Tigers 17, Cardinals 5

wpid-0310140942.jpgJenifer Langosch/MLB.com

There’s not too much too add separate of the game story (which highlights all the hard contact made by the Tigers) and this item in the notebook (which features some candid comments from the manager). But, boy, seeing 28 runs on 37 hits and 12 walks is exhausting for a two-day period.

The Cardinals’ pitching has not shined this spring. The staff ERA of 6.80 is worst in the Majors and only one team (the Cubs) have issued more walks per game than St. Louis (4.3). There were four more walks on Monday to take the spring total to 43.

“I don’t like it,” Matheny said of the walks, “and especially when you see it from a couple of guys who don’t typically walk people. We have some other guys that are still pretty green and have had a history of walking people and hit batsmen and they’ve been pretty consistent with doing that as well. But we have a couple guys who aren’t typically off the plate [that] have been. Those are things we know will change as they get going a little longer, but right now that usually adds up to some long games and some big numbers.”

Yes, it’s Spring Training, where the results don’t count and where it’s risky to jump to conclusions by looking at a small sample size of results. But as we get deeper into March, the Cardinals would certainly like to see a collective improvement on the pitching end.

***

Non-roster reliever Pat Neshek had the best day of any of the six St. Louis pitchers to take the mound. But Shelby Miller’s wasn’t all that bad either. Efficiency (hurt by a high number of foul balls) was again a problem and something that Miller continues to target for improvement. But aside from giving Miguel Cabrera something he could hit, Miller made few mistakes.

“Obviously, I made a couple of mistakes pitching but everything felt good, my arm felt good,” Miller said afterward. “I felt like my fastball command wasn’t near as good as I wanted to be. You’re going to have days where you’re a little off. I made some good pitches and made a couple bad ones. I obviously didn’t want to give up any runs, but at the same time, I felt good and I felt like I’m getting better out there.”

Miller notched two strikeouts with his four-seam fastball and another two with his cutter, which continues to be an effective pitch for him.

His 56-pitch outing ended with Cabrera’s two-run homer. Angry at himself for not successfully pitching around Cabrera, Miller hit his glove on the ground as the reigning MVP rounded the bases.

“I think it’s just a little bit a lack of focus,” Matheny said. “But good hitter, no question. Everybody knows that. But you have to finish it. He probably knew he was close to his ending, too, and if you let your guard down for a minute in this game, these guys are too good. They’re going to make you pay.”

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