Red Sox 5, Cardinals 3
It was a mostly nondescript afternoon at Roger Dean Stadium, which is why I’ll keep this wrap-up blog short. Given the distance Boston had to travel to play here, it was somewhat surprising to see the number of quality Major League pitchers who made the trip. It was a good early test for the Cardinals, though they only finished with seven hits. Boston had a lot more traffic on the basepaths.
Daniel Descalso delivered the Cardinals’ second home run of spring. There’s no concern about Descalso’s ability to handle himself defensively, which is why the infielder is focused heavily on improving his offensive numbers. In case you missed the story last week, here is a link to the piece I wrote after talking to Descalso about the offensive adjustments he has been making since last summer.
Matt Carpenter made his first start at second base and again looked plenty capable at the position. He didn’t have any especially challenging fielding opportunities but did make a sound flip to shortstop Ronny Cedeno to start a double play.
“He looked good, made every play that came to him,” manager Mike Matheny said of Carpenter. “I know there’s going to be some more communication as he learns. [There’s] still more to learn with each new guy that gets out there. I thought he and Cedeno did a nice job.”
Carpenter finished the game at first base, as the Cardinals are a little limited on their options at the position. Allen Craig (shoulder soreness) still hasn’t played the field, though he took two at-bats on Sunday. Matt Adams (left knee soreness) is the latest player to land on the day-to-day injury report. Adams woke up with swelling around his left knee after playing a full game on Saturday.
Craig went 1-for-2 with an RBI.
“It’s always fun to start a new season and come down here and play,” Craig said. “It’s always cool to see where you’re at after the work that I’ve put in. It felt good to get out there.”
Rafael Furcal was able to log two at-bats in his first game appearance. Matheny created his lineup around getting Furcal right-handed at-bats against a lefty pitcher. Furcal faced Jon Lester in the first inning. He was able to get another at-bat in the fourth when the Red Sox sent lefty Andrew Miller out in relief.
The Cardinals see no use in having Furcal swing right-handed against righty pitchers because he wouldn’t do so during the season. Furcal is not throwing or swinging from the left side at this time due to pain in his right elbow.
The Cardinals got a look at two of their Minor League lefty starters — John Gast and Tyler Lyons — on Sunday. Lyons was especially impressive and efficient in his two scoreless innings of work.
“There’s no question he has one of the best breaking balls in our organization,” Matheny said of Lyons. “He used it well. There’s not much of a secret to pitching, especially early in the spring. The guys who have gone out and done a nice job of working the counts have had success. The same thing continues through the season.”
Adam Wainwright is scheduled to make his spring debut on Monday against the new AL-West member Astros. Also scheduled to pitch are: Seth Maness, Mitchell Boggs, Kevin Siegrist, Jason Motte, Barret Browning and Keith Butler.
Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB