Postcard from Cardinals camp for Sunday March 24

Postcard from Cardinals camp for Sunday March 24

Weather: 78 degrees, partly cloudy

Result: Cardinals 2, Marlins 1

JUPITER, Fla. – On the final day of spring training on Sunday the Cardinals were able for the first time to field a lineup with the eight position players they expect to use in Thursday’s regular-season opener in Milwaukee.

It was about a week later than planned because of tightness in Matt Carpenter’s back which kept him out of the lineup as a precautionary measure. He got one at-bat on Sunday before heading to the back fields to pick up more at-bats in minor-league games.

The lineup featured Paul Goldschmidt batting second, Paul DeJong third and Dexter Fowler in the sixth spot, the same positions where they likely will bat on Thursday.

Goldschmidt showed he is ready for the season to start by hitting his third homer of the spring in his first at-bat.

The game was tied 1-1 in the ninth when the minor league rule of starting the 10th inning with a runner on second base was used. The Cardinals stranded the Marlins runner on third in the top of the ninth, then got a walk-off win on a two-out single by Evan Mendoza in the bottom of the inning.

Here is how the game broke down:

High: Jack Flaherty had his final start before pitching the second game of the regular season and worked four scoreless innings, allowing just one hit.

Low: Seeing major-league teams start the ninth inning with a runner on second base, even if it did result in a win rather than having the game end in a tie.

At the plate: The Cardinals had just three hits in the game, the home run by Goldschmidt, the game-winning single by Mendoza and a double by Yadier Molina … Their only other baserunner, until the fake runner on second in the ninth, came when Molina reached on an error as they failed to draw a walk in the game … Other than Carpenter, who left after striking out in his first at-bat, all of the other regulars came out after two at-bats.

On the mound: Flaherty struck out three and did not walk a batter as he finished the spring with a 2.12 ERA … He was the only major-league pitcher to appear in the game although Tyler Webb, in the battle for the final bullpen spot until the end, did work two scoreless innings.

Off the field: The Cardinals have unofficially set their opening-day roster, with Jedd Gyorko all but certain to begin the year on the injured list. He will stay in Florida this week to get extra at-bats in minor-league games after missing much of the spring because of a calf injury … The injury will allow the Cardinals to keep both Yairo Munoz and Drew Robinson, who will join Tyler O’Neill, Jose Martinez and Matt Wieters as the five bench players … John Brebbia was told he will be on the roster, meaning the Cardinals will have only one left-hander, Andrew Miller, among their 12 pitchers. The other relievers will be Jordan Hicks, Alex Reyes, John Gant, Dominic Leone and Mike Mayers … The order of the rotation to start the season will be Miles Mikolas, Flaherty, Dakota Hudson, Michael Wacha and Adam Wainwright … Carlos Martinez, Brett Cecil and Luke Gregerson also will begin the year on the injured list.

Up next: The Cardinals will stop on their way to Milwaukee to play an exhibition game against their Triple A team Monday night in Memphis. Both Wainwright and Wacha are scheduled to start for the two sides.

From earlier this week:

Postcard from Cardinals camp for Saturday March 23

Weather: 77 degrees, sunny

Result: Cardinals 4, Nationals 4 (tie, game called after nine innings)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – The three-way battle to land the final spot on the Cardinals’ bench to start the regular season was on full display Saturday against the Nationals.

All three players – Drew Robinson, Yairo Munoz and Tommy Edman – were in the starting lineup. Robinson started at shortstop before moving to center field; Munoz started in center before switching positions with Robinson and Edman played the complete game at second base.

Nothing really happened to change the status of the three players. Robinson was 0-of-5, although a scoring decision to charge an error cost him would likely should have been a leadoff triple against Stephen Strasburg. He also struck out three times.

Munoz had a single in four at-bats, while Edman was 0-of-3 with a walk, striking out twice.

It is likely the decision about who makes the roster will not be made until after the Cardinals play in Memphis on Monday night, and perhaps even later. If Jedd Gyorko has to begin the season on the injured list, which is a possibility, then two of the three could make the team to start the season.

Here is how the game broke down:

High: Miles Mikolas was better with the bat than he was on the mound, hitting a two-run homer. Research found it was the first home run hit in spring training by a Cardinals pitcher since Jason Marquis hit one in 2006.

Low: In his final tune-up before his start on opening day in Milwaukee, Mikolas allowed four runs on six hits, including two home runs, and two walks over three innings. He finished the spring with a 6.23 ERA.

At the plate: Tyler O’Neill had the best day for the Cardinals offense, going 4-of-5 with a double and three singles, driving in one run … The only other player with multiple hits was Max Schrock, brought over from the minor-league camp, who had two hits and an RBI … Dexter Fowler was 0-of-4 and struck out three times. As a team the Cardinals struck out 14 times,  nine of them coming in 5 2/3 innings against Srasburg.

On the mound: Dakota Hudson followed Mikolas to the mound and worked six scoreless innings, allowing just three hits, as he finished an outstanding spring. He posted a 1.25 ERA for the spring as he won the open spot in the starting rotation to begin the season. Hudson walked two and struck out three and finished the spring allowing just one run over his last 18 innings.

Off the field: The Cardinals officially announced the five-year contract extension for first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, locking him up through the 2024 season … The team has not made another move official, but the Post-Dispatch reported Saturday that Jim Edmonds will join the team’s front office as a special assistant to John Mozeliak, the president of baseball operations. It is a title shared by many other former Cardinals. Edmonds will still continue to work as a game analyst for Fox Sports Midwest broadcasts.

Up next: The Cardinals play the Marlins on Sunday in their final game before leaving Florida. Jack Flaherty will get the start in his final tune-up before pitching the second game of the season in Milwaukee and then the home opener on April 4 against the Padres.

Postcard from Cardinals camp for Friday March 22

Weather: 70 degrees, sunny

Result: Cardinals 15, Mets 5

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. – The ink on his contract extension was not even dry before Paul Goldschmidt showed again on Friday why the Cardinals wanted to lock him up to a long-term deal.

After taking a physical exam, the final requirement to the extension, Goldschmidt made the 30-minute trip from Jupiter and was in the lineup against the Mets – and promptly delivered three more hits, including his second home run of the spring.

Goldschmidt doubled in the first, homered in the third and tripled in the sixth, the beneficiary of a favorable scoring decision, as the Cardinals had their second big offensive day in a row after struggling offensively for most of the spring.

The Cardinals are expected to formally announce on Saturday that Goldschmidt has agreed to a five-year extension, beginning in 2020, worth a reported $130 million. The deal will be the largest both in terms of the total dollar amount and annual salary in team history.

Here is how the game broke down:

High: With four more hits, and three RBIs, Tommy Edman raised his spring average to .375 and is making certain there is another name in the conversation about who will win the last spot on the bench to begin the regular season.

Low: After not allowing a run so far this spring, Dominic Leone gave up four hits and walked a batter in 1 1/3 innings, allowing one run.

At the plate: The Cardinals pounded out 21 hits. Marcell Ozuna homered for the second game in a row and Yadier Molina had two hits and three RBIs … Regulars Harrison Bader, Paul DeJong and Kolten Wong also had two hits each … Eleven of their 21 hits went for extra-bases after they had nine extra-base hits among their 14 hits on Thursday against the Yankees … The Cardinals scored six runs in the final two innings, capped by a two-run double by Andrew Knizner.

On the mound: John Gant, who lost the race for the open spot in the starting rotation to Dakota Hudson, pitched into the sixth inning in the start before he moves to the bullpen. He gave up a leadoff homer, but then allowed only two more runs before coming out of the game … The Cardinals got scoreless innings from Mike Mayers and Alex Reyes, who worked a 1-2-3 ninth. Both Mayers and Reyes have been told they will be in the bullpen when the regular season begins next week.

Off the field: The Cardinals began to finalize their opening-day roster by announcing that Matt Wieters had won the backup catcher spot. To open a spot on the 40-man roster, left-hander Chasen Shreve, who struggled this spring, was designated for assignment because he is out of options. Francisco Pena has not decided whether he will accept an assignment to Memphis or pursue opportunities with other organizations … The Cardinals still have to make decisions on the final relievers in the bullpen and the last bench spot, a battle that includes Yairo Munoz and Drew Robinson.

Up next: Miles Mikolas will get his final tuneup before the regular-season opener on Saturday when he starts against the Nationals in West Palm Beach in the next to last game of the spring.

From earlier this week:

Postcard from Cardinals camp for Thursday March 21

Weather: 73 degrees, partly cloudy

Results: Cardinals 11, Yankees 3

Nationals 7, Cardinals 1

JUPITER, Fla. – The Cardinals’ projected starting outfield of Marcell Ozuna, Harrison Bader and Dexter Fowler combined had just two extra base hist this spring, both doubles, in the team’s 26 games prior to Thursday.

With only a few days left before leaving Florida, that trio might be starting to heat up.

Fowler hit two homers, Ozuna had three hits including a homer and Bader added two hits and an RBI in the win over the Yankees on Thursday in the day portion of the Cardinals’ split-squad day-night doubleheader.

The trip combined to go 7-of-11 with six RBIs.

For the evening game, the Cardinals fielded a lineup mostly of prospects and the Nationals broke the game open with four runs in the seventh inning.

Here is how the games broke down:

High: Drew Robinson, fighting to make the team as a backup infielder, had three hits. drove in four runs and had two stolen bases in the game against the Yankees.

Low: For the third time this spring, Andrew Miller failed to complete an inning as he walked a batter and hit two more before leaving with the bases loaded after pitching 2/3 of an inning.

At the plate: The Cardinals had 14 hits against the Yankees with all of the starters except Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Gorman, who served as the DH, contributing to the attack. Nine of the hits went for extra-bases … Gorman struck out three times and reached on a walk … Ozuna had two doubles to go along with his home run … In the night game, Dylan Carlson had two hits and the only RBI … Tommy Edman also had two hits, including a double … Matt Wieters, battling for the backup catcher spot, was 0-of-2, dropping his spring average to .125 … They were just 1-of-11 with runners in scoring position.

On the mound: The Cardinals brought Jake Woodford back from the minor-league camp to start against the Yankees and he worked four innings, giving up all three runs. He walked two and struck out one … John Brebbia took over for Miller with the bases loaded and got an inning-ending strikeout before pitching a scoreless eighth … Jordan Hicks worked the ninth, getting a game-ending double play … In the night game Chasen Shreve gave up a two-run homer to Brian Dozier … Tyler Webb worked a scoreless inning.

Off the field: There were multiple media reports on Thursday that the Cardinals were close to finalizing a five-year contract extension with Goldschmidt. The deal reportedly will be worth abour $130 million, which would be the largest total contract and the largest in annual value in franchise history. Goldschmidt is eligible to be a free agent after this season … Manager Mike Shildt formally named Dakota Hudson as the team’s fifth starter when the regular season begins.

Up next: The Cardinals have three games left in Florida. They play the Mets on Friday in Port St. Lucie.

Postcard from Cardinals camp for Wednesday March 20

Weather: 75 degrees, overcast

Result: Marlins 6, Cardinals 0

JUPITER, Fla. – It was another disappointing day for the Cardinals offense on Wednesday as they were held to just three hits and were shutout by the Marlins.

The game came just three days after the Marlins carried a no-hitter into the ninth inning against the Cardinals on Sunday. The Cardinals finished that game with just two hits, although they did score two runs in the ninth.

Drew Robinson had two of the hits on Wednesday, including a double, while Dexter Fowler had the only other hit.

The Cardinals rank last in the majors this spring in runs and batting average.

Here is how the game broke down:

High: Mike Mayers pitched two scoreless innings, striking out four.

Low: Tyler O’Neill was 0-of-3 and struck out twice, lowering his spring average to .180. He has struck out 17 times in 50 at-bats.

At the plate: The three hits represented the Cardinals’ total number of baserunners in the game as they failed to draw a walk and Miami did not commit an error … The Cardinals were 0-of-5 with runners in scoring position … The Cardinals have scored 89 runs in 26 games while positing a combined .225 batting average.

On the mound: After keeping the Marlins scoreless in the first three innings, Daniel Ponce de Leon could not get through the fourth, when he gave up five runs … In addition to Mayers, Dominic Leone, Alex Reyes and Tyler Webb all turned in a scoreless inning of relief … Leone has not allowed a run in seven innings this spring.

Off the field: Pitchers Austin Gomber and Ponce de Leon were optioned to Memphis, where they will begin the season in the Triple A team’s starting rotation … Adam Wainwright and Michael Wacha got their work in on a back field on Wednesday. It was announced that they will be the opposing starters for Monday night’s exhibition game between the Cardinals and their Triple A team in Memphis.

Up next: Jake Woodford, one of the organization’s rising pitching prospects, will be brought back over from the minor league camp to get the start in Thursday’s game against the Yankees. The Cardinals have four games left before leaving Florida.

Postcard from Cardinals camp for Monday March 18

Weather: 75 degrees, cloudy

Result: Cardinals 4, Phillies1

JUPITER, Fla. – Dakota Hudson certainly appears to have won the open spot in the Cardinals’ starting rotation.

He turned in another scoreless outing on Monday, allowing just four hits in five innings against the Phillies while striking out eight. Four of his strikeouts came with a runner on third base.

In his three starts this spring, Hudson has allowed only one run in 12 innings while striking out 14. Including his first two spring appearances, as a reliever, Hudson has a 1.72 ERA.

The Cardinals have only said the competition to replace Carlos Martinez in the rotation to open the season is down to Hudson and John Gant, who has one more start scheduled this spring, on Friday.

Here is how the game broke down:

High: Paul Goldschmidt hit his first home run for the Cardinals, a two-run shot in the fifth inning.

Low: Four players who were in Monday’s lineup and expected to be in the regular lineup this season – Paul DeJong, Marcell Ozuna, Yadier Molina and Harrison Bader – all have averages under .190 for the spring.

At the plate: Tyler O’Neill also homered for the Cardinals, his fifth of the spring, a solo shot in the second inning … Both DeJong and Ozuna were 2-of-4, with DeJong recording the other RBI … Ozuna had just three hits for the spring coming into Monday’s game.

On the mound: Hudson allowed four hits and walked one, keeping the Phillies hitless in six at-bats with a runner in scoring position … Alex Reyes struck out the first two hitters he faced in a scoreless inning … The only run allowed by the Cardinals came against Jordan Hicks in the ninth … Chasen Shreve was able to pitch around two walks in his scoreless inning and John Brebbia also turned in a scoreless inning.

Off the field: The Cardinals said Brett Cecil will open the season on the injured list because of “arm issues.” … Manager Mike Shildt also said Jedd Gyorko’s spot on the opening-day roster is “in jeopardy” because of his slow recovery from a calf injury. He is expected to remain in Florida next week  … Both Jack Flaherty and Miles Mikolas pitched six innings in minor-league games on Monday … Former Cardinal Mitch Harris visited camp on Monday. He is now a financial planner in the Atlanta area.

Up next: The Cardinals have their second day off of the spring on Tuesday, then play five more games beginning Wednesday before breaking camp and heading north to prepare to open the regular season.

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