And Now Another Cardinals Pitcher To The Disabled List …

There’s another Cardinal name to add to the growing number on the disabled list: Lance Lynn.

nurse-e1397756375763During his start last Sunday night against the Dodgers, Lynn’s forearm tightened up. He left the game after throwing 98 pitches in five innings. On Tuesday, he traveled to St. Louis for an examination on his forearm and the current diagnosis is a strained muscle in his right forearm. More details from

Mozeliak added that the club believes Lynn’s 15-day stint on the DL, which will be backdated to Monday, will provide sufficient time for him to recover from the injury. Lynn is expected to miss two starts.

Taking Lynn’s spot on the roster is Tyler Lyons. Here’s further information from the Cardinals press release.

Manager Mike Matheny has tabbed Lyons to start tomorrow afternoon’s game against Kansas City.

Lyons, 27, will be making his second appearance of the season with the Cardinals, after having made three starts (13.0 IP/17 strikeouts) from May 5-16.

Following his option to Memphis on May 16, Lyons has been one of the top pitchers in the Pacific Coast League, going 3-1 with a 2.36 ERA (26.2 IP/7 ER) his last four starts at Triple-A. Lyons’ overall mark at Memphis is 5-2 with a 2.61 ERA (seventh in PCL) in eight starts, striking out 56 (sixth) while walking only nine in his 48.1 innings of work.

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3 Positives From The Cards Loss To The Cubs

If there ever was a game that seemed like a guaranteed win for the Cardinals, yesterday was it. Adam Wainwright had a perfect 6-0 record at Wrigley Field to go along with his 25-inning scoreless pitching streak, as well as a 1.20 ERA after a terrific April. The offense had come to life in the last game. The wind was blowing out in Chicago.

Positive-AttitudeAnd then we were reminded that nothing is guaranteed, especially in baseball.

Wainwright did not have a Wainwright-like day, with the scoreless streak ending in the first with two runs scoring on Anthony Rizzo’s single (which came after Luis Valbuena’s was-it-fair-or-foul double that was called fair). Waino allowed all 6 runs to the Cubs, and has allowed 10 runs in 12 innings pitched this season against them.

Still, even with the loss for the Cards — and despite the fact that puts their record at 15-15 — there were some positives to be found.

1. The offense kept its momentum
With yesterday’s 5 runs on 8 hits, the Cardinals now have 14 runs and 21 hits in two games. That’s a welcome change. Sure, there were missed opportunities — they were just 2 for 7 with runners in scoring position — but, still, we know it could have been worse because we’ve recently had to endure it being worse. Progress is progress … even when it’s slow. Continue reading

Is It Time To Worry About The Cardinals Bullpen?

Spring training games don’t count, but spring performances are what determine the final St. Louis Cardinals roster that will take the field on Opening Day in Cincinnati March 31. And some spring pitching performances have been awfully unpleasant.

collage318Now it’s true that pitchers sometimes work on specific pitches and take risks they wouldn’t otherwise do when the games count — Adam Wainwright focused just on his curveball in Sunday’s game against the Mets, for example. But is it time to get concerned about the bullpen — or at least some components of it?

Looking at all 30 MLB teams this spring, the Cardinals team ERA through yesterday is 6.27 — tied for last in baseball with the Texas Rangers. Cardinals pitchers have given up 105 earned runs (108 runs total) in 150 2/3 spring innings.

Break that down to starters vs. relievers and the picture changes considerably. The ERA for Cards starters is 3.63, which is fourth-best in the National League and ninth-best in MLB. And for the relievers, it’s 7.66 — not surprisingly last, but more than a full run worse than the team directly ahead of them, the Rangers at 6.18, and two runs worse than the NL team ahead of them, the Padres at 5.42.

Since we need a little good news after that, let’s look at those who are excelling — beginning with closer Trevor Rosenthal. Nothing to worry about with him. After being slowed by a strained groin in late February that kept him from appearing in a game until March 8, he’s now pitched five total innings and allowed one earned run on a homer while striking out five and walking three for an ERA of 1.80. No saves, but no save opportunities yet either.

Having nearly identical stats — same number of games, innings, earned run on a homer, ERA and strikeouts — although with two saves in two opportunities is Kevin Siegrist. No worries there.

Randy Choate has pitched 5 2/3 innings over six games and allowed just two hits while striking out six and walking two. Hard to improve on an ERA of 0.00.

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Catching Up With the Cardinals: Monday Morning Edition

Ah, Monday morning … right after Daylight Saving Time begins. And just when we were beginning to enjoy the fact it was brightening up after 6 a.m. Patience is now needed again for the longer days ahead.

DiazAs you’ve probably read by now, the St. Louis Cardinals have signed 23-year-old Cuban free agent shortstop Aledmys Diaz to a four-year contract. There aren’t many details about it yet, as he’s scheduled to be introduced at a news conference this morning, but Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has some good info on what he calls “a landmark moment for the Cardinals. His will be the richest contract ever from the Cardinals for an international free agent or amateur, signaling their intent to reach beyond the Latin America amateur market they’ve cultivated.”

Joe Schwarz at Viva El Birdos also has been covering Diaz in-depth since he first worked out for the Cardinals several weeks ago.

Headed to Jupiter, Fla., to see the Cardinals spring training games at Roger Dean Stadium? Forbes reports that the Cardinals have the 10th most expensive spring training tickets, with an average price of $50. The teams with more expensive tickets, in order from 9 to 1: the Astros (perhaps surprisingly?), the Twins, the Phillies, the Cubs (which is perhaps not a surprise — have you seen there new spring home?), the Yankees, the Giants, the Rangers, the Braves (who train at Disney World) and, of course, the Red Sox with an average price of $79.

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Let The (Spring) Games Begin!

We move one step closer to the 2014 St. Louis Cardinals regular season today, with the beginning of spring training games. The Cards take on their Roger Dean Stadium partners, the Miami Marlins, starting at noon Central Time.

Roger_Dean_StadiumNot that the outcome of the game matters, of course. Still, it’s an interesting pitching match-up for the first couple of innings: Carlos Martinez against NL Rookie of the Year Jose Fernandez.

But it’s baseball and — even better — it’s on television and radio so you have a choice of how to keep up. It’s the first game on FOX Sports Midwest of the year, plus MLB Network will be carrying it and it’s online at MLB.TV. And, of course, Mike Shannon and John Rooney will be back on KMOX and the Cardinals Radio Network.

Ah … when you ignore the temperature outside and the weather forecast, it really does feel like spring!

Here’s the Cards lineup for today, from Brian Stull on Twitter.

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What Could Keep The Cardinals From Winning The NL Central?

It’s a good week ahead, right? Spring training games begin on Friday — just the final step before real baseball games — and the outlook is good for the talented and deep 2014 St. Louis Cardinals.

united-cardinal-bloggers-lgYet yesterday morning, I couldn’t help but feel pessimistic as I thought about what to ask my fellow United Cardinal Bloggers members for our spring training roundtables. Blame it on Monday, blame it on the post I’d just finished at the time, blame it on the rain (for those of you who’ve even heard of Milli Vanilli …)

My question to them: what could keep the Cardinals from winning the NL Central in 2014?

Here are the responses.

Daniel Shoptaw, C70 At The Bat

Your post this morning pointed out the main possibility — Yadier Molina missing a significant portion of the season. Most anything else I think the Cards can survive, but Molina going down would be rough.

Bill Ivie, I-70 Baseball

I’m taking two shots … Health and inexperience …

The Cardinals have depth, but it is young and unproven at a lot of spots. An injury to a key player with little depth behind him could disrupt this team fairly quickly. An injury to a veteran starter and the young arms that have yet to pitch a full season are suddenly going to have to shoulder (pun intended) a lot of the inning load.

The team has the depth in various places to sustain an injury. But young players will have to play up to expectations for the Cards to be able to chug along without a key component. The pitching looks great on paper, but I wonder how hard they will push the young bucks. Time will tell.

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Wacha Wows In One-Hit Winner

Wacha 2All too often, kids come into professional baseball hot off of a collegiate career with potential through the roof. It’s not unusual for the transition to pro ball to take some time. It IS unusual for a guy less than a year removed from his final college game to not only be invited to Spring Training, but also force his way into the conversation about the Big League rotation.

When Cardinal veterans like Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright jump on board, you have to believe there’s something to it.

This spring, Molina said the 22-year-old Michael Wacha was Big League ready. Wainwright, when asked about the 2014 rotation said, “He’ll be there.”

Cardinals fans know first hand what happens when a guy doesn’t live up to the astronomical expectations. Colby Rasmus? Brendan Ryan? Tyler Greene? Not pretty. And with a rotation of Wainwright, Jaime Garcia, Jake Westbrook, Lance Lynn and Shelby Miller (which left out Joe Kelly and Trevor Rosenthal), there was no need to rush Wacha. Continue reading

Lynn And Co. Can’t Quiet The Crew

Apparently, the Brewers did their homework since the last time they faced the Cardinals. Of course, things have changed quite a bit for the Redbirds since then, too.

One inningLance “First Half” Lynn is tending toward the late-season struggles we hoped were a thing of the past. Jake Westbrook can’t seem to hold it together. Michael Wacha hasn’t been the rotation savior we’d hoped for. Neither has Carlos Martinez. Even Shelby Miller has shown signs of vulnerability after taking that line drive off his elbow a few weeks back.

And, the Brewers are the least of this rotation’s concerns over the next few weeks.

Last night, many will argue, was not really Lynn’s fault. A litany of innocent singles and a few less-than-stellar defensive plays quickly turned a 3-0 Cardinals lead into a 5-3 hole.

But, he had good stuff! They were only singles! Twice a double play could have/should have/would have been made if that slouch David Freese wasn’t manning third! Continue reading

Yes, The Cards Are Down, But No One Is Out

Yesterday’s doubleheader could have been a chance to flip the momentum right back around. Instead, the Cardinals continued to play hide and seek with their offense, and lost both games. That pushes the season-high losing streak to six. And what’s worse? They

"Tell me when it's safe to look, okay?"

“Tell me when it’s safe to look, okay?”

also lost Yadier Molina.

Everyone take a moment to panic, cry, scream, throw things, blame Mike Matheny, Tyler Greene or the Muffin Man. Get it all out.

No matter what, there are still 57 games left to play. And, I don’t know about you, but I have a suspicion that a 1.5 game deficit can be made up in 57 games … somehow.

Now, I’m certainly not happy with the goings on the last week. It’s been tough. The Cardinals have looked bad — swinging at bad pitches, pressing, expanding the strike zone, playing poor defense, and acting more defeated than perhaps they should. To throw Yadi’s injury into the mix is just pouring salt in the wound. For now, the team is calling it a sprain, though the MRI today will provide more detail.

A sprain or a hangnail, though — time without the MVP candidate will hurt. Not only will the pitching staff miss his guidance, but the lineup that is struggling to put numbers on the board will miss his 2nd-place NL batting average. What’s more, he has often been credited as the heart and soul of the team. Continue reading

Lightning Doesn’t Strike The Same Place Twice

Bottom of the ninth, down by two, two outs, tying run at the plate … stop me if you’ve heard this before.

lightningThis time, though, there would be no magic in the bottle, no matter how eerily similar the situation became.

Things started out beautifully. Three runs in the first should have been a little breathing room for Tyler Lyons, who was looking to bounce back from a less-than-stellar outing in his previous start. The good vibes, though, didn’t last long. With two outs in the top of the second inning, the bottle of rookie magic ran dry. Lyons gave up three runs on two hits and two walks. He was charged with a fourth run after Joe Kelly scrambled in to relieve him, but gave a base hit that scored an inherited runner.

To state the obvious, going 1 2/3 with four runs on three hits, three walks and a strike out didn’t help his rotation case. In fact, Mike Shannon said something about the midnight train to Memphis.

Good thing Joe Kelly’s still around. (Yes, believe it or not, he is.) He came in and threw five complete innings, giving up five hits and striking out three. Basically, he validated the “long reliever” title by doing exactly what a long reliever should … and then some.

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