Postcard from Cardinals camp for Wednesday, March 11

Postcard from Cardinals camp for Wednesday, March 11

Weather: 79 degrees, partly cloudy

Result: Mets 7, Cardinals 3

The good news for the Cardinals on Wednesday was that Matt Carpenter hit a home run.

The bad news was that until the eighth inning that was their only hit in their loss to the Mets in Port St. Lucie.

Carpenter’s homer in the fourth inning was his second of the spring and was the Cardinals only baserunner off Jacob deGrom in his four innings of work.

Carpenter also drew a walk in his three plate appearances as he raised his spring average to .235.

Here is how Wednesday’s game broke down:

High: Kodi Whitley continued his strong spring as the non-roster reliever extended his streak to six innings without allowing a run.

Low: The oft-injured Brett Cecil had to leave the game with a hamstring injury. He was hurt as he ran to cover first base on a ground ball. He will undergo more tests on Thursday.

At the plate: The second hit for the Cardinals was a home run by Lane Thomas, his third of the spring, in the eighth … Thomas also drew a pair of walks … Dexter Fowler was hitless in four at-bats, striking out twice, as his spring average fell to .069 … John Nogowski drove in the final run with a ninth-inning single … The Cardinals only other hits were a double by Edmundo Sosa and single by Evan Mendoza in the eighth, when they loaded the bases but failed to score.

On the mound: Carlos Martinez had his worst start of the spring, allowing six runs on six hits in 3 2/3 innings. He did strike out six … Cecil struck out the first batter he faced before he had to leave the game because of the injury … The other Mets run came off Ryan Helsley, who allowed four hits in his one inning of work.

Off the field: Andrew Miller had an “encouraging” day on Wednesday as he threw a bullpen session that left him more optimistic about his recovery from not being able to get a good grip on the baseball. “I was happy how the ball felt,” said Miller, who has gone through numerous tests in the last couple of days which have ruled out a lot of potential reasons for that lack of feeling in his right fingers. Miller has pitched only one inning this spring, on Feb. 28, and was unable to pitch after warming up for his scheduled second appearance. Miller said the team has come up with a plan and program that appears to be working but his status for being ready to pitch by the regular-season opener remains in question … Paul Goldschmidt was out of the lineup for the third consecutive game and likely will miss a couple of more days because of soreness in his right elbow. He underwent an MRI on Monday which did not reveal any ligament damage. “I think I could play today but we are trying to be careful,” Goldschmidt said.

Up next: The Cardinals play their first game in Jupiter since Sunday on Thursday, taking on the Marlins. Adam Wainwright is the scheduled starter.

Here are the postcards from earlier this week:

Postcard from Cardinals camp for Tuesday, March 10

Weather: 79 degrees, cloudy

Result: Red Sox 3, Cardinals 2

Brad Miller was back in the Cardinals lineup on Tuesday after missing the last 10 days because of tightness in his lower back.

He didn’t display any ill effects from the layoff, however, as he lined a two-run, two-out single in the first inning to give the Cardinals a quick lead over the Red Sox in the game in Fort Myers.

Miller, signed as a free agent right at the start of spring training to add a veteran left-handed option off the bench, started at third base and was 1-of-2 in the game, and is hitting .333 for the spring.

Unfortunately for the Cardinals they had only four more hits after the first inning and failed to score again as their four-game winning streak came to an end.

Here is how Tuesday’s game broke down:

High: Jack Flaherty was able to pitch out of a bases loaded, no out jam in the second inning, getting a fly out, a pop out and striking out Andrew Benitendi to end the inning.

Low: Junior Fernandez walked the bases loaded in the sixth before giving up a go-ahead, two-run single.

At the plate: Paul DeJong had two of the Cardinals’ six hits, all of which were singles, and raised his spring average back to the .500 mark … Both Tyler O’Neill and Harrison Bader were 0-of-4 and each struck out twice, each leaving four runners on base … The Cardinals had just two hits from the second through the seventh inning. Nolan Gorman laid down a bunt against the shift in the eighth, and Max Schrock singled with two outs in the ninth.

On the mound: Flaherty did not allow a run in his three innings of work. He gave up three hits, walked two and struck out five. Flaherty should have two more starts in the spring before the first opening-day assignment of his career on March 26 in Cincinnati … Jake Woodford, Giovanny Gallegos and Tyler Webb each worked a scoreless inning in relief. Webb has not allowed a run all spring.

Off the field: The Cardinals, like all MLB teams, closed their clubhouse to the media on Tuesday to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. No other preventive measures have been announced, but MLB has said it is closely monitoring the situation and the potential spread of the disease … With the Fort Myers two-day trip completed and the minor-league camp now open, the Cardinals are expected to make additional roster cuts in the next couple of days.

Up next: The Cardinals will play their third consecutive road game on Wednesday, taking on the Mets in Port St. Lucie Carlos Martinez is the scheduled starter.

Postcard from Cardinals camp for Monday, March 9

Weather: 73 degrees, cloudy

Result: Cardinals 3, Twins 0

The Cardinals expect one of their biggest strengths this season to be their starting pitching, and if the last four games are any indication, that expectation could be right on target.

Kwang Hyun Kim got the start on Monday against the Twins in Fort Myers and kept the impressive series of starts going as he threw three shutout innings in the win.

That followed starts by Carlos Martinez, John Gant and Dakota Hudson, that combined with Kim’s outing on Monday, added up to a total of just one run allowed over 15 2/3 innings. Those four pitchers combined to issue only five walks while striking out 14.

That combination doesn’t even include the Cardinals’ ace, Jack Flaherty, who will get the start on Tuesday.

For the spring Cardinals’ starters have a combined ERA of 2.42 (14 earned runs in 52 innings) and that doesn’t include relief appearances by some of the pitchers expected to begin the regular season in the rotation. Half of those runs have been allowed by Adam Wainwright, five coming in one start.

Here is how Monday’s game broke down:

High: Kim allowed just two hits, did not walk a batter and struck out four. In his four appearances this spring, he has worked eight scoreless innings, allowing 5 hits, walking one and striking out 11.

Low: Matt Carpenter was the only position player in the starting lineup who is expected to be in the lineup for the opening day of the regular season.

At the plate: Austin Dean had two of the Cardinals’ five hits with his second homer of the spring and a double … The other RBIs came from Max Schrock, on a sacrifice fly, and John Nogowski, on a ground out … Carpenter grounded out and walked twice in his three plate appearances before coming out of the game … Lane Thomas was hitless in three at-bats and also drew a walk as his spring average fell to .233.

On the mound: Daniel Ponce de Leon, trying to force his way into the competition to be the fifth starter, followed Kim to the mound and worked five scoreless innings. He allowed two hits, walked two and struck out two. He lowered his spring ERA to 0.69, having allowed only one run in 13 innings … Alex Reyes completed the shutout by pitching around two singles in the ninth, recording two strikeouts.

Off the field: Slotting Kim into the starting assignment on Monday, after his last appearance was pushed back two days because of a sore groin, had a side benefit for Wainwright. It pushed his next start back from Wednesday to Thursday, which allows him to avoid another game against the Mets. Wainwright’s first three starts this spring came against the Mets.

Up next: The Cardinals will stay in Fort Myers for a game on Tuesday against the Red Sox. Flaherty will get the start, with Carlos Martinez now scheduled to start on Wednesday in Port St. Lucie.

Postcard from Cardinals camp for Sunday, March 8

Weather: 70 degrees, cloudy

Result: Cardinals 7, Marlins 3

By Rob Rains

JUPITER, Fla. – As he came up to bat with the bases loaded in the fifth inning on Sunday, Harrison Bader wasn’t focused on the result. He was focused on the process.

That has been his approach all spring, and so far, it is paying off – and it did again this time with his two-run single capping a four-run inning in the Cardinals’ win over the Marlins.

Bader got ahead in the count 3-0, saw it run full to 3-2, fouling off three consecutive pitches, before he singled to left on the eighth pitch he saw.

“I’m not looking at results, just the process,” Bader said. “Lot of mental overhaul, physical stuff, but all tied into mentality. As long as I snap that as often as I can at the plate, I’ve had a successful day.

“I took a lot of swings that at-bat, and that’s what I like. Even if I struck out on that last pitch, the intent was there, the aggression was there. I was swinging at good pitches. Having the right process prior to the at-bat, the confidence in the box, that’s really what it’s all about.”

Getting the hit, however, just serves as reinforcement to Bader that his process is working as he tries to bounce back from a disappointing offensive season last year.

“Continuing to do that for as many at-bats as possible, you are going to create good results,” Bader said. “The numbers were what they were last year because I didn’t have the right mental approach, that’s all there is to it. That’s why I focus so much on the process in spring training, it’s all about getting your mind right.

“There have been plenty of times when I really had no idea what I was doing at the plate and happened to get a hit. That’s not sustainable, that’s not consistent, that’s not reliable. Hard outs, staying through the middle, running deep counts, putting the ball in play, that’s consistent hitting.”

Bader also drew a walk in his first at-bat and is now hitting .296 for the spring.

Here is how Sunday’s game broke down:

High: The Cardinals manufactured their seven runs on just eight hits, going 4-of-9 with runners in scoring position.

Low: Kolten Wong had to leave the game after the first inning after being hit on the left calf by a pitch. He left the ballpark with a wrap around his leg and a slight limp, but his status was said to be day-to-day. He was not scheduled to travel to Fort Myers on Monday.

At the plate: Paul Goldschmidt and Yadier Molina also had a pair of RBIs, with Goldschmidt delivering a two-run double in the first and Molina collecting an RBI single in the first and a sacrifice fly in the fifth … Tyler O’Neill had the other RBI when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the fifth … Dexter Fowler struck out in his first two at-bats. He has just one hit in his last 20 at-bats with nine strikeouts and has just two hits for the spring.

On the mound: Dakota Hudson was not as sharp as he has been in his previous games, allowing two hits and walking three in 3 2/3 innings. He had five strikeouts, but got only one out on a ground ball … None of the five Cardinals relievers had a clean outing, with the final two Miami runs coming off Genesis Cabrera and John Brebbia.

Off the field: For the second year in a row, the Cardinals renewed Jack Flaherty’s contract after the two sides could not agree on a salary for this season. Flaherty will be eligible for arbitration for the first time next year. “It’s a product of the system,” Flaherty said. “The first couple of years you can’t really do much. It is what it is. … It’s not them (the Cardinals); I can’t fault them. The system is not the best.” … The Cardinals also announced they have reached contract terms with all of their other players with less than three years of service time.

Up next: The Cardinals begin a two-day stay across the state in Fort Myers on Monday, facing the Twins on Monday and the Red Sox on Tuesday. Kwang Hyun Kim will get the start on Monday and is scheduled to work three innings. He will be followed by Daniel Ponce de Leon and Alex Reyes. Flaherty will start on Tuesday.

Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains

Dylan Carlson to headline Rob Rains’ Spring Training Baseball Bash at Homewood Suites – Palm Beach Gardens: https://stlsportspage.com/2020/03/08/dylan-carlson-to-headline-rob-rains-spring-training-baseball-bash-at-homewood-suites/

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For the latest news and features in St. Louis Sports check out STLSportsPage.com. Rob Rains, Editor.