Postcard from Cardinals camp for Monday, Feb. 27

By Rob Rains

Weather: 81 degrees, partly cloudy

Results: Cardinals 5, Nationals 4 and Cardinals 7, Red Sox 2

JUPITER, Fla. – Three of the pitchers who likely will play a role in determining the Cardinals’ level of success this season made their spring debuts on Monday as the team split in half for two games.

In Jupiter, Lance Lynn allowed one run on four hits and one walk in his two innings against the Nationals. He threw 35 pitches, 20 for strikes.

Michael Wacha started against the Red Sox in Fort Myers and almost had the exact same pitching line, with one run on four hits and a walk, but this run was unearned because of an error. The error helped elevate his pitch count to 45 in his two innings.

The other pitcher to make his debut was Trevor Rosenthal, who worked two scoreless innings against the Nationals. He allowed a triple and also had to pitch around an error, getting five of his six outs on groundballs and also striking out Daniel Murphy. He threw 34 pitches.

“It felt good to get out there for the first time,” Rosenthal said.

Rosenthal is not to the point where he is thinking about how he will be used this season – his goal is just to be healthy, something which he said was never really the case last year.

“Last year I just didn’t feel good,” Rosenthal said. “I wasn’t executing pitches and that was affecting my performance. It was a struggle. Mainly it was the forearm strain. There definitely was a learning process of pitching effectively and how to get ahead in counts, how much of a difference it makes. It caused a lot of trouble.”

Lynn missed all of last season recovering from Tommy John surgery, except for a few minor-league appearances late in the year, and he also is pleased with his start to the spring.

“I threw the ball really well for it being February,” Lynn said.

Other news and notes from the two games:

High: Jose Martinez hit a pair of two-run homers to lead the offense against the Red Sox as he tries to win one of the spots open for a backup outfielder.

Low: Matt Adams was hitless for the third consecutive game, going 0-for-3 as the DH in Fort Myers, striking out twice. He is now 0-for-9 this spring with five strikeouts.

At the plate: The offensive stars in Jupiter were players brought over from the early minor-league camp. St. Louis native Luke Voit homered and Nick Martini had a bases-loaded double as the Cardinals rallied from a 4-1 deficit with a four-run eighth inning. Another minor leaguer brought over for the game, Alex Mejia, had two hits and scored a run. “I don’t even know if they had taken batting practice yet,” said bench coach David Bell, in charge of the game in Jupiter. “They just got here. We love to do that. They were excited. It can go a long way for those kids.” … The other RBI in that game came on a sacrifice fly by Jhonny Peralta … In Fort Myers, Kolten Wong made his spring debut and went 1-for-2 while Harrison Bader and Magneuris Sierra hit doubles and Paul DeJong had a two-hit game. Anthony Garcia had two RBIs and the other came from Carson Kelly.

On the mound: Jordan Schafer, trying to win a roster spot as both an outfielder and relief pitcher, made his debut on the mound with one scoreless inning in Fort Myers. He pitched around two hits, getting one strike out … Prospects Daniel Poncedeleon and Arturo Reyes combined for five scoreless innings in that game … In Jupiter, Sam Tuivailala struck out the side in the ninth inning to record the save … Prospect Jack Flaherty was greeted by a long home run by Trea Turner, but rebounded by striking out Bryce Harper. He allowed two runs on four hits in two innings.

Of note:
Mike Matheny got to manage against his son Tate, an outfielder in the Red Sox system who was added to the roster for the game. Tate entered the game as a pinch-runner and was erased in a double play, but stayed in the game and got an at-bat, striking out against Arturo Reyes in the seventh inning.

Looking ahead: The Cardinals have another road game on Tuesday, heading north to Lake Beuna Vista to play the Braves. Mike Leake will make his first start of the spring.