Final, Cardinals win 15-4: So the Red Sox get a couple runs on an Overbay triple and Hamilton double, but ultimately fall to the Redbirds 15-4. However, as we will continue to remind you, Red Sox fans can take solace in the fact that this score means absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of anything.
But that being said, what can the Red Sox take away from this game?
Well, first and foremost, Ryan Dempster looked great in his two innings of work, allowing one baserunner on an error but nothing more. The fact that Dempster’s seven batters went well belies the more important fact that he came through the game healthy and looks to be where he should be at this time of the year — but six nearly flawless outs are nice to see, too.
Also, on the offensive end, Ryan Lavarnway and Lyle Overbay showing something with the bat after some tough trips to the plate was a positive sign. With Mike Carp getting the RBI double last game, Overbay’s triple perhaps evened things up in the race for that 25th slot on the active roster. Yes, hat means results this spring matter a little bit more for Overbay and Carp than they do for other players.
Aside from that, he bullpen was rocked a little bit, but credit Clayton Mortensen for having a nice bounce-back inning.
Anyway, we’re going to sign off here from your Red Sox live blog, but we’d like to thank you for following along during a tough game during the dog days of early spring. We’ll be seeing you again tomorrow, where NESN Red Sox writer Ricky Doyle will take over, but, in the meantime you can follow this live blogger at @ZachStoloff for baseball analysis, qitty quips and other entertaining stuff.
Mid 9th, Cardinals 15-2: The Cardinals get a two-out walk and a double, but the Red Sox hold them to their 15-run total.
Not the most encouraging effort from the relief corps today, but keep in mind, most of the guys who have been run out here aren’t in line for the major league roster. In fact, many of the faces we’ve seen today are mid- to late-20s non-prospects which are really only around for roster depth, and may not have much of a big league career in front of them.
End 8th, Cardinals 15-2: Quick inning there for the Sox, who go down in order to new Cardinals pitcher Eduardo Sanchez.
So, on the order of off-topic things, this live blogger is a huge fan of the movie Super Troopers. As in, it’s not just a great comedy, but great cinema in general. As a comedy, its jokes are just so well timed and clever, it’s two steps above your typical Vince Vaughn fare.
So, in that vein, do you think Joba Camberlain looks like Rod Farva? Well, here you go, enjoy:
(@MLB) February 26, 2013
Mid 8th, Cardinals 15-2: So, not such a great half inning there for the 26-year-old Anthony Carter, who gives up three runs (though none are earned) off of three hits and a throwing error.
Well, looking at where the score is at this point, this live blogger feels like he may have failed in terms of witty quips. That being said, he promises to make this live blog more entertaining (read: off-topic) from here on out. If here’s any relevant baseball news or analysis, we’ll pass that along, too, but suffice to say this is the kind of game where entertainment needs to be sought after.
End 7th, Cardinals 12-2: The veteran Randy Choate comes on for the Cardinals, who sets the Red Sox down in order.
Choate’s been in the big leagues since 2000 with the Yankees, bouncing around with five clubs since then. St. Louis would mark his sixth major league stop.
In that last half inning, Dan Butler singles before Overbay, Mark Hamilton and Justin Henry (no relation to John Henry) go down to end the inning.
Mid 7th, Cardinals 12-2: So, the wheels fell of he bus for Pedro Beato in that last half inning.
For those who may not remember, Beato was the player to be named later the Red Sox received from the Mets to complete he Kelly Shoppach trade. Boston actually designated Beato for assignment back in December, but he passed through waivers and is in camp with the Sox.
However, that 7th inning was a disaster for the 26-year-old, yielding four runs on four hits and a walk while recording just one out. Sergio Espinosa came on in relief to shut down the Cardinals and end the bleeding.
End 6th, Cardinals 8-2: Jorge Rondon comes on for the Cardinals and, after giving up a single to Drew Sutton, puts the Red Sox down.
We are thoroughly into the part of the game where the players become less familiar, but Jose Iglesias took a third at-bat that last half inning. In fact, he lined a shot to the shortstop, continuing his trend of putting good wood on the ball. So, once again, Iglesias looks like a new man this spring — a man who suddenly learned how to hit.
Mid 6th, Cardinals 8-2: Not a good inning if you’re Red Sox minor leaguer Jose De La Torre.
For those who don’t remember, De La Torre is the player the Red Sox received from the Indians in return for Brent Lillibridge — who, you may remember, was the player the team received from the White Sox for Kevin Youkilis.
In any case, the Cardinals light up the 27-year-old non-prospect for 5 runs on four hits and a free pass in the top of the sixth.
End 5th, Cardinals 3-2: Ah, some offensive life for the Red Sox.
After Bradley grounded out to open the inning, Nava reached on an error and was driven in on a double by Lavarnway. After a strikeout by Lyle overbay (batting for Mike Carp), Mauro Gomez singled to bring home the Red Sox catcher.
So, it’s nice to see some offense coming from Lavarnway. He absoluely has he power and approach to be successful at the plate in the big leagues, the problem (at times) is a swing that can grow a little too long. Lavarnway may start the year at Pawtucket, but chances are he’ll end up getting some at-bats with the big club this season.
Mid 5th, Cardinals 3-0: Alex Wilson comes on in relief of Clayton Mortensen and puts the Cardinals down in order.
Just a brief on Wilson, the right-hander throws from a three-quarters arm slot, so there’s some intrinsic deception in his delivery. He’s 6-foot-1 and about 215 pounds, and at 26 is definitely exhausting his prospect status. However, he converted to relief pitching full-time in 2012, so we’ll see if his new role yields benefits.
End 4th, Cardinals 3-0: The Red Sox get three baserunners in the bottom half of the fourth, but again can’t do anything with them.
Anyway, let’s talk about Ryan Sweeney, who grounded into a force out in that last half inning. I’ve had the opportunity to talk to Sweeney at a couple different points in his career, and the one thing that is surprising to me about his game is that he never really developed power. If you’ve ever stood next to him, Sweeney is an absolute hulk of a human being — just a huge, well-built guy. Nonetheless, he’s just never developed the power stroke he was expected to.
That all being said, he’s still a very valuable player (I’d argue moreso than Daniel Nava) because of his ability to play any outfield spot, and his on-base skills. There’s always going to be a deficit with Sweeney between his actual abilities and what we perceive of him, but, overlooking perception, he’s an undervalued player.
Mid 4th, Cardinals 3-0: Nice bounce-back inning for Mortensen there, who gets the Cardinals to go down in order.
Mortensen and Scott Atchison (who’s now in camp with the Mets on a minor league deal) were the most unheralded parts of an unheralded bullpen in 2012. Despite the fact that the pen yielded 22 blown saves (tied with the Angels for most in the American League), that’s a stat which doesn’t tell the full story of a patchwork back end.
Atchison, despite his elbow issues, was downright dominant at times, while Mortensen has a deceptive delivery similar to 2000s setup man Scot Shields, and had a solid campaign, himself, with an ERA of 3.21 in 42 innings.
End 3rd, Cardinals 3-0: Maikel Cleto comes on for the Cardinals and puts the Red Sox down in order, 1-2-3.
Cleto’s only 23 years old and has a really arm, but already he’s bounced around between organizations. He was part of the J.J. Putz trade between Arizona and Seattle a few years back, and then before the 2011 season was traded from the Mariners to St. Louis for Brendan Ryan (who, in all fairness, has probably the best facial hair in Major League Baseball).
Nonetheless, any pitcher who can throw in the upper 90s is going to get chances, and Cleto’s about ready to transition to the major leagues on a more regular basis.
Mid 3rd, Cardinals 3-0: Well, Clayton Mortensen’s first appearance of the spring didn’t go as planned.
The right-hander yields a pair of runs after getting the first two batters of the inning. Tony Cruz gets the big hit, knocking a bases-clearing double to center field that scores Descalso and Chambers.
That’s a little unfortunate for Mortensen, who looked to be struggling with command and for whom results during the spring matter a little bit more than others. The Sox have about 10 players vying for seven spots in the bullpen, an moreover Mortensen is out of minor league options, meaning he’s have to pass through waivers if the Red Sox wanted to send him down to Pawtucket again.
End 2nd, 0-0: Well, the Red Sox get a couple baserunners and again fail to score, but that’s far from what’s most important right now.
How about Jose Iglesias? I’ll admit that I’m about as skeptical as anyone of the shortstop’s ability to develop into a good enough hitter to stick in the major leagues, but he’s certainly challenging that assumption this spring. With a home run in his first game and an RBI single on Monday, you’ve got to be impressed with Iglesias’ approach at the plate.
We’ll temper the 23-year-old’s hot start by, again, noting that it’s only the early spring, but if Iglesias is to develop into a solid hitter, this would be where it starts.
Mid 2nd, 0-0: Jonathan Diaz makes an error on Oscar Taveras’ ground ball to second base, but Dempster works around it and otherwise has a perfect outing on the day. Unfortunately we don’t have access to (reliable) pitch count information this early in the spring, but although it seems like Dempster should be well below his 30-pitch plateau, it stands to figure he’s done for the day after two innings.
If so, then it was certainly a successful day for the big right-hander. I’ll end up sounding like a broken record by he end of the spring, but since results don’ matter, most pitchers just end up hoping their arm feels good after early spring starts. Nonetheless, Dempster looks a little ahead of the curve, keeping the Cardinals hitters off balance.
End 1st, 0-0: Missed opportunity for the Red Sox there. Jackie Bradley Jr. and Daniel Nava begin the inning with hard-hit singles (Bradley’s of the infield variety), but Ryan Lavarnway, Mike Carp and Mauro Gomez leave them stranded.
At this time of the year, that’s nothing much to sweat, however. Unfortunately, what you would have liked to have seen is Ryan Lavarnway, especially, have a better at-bat. The young catcher struggled with the bat after his call-up last season, and what you’d like to see this spring is a better approach at the plate; for him to see more pitches.
However, Lavarnway strikes out swinging on three pitches, unable to do much as move the runners along.
Mid 1st, 0-0: Good first inning for Dempster there, who sets down the Cardinals 1-2-3. He got Chambers to fly out to Bradley in center, struck out Daniel Descalso and got Matt Carpenter to ground out to second.
That’s certainly the kind of tone Dempster wanted to start early in the spring, as he’ll be counted on as an innings-eater and rotation leader on the Red Sox staff.
1:37 p.m.: We seem to be underway at JetBlue Park, with Ryan Dempster on the hill facing Adron Chambers.
And, if you care to know, the umpires for today’s game are Brian O’Nora behind the plate, Jeff Kellogg at first, Chad Whitson at second and Kolin Kline at third.
1:25 p.m.: Hey all, officially signing on for the day, and set to bring you all your need-to-know baseball analysis. But first, let’s check in with the Cardinals’ starting lineup:
Adron Chambers, LF
Daniel Descalso, 3B
Matt Carpenter, 2B
Tony Cruz, C
Oscar Taveras, CF
Ronny Cedeno, SS
Justin Christian, RF
Ryan Jackson, 1B
Rob Johnson, DH
Jaime Garcia, RHP
8:30 a.m.: Your starting nine for today:
Jackie Bradley, CF
Daniel Nava, LF
Ryan Lavarnway, C
Mike Carp, DH
Mauro Gomez, 1B
Ryan Sweeney, RF
Drew Sutton, 3B
Jose Iglesias, SS
Jonathan Diaz, 2B
Ryan Dempster, P
8 a.m. ET: After splitting the two games that comprised Monday’s split-squad action, we’d say that the Red Sox are looking to bounce back — except for the fact that no one really cares about results and scores at this time of the year.
However, the games still matter, in a sense, and they definitely still matter to someone like Ryan Dempster (12-8, 3.38 in 2012), who will be looking to make an impression upon his new teammates with his first start in a Red Sox uniform. Dempster gets the call on Tuesday, and he’ll be looking for about two innings or about 30 pitches worth of work.
On the other end, Jaime Garcia (7-7, 3.92 in 2012) gets the ball for the St. Louis Cardinals. He’s trying to bounce back from a shoulder malady that limited him to 20 trips to the hill in 2012. Normally, teams avoid pitchers with shoulder injuries the way Manti Te’o avoids the film Catfish, but apparently the Cardinals believe Garcia is fully recovered from his health woes. The team is counting on the 26-year-old to hold down a rotation spot, which is largely the reason St. Louis doesn’t have an interest in free agent Kyle Lohse.
Anyway, there’s no telling who will be on the field in a game this early in the spring, so we’ll bring you the lineups and, as Vin Scully would say, “all the stats and stories” from Fort Myers leading up to first pitch at 1:35 p.m. And, if you’re so inclined, you can follow this live blogger at @ZachStoloff for witty quips like the one above, or to chat Red Sox and all things MLB any time.
Photo via Twitter/Boston Red Sox