Carlos Beltran unleashed a bomb in support of Lance Lynn which temporarily gave the St. Louis Cardinals the lead against the Miami Marlins in the fourth inning of yesterday’s game at Roger Dean Stadium. But two innings later, an Erik Komatsu error led to the tie-breaking run and an eventual 3-1 Redbirds’ loss.
Lynn was good in his fourth start since being named to replace Chris Carpenter. He went five innings throwing 34 of 54 pitches for strikes. He induced three double-play grounders enabling him to get out of three straight innings. His run was off a home run from pinch-hitter Daniel Pertusati with two outs in the fifth inning. Lynn allowed a total of six hits and one walk, with three strike outs. Lynn’s spring ERA stands at 2.61.
Beltran’s second home run of the spring came off of Marlins’ starter Anibal Sanchez, who also allowed only one run in five innings of work. Beltran also singled accounting for half of the Cardinals’ hits.
Kyle McClellan came into the tied game in the sixth inning. Chris Coghlan singled to lead off the inning. The next batter, Hanley Ramirez singled to left field. Komatsu misplayed the ball which allowed Coghlan to score and give the Marlins the lead. The Fish tacked on an insurance run off Scott Linebrink in the eighth.
LINEBRINK MAKES TEAM
According to MLB.com reporter Jenifer Langosch, the Cardinals announced prior to yesterday’s game that Scott Linebrink was added to the 40-man roster, which signals he will break camp with the club. Linebrink was added to the non-roster invitee list very close to the beginning of spring training. The veteran right-hander has been a very successful reliever in his 12 years and over 600 appearances. Through yesterday’s game, he has allowed 2 earned runs in 10.2 innings.
MATHENY LOOKING FOR NEW LEADOFF MAN?
Manager Mike Matheny is unhappy with the results he is seeing from Rafael Furcal as told by Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He feels that something is just not right and to that cause, Matheny will begin working Tyler Greene and Daniel Descalso into the leadoff spot and moved Furcal all the way down to the eighth spot in the lineup. Matheny is not stripping Furcal of the role he is being paid $14 million over the next two seasons to perform, but can’t let him figure it out in the leadoff spot, so the auditions began in yesterday’s game with Descalso atop the Cards lineup. He didn’t fare much better than Furcal did in the eighth spot, each going hitless in 4 and 3 at-bats respectively.
Kyle Lohse will face the New York Mets today in his last start before the regular season begins for the Redbirds in April 4. Loshe is coming off a good outing and hopes to get his pitch count into the 100 zone.
MY TWO CENTS
For what it’s worth, this Rafael Furcal issue should not really shock anyone. When he initially signed with the team, I wasn’t surprised they went after Furcal (the market for shortstops was thin) as much as I was shocked they gave him as much as they did and a second year to boot. While Furcal was better in his two month stint with the Redbirds in the regular season after being traded from the Los Angeles Dodgers, he was abysmal in the postseason. Winning blurs the lines.
The man has dealt with numerous injuries over the last couple years and it seems they may have completely taken their toll on him. It is only spring training, so he could find his swing soon, but as I noted above the Cardinals cannot afford to wait around for him to do so. Whether it is him or someone else, the Cardinals need their leadoff man on base as often as possible.
For Furcal it is not just hitting, but he doesn’t and never did draw walks. He has just 2 walks in 49 plate appearances this spring. He benefited from high BABIP rates and the ability to beat out grounders and reach on bunt hits when he was younger and faster. In his prime he had as many as 33 infield hits in a season. Last year he had 10. This is not the same player who ignited the Dodger offense at one time. It’s too bad the Cardinals are so fully invested in him.