Cardinals vs Red Sox Spring Gamethread 3/17

"No, we're not trading away our pitching depth, you bloviating nincompoop." - Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Shelby Miller gets his turn to go more than a couple of innings against John Lackey and a strong lineup of Boston Red Sox.

Shelby made his spring debut against the Red Sox back on March 5th (gamethread here). After giving up a leadoff homerun to Daniel Nava, Shelby faced eight more batters. Five of them struck-out, and none of them reached base. Shelby was knocked around a bit by the Tigers his next time out, but he still comes into today with 9 K's and no walks. Today's game will be the first time he has a high enough pitch limit to give us a real look at where he is.

I'm hoping to see the fastball hitting 95, the curve snapping, and the cutter darting. That last pitch, the subject of Ben's weekend piece here (with regard to Michael Wacha) might be a key for Shelby this year.

Miller has a stellar defense behind him today with Wong and Kozma manning the middle infield and Jay, Bourjos, and Sugar Shane planning to cover the outfield and also parts of the adjacent ballparks.

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Pop Quiz! Put your fangraphs tabs under your desk, and name the following pitchers:

Player A: 2065 IP, 7.09 K/9 , 2.65 BB/9 , 0.94 HR/9 , 37.7 career fWAR

Player B: 2075 IP, 7.6 K/9 , 1.96 BB/9 , 0.94 HR/9 , 46.5 career fWAR

Hint: The players were born less than two months apart and both debuted in 2002, the same year as Mark Prior.

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Answers:

Player A was the winning pitcher of record in the final game of the world series in 2002 and 2013, and he starts today for the Red Sox. His name is John Lackey.

Player B is Clifton Lee.

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Lineups:

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A few notes:

Jon Niese has made two appearances this spring, both against the Cardinals.

He left in the second inning yesterday with an elbow injury. MRI forthcoming.

Let's just hope everyone survives today.

*Last minute news: No structural damage*

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Watch for a recap post tonight by The Continental. They won't be a regular feature until the season starts, but several members of the recap crew are getting their feet wet in the next two weeks.

Speaking of, TWO WEEKS UNTIL OPENING DAY.

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The Game starts today at 12:05 Busch Stadium Time. ESPN and mlb.tv are the ways to watch.

Tomorrow is off, and we're back Wednesday in a televised game against the Twins.

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