Matheny brings his 'A' line-up to battle the Marlins
St. Louis Cardinals' Matt Holliday hits a single in the first inning of a spring training baseball game against the Miami Marlins in Jupiter, Fla., Friday, March 16, 2012. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) By Patrick Semansky
JUPITER, FL - FEBRUARY 29: Yadier Molina #4 of the St. Louis Cardinals poses during photo day at Roger Dean Stadium on February 29, 2012 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) By Mike Ehrmann
JUPITER, FL - MARCH 12: Carlos Beltran #3 of the St. Louis Cardinals bats against the Atlanta Braves at Roger Dean Stadium on March 12, 2012 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images) By Marc Serota
(BaseballStL)--The Cards and the Marlins do battle at Roger Dean Stadium once more in Grapefruit League play. Mike Matheny rolls out the "A" lineup to back Adam Wainwright:
1) Rafael Furcal - SS
2) Carlos Beltran - RF
3) Matt Holliday - LF
4) Lance Berkman - 1B
5) David Freese - DH
6) Yadier Molina - C
7) Jon Jay - CF
8) Tyler Greene - 2B
9) Daniel Descalso - 3B
Wainwright will be followed by ...
Storylines to look for today:
-- Adam Wainwright makes his 3rd start of spring today and will approach the 60 pitch limit per Mike Matheny. He's got 2 more starts this spring so he could get to 80 in his next one and then 100 in the final one before kicking off the season. At this point Mike Matheny might have to start thinking about getting Wainwright on turn for Opening Day. Chris Carpenter was supposed to get the ball for that but with Carpenter's neck injury he very possibly won't be ready for it. Carp's thrown a bullpen session but admitted he is going to need at least another (and possibly two more) before going into a spring game. He'll throw to hitter today. Then how many games does he need before getting the ball in a regular season game? All that adds up to Chris Carpenter most likely not being ready for Opening Day. Matheny says they haven't ruled anything out but it's definitely in question.
-- Mike Matheny once again is sending out his starters for this game in the field. Coming into spring training no one had any idea what type of manager Mike Matheny was going to be as far as using certain lineups in spring. So there really is no track record. But, historically this is pretty early to start rolling out your starters every game. I did talk to Lance Berkman the other day about playing so much. I asked how he drew the assignment of going to Fort Myers. His response "I need to play". So there you go. Even the veterans want a lot of reps at this point in spring.
-- Update on Skip Schumaker. He's going to get an MRI on his oblique tomorrow to discover the severity of the injury. Matheny says he is feeling a little bit better but that's nothing to get excited about at this point. He also says they have to be prepared for him to not be ready for Opening Day. Looking at the bench, this is something the Cards should be able to handle for a little bit. Skip's a utility guy who's capable of handing 2nd base along with all 3 outfield spots. In his absence, that could mean more opportunities for Alex Cora and possibly Adron Chambers and/or Erik Komatsu (who has played extremely well). Oblique injuries typically take a few weeks to heal but the MRI has not been done yet so it's impossible to say at this point exactly how long Schumaker will be out.
-- It's another day with Carlos Beltran hitting in the 2nd spot in the order with Jon Jay dropping to the bottom. It's something to keep an eye on because Matheny could be tipping his hand just slightly in what he's thinking going into the season. Beltran in the 2-hole could provide some immense danger while sacrificing depth down in the lineup. The opposite is true if you flip-flop Beltran and Jay. You'd get a pretty good contact hitter with a decent on-base percentage at the top but you'd have very little power. Then the lineup would be extended further down with Beltran in the 4, 5 or 6 spot. To start camp Jay was almost exclusively hitting 2nd but lately it's been Beltran there. Matheny has said he prefers to get his best hitters up to the plate as many times as possible (something all managers obviously say) but, by definition, that would require putting Beltran 2. If I had to take a guess right now, I see him hitting Beltran 2nd after Furcal with Holliday, Berkman, Freese and Molina following in the 3-6 spots. Then Jay and Greene would hit 7 and 8 in some order. Just like it is today.
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