Results tagged ‘ Jaime Garcia ’

Sunday tidbits: Holliday in, Franklin still the choice

Yet another beautiful day in San Francisco. If you’ve never been to this park, seriously, get here. For my money, best place for a game in the Major Leagues.

* Matt Holliday is in the lineup and playing with basically no restrictions. He expects to be pretty much an everyday guy from here on out.

* TLR said that Ryan Franklin is still the closer, though Franklin is not available today except in case of emergency. He actually did entertain questions about the topic today, and we had a pretty good chat with him about it. And in short, his answer is that he and the club do not believe that Mitchell Boggs, Jason Motte, Miguel Batista or anyone else is a better option right now. But he didn’t dismiss the topic out of hand.

* Lance Berkman sat out today despite good numbers against Barry Zito, in large part so he can play the next several games in a row. Just a preventative day.

* One topic that came up some last night on Twitter was a relatively quick hook on Jaime Garcia. I asked about it, and La Russa said it was not about getting a pinch-hitter in the game. Instead, he was simply convinced Garcia had had enough. Garcia had begun to look different to him in the 5th and 6th innings.

* Nick Punto continues to progress well, according to John Mozeliak. Punto is working out in extended spring training and is pain-free, the GM said, but he hasn’t yet been cleared to run at game speed. Punto will likely begin taking some at-bats in extended spring games before he’s cleared to play full games.

And, finally, one more Bay Area playlist, potpourri edition:
Counting Crows, “Angels of the Silences”
Primus, “Jerry Was A Race Car Driver”
Tony! Toni! Tone!, “If I Had No Loot”
Digital Underground, “The Humpty Dance”
Huey Lewis and the News, “Walkin’ On A Thin Line”


Monday tidbits: Holliday speaks

* A clearly still recovering Matt Holliday spoke to reporters in the clubhouse on Monday afternoon. Though his spirits were good and his sense of humor was certainly intact, it was not at all hard to tell that Holliday had undergone a medical procedure recently. He should be fine before long, but he had the look and sound of someone recuperating.

Holliday told us that he has asked the club to keep him off the disabled list if at all possible, and as of now he has not been DL’d. He’s hoping to accompany the Cardinals on their upcoming western road trip. I’ll have a story on all of this on the site before too terribly long.

* Jaime Garcia was named co-Player of the Week in the National League along with Starlin Castro for his shutout yesterday.

* Nick Punto continues to come along well. He participated in pretty much all of the afternoon work, and said he’s feeling quite good. Once he’s cleared to play, he’ll still need a bit of time on a Minor League rehab, since he’s taken exactly zero at-bats against anybody other than his teammates all spring.

* It’s not the nicest day at the ballpark — the sign in the bullpen currently reads 46 degrees — but there’s no rain, the sun is threatening to poke through in a few places and it appears we’re going to get a game in.

* Mitchell Boggs is likely not live tonight if they can avoid it, and ideally TLR would prefer not to use Jason Motte either. But Motte is more in play than Boggs.

* The Cardinals still have yet to announce their starters for the weekend in San Francisco, but the best guess is they’ll just roll everybody over, so it would be Westbrook on Friday, Garcia on Saturday and Lohse on Sunday.

* Gerald Laird will likely get a start either tomorrow or Wednesday, which would leave Tyler Greene as the only non-pitcher on the roster not to start a game.

* As I noted in the lineup post, the pitcher is back in the No. 9 hole today. TLR explained that one factor in that decision is the availability of a hitter who is a good fit to hit seventh. He wouldn’t mind hitting Schumaker ninth, he said. But that would leave Yadier Molina batting seventh, and La Russa has been consistent in expressing his desire to have a faster runner than Molina in front of the pitcher’s spot.

And, finally, the playlist:
Cold War Kids, “Royal Blue”
Radiohead, “Lotus Flower”
R.E.M., “Discoverer”
Telekinesis, “Please Ask For Help”
Buffalo Tom, “Guilty Girls”


Sunday tidbits and lineup: Packing up

Greetings from my last day at camp. I’m northbound tomorrow, and the team will be out the day after that. They’re packing up the second truck, and it’s hitting the highway within the next hour or so. We’re definitely reaching the end.

* Speaking of the end, the weather is looking quite dicey for Tuesday’s game in Springfield. As a result, TLR sounded today very much like he expects Jaime Garcia to make his start that day in Jupiter against the Marlins, instead of at Hammons Field. As for other contingency plans, they’re yet to be made. But be sure, that’s one of the main items on the club’s agenda right now.

* With Miguel Batista on the team, the Cardinals are basically down to one roster question: Bryan Augenstein, Fernando Salas and Eduardo Sanchez for the last bullpen spot. TLR acknowledged that while part of the consideration is taking the best pitcher, another element will be the role that pitcher can fill. I.e., Augenstein, as a long man, has at least something of an advantage.

* TLR indicated that cuts could be made today.

* The manager said that he doesn’t expect anything too funky in his Opening Day lineup — that means Ryan Theriot leading off, Skip Schumaker somewhere down around 6th or 7th and likely Colby Rasmus batting second.

* Here’s the lineup for this afternoon against the Mets:

1. Rasmus CF (yep, that’s correct)
2. Craig RF
3. Pujols 1B
4. Holliday LF
5. Freese 3B
6. Laird C
7. Descalso 2B
8. Greene SS
9. McClellan P
And, finally, the playlist:

The Rolling Stones, “The Last Time”
Daft Punk, “One More Time”
U2, “Last Night On Earth”
Toy Matinee, “Last Plane Out”
Jeff Buckley, “Last Goodbye”


Wednesday camp tidbits: Waiting on a lineup

* With knuckleballer R.A. Dickey on the mound for the Mets, the Cardinals will not be sending out what you would consider an ‘A’ lineup today. However, it’s still not announced. Tyler Henley will be starting in right field, though, with Jon Jay moving to center. Andrew Brown will start at first. TLR said that Matt Holliday will be in there but did not commit to any other regulars.

* Albert Pujols, who had his foot stepped on during Monday’s game, and Colby Rasmus, who was hit in the hip by a pitch, are both out. But TLR said they’re both expected to play tomorrow — and he did not indicate that they’re out today BECAUSE of those dings.
* Jaime Garcia will start the game in Springfield, weather permitting.
* Daniel Descalso beat out Matt Carpenter for a variety of reasons, TLR said, but the two main ones were Descalso’s versatility and the desire for Carpenter to get at-bats. He said that in his mind, at least, the 40-man roster was not a factor.
* TLR said his worry with Jason Motte is Motte’s pitches, not his confidence.
* Today’s game is on ESPN.
And, finally, the playlist:
The Rolling Stones, “Dead Flowers”
Dramarama, “(I’d Like To) Volunteer, Please”
Letters to Cleo, “From Under the Dust”
Soul Coughing, “The Idiot Kings”
R.E.M., “So. Central Rain”

Tuesday camp tidbits: Berkman and B games

* TLR said that Lance Berkman will be held out of pretty much all throwing for a few days to rest his sore elbow. He’s the starting DH today and won’t be back in the outfield for a few days. He also won’t throw in drills.

* For Thursday’s split-squad day, Kyle McClellan will pitch at home against Washington, while Jaime Garcia will start the game against the Mets at Port St. Lucie.
* No starting has been named for the Saturday game at home against the Astros.
* On March 9, the Cardinals and Braves will play a morning “B” game at the Braves complex, at Atlanta’s request.
* TLR had quite a bit of praise for Adron Chambers and Matt Carpenter this morning. Doesn’t mean either is going to make the club, but safe to say they’ve both made a good impression.
* Albert Pujols is out of today’s lineup but will play tomorrow and Thursday, then skip the trip to Kissimmee on Friday.
Today’s playlist:
Tanya Donelly, “World On Fire”
The Hold Steady, “Arms and Hearts”
R.E.M., “New Test Leper”
Aimee Mann, “How Am I Different”
The Jesus and Mary Chain, “Sidewalking”

Greetings from sunny Orlando

Hello, all. The headline is a bit inaccurate, since I believe technically I’m in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., for the General Managers Meetings and Owners Meetings over the next three days. I’ll be reporting not only on Cardinals stuff but also more general MLB matters, and hopefully blogging, tweeting and generally staying connected with you folks.

For starters, a few little tidbits from this afternoon.
* A couple of hours ago, I saw Jose Oquendo in the lobby. As has been reported, he’s interviewing with the Mets for their managerial opening, and it seems the interview is tonight. 
* I talked briefly with a representative for Albert Pujols’ agent, Danny Lozano, who said that Team Pujols is not expecting to make an appearance here. Lozano and his group will be at the Winter Meetings in Orlando in three weeks, but not here. Some agents will be attending, of course, but not Lozano.
* As you’ve no doubt heard by now, Jaime Garcia finished third in Rookie of the Year balloting. He finished distantly behind Buster Posey and Jason Heyward, but ahead of the Marlins’ Gaby Sanchez despite the fact that Sanchez received two first-place votes and Garcia only had one. That’s because while Sanchez’s name appeared on eight of 32 ballots, Garcia was on 18. He received 16 third-place votes along with one first and one second. NL Cy Young results will be announced tomorrow.
* I tweeted this as well, but I thought it was worth noting here too: After a slow start, Zack Cox is raking in the Arizona Fall League. Over his past 10 games (entering today), Cox was 12-for-38 (.316) with three walks and three extra-base hits for a .357 on-base percentage and a .474 slugging percentage. Overall Cox is up to 246/302/386 in the AFL. It may not sound like much, but for a guy who was in the SEC six months ago, Cox seems to be handling himself very well.
Also in the AFL, Tony Cruz is hitting 319/368/478 in 17 games, and Pete Kozma has shown some signs of life after a rough start. Kozma is hitting .270 with a .357 OBP over his past 10 games, bringing his total AFL line to 241/313/362.
And, finally, the playlist, the first one in quite a while.
Pearl Jam, “In My Tree”
Buffalo Tom, “When You Discover”
The Hold Steady, “Magazines”
The Clash, “Death Or Glory”
Bruce Springsteen, “Prove It All Night”

Note of the night/Stat of the day, June 16

Note of the night: Coming off two starts in which his command was off, his pitch counts ran high and he was done sooner than expected, Jaime Garcia wanted to right the ship. He wasn’t pitching badly, but he wasn’t getting as deep into games as he or the Cardinals wanted.

He succeeded on Wednesday, getting through seven innings on 111 pitches and issuing one walk — the third time this year he’s kept the walk total that low, and the first time since May 14. After the game, Garcia explained the changes he made.
He said that for one, he made some small mechanical tweaks, but that really wasn’t the big deal. It was more a matter of approach. He explained that what was happening was that he’d been aiming his fastball too narrowly.
Garcia was trying to throw pitches right on the black. But with the movement on his fastball, he doesn’t need to do that. Especially when pitching to a left-hander, he can aim more for the heart of the plate and get movement toward the edge.
“You kind of think about, OK, what is my fastball doing?” he said. “My fastball is moving this way [in on a left-handed hitter]. If it’s moving this way, try to use more of the middle of the plate so it will be on the corner. If it’s moving this way, and you go to the corner, it’s going to be a ball every time.”
Once he made that adjustment, Garcia was able to trust his fastball more, throw it earlier in counts, get ahead and work off of it. It’s pitching A-B-Cs, really. Get ahead with your fastball, then finish hitters off with your breaking pitches. When he wasn’t getting ahead with the fastball, hitters were laying off his offspeed stuff, leading to deep counts, walks and long innings.
“The last two starts are the only ones that I changed a little bit, trying to do too much,” he said. “You’ve got to step back and relax a little bit, think about, ‘OK, what is going on? There is something definitely going on.  Why are you walking guys? Trying to be too fine?’ So you look back at the video, realize what you’re doing and go back to where you were. Make adjustments.
“It’s [about] having more confidence in my fastball, and using the plate more. Early in the game, the last couple games, I was trying to be too fine and I ended up walking guys. Tried to be on the corner and the ball was [moving off the plate]. So I try to keep the ball down and use more of the middle of home plate. and then later you can go to the corners a little bit more, you can bounce a curveball. But it was more being able to get ahead with my pitches and then make adjustments as the game goes on.”
It worked very well. This was the Garcia the Cardinals want to see, even if he allowed more runs than he did in his previous game. He can be efficient, he can get groundballs and quick outs. And if he does that, he can not only be effective but help take strain off the bullpen.
Stat of the day: David Freese his hitting .318 with a .441 slugging percentage, which comes out to an isolated slugging percentage of .123. His career ISO in the Minors was .224, and it was never below .187 in any Minor League season.

Fun with double situational splits: Hitters are 3-for-20 with runners in scoring position against Garcia in June.
And, finally, the playlist:
The Gaslight Anthem, “Diamond Church Street Choir”
Beck, “Cellphone’s Dead”
The Asteroids Galaxy Tour, “Around the Bend”
Wilco, “Monday”
Features, “Lions”

Wednesday Chess Match: How long for Jaime?

Tonight’s game, from the Cardinals’ side, was pretty straightforward tactically. However, I got a few tweets (@MatthewHLeach) and some comments on the game story about removing Jaime Garcia, so that’s what we’re going with.

The situation: Cardinals lead, 6-0, with two outs and a runner on first base in the bottom of the seventh inning. Jaime Garcia has thrown 102 pitches and is coming off two breezy innings.
The decision: Tony La Russa decides to lift Garcia after seven innings, pinch-hitting for him with Nick Stavinoha and bringing in Kyle McClellan to pitch the eighth.
The outcome: Stavinoha popped up, but it wasn’t really about the pinch-hitter. Kyle McClellan and Mitchell Boggs each pitched a shutout inning as the Cardinals finished off the 6-0 win.
The analysis: It’s April, and Garcia is still 23 and only a year and a half removed from elbow surgery. The club has said all along that it wants to be cautious with him. McClellan and Boggs were both fresh, and the lead was safely in hand.
The counterargument seems to have to do with giving Garcia a chance to finish the game, but it’s April, and even if he’d been extremely efficient, you’re talking close to 120 pitches to finish it off.
The comment: “What’s the point [of leaving him in]? You know now that he comes out of the game and five days from now he’s going to feel great against Philadelphia. That’s a good thing to feel.”
My verdict: 100 percent with the skipper. As I suggested at the top, I was sincerely surprised with the number of people who viewed this as even an issue. After Garcia’s 26-pitch fifth, I believe that he needed an efficient sixth even to come out for the seventh. They’re protecting this guy, and for good reason.
This one, for me, was a very easy call.

Monday afternoon tidbits: Garcia, Hawksworth, Pujols

Happy Opening Day to all of you. It’s a warm, hazy day in Cincinnati, and it was a treat to walk across the river from my hotel this morning. Great to be back at the ballpark, seeing the familiar faces, feeling the buzz. Everybody is happy to be here today. Life is good.

* I addressed this in a story on the site today, but in case you missed it: Jaime Garcia will start Sunday night against the Brewers, rather than Saturday afternoon. Chris Carpenter will pitch on Saturday on regular rest, instead of with the extra day on Sunday. TLR said it has to do with matchups as the month goes on.
* They would prefer not to use Blake Hawksworth today. Hawksworth pitched on Saturday and is still recuperating from a right groin injury.
* TLR was asked about Pujols’ health this morning, and this was his response: “He’s actually in good health. Back’s a little stiff. Just need to be careful with it.”
Today’s playlist all comes from songs we’ve heard at the park this morning/afternoon:
Pixies, “Here Comes Your Man”
Clash, “Train In Vain”
Breeders, “Cannonball”
Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Higher Ground”
Beatles, “She Loves You”

Saturday tidbits: Garcia, Franklin and on to Cincy

And so we’ve reached the end of exhibition season. When next I blog, it will be from Great American Ball Park, site of the Cardinals’ season opener. Trust me when I tell you I’m far from the only one who’s ready for games that count.
We got an absolutely gorgeous afternoon for a ballgame in downtown Minneapolis today, even if the Cardinals played a little, well, less than razor-sharp.
I addressed the situations with the various injured and recuperating Cardinals on the site today, so head over there to check that out. But of course there’s stuff left over, so here are your tidbits.
* TLR acknowledged they’ll handle Jaime Garcia differently from how they’ll handle the veteran pitchers on the staff, but unsurprisingly didn’t lay out any real specifics. There certainly will be no “Jaime Rules” regarding his use, but they will look to protect the youngster some.
“I think you have to establish that if you get into a couple jams where you might leave Wainwright in there, he’s got to establish that,” La Russa said. “For one thing, you can’t burn the bullpen. So the first time the bases are loaded, we’re not going to get him.”
However, when a follow-up was asked about the balance between having Garcia learn to pitch out of trouble and making sure not to push him too hard, this was the intriguing response:
“This is the big leagues. You try to win the game. this is not a developmental league.”
* The Cardinals have yet to decide when Garcia’s first start will be. He’ll either pitch on Saturday or Sunday in Milwaukee, with Chris Carpenter getting the other of those two games. TLR said it’s not a matter of rest for Carpenter. Instead, it comes down to matchups later in the month, and the club deciding who it wants on which series as April goes along.
* Neither Ryan Franklin nor TLR expressed much concern over Franklin’s outing on Saturday. Franklin was charged with three runs, all unearned, and the truth is, he just wasn’t hit that hard. Franklin threw strikes all spring, not walking a single batter, though his strikeout rate was pretty low.
Asked about Franklin’s showing today, TLR said:
“[Doggone] boopers. One ball hit hard. That’s what I make of Franklin.”
That’s all the baseball. Now for the music, with a second day of Minnesota playlists. Seriously, how many communities have provided more than Minneapolis/St. Paul? It’s amazing.
Prince, “Sign O’ The Times”
The Time, “Jungle Love”
Information Society, “Walking Away”
Jayhawks, “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me”
Semisonic, “Singing In My Sleep”