Randal Grichuk (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports Images)

A recap of St. Louis Cardinals-related news from the period of March 27 through April 2, 2017

Last week’s St. Louis Cardinals news includes a close to a successful spring, two exhibition games, the season opener and a major contract signing.

Spring Training game recaps

Monday, March 27 - Cardinals 3 at Astros 2

The St. Louis Cardinals’ last week of Spring Training began with a contest against the Astros at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.  In a close game, the Cardinals came out victorious.  It was the final tune up for Opening Day starter Carlos Martinez, who pitched five innings and gave up two runs on three hits. Martinez was followed by scoreless innings from Tyler Lyons, Jonathan Broxton, and Kevin Siegrist.

Matt Adams’ RBI single in the first inning got the Redbirds on the board.  Kolten Wong smoked a triple into the right field corner in the second to plate the second run.  Martinez followed in that same inning with a line drive single to bring the third and final run home.

 

Tuesday, March 28 - Cardinals 3 at Mets 3

This final spring tilt against the Mets ended in a tie.  Adams continued his spring success with a three run bomb in the fourth to give the Cardinals the 3-0 lead.  The Mets tied it up in the bottom of the fourth and that was all the scoring.

Adam Wainwright started on the bump, and gave up all the Mets runs on a three run home run by Lucas Duda.  Wainwright surrendered four additional hits in five innings pitched, while fanning three and issuing no free passes.  Miguel Socolovich, and Seung-Hwan Oh added two scoreless innings each.

 

Wednesday, March 29 - Cardinals 6, Nationals 2

In this final game at home in Jupiter, the Cardinals took care of the Nationals, and ended the Grapefruit League season with a record 20 wins.  Facing Stephen Strasburg, the Cardinals tallied three runs against the starter.  Matt Carpenter plated the first run in the first inning on a sac fly.  Dexter Fowler tripled in the third to bring a second run home, and several batters later Jhonny Peralta plated two on a single to center.  Carpenter placed another run on the board in the fifth on his second sac fly. Jose Martinez’ double in the sixth brought the final run across.

Michael Wacha went four innings, giving up both Nats’ runs on five hits.  Wacha struck out four and walked one.  Following was Arturo Reyes, newly acquired Josh Zeid, Ryan Sherriff, and finally, Matt Bowman.  All the relievers pitched scoreless ball.

 

Thursday, March 30 - Cardinals 9 at Redbirds 3

The Cardinals put the finishing touches on Spring Training with exhibition games at their Triple-A and Double-A affiliates.   This Thursday night contest took place in Memphis against the Triple-A Redbirds.  The roster lines were blurred as several Memphis players participated for both teams during the evening. 

The Cardinals scored often and early. It began in the first inning with back to back home runs by Jhonny Peralta and Yadier Molina.  Peralta hit a two run shot, while Molina’s long ball was solo.  Jedd Gyorko plated an additional first inning run on a ground ball force out.  In the second, Aledmys Diaz copied his teammates with his own two run home run.  Gyorko followed in the third with a solo shot.  The last two Cardinals runs scored on a wild pitch in the fourth, and an RBI single by Stephen Piscotty in the fifth.

The mound was governed by St. Louis’ bullpen. Jonathan Broxton began with a scoreless inning. Seung Hwan Oh and Brett Cecil followed with a scoreless inning each.  Sam Tuivailala pitched two, surrendering the first Memphis run.  Rowan Wick and Zach Phillips followed with scoreless innings.  Josh Lucas started the eighth, and gave up two more runs to Memphis.  Miguel Socolovich pitched a clean ninth.

 

Friday, March 31 - Cardinals 5 at Springfield Cardinals 2

The second exhibition game took place in Springfield against the Double-A Cardinals.  This game featured an actual St. Louis starter, Mike Leake.  Leake pitched seven strong innings, allowing only one run on six hits, while fanning eight.  Two Springfield roster pitchers followed, Sandy Alcantara, and Dakota Hudson.  Hudson surrendered the second Springfield run in the ninth.

The St. Louis offense had a tough time against Springfield starter Jack Flaherty.  The big league club didn’t score until the seventh inning, after Flaherty had left the game.  The first St. Louis run was provided by a Springfield roster player, Dickie Joe Thon, who plated the first run on a ground ball force out.  Greg Garcia followed with a two run single to center field.  A fourth St. Louis run scored in the eighth on a throwing error, and Matt Adams’ RBI single in the eighth brought the final run home.

 

For more information

2017 St. Louis Cardinals Spring Training Recap

 

Regular Season game recaps

Sunday, April 2 - Cardinals 4, Cubs 3

It was Opening Night in Busch Stadium, and the festivities as well as the game didn’t disappoint.  Carlos Martinez got the start and he dazzled.  The right hander delivered 7 1/3 scoreless innings, fanning 10 and walking none.  Martinez allowed six hits.  Seung-Hwan Oh came in in the eighth with one out, and after hitting his first batter, retired the last two to end the inning.  Things did not go so well for the closer in the ninth, as he gave up a three run home run to tie the game following a fielding miscue by Matt Carpenter.  The offense bailed Oh out in the bottom frame and he took the win, since the tie had taken away the deserved victory from Martinez.

http://www.scout.com/player/142090-randal-grichuk?s=321

The Cardinals managed one run against Cubs starter Jon Lester.  A leadoff single by Dexter Fowler, who then advance to third on a hit by Aledmys Diaz, set things up for a sac fly by Matt Carpenter.  St. Louis maintained a 1-0 lead until the eighth, when Randal Grichuk smoked a two run home run for a 3-0 lead going into the ninth.  After the Cubs tied the game, in the bottom of the ninth, pinch hitter Jose Martinez doubled, and Yadier Molina was intentionally walked.  Kolten Wong drew a walk to load the bases, and once again Grichuk was the hero, hitting a walkoff single.

 

Molina signs a three-year extension

With a negotiation deadline looming by first pitch on Opening Day, the Cardinals announced in a 1 p.m. press conference, that an agreement had been reached with Yadier Molina on a contract extension.  It had been reported for several days that an agreement was close, but fans waited anxiously for news that some felt wasn’t going to come.

http://www.scout.com/player/67461-yadier-molina?s=321

The agreement keeps Molina a Cardinal through 2020.  The deal is for $60 million over three years with no cash deferred.  The long tenured Cardinal catcher will turn 35 on July 13, so the deal takes him through his age 38 season.  The deal does not guarantee Molina will end his career as a Cardinal, but makes it much more likely.

Molina was the fourth round pick by the Cardinals in the 2000 draft, and made his MLB debut in 2004 as backup catcher to Mike Matheny.  The last year of the extension will mark 17 years for Molina as the team’s catcher.

The extension makes Molina the highest paid catcher in average annual value in the majors.  Molina has eight Gold Gloves, two Platinum Gloves, and two World Series Championship, and is widely regarded as Hall of Fame worthy. He now has four more years to pad his Hall of Fame resume.

 

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

During the week, reporter Jon Heyman wondered aloud in an article whether the Cardinals might be a “sleeper” to acquire White Sox left-hander Jose Quintana later this season. There appeared to be no new information provided, but that still opened the door for widespread renewed speculation about a potential trade.

 

Transactions

The Cardinals placed P Zach Duke on the 60 day disabled list.  In the corresponding move, the Cardinals purchased the contract of C Eric Fryer.

http://www.scout.com/player/118242-eric-fryer?s=321

Pitchers Tyler Lyons, Trevor Rosenthal, Alex Reyes, and John Gant were placed on the 10-day disabled list.

P Sam Tuivailala was recalled from the Memphis Redbirds to replace Rosenthal on the active roster.

 

Injury Report

Pitchers Trevor Rosenthal (lat strain) John Gant (groin strain), Tyler Lyons (right knee) and Alex Reyes (Tommy John surgery) were placed on the 10-day disabled list.  Lyons begins the season on the DL as he continues to rehab from knee surgery.  Reyes will miss the season with Tommy John surgery.  The injuries to Rosenthal and Gant are not serious and both are expected to return to play shortly.

http://www.scout.com/player/133929-trevor-rosenthal?s=321

OF Randal Grichuk was hit on the hand by a pitch and did not appear in the exhibition game against the Memphis Redbirds.  Grichuk returned to the lineup in the exhibition game against Springfield.

P Lance Lynn was scheduled to start the exhibition in Memphis, but after experiencing rib soreness, the Cardinals kept him behind in Florida to pitch to minor leaguers in camp instead. Lynn reportedly passed the Thursday test and was announced as the starter in Game 3 of the regular season, the finale of the Cubs series on Wednesday.

 

Looking Ahead

St. Louis has an off day Monday, then finish the three game series against the Cubs at home on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Adam Wainwright will get the Tuesday start, followed by Lance Lynn. 

The Cardinals remain at home to take on the Reds in a three game weekend set after an off day on Thursday.  St. Louis then travels to Washington to begin a three game series against the Nationals.  After an off day on Thursday, the team heads to New York for a weekend interleague series against the Yankees.  The Cardinals then come home to take on the Pirates.

The Cardinals’ regular season schedule can be found here.

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