March 25, 2018

Dark Horse Comes Galloping Up the Stretch

March 22, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

The Cardinals had a pretty eventful weekend, even with their Sunday game being rained out.  More data points for decisions were made and one possible move was revealed.  Spring training is so much fun, isn’t it?

The biggest news of the weekend was likely the announcement that Adam Ottovino is in the running for a bullpen slot.  While it was a surprise to me, apparently it wasn’t to everyone.  Ottovino has been an intriguing prospect for quite some time–I’m pretty sure I saw him throw down in Little Rock for the Springfield squad a couple of years ago–but hasn’t been able to keep the command necessary for a big league promotion.

However, he’s looked sharp this spring and has been able to make adjustments to his game.  Dave Duncan, who apparently called and worked with him some last year, is very much in his corner, which is a great person to have on your side.

I was wondering if this was going to affect Jaime Garcia getting the fifth slot.  As you can see by the badge on the sidebar (graciously provided by the guys at Pitchers Hit Eighth), I’m in favor of having Garcia start in the fifth slot.  Can that happen if Ottovino gets a relief role?  Let’s take a look at the staff in that case:

Starters: Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, Brad Penny, Kyle Lohse, Jaime Garcia

Bullpen: Adam Ottovino, Kyle McClellan, Jason Motte, Mitchell Boggs, Ryan Franklin, Trever Miller, Dennys Reyes

Such a bullpen would force out Blake Hawksworth, which I don’t think the club wants to do.  They might, however, send Boggs down to Memphis to work on being a reliever.  More likely, though, it’s between Garcia and Ottovino for that last slot, so today will be a very interesting one.

With the rainout and the split squad, you are going to have Brad Penny and Adam Ottovino going against Boston with Kyle Lohse and Jaime Garcia going against Houston.  Today won’t be the deciding factor, but it could go a long way toward determining who goes where.

On the positive front, it looks like Matt Holliday will be joining the lineup today in the Boston game.  It’s good to get him back on the field with two weeks to spare.  Hopefully the layoff won’t affect his timing and conditioning too much and he’ll be hitting his stride as the season starts.

Shelby Miller was finally sent down to the minor league camp, lasting a day more than the more highly-touted draft pick of last draft, Stephen Strasburg.  (Who, by the way, tore up the Cardinals on Saturday.  You know Tyler Greene and Allen Craig let their teammates know about those home runs they hit, because that was the only blemish on Strasburg’s spring, basically.)  Per Joe Strauss, the plan is to have Miller start at extended spring training (to stay away from the cold weather minor league stops) and move up to high A ball when the weather warms.  There’s no doubt they are watching him closely and, with a good year, he could be in Springfield by the end of July.

Quickly, let’s take a look at the Cardinal Approval Ratings for today.  Somehow, John Mozeliak got skipped in the voting last year (Really?  What was I thinking there?) but I corrected that oversight this year.  He was on 65 of the 68 ballots cast (one came in this weekend) and, with a year like he had last year, it’s not a surprise that he averaged out to 86.1%.  I have a feeling that would have been a little lower last year.

Albert Pujols, of course, was on last year’s forms and racked up the highest approval rating of them all, coming in at 97.9%.  Really hard to beat that one, isn’t it?  Yet he did, moving to a 98.7% on the 67 ballots he was named on.  We really are lucky to have him.

Enjoy the games today!

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