(BaseballStL) -- The last time Michael Wacha was on a mound in game action it was at Fenway Park in Game 6 of the World Series. It was a start Wacha would soon want to forget because it led to the Red Sox clinching the title over the Cardinals.
Out to show his 2013 campaign was no fluke, Wacha starts anew in 2014 with a long list of individual goals he would prefer not to share with anyone. He faces the Mets this afternoon backed by this Mike Matheny lineup:
1) Matt Carpenter - 3B
2) Peter Bourjos - CF
3) Matt Holliday - LF
4) Allen Craig - RF
5) Yadier Molina - DH
6) Matt Adams - 1B
7) Mark Ellis - 2B
8) Tony Cruz - C
9) Pete Kozma - SS
Following Wacha will be a group consisting of lefty prospect Tim Cooney, Kevin Siegrist, Eric Fornataro, Keith Butler, Pat Neshek, Jorge Rondon and Zack Petrick.
-- With the exception of Molina DH'ing, thus not catching, and Jhonny Peralta not being in the lineup this has a fairly regular look to it that could resemble what you see in St. Louis. Mark Ellis got a hit in his very first at-bat yesterday while Kolten Wong struggled in his opener on Friday. That in no way suggests today's lineup decision by Mike Matheny means things are pointing that way. But it does show this competition for second base is far closer than most people realize. Ellis is a very nice talent. Even in his mid-30s he's still capable of playing top notch defense while giving very good at-bats for depth at the bottom of the order. Wong may be the future, but it won't be so easy for him to grab all the at-bats in the present.
-- Keep an eye on Tim Cooney if he gets in. With, at this point, the Cardinals projecting an all right-handed starting rotation (Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Shelby Miller, Lance Lynn, Joe Kelly) their depth in AAA-Memphis will be primarily lefties. Tyler Lyons was terrific yesterday and should be the first man up if someone gets hurt. But Cooney will be right there with him as insurance. He has an impressive repertoire of pitches and handled himself well at AA-Springfield a season ago. Cooney could put himself in the big league picture with a strong showing in camp.
-- I find it fascinating that Pete Kozma continues to get the starts at shortstop when Jhonny Peralta doesn't play. One would have assumed entering camp that Daniel Descalso would be the primary backup at that position, not Kozma. And a couple games early in spring training offer little to gather information because there's a lot of Grapefruit League games left. But it is a tad surprising to me that Descalso hasn't gotten more time at shortstop in place of Peralta. Maybe Kozma's chances of making the team aren't as farfetched as once thought.