Starting Spring Strong

The last time we saw Tyler Lyons on a major league mound, he was finishing up seven scoreless innings against the Pirates, clinching the National League Central.  The stakes may have changed, but the results really didn’t.

The Patron Pitcher allowed just a solo home run to Marcell Ozuna (who also hit a double against him the next time up) and was so effective, he went three innings instead of the expected two.  The confidence from that end of the season run can only help him continue to get ready for this season.  We all know that I’m rooting for the Ty Fighter and I look forward to seeing how he’s used this year.  It would really seem to be a waste to treat him as a LOOGY.

Cards took the opener of the Grapefruit season 4-3, with Tommy Pham leading it off with a triple and Carlos Peguero helping erase that “last in camp” stigma with a couple of hits and an RBI.  Trevor Rosenthal pitched in the middle innings and made it exciting, allowing a hit and a walk, but he struck out two batters and escaped unscathed.  All in all, it was a pretty good start to the season and it got a lot of the starters out there, even if it was just for an at-bat or two.

In the early returns for the first base job, Matt Adams went 0-2 while Brandon Moss went 1-2 with a double and a run scored.  Obviously it’s very early, but I feel like Moss probably comes into this camp with a bit of an edge on Adams anyway.  Adams needs to have fewer days like this going forward.  If nothing else, with Moss being able to play the outfield it’s likely both of them will be in there about every day and so we should really be able to get a fair comparison of how the spring is going.  Of course, you may remember what the results of spring competitions have been worth in the past…..

Apparently it was a good day for Aledmys Diaz, who needs to get good enough to get regular playing time so I can figure out how to spell his name without looking it up.  (I got Rzepczynski faster than this!)  Diaz was part of the winning rally and made a nice play in the field.  I expect they’ll send him to Memphis at the end of camp, letting him get regular starts there and continue to develop, but if the latter part of 2015 and this keeps up, we’ll see him in St. Louis at some point this season.  What’s going to be fascinating is if he plays well enough to force a conversation on moving Jhonny Peralta next season.  That’s a long way off, though.

Speaking of Cuban players, the Cardinals apparently have a handshake agreement with Jonatan Machado, a 16-year-old outfielder from the island.  (16! I have clothes older than that!)  Given all the rules around signing money pools for international players, it sounds like Machado won’t sign until this summer, but he’s an intriguing talent.  Will he develop into a major leaguer?  That’s hard to say, obviously, and he’s got a long road ahead of him even if he does.  Still, it’s very good to see St. Louis feeling confident enough in their evaluations that they can now get into the foreign markets and add to the streams of talent they can tap into.

Matt Bowman, the Rule 5 selection taken from the Mets this offseason, got his head between a ball and wherever the ball was headed, resulting in some blurry vision and an evaluation by doctors, who said for him to take a couple of days off.  While one of the loopholes usually exploited in Rule 5 cases is finding an injury and leaving them on the DL all year, this seems a bit extreme.  Hopefully he’ll be back out there early next week with no ill effects.

Approval rating time.  Today’s player is Carlos Martinez, who came into his own last season.  This is actually Martinez’s first year on the ballot, but he’s making a great debut, winding up at 85.4%.  Given the way people have been voting this season, that’s a rousing endorsement, one that’s quite well deserved.  Our media subject is Jenifer Langosch, beat writer for MLB.com.  Langosch is starting her fifth season on the beat and seems to be very comfortable on it.  She gets a 74.9% mark this season, down a little bit from her usual 78-79 range, but still a very fine mark.  Finally, we wrap it with the radio home of the Cardinals, KMOX.  That long-standing Cardinal institution is also making its debut on the ratings and starts it off with a 76.6% mark.  KMOX seems to do a great job covering the Cardinals and realizes just what the team means to the community.

Jaime Garcia, the only member of the starting rotation to get into a game in the early going, takes the mound this afternoon against the Astros.  You can watch it on MLB.tv (I believe the Astros are broadcasting it) and listen to the online group broadcast it at cardinals.com.  Enjoy your Friday!

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