The Cards took down the Mets 2-1 on a walk-off hit from Jon Jay in the bottom of the 9th inning, scoring Adron Chambers. Here are the items to take away from the day:
- Jake Westbrook continues to have a terrific spring training. He went 6 shutout innings today while giving up just 3 hits and striking out 3. Technically, he is yet to give up a run all spring but that doesn’t include a start against Washington that was rained out. Including that game (he did pitch it), he has allowed just one run in 4 starts (15 innings). He says he feels strong and can tell his stuff is getting results because he’s getting a lot of ground balls. Westbrook’s sinker is designed, like all sinkers, to get grounders. Well, in the past when he hasn’t been right...he’s gotten the ball up and that has resulted in some hard hit line drives. Westbrook doesn’t have good enough stuff to make mistakes up in the zone and get away with it. There’s only a select few that can. Guys like Adam Wainwright, Jason Motte, Eduardo Sanchez and even Lance Lynn throw hard enough to the point where they can miss up and maybe still get it by the hitter because of their arm. Westbrook doesn’t come close to falling into that category. If his ball isn’t down in the zone...it’s game over for him. So far this spring he has been exceptional in getting it down and getting the results desired. Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s going to carry this success over into the season. He says he’s had springs where he’s been terrific and gotten off to a horrible start. He says he’s also had springs where he’s been horrible but gotten off to a great start in the regular season. So you just don’t know.
- With Skip Schumaker out (more on that in a moment) there is room for another bench player on the roster. Most likely it’ll be an outfielder. That means guys like Erik Komatsu, Adron Chambers, Shane Robinson, even Matt Carpenter will be in the running to make the team. So it’s never too early to see who’s having the results and who isn’t. Komatsu went 1-1 in this game while Carpenter went 0-1, Chambers pinch ran and scored the game winner in the 9th, while Robinson didn’t make it in. Komatsu is having the most productive spring, numbers-wise, among the group. He has very good speed (not as good as Chambers, but good) and can play all 3 outfield positions. He’s hitting .314 in Grapefruit League play and has stolen a number of bases. He fits the mold of what this team looks for in a bench player. Versatile, speedy and smart. Plus, as a Rule 5 pick they have to keep him in the major leagues all season otherwise they have to offer him back to his original team for $25,000. The Cards typically take the path of least resistance in roster moves...meaning whatever keeps the rights to guys. It’s easier to send back someone like Carpenter and Chambers because you know you have them. If you don’t keep Komatsu you risk losing him.
- On Skip Schumaker and his oblique injury. He was walking through the clubhouse today and I asked him it felt any better. He said a resounding “no” to that. He’s quite frustrate that he won’t be able to play for a few weeks. Even though there will still be a lot of season left it hurts him. GM John Mozeliak knows how crucial he is to the team and that comes in leadership. So that will be a good thing for the team to have him around even though his ability won’t be there on the field. Skip means as much to this team off the field as he does on it.