And all of Cardinal Nation sighs a collective sigh of relief. For today, at least, Waino was back to form, and in his own words, “It was business as usual.”
As is typical in the spring, the starter pitched two innings. For Wainwright, that meant two scoreless — and hitless – innings, although he did walk Sean Burroughs. (Waino picked up a pair of strike outs, too.)
All smiles. The first start in over a year will do that to a guy! (Photo via Todd Awbrey on Flicker)
After more than a year since his last start of any kind, it’s nice to see the guy back. It’s nicer to hear how good he felt afterwards. From Derrick Goold:
“I visualized every pitch before I got out there today,” Wainwright said outside the Cardinals’ clubhouse at Hammond Stadium. “I kind of had a plan for how I wanted to go about things. I really executed pretty well for the first time out there. To be honest with you I’ve never taken that kind of stuff out to a mound during spring training before. It’s usually during the season that I bring stuff like that. I was happy with the way it was coming out.”
If he’s happy, I’m happy.
Of course, it’s a team game. And while we’re all jumping for joy over a successful start for Adam, there were other goodies to be found today.
Dirty Dan Descalso had his chance to shine, playing the entire game at third base where he went 2-for-4. Lance Berkman had a 2-for-2 day plus a stolen base. Rafael Furcal hit his first homer of the spring, giving the Cardinals a lead. Shane Robinson (who, too, played the entire game) knocked in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning and played some spiffy defense along the way.
Also worth noting, Mike Matheny got to play a round of musical relievers as practice for the kind of “situational pitching” Tony LaRussa was famous for. In doing so, both Scott Linebrink and Kyle McClellan pitched scoreless innings to set up the closer spot, today filled by Victor Marte.
But, it’s not really a Cardinals game without a little bit of drama at the very end.
With two on and two out in the bottom of the ninth, Marte walked the bases loaded. Not to worry, though. Rene Tosoni could only muster a grounder to second baseman Pete Kozma that easily ended the game.
Meaning … Cards win again! Perhaps we’re beginning to see the way this team will develop. It’s hard to decipher a puzzle when you don’t quite know what pieces you’ll have to use, but we’re seeing guys settle in a bit, and that’s at least a start.
It is, after all, just the first week of ST games. Can’t get too carried away just yet!
Tomorrow it’s Kyle Lohse getting the start against the Miami Marlins.
Tara is a St. Louis Cardinals reporter for Aaron Miles’ Fastball and a contributor to Around the Horn. Follow her on Twitter @tarawellman.