Final Cardinal Cuts
I’ve had a wonderful run of luck with myÂ prognostications lately. Â Seems like anytime I say X, Y actually happens and fairly quickly afterwards.
Yesterday was another of those days, asÂ Fernando Salas wasÂ sent to Memphis and Bryan Augenstein made the team. Â I will admit that when the Cards plucked Augenstein from the waiver wire, I just thought he was going to be organizational fodder. Â I didn’t expect we’d see much out of him, but apparently Tony La Russa and Dave Duncan saw a little bit more.
The deciding factor seemed to be that Augenstein has experience going multiple innings, something at Salas could do–he went two innings in yesterday’s game–but maybe not as many and not as often. Â Rumor has it that TLR is looking at demoting Daniel Descalso for the West Coast trip next week and replacing him with Salas for that 13-man pitching staff, but it may depend on how the starters do against San Diego and Pittsburgh.
Nick Stavinoha was sent down as well. Â That’s not a big surprise, but we’ll have to see how often he catches in Memphis. Â You’d hate to see him take time away from Bryan Anderson and Tony Cruz down there. Â Could be he’ll just be a fairly regular pinch-hitter down there, keeping him around in case there is an injury on the big club.
Unfortunately for those fans on the other side of Missouri, the game between the Cards and their AA squad on Springfield’s home turf that was scheduled for todayÂ has been cancelled. Â With the weather projected to be cold and rainy, there just wasn’t any reason to try to get the game in and risk injury. Â Plus that saves the Cardinals from swinging half their team that way on the way home to St. Louis and lets everyone be available today for the final game in Florida.
Jaime Garcia will pitch that last game, hoping to end his spring on a high note. Â I have a feeling the results of this one will be carefully monitored, as Garcia hasn’t been effective at all this spring. Â Will he be able to mentally buck up and get through things? Â I assume this is Florida’s last game as well, so it’s likely he’ll be facing a team that wants to get the game over with. Â Hopefully he can exploit that and go into the season on a little bit of a roll.
Someone who didn’t end the spring well wasÂ Jake Westbrook, whoÂ gave up 11 hits and four runs inÂ less than 5 innings yesterday. Â The runs are not huge, because sometimes that happens. Â Eleven hits, though? Â Westbrook is best when he is getting the ground balls that turn into ground outs. Â Either he wasn’t getting them yesterday or the defense was not helping. Â Whatever the case, it’s not the best of signs for him. Â We’ll see what happens when he takes on the Padres Saturday.
Ryan Theriot would like to get to 40 steals. Â In a related note, I would like to win the lottery so I could retire and blog all the time. Â I expect that my goal is more reasonable, and I don’t even play the lottery. Â There is not going to be a big base stealer in St. Louis while Albert Pujols is hitting third and Tony La Russa is in the dugout. Â I don’t think it’s surprising that Pujols has led the team in steals recently with less than 20. Â Nice to have goals, of course, but don’t be disappointed if this one doesn’t come to be.
Remember Nick Punto? HeÂ Â took some batting practice yesterday and is targeting a May 1 return. Â With the spring play of Descalso and Matt Carpenter, I don’t know that anyone is just clamoring for his return. Â That might change by the end of next month, though.
By the way, if you are on Twitter and you want to keep up with this weekend, when a zany group of bloggers descends on St. Louis for dinner and an invite-only event at the ballpark, follow the hashtagÂ #ucbweekend. Â It’s already getting slightly out of control, but with this group, that’s not too surprising.
Game’s on KMOX today, so tune in!