I attended the Minnesota Twins at St. Louis Cardinals game on Saturday, March 12 at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Fla. I would love to say this was a great contest, filled with many fantasy-worthy highlights, but the reality is quite the opposite. It just wasn’t a very good baseball game with most of its few highlights and lowlights being fantasy-irrelevant.
It may have started with the visitor’s lineup. As is often the case with long bus trips for road games are involved, the pickings of MLB players in the lineup can often be quite slim.
Carl Pavano made the start for Minnesota and was one of the few in either dugout that had a notable positive performance. Even better that he did it against a Cardinals lineup that included seven of Tony La Russa’s eight likely opening day starters.
Pavano scattered just five hits and walked none over four scoreless innings. Thanks to some defensive help, he faced just two over the minimum. 40 of Pavano’s 61 pitches found the zone.
His opponent was his former Cleveland teammate Jake Westbrook. The sinker-baller bent but didn’t break, yielding six hits and a walk over four frames. He only threw 39 strikes in his 71 pitches.
Offensively, the only player of note with two hits or more was Cardinals second baseman Skip Schumaker. The former outfielder is coming off his first sub-.300 season as a major leaguer but is batting .375 this spring. He offers no stolen bases and may end up hitting eighth this season, so don’t go crazy over this news.
Twins shortstop Trevor Plouffe had a day to forget. Heck, he had a play to forget, committing a pair of errors within a five second span: one fielding and one throwing. I think his off-line ordinance is still rattling around the first-base camera well.
Colby Rasmus is trying to cut down his strikeouts this season and has just six in 32-spring plate appearances. One apparent by-product is a more aggressive approach at the plate. The third-year centerfielder finally took his first walk of the spring on Saturday. Take note especially if you are in an OBP league.
Jon Jay is likely going to be St. Louis’ fourth outfielder this season, but remember than his playing time depends on Lance Berkman’s health. The former Astros star is still unable to play in the field due to an elbow problem and is batting just .240 as the designated hitter.
Back to Jay, who hit .300 in his rookie 2010 season. He made a home run-saving grab over the right-field wall in the top of the ninth to keep a 2-2 game tied. In the bottom of the frame, he got a sac bunt down on the third try to move the eventual winning run to third base. This isn’t relevant for fantasy players other than to note that they are the kinds of plays managers remember when doling out playing time.
Oh yeah, the winning run had advanced into scoring position between Jay’s bunt attempts on a wild pitch and the walk-off play was the second wild pitch of the inning, scoring the tie-breaker from third.
Move along folks, there’s nothing more to see here.