The St. Louis Cardinals opened spring training competitions officially today, March 3 by facing their facility-sharing partners, the Miami Marlins.
Typical fishing gear, as I understand it, includes a rod and reel. On March 3 (today by the way), the St. Louis Cardinals entered their first official spring training game without either of these fishing staples. In their place, however, the Cardinals came equipped with baseball bats. While smacking water with a bat may not produce a day’s take of catch, in America’s past-time, a bat is king.
In the shared facility is it fair to call anyone a “visitor?” That said, the Marlins were today’s visitors and marched out Tom Koehler as their starting pitcher. Koehler pitched in 187.1 innings in 2015 accounting for a 4.08 ERA. He lasted 1.2 innings in today’s contest surrendering three hits, three runs (2 earned), walked one, and struck-out two. The earned runs killed him and spelled a 10.80 ERA from this game.
The St. Louis Cardinals sent Tyler Lyons to the mound. Lyons is currently fighting to either serve as a starter or a long reliever for the staff in 2016. I like him and hope he finds a place in the pen for the Cards. Today, he appeared in three innings surrendering three hits, one run (1 earned, a home run), no walks, no strikeouts, which accounted for a 3.00 ERA from today’s game. Solid stuff.
Other Notable Pitchers
In addition to the interest surrounding Lyons, the Cardinals sent Jonathan Broxton, Trevor Rosenthal, and Dean Kiekhefer. Broxton, returning to the Cardinals much to the chagrine of many who follow the Cardinals, covered one inning and surrendered only one hit.
Rosey was used to give him some work but not to save. He surrendered one hit, one walk (something that troubled him in 2015), and two strikeouts. Rosenthal pitched for one inning and gave up no runs. Kiekhefer recorded the save in this event and struck out one batter in the process across one inning.
The Cardinals submitted the following starting lineup to face Miami:
Tommy Pham– CF
Matt Carpenter– 3B
Jhonny Peralta– SS
Matt Adams– 1B
Jedd Gyorko– 2B
Brandon Moss– LF
Carlos Peguero– RF
Brayan Pena– C
Stephen Piscotty– DH
I had the joy of listening to this, our first real game of spring and boy what a joy it was. Nothing is better than the smooth sounds of Mike Shannon announcing and mispronouncing names. For those who might have missed the game, the following will capture the scoring events of the game.
In the top of the first with one out, the Marlins’ Marcell Ozuna blasted a 1-RBI-home run on a 2-2 count against Lyons. Score: 1-0, Marlins.
Worry not, Cardinals fans, for in the bottom of the first, with no outs facing the Marlins’ hurler, Koehler, Tommy Pham smacked a triple to right field. On the throw in, Dee Gordon committed an error which allowed Pham to score. Score: 1-1.
In the bottom of the second, Brandon Moss on the bases, Carlos Peguero (a projected starter for Memphis) doubled on a 2-1 count against Koehler scoring Moss. Zero out.
A little later, after one out, Stephen Piscotty managed to ground-out. This would usually be a bad thing, but the aggressive Peguero who was on third, broke immediately for the plate and was able to throw thanks to his speed. The inning was wrapped with the two scored runs for the Cardinals. Score: 3-1, Cardinals.
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After several silent innings of solid Cardinals pitching (read: Broxton and Rosenthal), the Marlins started to pull their offense together in the top of the sixth. Facing Jeremy Hefner (to appear in the pen in Memphis) with no outs and a 3-1 count, Justin Maxwell smacked a home run cutting the Marlins’ deficit to 3-2.
Later in the same inning, Kenny Wilson joined the fun and contributed an RBI single. In this play, the Cardinals’ David Washington (bound for Springfield and then maybe Memphis) committed a missed catch error at first. Score: 3-3 at the end of the inning.
With David Washington at the plate wishing to make amends for his failure to catch the ball in the sixth, a wild pitch in the bottom of the seventh committed by Chris Narveson allowed Charlie Tilson to score and Aledmys Diaz to move to second. Nothing more was doing in the inning but this did allow the Cardinals to break the tie. Score: 4-3, Cardinals.
With the lead intact, the Cardinals turned the game over to Dean Kiekhefer to close. A ground out, strikeout, and pop out was all it took to close things down. The win was awarded to Jeremy Hefner (was awarded a blown save as well).
Is it bad to just express my joy that games have finally returned? Did we learn anything from this game? Does it really even matter?
All joking aside, it was really good that players like Pham showed some power and speed. Adding to this, players such as Peralta, A. Diaz, Moss, Harrison Bader (Springfield-bound), and Pena left today’s game with .500 AVG. Even better, Carlos Peguero went 2-for-3! I have praised this guy and will continue to do so all season long.
It is really tough to make judgement calls from such a small sample size of the first game of spring but having excitement after a long winter of “the great and wonderful cubs” will help any Cardinals fan dive into this season. I, for one, cannot wait for more and more games and for more and more opportunities to learn about the players who wear the birds on the bat!
Oh, and apparently you may not catch many fish with baseball bats, but you certainly can beat them. See what I did there? Follow me on Twitter and tell me how pitiful this line is!