On expectations of Tyler Lyons: Hope to see him out there with some confidence. Continue what he was doing in Triple-A. Rely on movement. Rely on catcher having a good game plan. Pitch and not make any more of it than that. Needs to use his stuff which is good enough to give us a chance.
On The Cardinal Way: There is not a secret. We demand that our guys go about playing the game the right way. Just like every organization does. We are fortunate in that we have some continuity from top to bottom. We have a very good development staff and coaching staff in the minor league system that hold players to a high expectation as to how they go about their business. Professionalism that every organization and business in representing the brand is something we take very seriously.
We have had a lot of discussions here about The Cardinal Way lately. A lot of it is discussions we have had meant for people inside our clubhouse, not to be running around parading some sort of holier than thou, better than anyone else. That is not what we do. We mind our own business, but we do it well and are accountable about it.
On relieving to starting transitions with pitchers: One negative is building workload back up from 20-30 pitches to ability to throw triple digits. We believe a lot of value in big league environment even when not ready to start. Best need for club (pitching in relief) balances with benefit of throwing a lot of innings at Triple-A. We are giving guys great opportunity for success, some experience they would not have had otherwise. Can't put a value on these players having been in tight situations in playoffs last season for the long haul.
On Molina value to young players: Invaluable to entire team, not just younger players. He is as good as they get in my opinion. Not just catching, throwing, blocking balls. It is about preparation, instincts, trying to make the most of each guy each night.
On Lance Lynn's maturation: People forget how young of a pitcher he is because he has had success the last few years. He is learning his style, what works and doesn't. Making those adjustments a lot quicker than he did earlier in his career. Everybody has to feel out what kind of pitcher they are going to be – power guy, sinker guy, gets quick outs or strikes out batters. Overall, he is finding his groove and it takes a little time for that to happen.
We know he is a work horse, that he loves to compete and gives us a chance to win. Metrics some people point to that don't have any value include win-loss but we don't agree with that around here. We believe that this game comes down to winning and losing. Certain pitchers have a propensity to get out there and give us a chance to win. Yes, he has had good run support, but he has also kept us in some games when he did not have run support. He fights and competes and it is hard to really put a value on that.
On available relievers: All of them have the potential to go multiple innings. We are always careful. We realize guys are going multiple days – that concerns us more than anything else.
On Kolten Wong's playing time early: I think that (Ellis being hurt) was part of it and part of it was that he was feeling really good out there, especially at the plate. Today is a great example (Wong sitting and Ellis starting). We have a RHP, yes, but it is a RHP that has had a lot of success, especially this year against lefties – and in his career. It is a tough assignment for a guy who is real close to get back on track. Just from Kolten's extra work and his BP, we can see that he is right there close. So to put him against a guy tough on lefties isn't entirely fair. And Mark is taking some real nice at-bats.
When Mark got here, Kolten seemed to kind of lose his timing a little bit. He will get it back. It is one of those things. I think he is doing a much better job than what we saw in spring training. Not feeling good but not wearing it on his sleeve. He is making good strides in trying to get it remedied. He's got a real good approach in how to fix it and anxious to get back out there.
On whether he would like to see one 2B take more playing time: I'd like to see everybody hot. We have a known quantity in Mark Ellis, when he is going right, we can fit him in there, the matchup looks good, it is an easy day to give to him. Kolten is one of those great expectations guys. As a player he has shown us what he can do. We just have to take advantage of days that are right to get him right and not beat him up and have him grind his way through it. He can work in a much more controlled environment and let Mark do what he needs to do. And we know what Mark can do.
On Bobby Abreu joining Mets: You are talking about a superstar caliber player. We haven't seen him first-hand but I have a lot of respect for how he has always gone about it. It will be interesting to see how he looks now.
On keeping Eric Fornataro over Jorge Rondon: We went in the direction of who would have been the guy had we just brought up one. The first one we would have gone to would have been Fornataro. He was throwing the ball well, making great adjustments. I haven't been able to use him much. I need to get him some work.
On whether Fornataro having closed mattered: Didn't really care about what role he had at Memphis. They don't put a whole lot of roles in our minor league system. They have guys throwing multiple innings a lot. They will let other people close the games at different times. Having the ability to go in and finish the game is something you can check off that this guy has done it well.
On the game: Big double plays, shortstop defensive play stopped rallies. Things against defense did not go the right way. Still had runner on third and couldn't get him in. Can't get frustrated. Big story is offense not getting going. One factor is pitcher they haven't seen (in Jenrry Mejia).
On Tyler Lyons: Did a nice job. Got into tough situations and got out. Pitching doing a good job.
On Mejia: Cards talked about Mejia's walks in prior games but easier to talk about than execute. Tough (to be patient) when pitcher is throwing strikes. Mejia has different stuff – ball moving up like it was.
On reaction: Will do something every day to spur team. Sometimes can't figure why. Not clicking offensively.
On Matt Holliday: We can jump on his back when he gets it right.
On opponents: Saw good pitching in Washington and Milwaukee. Still put our offense against anyone.
On team identity: Have to get on base to use speed. Haven't seen much power. We saw team's identity in DC – grinding out at-bats. Not trying to be power or speed team.
Join the pre-game, in-game and post-game discussion about each contest at The Cardinal Nation message board.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at email@example.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.
© 2014 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com and stlcardinals.scout.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.