Game 3: Cardinals 2, Padres 0

Finally! The Cardinals break through for the win on the back of Jaime Garcia. Garcia, who had looked shaky during Spring Training, put some worries to rest with his dominant pitching performance. He used just 102 pitches to work through the 9 innings, showing some improvement over a problem he faced often in his rookie season. Last year he would commonly be inefficient with his pitches and hopefully this is him turning over a new leaf. It was just his second complete game shutout, the last was a 3-hitter he tossed last August against San Francisco. After just getting through watching this game on the MLBtv Archive after missing it because I was on the road this afternoon, there are a few thoughts. First, Skip Schumaker still looked awful at second base. How long until his fielding problems become a bigger issue? Today he couldn’t hang onto a pretty decent throw from Molina to attempt to catch someone stealing and then he made a bad throw on a double-play ball in the top of the sixth that got Garcia into the most trouble he was in all afternoon.  Secondly and luckily, Daniel Descalso held onto a sharply hit line drive to him and managed to pull off the unassisted double play while San Diego had the bases loaded with 1 out. It ended the inning and got Garcia out of a big jam. Had he not made the play, this game would have looked very different and it would have all unraveled because of that bad double play toss from Schumaker. Thirdly, there was an interesting graphic that has shown Yadier Molina‘s batting average drop the last three seasons. From .304 in 2008 to .293 in 2009 and then to .262 in 2010. Part of me wonders if this isn’t due to the strain on the body of playing all the innings? In 2009 he played the most innings behind the plate of any catcher in the big leagues, and he probably did it again in 2010 (haven’t been able to find a list to confirm, though). Are we riding Molina into the ground or should we be easier on him in the hopes his career lasts? At this point he’s nearly due a new contract and those knees have a lot of innings on them. Boxscore =&0=& There really is no doubt here. The man who dispelled all the questions with his performance today, Jaime Garcia. (9.0 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 0 ER, 9 K) =&1=& Not sure what’s wrong with him, but there is plenty to speculate about. For the second time in three games, Pujols goes hitless and he added another to his already MLB high GIDP total. Albert Pujols, you get your second ZOG award. (0-for-4, 1 GIDP, 4 LOB)

Albert Pujols doesn’t owe Bobby Bonilla?

Consider it news to the entire Cardinals’ fan base or a non-issue to some. In B.J. Rains’ article this morning about Albert Pujols’ 10 year anniversary of making that opening day roster in 2001, Cardinals’ manager Tony LaRussa is quoted saying that the story that Bobby Bonilla’s injury gave Pujols his opportunity to make the roster, isn’t true.

As the story goes, Pujols was destined to begin his 2001 season at Triple-A Memphis. However, he was dominating in Spring Training. Ultimately, it was a hamstring injury that resulted in Bonilla hitting the disabled list that opened up a spot and allowed Pujols to make the team. Since then, it’s been history.

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Game 2: Padres 11, Cardinals 3

If you thought Thursday’s game was bad, Saturday’s was worse. Ugly is about the only word I have to describe what happened.

Thanks to Allen Craig, who picked up where Holliday left off, the Cardinals scored a pair of runs on his two-out double in the bottom of the first. But Padres worked Jake Westbrook hard all afternoon. He had thrown 51 pitches by the end of the second inning. In the second inning, Chase Headley tripled in a pair of runs to tie up the game.

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Preseason Approval Ratings: Position Players

Many readers are familiar with the Approval Ratings that Daniel at C70 at the Bat does over the course of the Spring. With his permission, I’m taking them to the next level (cue cool voice voicer).

I’m a little late, but real life has kept me away from writing much for the blog the last couple days. Today though, the Redbird Dugout Approval Ratings make their debut as I talk about our position players.

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Matt Holliday Undergoes Appendectomy

After a challenging offseason and Spring Training that saw our best pitch require Tommy John all Cards fans were waiting for the season to start and hope it would turn our luck around. Opening Day didn’t go as well as we had hoped but the bright spots were Chris Carpenter, Colby Rasmus and Matt Holliday. Well earlier today we heard that Holliday was undergoing an appendectomy and will miss at least 2 weeks and up to 6 weeks. So after validating this wasn’t just a bad April Fools joke I started to think what will the Cards do now with Holliday certainly hitting the DL?

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