Kyle Lohse has had a good Spring Training. He has not been spectacular at any point, but he’s been solid for the most part. Lohse was the team leader in wins and had the lowest ERA among Cardinals’ starters in 2011. Yesterday, against the Minnesota Twins he looked like a pitcher ready to duplicate that effort. Lohse went six innings allowing two runs on five hits and a walk with six strikeouts in a 9-2 victory.
The biggest concern thus far with Lohse is the number of home runs he has allowed. He served up his fifth homer of the spring in the first inning to Luke Hughes. The one thing that Lohse has been able to do since coming to St. Louis from Minnesota is limit the number of home runs he has allowed. Last season in thirty starts he allowed sixteen home runs. So, hopefully the number he has given up in Spring Training is not an indication of things to come and has more to do with working on his mechanics or grip or something along those lines.
The Cardinals got on the board in the fourth inning on a two-run blast by Matt Holliday. They scored a run in the sixth on a Lance Berkman single which made the score 3-2. Shane Robinson hit a three-run homer in the seventh inning and Jon Jay supplied more power with a two-run shot in the eighth. The Cardinals pounded out twelve hits in all.
Mitchell Boggs, Fernando Salas and Cards’ closer Jason Motte each pitched scoreless innings for the Redbirds. Motte’s inning was significant for two reasons; one, it was the first clean inning he’s had this spring and two, it was the second of back-to-back appearances.
According to MLB.com reporter Anthony Castrovince, the Cardinals released Alex Cora and Koyie Hill yesterday. Cora was fighting for the utility infielder position and Hill was battling for the back-up catcher role. Eduardo Sanchez and Mark Hamilton were optioned to Triple-A Memphis and Matt Adams was reassigned to minor league camp. Sanchez is somewhat of a surprise, but leads me to believe that manager Mike Matheny has liked what he has seen from veteran Scott Linebrink, though nothing definitive was mentioned about him. Sanchez struck out 14 in 8 innings but also had 5 walks.
Jake Westbrook faces off against New York Mets‘ ace Johan Santana today. Westbrook has been especially sharp this spring. He has not allowed a run in twelve innings. He has a .146 BAA and 0.75 WHIP going into today’s start. At this point he’ll be left in to throw somewhere in the neighborhood of 80-90 pitches. He will have one more start after this one before the regualar season.
MY TWO CENTS
For what it’s worth, I really like what I see from Holliday so far this spring. He is swinging the bat very well and showing his power. Not that the power has been lacking since he arrived in St. Louis; he’s averaged 25 homers in his two full seasons, but I see a 30-35 home run season if he gets 650 plate appearances. It seems that he is taking his role as the third hitter in the lineup as a badge of honor. He is focused to prove that he shouldn’t have doubters among the fans. He spent two years in Albert Pujols shadow. Part of that is Pujols is simply a better hitter, he’s better than just about all hitters, and the other is that Albert was an iconic figure. Holliday is and has been a behind the scenes leader. He is not the type to march up and down the dugout floor screaming to rally his team. But, he is ever present as a force in the locker room according to his teammates. Maybe with Pujols gone Holliday will take on a more vocal presence on the field. Or maybe he’ll just let his bat do the talking. Leadership by example. It always worked for me.
Topics: Albert Pujols, Cardinals, Eduardo Sanchez, Fernando Salas, Jake Westbrook, Jason Motte, Johan Santana, Kyle Lohse, Lance Berkman, Mark Hamilton, Matt Adams, Matt Holliday, Mike Matheny, Minnesota Twins, Mitchell Boggs, New York Mets, Scott Linebrink, Shane Robinson, St Louis Cardinals