Rants Daily: Holliday and Komatsu pace Cardinals
The St. Louis Cardinals won their third straight Grapefruit League game yesterday 6-1 over the Houston Astros in Kissimmee, Fla. Matt Holliday and Erik Komatsu each had RBI triples helping Kyle Lohse earn the victory.
Lohse tip-toed around 69 pitches, throwing only 34 for strikes. Despite the erratic display, he only surrendered one run on three hits and a walk. He struck out one batter. As of right now, Lohse and Jaime Garcia are treading dangerous waters with poor pitch location. Unlike Garcia, Lohse was able to work around his inefficiency.
The Cardinals opened the scoring quickly in the top half of the first off Astros righty Jordan Lyles. Daniel Descalso led off the game with a line drive straight into the mid-section of Lyles. Komatsu singled moving Descalso to second. Then Holliday tripled to score two runs. He came around to score on a sacrifice fly by Lance Berkman. Just like that the Cardinals had a 3-run lead. Lyles settled down over the next three innings throwing a total of 24 pitches in the span.
In the fifth the Cardinals got to Lyles for one more run. Komatsu delivered triple of his own which plated Alex Cora who had singled earlier in the inning. This put the Cardinals up 4-0. In the bottom half of the inning Lohse finally allowed a run on a solo shot from Astros third baseman Chris Johnson.
Komatsu ended the game 3-for-5 raising his spring average to .292. He is trying to secure a spot on the 25-man roster. With Skip Schumaker set to start the season on the DL, Komatsu has a better chance of making the team. Komatsu was selected in the Rule 5 draft, so if he is not kept on the 25-man roster he will be sent back to the Washington Nationals. Komatsu is able to play all three outfield positions and has above average speed. He has swiped a team-leading 5 bags this spring.
J.C. Romero worked around a Tyler Greene error to pitch a scoreless sixth inning and Eduardo Sanchez kept his spring ERA at 0.00 pitching a run free eighth.
CARDS CUT SEVEN PLAYERS
And then there were 37. Per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, that’s the number of players left in major league camp after seven players including Adam Ottavino, Chuckie Fick and Sam Freeman who were optioned to Triple-A Memphis. Ryan Jackson was among the other four players who were reassigned to minor league camp.
CRAIG HITLESS IN MINOR LEAGUE GAME
Allen Craig took the next step in his return, taking part in a minor league game yesterday. He was hitless in four at-bats with two strikeouts, a fly out and a ground out. He did not play in the field. Craig was happy to be able to hit and run without issue. According to Goold, Craig stated:
"“Facing competition, seeing some pitches, it was a lot of fun. I saw the ball pretty well. Obviously, I’ve got some things to work on with my at-bats. But, as far my knee goes, it felt great.”"
Jake Westbrook makes his fourth start today. He has allowed only one run in nine innings thus far in Spring Training. Westbrook has been throwing ground balls like a machine. If he is able to continue to do that today, he should be able to reach the 70 pitch mark. He’ll have two more starts before the regular season.
- The Redbirds will play eight of their last nine spring games at Roger Dean Stadium.
- Chris Carpenter is scheduled to throw batting practice today.
- Lohse has reverted back to a ‘normal’ curveball after trying out a ‘spike’ curve earlier in the spring.
*UPDATED* 9:27 AM
Joe Strauss of the Post-Dispatch is reporting that Chris Carpenter was sent back to St. Louis for further examination on his neck. It was referenced earlier that he would pitch batting practice today. That is obviously not going to happen now. Bulging disks are tricky and the Cardinals were happy that this was the diagnosis instead of a nerve issue. Carpenter either got back into the fold too quickly or there is something more going on here. This pretty much removes Carpenter from making the opening day start. Strauss mentions that Lohse lines up on regular rest, but nothing has been established by manager Mike Matheny.
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