Watching the Cardinals be beaten down one side an up the other by the Mets hasn't exactly given me the warm and fuzzies about the St. Louis infield defense.
Jaime Garcia, who has been iffy up to this point of the spring, seemed to be pitching relatively well through three innings. He allowed two runs. But they were at least in part the fault of a wide throw from shortstop Ryan Theriot that allowed a baserunner in the first who scored when Garcia gave up a homer.
Still, Garcia put up a pair of zeros and started the fourth with five hits and two runs allowed.
In the fourth frame the Mets' leadoff hitter doubled but the second and third batters flied out, pushing the leadoff man to third and to score to tie the game at three. The next New York hitter blooped a single to center, then Garcia coaxed an easy grounder to the right of second baseman Skip Schumaker.
Schumaker, instead of getting in front of the ball, played it on the backhand and botched the easy play to open the flood gates.
Seven consecutive hits later, the inning ended with the Mets leading 10-3 and Garcia tagged with an ugly line score of 4IP, 14H, 10R 3ER.
Obviously, Garcia is responsible for part of the blame. But the Cardinals can't leave pitchers hung out to dry and expect them not to crack under the pressure. Even after Garcia was gone, Cardinals pitchers continued to get tagged as they tried to strike out hitters, not trusting the defense.
The Cardinals need to get better work from their second and third basemen and shortstops or it is going to be a long, long season.