John Gant (Scott Rovak / USA TODAY Sports Images)

A recap of St. Louis Cardinals-related news from the period of March 6-12, 2017.

Last week’s St. Louis Cardinals news includes a 3-2-2 record in spring training games, injury updates, World Baseball Classic results, roster cuts and more.

Spring Training game recaps

Monday, March 6 - Cardinals 1 at Twins 2 (10 innings)

Neither team could muster much offense in a close contest at Fort Myers.  Starting pitcher John Gant pitched two scoreless innings.  The bullpen of Jake Woodford, Jordan Schafer, and Mike Mayers kept the Twins off the board until the ninth, when Sandy Alcantara, in his third inning of work, gave up the tying run.  Ryan Sherriff surrendered the winning run in the 10th.

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The offense managed one run on seven hits.  The only extra base hit was a double by Stephen Piscotty.  A Kolten Wong single in the third inning plated the Cardinals’ only run.  Wong made two baserunning blunders, getting picked off first base and caught stealing second.  The Cardinals defense made three errors:  an errant pickoff throw by Woodford, and a fielding errors by Eliezer Alvarez and Edmundo Sosa.

 

Tuesday, March 7 - Cardinals 9, Marlins 2

15 hits by the offense led the Cardinals to this home victory over the Marlins.  A single by Greg Garcia in the second plated the first run.  A rare triple off the bat of Jhonny Peralta brought in a score in the third inning before another crossed the plate on a wild pitch.   Peralta brought home his second run on a fifth inning double.  In the seventh, Patrick Wisdom hit his third home run of the spring, a solo shot, and in the eighth, RBI singles by Wilfredo Tovar and Gabriel Lino each brought home a run, and Breyvic Valera plated two on his RBI single.

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Adam Wainwright was sharp, pitching three scoreless innings and allowing only three hits while fanning two and walking none.  Wainwright was followed by Jonathan Broxton, Jack Flaherty, Mitch Harris, Daniel Poncedeleon, and Miguel Socolovich.  In his spring debut, Harris allowed the Marlins’ two runs.

 

Wednesday, March 8 - Cardinals 9 at Nationals 3

The Cardinals took on the Nationals in their new facility in West Palm Beach.  Michael Wacha started and pitched three scoreless innings, surrendering only two hits while fanning three and walking one.  Brett Cecil and Kevin Siegrist each pitched a scoreless inning.  Arturo Reyes got into trouble in his two innings, allowing all three Nationals runs.  Josh Lucas and Matt Bowman followed with a scoreless inning each.

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The first Cardinals run scored on a first inning groundout by Jhonny Peralta.  A Matt Adams single in that same inning plated another run, and successive singles by Patrick Wisdom and Harrison Bader scored two more.  In the second, an RBI double by Aledmys Diaz and a sac fly by Adams brought home two runs.  Another sac fly by Greg Garcia in the fifth added another run to the board.  Jose Martinez doubled in a run in the sixth inning, and Harrison Bader’s solo home run in the eighth capped off the Cardinals’ scoring.

 

Thursday, March 9 - Cardinals 0, Astros 3

The Cardinals were shut out at home by the visiting Astros, as the offense managed only four singles.  They were by Magneuris Sierra, Paul DeJong, Anthony Garcia, and a bunt single from Matt Carpenter, still restricted by injury from swinging the bat.

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Starter Lance Lynn allowed one run on two hits in his three innings.  Lynn struck out three and issued no free passes.  Zach Phillips and Austin Gomber added four clean innings between them.  Jordan Schafer surrendered the two Astros final runs without recording an out, and was replaced by Sam Tuivailala, who escaped the inning with no additional damage.  Robby Rowland pitched a scoreless ninth.

 

Friday, March 10 - Cardinals 7 at Nationals 1

The Cardinals made up for the scoreless outing the day before by putting up seven runs against the Nationals at home.  A sac fly by Jhonny Peralta in the third inning opened the scoring. The Cardinals scored five in the fourth, two on RBI singles by Eric Fryer and Kolten Wong, and two more on a fielding error and a wild pitch.  The Cardinals plated their final run in the seventh on a Breyvic Valera triple.

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Mike Leake pitched four innings, surrendering one run in the fourth on a Bryce Harper solo home run.  The long ball was the only hit allowed by Leake.  Sandy Alcantara, Mike Mayers, Ryan Sherriff and Miguel Socolovich tossed one scoreless frame each.

 

Saturday, March 11 - Cardinals 2, Braves 2 (10 innings)

This Saturday afternoon contest against the visiting Braves ended in a draw after 10 innings. John Gant pitched three scoreless innings against his former team.  Jonathan Broxton gave up the first Braves run.  Brett Cecil pitched one scoreless inning.  Kevin Siegrist allowed the second Braves’ run.  Two scoreless innings apiece were pitched by Jack Flaherty and Daniel Poncedeleon.

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The two Redbird runs scored on a Matt Adams solo home run in the fourth, and an RBI single by Todd Cunningham in the ninth, which tied the game.  Cunningham was 2-for-2, with a double and the RBI single.  Other extra base hits were a double by Wilfredo Tovar, and a triple by Dexter Fowler.

 

Sunday, March 12 - Cardinals 9 at Marlins 9

The Cardinals led until the second-to-last at-bat, when shaky relief pitching allowed the Marlins to tie it up.  Adam Wainwright started, pitching four innings while allowing one run on four hits.  Reliever Josh Lucas pitched a clean fifth.  Luke Weaver, pitching his first game after suffering back spasms that kept him out of action since March 1, surrendered two runs in his two innings.  Jordan Schafer allowed two more runs before leaving with an injury.  Zach Phillips relieved Schafer and got the final out of the inning.  Matt Bowman pitched a clean eighth.  Sam Tuivailala started the ninth, and the wheels came off the bus, as he allowed four runs to tie the game.  Robby Rowland entered with inherited runners, allowing the tying run to score on a wild pitch.  Rowland retired the last batter to end the game.

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The Cardinals offense scored nine runs on 11 hits.  A Matt Adams home run in the second got the ball rolling.  Aledmys Diaz added an RBI single in the third, and Adams plated another run in the fourth on a double.  Tommy Pham brought two more runs home in the fourth on a single.  In the seventh, Paul DeJong’s three-run blast extended the lead, and in the ninth, Magneuris Sierra plated a run on a single.

 

The big picture

Overall on the spring, the Cardinals are 10-4-3. Their runs scored total of 95 is third-most in the National League and seventh in MLB. The team ERA of 3.16 is lowest of all 30 teams. Their 14 miscues place them in the middle of the MLB pack, tied for 16th.

 

Cardinals to play in Williamsport

To coincide with the Little League World Series, MLB has scheduled the Cardinals and the Pirates to play their August 20 game in Williamsport, PA, home of the LLWS.  ESPN will air the game as its Sunday Night telecast.

The contest will conclude a four-game series, with the other three games to be played at PNC Park.  The site is BB &T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field, located about 165 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.  The field will undergo renovations and will seat approximately 2,500 people.  The ballpark is the second oldest ballpark in the minor leagues and is home to the Phillies’ New York-Penn League affiliate.

Little League players will be in attendance for the game, and Cardinals and Pirates players will attend the Little League World Series games earlier in the day.  MLB touts the event as “a unified demonstration of MLB’s passion and commitment to help growing the game at the youth level”.

Cardinals Lance Lynn and Randal Grichuk once played in the Little League World Series, as did Pirates infielder Jordy Mercer.

 

Cards in the WBC

The World Baseball Classic is moving into its second round.  Closer Seung-Hwan Oh participated for Korea, which was eliminated in the first round of the Classic. Oh is expected back in Cardinals camp on Monday.  Carlos Martinez and Alberto Rosario are playing for Team Dominican Republic, which is 3-0 in the first round, defeating the USA on Saturday.  Brett Cecil may compete with Team USA in Round 2, but Matt Carpenter had to withdraw due to injury.  Team USA is 2-1, and will be advancing to Round 2 after defeating Canada on Sunday night. 

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Yadier Molina is playing with Team Puerto Rico, which is 3-0 after defeating Italy on Sunday.  Corey Baker is competing with Team Israel, which went undefeated in Round 1, and defeated Cuba in their first Second Round game.  Ryan Sherriff withdrew from participation with Israel.  Pitcher Rowan Wick competed with Team Canada, which lost to the USA on Sunday and was eliminated from the tournament.  Trey Nielsen is pitching for Team Italy.  Italy is 1-2-in First Round play after losing to Puerto Rico on Sunday. Oscar Mercado joined Team Colombia, which was eliminated by the Dominican Republic in extra innings on Sunday.

Information about the tournament, which continues through March 22, including the schedule and pools, can be found at www.worldbaseballclassic.com.

 

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.

 

Transactions

Among non-roster invitees reassigned to minor league camp on Monday are catcher Dennis Ortega and pitchers Daniel Poncedeleon, Jack Flaherty, Sandy Alcantara, Robby Rowland and Trey Nielsen, reports Rob Rains of stlsportspage.com.

Update: The first five mentioned above were part of the 11 official cuts announced after Monday's game. However, Nielsen, who is with Team Italy in the WBC, was not among them. The additional NRIs are pitcher Austin Gomber and catchers Andrew Knizner and Jeremy Martinez. 40-man roster players optioned out are rehabbing pitcher Marco Gonzales, second baseman Eliezer Alvarez and shortstop Edmundo Sosa.

Earlier cuts were pitchers Junior Fernandez and Jake Woodford, late additions to camp to help cover heavy early game workloads.

These transactions drop the total number of players in camp to 55, including 18 NRIs, on the way to an opening roster of 25.

 

Injury Report

Pitchers Trevor Rosenthal (lat soreness) and Luke Weaver (back spasms) threw bullpen sessions on their way back to appearing in spring games. Weaver made a one-inning appearance in Sunday’s contest against the Marlins.

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Matt Carpenter (back tightness) has returned to spring action, but remains prohibited from swinging the bat.  Carpenter did drop down a bunt single in two at-bats in Thursday’s contest against the Astros.

Pitcher and outfielder Jordan Schafer was removed from Sunday’s game against the Marlins due to forearm soreness.

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Aledmys Diaz missed three games due to hamstring cramping.  Diaz was back in the lineup in Sunday’s outing against the Marlins.

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny missed Saturday’s and Sunday’s Spring Training games due to a bout with the flu. Bench coach David Bell filled in as acting manager.

 

Looking Ahead

The third week of spring games begins on Monday with a home game against the Astros with Michael Wacha scheduled to make this start.  The Cardinals will take an off day on Tuesday, then travel to Fort Myers on Wednesday to take on the Twins.  The Twins will come to Jupiter on Thursday.  On Friday, the Cardinals take on the Mets in Port St. Lucie. The Mets will be the visiting team at Roger Dean Stadium on Saturday, and the Cardinals will travel to Kissimmee for a game against the Braves on Sunday.

The full Spring Training schedule can be found here.  The updated spring game broadcasting schedule can be found here, at the TCN blog.

Opening Day is scheduled for Sunday, April 2.  The Cardinals play the Cubs at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday night, a game that will be televised on ESPN.  The Cardinals’ regular season schedule can be found here.

Minor league camp open

157 minor leaguers reported to camp this past week with their first games against external competition slated to begin this Friday, March 17. The Cardinal Nation will be there reporting on the action from the back fields of Jupiter for TCN members, with nightly game recaps again to be posted for free at The Cardinal Nation Blog.

Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation: Cardinals Welcome 157 to 2017 Minor League Camp

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