For the second straight day Thursday, the Cardinals fail to win their 17th game of the spring, this time losing to the New York Mets by the score of 9-5.
Cardinals' starter Adam Wainwright struck out eight in 5 1/3 innings, but he also walked four and allowed two runs. Wainwright has 19 K's in his past 15 1/3 innings. Lefthanded reliever Trever Miller saw his era balloon to 5.40 as he suffered his second blown save and was tagged with the loss, after he gave up seven runs, two of them earned, because of an error by Colby Rasmus in right field (put Rasmus in center). Jason Motte continued to look like a closer as he struck out two of the three batters he faced in the ninth inning to lower his ERA this spring to a Gibson like 0.96.
Offensively, shortstop Khalil Greene continues to swing one of the hottest bats in the Cardinals lineup this spring, as he had two hits and an RBI to raise his batting average to .404. outfielder Rick Ankiel doubled and scored a run. Skip Schumaker, who officially got the news yesterday from the front office that he is in fact, the Cardinals new second baseman, drew two walks and scored a run. Minor league fan favorite, outfielder Shane Robinson chipped in a solo home run in the bottom of the ninth to pull the Cardinals to within a grand slam of the Mets.
The Cardinals have seven more Grapefruit League games scheduled before they play their Triple-A affiliate, the Memphis Redbirds in two exhibition games, April 3rd & 4th. The Cardinals could set a new spring training franchise record, if they can win five of the seven remaining games. The Cardinals won 21 games in spring training in 1956 and 1997.
NOTES AND QUOTES
---According to the Cardinals general manager, Colby Rasmus, Joe Mather, Brian Barden, Brendan Ryan and Joe Thurston are all in competition for four spots remaining on the Cardinals 25-man roster. In addition, as we have reported for weeks that it was going to happen, Skip Schumaker is the Cardinals new second baseman. For what it is worth, I think you can rest assure that Rasmus will make the team out of spring training, leaving the other four to battle for the final three spots on the roster.
---Third baseman Troy Glaus traveled to Los Angeles Thursday for a scheduled checkup on his right shoulder, according to a St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Glaus, who is expected to return to the Cardinals' spring training facility Friday, still hasn't been cleared to resume baseball activities yet. Glaus isn't expected to see game time until extended spring training against minor league. There is no timetable for his return.
---Closer candidate Chris Perez is still trying to rebound for missing playing time because of a sore shoulder this spring. He's having trouble with the control of his breaking ball and my take at this time is he's going to have a hard time breaking camp with the major league club, that is, if the decision is based on his performance this spring. A veteran with more major league time would probably get a pass, but I don't see Perez getting one.
COLBY RASMUS WATCH
Colby had a costly error that opened the floodgates to allow the Mets to go on and score five unearned runs. The future star went 0-for-3 with a walk and a strike out on the day, leaving one runner on base, as the Cardinals top prospect's batting average drops to .270 this spring.
St. Louis heads west to Fort Myers, today for a matchup with the Red Sox at City of Palms Park. The Cardinals will continue their regular five-man pitching rotation as Kyle Lohse will face Josh Beckett in the 12:05 p.m. CT game
Broadcasts coming up; March 29 game at Fort Myers (MIN) and April 3 tilt, exhibition game at Memphis.
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