St. Louis Cardinals: 3/28 Items of Interest

Mar 12, 2016; Jupiter, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday (7) waits his turn to bat against the Houston Astros during the game at Roger Dean Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Astros 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 12, 2016; Jupiter, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday (7) waits his turn to bat against the Houston Astros during the game at Roger Dean Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Astros 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports /

Holliday homers, Martinez dazzles, bullpen shuts the door on the St. Louis Cardinals’ second win in their last 14 tries

With just six days until the St. Louis Cardinals open regular season play in Pittsburgh, the Cardinals have been ramping up their preparation efforts for the past week or so.

With starting lineups featuring mostly guys from the to-be 25 man roster, the results (at least win/loss wise) have been less than desirable.

Most notable was the five-error effort against the Nationals this past Saturday in a 7-0 loss. The Cardinals would strand 19 runners in that game, and they looked about as bad as they could have, considering the names that were in that lineup to start the game.

Two days later (today), the Cards rebounded with one of their best wins of the spring. The club enjoyed a 3-1, vintage Cardinal win against the defending NL Champion New York Mets earlier this afternoon down in Jupiter.

Carlos Martinez rolls through six innings, puts together back-to-back quality outings

It took Carlos Martinez all of 69 pitches to work six innings this afternoon against a largely major league quality Mets lineup. He would go on to allow a single earned run on three hits (no walks) while adding four strikeouts.

Martinez earned his first win of the spring. It was his second consecutive start in which he was very effective. Last Wednesday against the Marlins, Martinez worked five scoreless innings against the Marlins while striking out five.

He looked ready to go deep in each of the past two ballgames before handing the ball over to the Cardinal bullpen.

There had been talk about the Cardinals using a four-man rotation to start April with the slew of off-days, if Martinez needed a little extra time in working back from shoulder issues.

With the way he’s thrown the baseball his last two times out, though, I think the Cardinals are definitely going to want him throwing in one of those early season match ups.

Matt Holliday launches his first home run of the spring

With the ageless wonder Bartolo Colon on the hill, Matt Holliday launched his first home run of the spring off of the Marlins clubhouse beyond the left field wall in the bottom of the 1st.

The long ball was a good sign in Holliday’s bounce back efforts. Holliday sports a .290/.324/.452 slash line with three extra-base hits so far this spring.

Walden gets back on the bump after resting all weekend

There has been cause for concern around Jordan Walden the past couple of days. He was originally scheduled to throw on Friday of last week, before shoulder soreness sidelined him for the entire weekend.

Walden was able to get out on the mound this afternoon after three days of rest, and looked strong in his inning of work. He worked around two Mets hits by striking out two in the inning.

The plan was to have Walden throw on back-to-back days, originally Friday and Saturday.

With the shoulder soreness and the fact that Walden had to throw 24 pitches today, we will see if the Cardinals still want to try and go back-to-back with him tomorrow.

A lot will depend on how the shoulder responds.

His status for opening day was beginning to come into question. Hopefully the shoulder responds from today’s work load and Walden avoids any sort of major setback.

Bumps and bruises for Yadier Molina

Yadi was a late scratch from Monday’s line up, citing a foot contusion (bruise) as the reason. The Cardinals maintain that it is nothing more than a precautionary measure.

I’ll be the first one to admit that I was shocked to see Yadi in live game action as early as we did. I’ll admit that I’m surprised that we’ve seen him play as much as he has this spring, too.

I know that he’s a work horse and he wants to be ready for opening day, but he’s putting himself in a position to suffer little nagging injuries like this one with how hard he is insisting on going right now.

Getting a couple of extra at-bats or a few extra innings behind the dish does nothing for you if you pile a couple of little nagging injuries like this on top of an already extensive injury history.

He’ll probably be fine for opening day (at least he’ll be sure to tell us that he is), but I really thought that Mo, Matheny and the Cardinals were going to reign him in this spring.

Instead, it looks like they went more in the direction of letting him run wild.

Farewell, Jose Oquendo?

Could Jose Oquendo’s time coaching third base for the St. Louis Cardinals be over? He sure did hint at that possibility with Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch.

Next: Josh Brown's opening day lineup

Whatever Jose decides, I wish him nothing but the best. It has been really easy to take his presence for granted over the past decade and a half, and it will be interesting to see how the club responds with Chris Maloney handling coaching duties at third.