The offense continues to crank away early in the spring. But the pitching staff hasn't exactly been dominant.
Nick Stavinoha was 2-2 with two runs driven in as he tries to become a factor in the competition for a reserve outfielder spot. Last seasons starting center fielder, Rick Ankiel, was 2-3 with a double to raise his spring average to .500. But the five runs they helped produce weren't enough and the Birds fell 8-5 to Tampa.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to Belleville News-Democrat
Adam Wainwright made his first appearance of the spring, toiling two innings. He gave up five hits and three runs, two of which were earned. Blake Hawksworth was also hammered, pitching three innings in which he gave up five hits and three earned runs.
Truthfully, I'm reluctant to even mention Wainwright's performance because spring statistics mean about as much as spring win-loss records: Basically nothing.
While a professional athlete always is in a competitive mindset whenever he is on the field, pitchers at this point are more worried about sharpening their arsenal than they are about shutting out the opposition. If the count is full and the bases are loaded with two outs, a pitcher isn't going to throw a pitch he's been struggling to get a feel for all day during the regular season. In a spring game, that's exactly what he is going to throw.
We should know more about the Cardinals rotation by the time they make their third or fourth spring start.
In an unrelated and meaningless note:
Adam Kennedy and Redbirds manager Tony La Russa were reunited on the field today as Kennedy batted leadoff for the Rays today and was 2-3 to raise his spring average to .250.