Jaime Garcia is officially the Cardinals fifth starter heading into the 2010 season. The lefty earned the job behind an impressive spring that showed a knack for the strikeout and keeping the opponent off the board. Both key qualities to have as a starting pitcher. He continued his success today to help the Cards beat the Twins 5-3. He went six-strong giving up two runs and scattering eight hits to solidify his spot in the St. Louis rotation. Garcia kept the ball on the ground and threw strikes as he has all spring.
His competitor for the fifth spot, Kyle McClellan, pitched two shutout innings in relief. His performance was highlighted by four strikeouts. McClellan could be a good option for the setup role that still needs to be filled. He has been good all spring and would certainly be worth a look as the bridge to Ryan Franklin. McClellan got the job done today, sending the Redbirds into the ninth with a 3-2 lead.
Franklin blew the save, but got the win after Daniel Descalso’s walk-off home run in the bottom half. Albert Pujols and Ryan Ludwick both hit homers again today. With the big bats starting to click and the rotation finally set, the Cardinals have to be pleased with its final week of the spring.
Now, if the bullpen can figure things out before next Monday, they’ll be golden. Maybe Mr. McClellan can help.
*Note: St. Louis will see the Twins after its spring game Thursday in a two-game warmup at Minnesota’s brand new outdoor stadium, Target Field. The two teams will play Friday and Saturday. After that the Redbirds fly over to Cincinnati for Opening Day.