Opening Day is in just 20 days and spring training has been under way for almost four weeks now. Who’s had a good spring to date? Who hasn’t? Here are five positives and five negatives in this week’s Friday Five.
Kyle McClellan: His bid for the fifth spot in the rotation is moving along, as he’s pitched well in his two starts. He’s only allowed one run in seven innings and went four innings yesterday, which is key to his conversion to starter from reliever. He feels good about it too, as he said yesterday. “For me, four innings is deep, just based on where we are in the spring right now. I’m happy with where everything’s at. I don’t feel like I tailed off.”
Matt Carpenter: He’s played a lot with the big league club this spring, which is a great sign for a guy who was in Double A last season. He’s hit a lot too, which is even better. And he’s even the subject of a feature by Derrick Goold in today’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch, being labeled “this spring’s breakout prospect.” It would be great if he can make the jump to St. Louis this season. The more Carpenters, the better!
David Freese: The heartthrob third baseman is indeed providing hope as he returns from injury, as Emily wrote about yesterday. He’s done nothing but hit since he made his spring debut earlier in the week.
Kyle Lohse: Although spring stats don’t mean anything, of course, he is leading the team with two wins in two starts and has pitched well — something that’s definitely needed from him for the Cards to be successful in the regular season. He’ also batting 1.000!
Fernando Salas: The reliever has a team-leading two saves in two opportunities and has yet to allow an earned run in 4.0 innings pitched. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that he’s able to stay on the major league roster when Opening Day arrives.
Chris Carpenter: Yes, of course he says he’ll be fine and that he still is on track to start on Opening Day, and he is scheduled to start next Wednesday (which is a positive). But just having him out for a week-plus now because of his hamstring shows how tenuous the starting rotation really can be — and how much is riding on his health.
Jason Motte: He had a rough time on Sunday, which has made his overall spring numbers rather ugly.
Ryan Theriot: Speaking of number’s, The Riot’s numbers on offense are pretty offensive so far. Four hits in 21 at-bats. At least he’s walked five times. (I am going to chalk up that nickname as a negative too, and may not use it ever again.)
Albert Pujols: It’s probably good when you have to search to find a fifth name for the negatives, and I’m only including him for his on-field production and not any of the contract deadline drama. Power-wise, he’s not up to his typical Albert standards yet as he’s hit no homers, only has two RBI, has struck out six times and walked only once.
This afternoon, the Cardinals host the Tigers in Jupiter. Lance Lynn starts for the Cardinals.
Christine Coleman is the lead writer for Aaron Miles’ Fastball. Follow her on Twitter, @CColeman802, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Also follow @AMilesFastball for the latest updates.