The spin by the beat is that he made it into the fifth inning, but allowing three extra base hits and walking three is not exactly good execution. With Chris Carpenter on the mend and Adam Wainwright unlikely to be at his 2010 performance level at the start of the season, the Cardinals need Garcia to find his form soon. He is going to need to be a pitcher who can hold a team down three times through the lineup and not just two. Garcia’s knock in his first two seasons has been the lack of length to his starts. He has averaged just over 6 innings per start during his career. Now, more than seasons past, it is important that he give the bullpen a breather with Carpenter and Wainwright mending, and Kyle Lohse and Jake Westbrook already 6-inning pitchers.
MATHENY FEELS CARPENTER WILL BE ON THE MOUND SOON
Manager Mike Matheny is confident that Carpenter will be throwing in a game sooner rather than later after Carpenter made it out of a 30-pitch bullpen session on Friday with no issues. According to MLB.com reporter Jenifer Langosch, Carpenter has moved on to strengthening the neck area now that treatment has finished.
The Redbirds send Wainwright to the mound today against the Miami Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium. This will be Wainwright’s third start of Spring Training. Below is the lineup provided by Hummel.
- Rafael Furcal ss
- Carlos Beltran rf
- Matt Holliday lf
- Lance Berkman 1b
- David Freese dh
- Yadier Molina c
- Jon Jay cf
- Tyler Greene 2b
- Daniel Descalso 3b
Freese gets a break from the field today as the DH, which gives Descalso some more time in the competition for second base after not playing in yesterday’s game. The remainder of the lineup is much like the one sent out Friday. This time Berkman gets the honors at cleanup and Freese moves down to fifth. It looks as if, at least for now, Beltran is going to be hitting second often. Furcal and Holliday look cemented in their spots, as do Molina and Jay. Whoever wins the second base competition will likely hit 8th or 9th during the season depending on Matheny’s strategy.
Tags: Adam Wainwright Austin Jackson Carlos Beltran Chris Carpenter Daniel Descalso David Freese Delmon Young Jaime Garcia Jake Westbrook Jason Motte Jon Jay Kyle Lohse Kyle McClellan Lance Berkman Matt Holliday Miguel Cabrera Mike Matheny Prince Fielder R.J. Swindle Rafael Furcal Scott Linebrink Skip Schumaker Tony Cruz Tyler Greene Yadier Molina