I could have slept in. The Cardinal offense sure seemed to yesterday.
With the games on the Jupiter schedule dwindling, more and more importance is placed on the results that get generated. Not that they mean more–after all, until a week from today the games are made up and the stats don’t matter–but you see the starters more against the other team’s starters. As fans, we’d like to see a ramp up until they hit the ground running on Opening Day.
In that regard, maybe putting up yet another goose egg just gives the Cardinals a baseline to improve on. I know Mike Shildt isn’t worried about it and I appreciate that, especially since he says he’s not ignoring it either. I think there’s some lingering issues about offensive outputs in the past that make people worried that we’re going to have some of the same this year. Especially when you run out close to your Opening Day lineup, you’d like to see some runs. You might not win the game, especially since your starter was demoted after the game, something that was always going to happen, but putting up three or four runs against the Marlins would have been nice to see. Instead, Dexter Fowler had one hit and Drew Robinson, whose position on this team we’ve noted probably depends on the health of Jedd Gyorko‘s calf, had the other two. That’s not great.
As for Daniel Ponce de Leon, I got to see a little bit of his fourth inning, where he allowed five runs and didn’t finish the frame. It seemed like every hit that I saw went right back up the middle. Which, given Ponce de Leon’s history, is a little frightening, but also to me an indication that he wasn’t really fooling anyone. He’ll get more time at Memphis and hopefully get into a routine that will have him ready for a callup should there be a need, either in the bullpen or the rotation.
Tomorrow is the deadline for Matt Wieters‘s to be able to opt out of his contract. He’s not been great with the bat yet and in the limited time I watched yesterday I saw him after to chase after a couple of pitches, though I think at least the one from Ponce de Leon he really had no chance on. I still think the Cardinals are going to go with him, especially since nobody else in camp is just dominating. Francisco Pena is doing better (5-14) but I don’t think anyone believes he can keep that up in the majors, not after what we saw last year. I don’t think Wieters will opt out–nothing on the market has really changed since he signed saying the Cardinals’ offer was the only one–but it is something to keep an eye on.
As noted above, Gyorko is still dealing with that calf injury. The idea was that he’d hopefully be healthy enough to play in minor league games this weekend, but now the earliest date seems to be Sunday. I don’t know if he can stay behind and work during the two off days between the Memphis game and the start of the season and maybe get ready, but overall this just seems like a situation where there’s no particular need to rush things. Odds are if you do, he’s just going to wind up hurting it again and then you’ll miss him for a longer period of time when it actually counts.
Cardinals will split the party today in hopes that one of them will find the elusive offense. Jake Woodford will get his final start of the spring against the Yankees before being sent out after the game, most likely. On the road, Chris Beck, wearing that #70, will get the start against the Nationals, a team the Cardinals have actually had success against recently. Both of their wins last week came against the Nats.
Two more days of Playing Pepper! Today we’ll look at the Royals and the Pirates, so be sure to come back for those!