St. Louis Cardinals traveled to Port St. Lucie for a re-match against the New York Mets for their second Spring exhibition game Sunday.
Adam Wainwright (38) and Carlos Martinez (28) both made their Spring debuts Sunday. One of Cardinals' top priorities of Spring training was to fill one rotation spot. Since starter Miles Mikolas (flexor tendon) was placed on the IL six days ago and won't be available for Opening Day or early season, their need has been bumped to two spots to fill.
ADAM WAINWRIGHT RETIRED AFTER 39 PITCHES
Wainwright came to the mound with a Cardinals one run lead by Harrison Bader's 'lead-off' solo shot in the top of the inning. His first inning on Sunday was pretty much smooth sailing. But, found he had to deal with a very 'tight' strike zone. Even though, he got his three outs facing Mets starting four with two groundouts and one pop out. In the interim did issue a walk. The corners of the strike zone were not as apparent to the home plate umpire as Wainwright thought they should be.
His second inning became a 'work load'. The inning began with a solo homer by Jake Marisnick to tie the game one all. Next up, Thomas Nido slugged out a single before Wainwright had his two outs. Then, he issued yet another walk for two runners on and total of 39 pitches in his 1.2 IP. Which during early Spring play, a starter is held to two innings or 35 (+/-) pitches. Even though a tight strike zone, I feel Wainwright realizes a bit more 'tweaking' is needed for him to be effective.
Manager Mike Shildt made the switch and prospect RHP prospect Angel Rondon followed Wainwright and got the third out on a ground out for his Spring debut.
CARLOS MARTINEZ ON THE BUMP FOR 1.1 IP
C Martinez called for the third and continued into the fourth inning. He was retired right at 35 pitches. I use the proverbial 'But'. His debut equaled some of his performances of 2019.
He faced a total of ten hitters,
In the third, he got his first out on his first batter faced. Gave up two singles, then settled in to close the inning with a groundout and a strikeout.
In the fourth, the Mets worked him well. He began by loading the bases with a single, a RBI double and a walk issued. His first out came on a fielder's choice at third. He issued his second walk to 're-load' the bags. Yes, Shildt made a switch.
Carlos Martinez, yes, dealt with the same calls by the HPU. But I felt he looked to be struggling to find his command and control. His focus was not zoned in ~ concentration was alluding him. Just my opinion.
Cardinals prospect Ramon Santos making his Spring debut. A major undertaking for the young hurler with Mets now holding a one run lead. With only one out on the board and a major log jammed. Top-of-the-order, J. D. Davis punched out a sac-fly RBI. The catch by 2B Max Schrock was made close to first base. His throw to home, catcher Andrew Knizner was not quite squared up to complete and make the tag on incoming Ryan Cordell. However, I feel, Knizner saved a possible additional run by corralling the throw as best he could while it rolled away within reaching distance. Mets now held a 3-1 lead over the Cardinals. Santos got the third out on Mets prospect Jeremy Vasquez swinging.
CARDINALS LATE OFFENSIVE SURGE FOR THE 3-3 TIE
Top of the eighth, Mets prospect RHP Franklyn Kilome faced Schrock, top-of-the-order, who slugged out a triple to deep right. Cardinals prospect Edmundo Sosa who had come into the game in fourth to cover shortstop, to the plate. On a 2-1 count, Sosa sends a missile out over the left wall for a two-run homer to tie the game.
Sosa, part of Cardinals 2019 Spring camp, was called up from Memphis Triple-A by the Cardinals in 2019. He had a short stint in July, then recalled as part of the 'September call-ups'. However, as it goes for a young player, during his time with St. Louis he only had a total of eight at-bats for a .250 BA. He is one player that will be competing for a utility role come Opening Day. He plays three infield positions - SS, 2B and 3B.
Special Note: Harrison Bader (lead-off) was 2-3/1 HR/1 RBI, Max Schrock, 2-3/1-3B/1 Run and Edmundo Sosa, 2-2/1 HR/2 RBI.
WOODFORD HOLDS METS
Prospect RHP Jake Woodford took over for the Cardinals in the eighth. He did give up a couple of hits, but got two K's and a groundout to hold the Mets scoreless. Shildt was comfortable with his performance and brought him back for the ninth. He added another K, did issue a walk; however, got his double play for the Cardinals-Mets first Spring tie, Final: 3-3.
THREE BATTER MINIMUM
One of the newest MLB rules handed down to begin in the upcoming season is that a pitcher must face a minimum of three hitters ~ OR ~ pitch to the end of a half-inning.
I believe we are aware of the new rule. If I'm understanding the commentators explanation they have reiterated, a replacement pitcher closes an inning he is not required to return for the next inning played, even if he has not faced the minimum requirement. Should my concept be incorrect, please let me know. Therefore, a bit of 'micro-managing' the bullpen may be possible? Roll of the dice results.
And, since an 'inning' in baseball is recorded in thirds. What constitutes 'half' of an inning?
Tongue in cheek question. Did no one explain to Commissioner Manfred there are no "half innings"? At least not that I'm aware of. Nitpicking?
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