It's Spring Training for me, too; to that end, my first gamethread. Up top you'll notice two player headshots, signifying the starting pitchers, and their last names. You'll notice that Freddy Garcia looks a little confused, and Kyle Lohse looks a little like he's about to really enjoy a Pink Floyd album. Down here, you'll notice some superficial analysis. So far, so good.
Meanwhile, I had an experience I don't think I've had to deal with in about six years this morning, upon procuring said lineup. It came here:
Japanese import Kat Maekawa, who has been unscored on in two outings but has walked three in three innings, also could see action.
That's right: I had no idea who a Cardinal was. I've missed his two outings—afternoon games, class, etc.—and his NRI, it turns out, was always linked to the Cardinals inviting two other southpaws in the Brad Furnish class to camp at the same time.
But then I remembered those salad days when it seemed like the Cardinals were about to sign a genuine starting pitcher—if not BEN SHEETS, for that's how he was rendered in those days, Kenshin Kawakami or Koji Uehara. And so it transpired that NPB Tracker teased the Cardinals signing a Japanese pitcher, and then deflated us with the following blurb:
You might remember that Maekawa lost his job in Japan over a hit and run driving incident (and not pitching very well), played in the Domican Winter League, signed a deal with the Nationals, and then finally couldn't get a US work visa. He never actually played in the Nats' system, hopefully he'll get a shot with the Cards.
Ouch. Now that he's going by Kat, rather than Katsuhiro, the 30-year-old ex-Kintetsu Buffalo probably has a better chance of appearing in the next Haruki Murakami novel than he does in the Cardinals bullpen, but I guess stranger things have happened. As for not remembering him, it's been a long three months.
Colby Rasmus cf
Joe Mather 3b
Albert Pujols 1b
Ryan Ludwick rf
Chris Duncan lf
Khalil Greene ss
Allen Craig dh
Jason LaRue c
Joe Thurston 2b
(Kyle Lohse p)