Cardinals' bats on fire in loss to Florida

Cardinals' bats on fire in loss to Florida

JUPITER, Fla. -- For once the flags were blowing out at Roger Dean Stadium, but truth be told, that just makes it a fair fight.

The Cardinals took advantage on Wednesday, cranking four home runs in a 13-7 loss to the Marlins. Albert Pujols, Troy Glaus, Ryan Ludwick and Brian Barton all went deep, upping St. Louis' spring total to 16 dingers in 15 games.

Early indications on the Redbirds' thump are positive, in contrast to their light batting last year. St. Louis hit 141 home runs in 2007, becoming the first Cardinals team with fewer than 150 since 1997, and the lowest total for the franchise since the 1995 season.

"As a whole, as an offensive group, I think we have the potential to be very successful," Glaus said. "We have some young guys and they're feeling their way through, but they're all supremely talented. They'll hit their stride, and they'll figure out where they're at and how they're going about things."

For Glaus, it was homer No. 1 of the spring. Like so many other Cardinals and Marlins, he has found Roger Dean a foreboding place to try to hit. Things should be even better in Busch Stadium, which is a pitchers' park, but not an extreme one.

Pujols, Glaus, Rick Ankiel and Chris Duncan give the Cardinals four regulars with 30-homer power. Ludwick, who probably will not play every day, is also a legitimate deep threat, while former American League MVP Juan Gonzalez is trying to make the club. The Cards could potentially feature five lineup spots with major power potential for most games in the '08 season.

It starts, of course, with Pujols, and the 2005 NL MVP is raking this spring. His fourth Grapefruit League homer brought his spring slugging percentage up to .926. Evidently his spring program, which has featured a couple more days off than usual, is working.

"I'm seeing the ball really good," he said. "I feel real good at the plate. Obviously it's the hard work that I put in before the game, and the days off that I have before the games [help] .... I feel pretty good at the plate. And right now, that's my goal."

Matthew Leach is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.