Well, as often happens with 3 kids and a demanding job, life got in the way of blogging the last couple weeks, so let's all catch up on what's happened during that time.
First, the Cardinals finalized their opening day roster, with the Spring Training Battles being decided, as follows:
Despite having a superior spring, Carlos Martinez was relegated to the bullpen, where his power arm was more desperately needed. Joe Kelly "won" the 5th starter job, more on last season's performance than this spring's results, which is probably how it should be.
Thanks in part to an injury to Mark Ellis, both Daniel Descalso and Pete Kozma made the opening day roster, along with 4th outfielder Shane Robinson.
One of Descalso or Kozma will have to go when Ellis is healthy and, if the recent trade rumors are any indication, it will probably be Kozma.
As for Robinson, he's likely just keeping the seat warm until Oscar Taveras, Stephen Piscotty or even Mike O'Neill is deemed ready to take over the 4th outfield spot.
The battle for the last bullpen slot came down to Jorge Rondon and Keith Butler, with Butler winning the job. However, with Jason Motte expected back in early May, it will be interesting to see what the Cards do.
Will they send Martinez down to stretch him back out as a starter or will they keep him in the pen and jettison Butler? My hope is that Martinez will be sent down, but the team may keep him up out of necessity, as it already appears that Mike Matheny has few relievers he trusts in the pen.
The Season so Far
With the roster set, the Cardinals have faced the Reds and Pirates in their first 6 games and come out of the road trip with a 3-3 record. They return home to face the Reds and Cubs this week.
While not a bad road trip, the lack of offense so far is a little bit of a concern. The Cardinals have scored only 17 runs in those 6 games, including 4 games where they have scored two runs or less. Hopefully their bats will warm up with the weather.
Overall, not a bad start, but not great either. Hopefully the Cardinals can make some noise on this 6-game home stand and carry the momentum going forward.