One game down, blasters on full

Yes it may be just the first game of the season and there are still 161 more to play. And maybe he was just playing around a little bit, seeing how it would work. However, anyone who follows me on this blog, through the Cards Clubhouse, and listens to my takes on UCB Radio knows that my biggest issue with Mike Matheny has been his bullpen management. Of course, I used to complain about Tony La Russa’s too, so he is in good company.

Yesterday evening the Cardinals roll into the 8th inning with a 1-0 lead thanks to a solo shot by Yadier Molina off Johnny Cueto. With Brandon Phillips, Joey Votto, and Jay Bruce coming up to bat.

Matheny brought in Pat Neshek to face Phillips. Neshek, making his first regular season appearance with the Cardinals, made the discussion as a “righty specialist” during spring training. Last year he held right handed hitters to a .219/.282/.362 slash line while getting lit up by left handers. Neshek eventually walked Phillips on 7 pitches. [click to continue…]

Cardinals set the 2014 Opening Day roster

The St. Louis Cardinals have made clear the final moves that the team will make to craft this year’s Opening Day roster. They left Memphis last night with 26 players as they headed to Cincinnati for Monday afternoon’s game.

Keith Butler, Daniel Descalso, and Shane Robinson won their respective roster battles for the last bullpen spot, the last infield bench spot, and the last outfield bench spot.

Pete Kozma, who will travel with the team to Cincinnati while they continue to check on Mark Ellis‘ knee, will turn around and catch up with Memphis if Ellis doesn’t require a trip to the disabled list. [click to continue…]

UCB Radio: March 26, 2014

Kevin Reynolds and I are back on the air with tonight’s UCB Radio. We talk about the fifth starter “competition,” the bullpen setup, the Aardsma signing, and how Jon wants to trade Pete Kozma for Miguel Cabrera.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/ivieleagueproductions/2014/03/27/ucb-radio

Cardinals add Aardsma to bullpen mix

The St. Louis Cardinals have added reliever David Aardsma to the bullpen competition with just days left in spring training. Aardsma spent the rest of the spring with the Cleveland Indians, but after being told he wasn’t going to win a roster spot, opted for his release so he could pursue other options. One of those was with the Cardinals.

He arrived in Florida today and already has a jersey with the #53 hanging in his locker. The team has said he is likely to get two pitching appearances to make his case for the bullpen. He is signed on a minor league contract.

Aardsma, 32, spent last season with the New York Mets where he had a 4.31 ERA over 39.2 innings. He spent 2009 and 2010 as the closer for the Seattle Mariners, accumulating 69 saves.

The addition of Aardsma creates some interesting scenarios for the Cardinals going forward. [click to continue…]

The fifth starter “competition”

Entering this spring, the Cardinals made it out like there was a competition to be had in their starting rotation with Michael Wacha, Shelby Miller, Lance Lynn, Jaime Garcia, Joe Kelly, and Carlos Martinez. Those six pitchers were battling it out for four spots. That was the narrative at Winter Warm-Up anyway. One that I dismissed at the time.

Adam Wainwright is locked in. Shelby Miller? How do you tell a top-3 Rookie of the Year finisher that he’s being demoted to the bullpen. Michael Wacha? The guy took two no-hitters into the ninth inning last year and outdueled the $30 million man twice in the same playoff series. Lance Lynn? He’s only the winningest starting pitcher in the NL since the beginning of the 2012 season. Jaime Garcia? Well, you’re paying him like a starter. He better be a starter.

The rotation was set. Joe Kelly and Carlos Martinez were looking at the St. Louis bullpen or the Memphis rotation if everyone stayed healthy. [click to continue…]