(BaseballStL)--The Cards try once more to get a game in here at Roger Dean Stadium without rain interrupting it. Yesterday, the contest against the Nationals was stopped after 4 innings.
Today, it's a split squad with half the team going to Viera to play the Nats again (Shelby Miller is starting that game) and the other half staying here to face the Braves. Mike Matheny and GM John Mozeliak are taking the road trip for the away game while Mike Aldrete and Derek Lilliquist are staying here to lead the Cards at Roger Dean Stadium. Here's the lineup for the home game:
1) Skip Schumaker - 2B
2) Jon Jay - CF
3) Carlos Beltran - DH
4) Steve Hill - 1B
5) Daniel Descalso - 3B
6) Shane Robinson - LF
7) Bryan Anderson - C
8) Erik Komatsu - RF
9) Ryan Jackson - SS
Jaime Garcia starts in Jupiter with Kyle McClellan, Jason Motte, Trevor Rosenthal, Joe Kelly and Scott Linebrink available on the mound.
Storylines to look out for:
The big story from today is that Lance Lynn has been announced as the official "Plan B" to be a starter in case Chris Carpenter is not ready to start the season. Lynn has always been a starting pitcher and actually prefers to do that. His potential looked to dramatically increase, however, when brought up to the majors last year and put in the bullpen. Lynn looked like a shut-down late inning reliever. But with Carpenter dealing with a bulging disc and waiting to see when he's going to be on a mound again, the Cards think it's serious enough to implement a backup plan. Turns out...Lance Lynn is that backup plan.
Garcia makes his second start of spring after being flat out dominant in his first. He had 2 perfect innings last time out while striking out 4. The key for Garcia going forward is his efficiency. He's got outstanding stuff with terrific movement and gets outs. That's not a question. His ERA the last two seasons have been incredible. It was 2.70 in 2010 and 3.56 in 2011. But the more efficient he is the deeper he's going to be able to go in games and the more innings he'll be able to throw total. The club intentionally held him back a couple seasons ago because he was coming off major surgery. Garcia threw just 163.1 innings. Last year they let him loose a little more and he ended up throwing 194.2 innings over 32 starts. That's barely over 6 innings a start. Not bad but not as good as he can be. For Garcia to take the next step he needs to be a consistent 7-inning guy. How does he do that? He needs to do a better job of not letting the big inning affect him. When things start to go wrong for Garcia...they tend to snowball into a disastrous inning. His pitch count skyrockets and he is forced to come out sooner than later. If he can minimize the damage during the big inning he can go 7 more often. That'd allow him to throw 215-220 innings a season. His value would dramatically increase if he could do that.
Look for Jon Jay and his patience at the plate. He's 3-9 so far (.333 batting average) but he's also taken a couple walks. So his on-base percentage this spring is .455 because of that. In Jay's career he's always been a .300 hitter. That's never been a question. But his career OBP is just .350. That's not bad but for someone who is going to be hitting near the top of the order a lot it could be better. If Jay could take a few more walks and get that OBP up to .375 or so...watch out. The other area I'm interested to watch with him is the power category. Jay hit 4 home runs in 2010 and more than doubled that number in 2011 (10). Could he hit a few more and get that up to 15? If so, Jay's value to the Redbirds would also skyrocket.
The battle for the backup catcher spot behind Yadier Molina continues today as Bryan Anderson gets the call here in Jupiter. Anderson is a lefty bat who is 2-4 so far this spring with a double and a run scored. His chief competition for that roster spot is Tony Cruz and Koyie Hill. Cruz is 2-5 while Hill is 1-5. Don't simply look at the offensive numbers though. A lot of the decision will come down to defense. Cruz is considered the superior defender but Anderson has made strides the last couple years. Hill is looked at as the veteran insurance policy.
Keep checking out KMOV.com plus our mobile and iPad apps for the latest updates from spring training.