As we settle into Opening Day Eve here in the city St. Louis, it’s a nice time to highlight what the Cardinals have accomplished over the first two series of the 2015 regular season. It’s safe to say that good pitching and stellar defense have been their friend over the first few games.
The Opening Night game, which was held one week ago on the North side of Chi-town, featured an offensive outbreak from newly acquired outfielder, Jason Heyward. He went 3-for-5 with two doubles and quickly earned Cardinals fans’ appreciation. Perhaps the best thing for Cardinals’ fans came from the pitchers mound. Earlier in Spring Training, news swirled around baseball about the abdominal injury of Redbirds’ ace Adam Wainwright. The media swore the injury was minor, but when talking about someone as meaningful as Wainwright it’s hard to not be worried. He sat out a couple weeks and made some starts in the Grapefruit League. He looked decent in those, but the real question was how he would fare pitching full force. Adam helped ease those worries by pitching six shutout innings and striking out six batters. The bullpen was able to hold on and secure the Cards a 3-0 win over the Baby Bears. Game two was scheduled for Tuesday evening, but due to inclement weather, it was postponed. The conclusion game of the series came on Wednesday, where the Cardinals witnessed a great start from right hander Lance Lynn. Lance pitched six innings allowing two runs (only one earned) and striking out nine. Unfortunately, the inconsistencies of the Cardinals’ offense came back to bite Lynn in the win column. The Cardinals lost the game 0-2, giving him the loss.
The rescheduling of Tuesday’s game set up John Lackey for the series opener Friday night at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, Ohio against the Central Division rival Reds. Lackey tossed six innings and allowed four runs. All runs for the Reds were tallied via the long ball, as first baseman Joey Votto clubbed a couple of two run homeruns. The Cardinals weren’t completely stumped on the offensive side, as they scored four runs of their own. The winning run was later surrendered by Cardinals’ reliever Jordan Walden, giving his team their second consecutive loss. The middle game of the weekend series featured an interesting matchup. Young righty Michael Wacha took the ball for the Cardinals and Johnny Cueto got the nod for the Reds. Wacha was pretty good overall, allowing just one lone run in six and a third innings. First baseman Matt Adams collected his first hit of 2014, a home run off of Cueto. The Cardinals ending up winning the game 4-1, evening the three game series at a game a piece. Game three was started by a couple of young, right handed flamethrowers. Starting for the home team Reds was Rasiel Iglesias, who was making his Major League Baseball debut. One of my personal favorites, Carlos Martinez, got the ball. Martinez’s “stuff” was really working this afternoon, as his breaking pitches were just plain nasty. The Cardinals’ bats were struggling a bit in the early going, but with the power of Carpenter, Peralta, and Heyward they managed to force a 5-5 tie with the Reds, resulting in some extra innings. The score remained the same until the top of the eleventh. Leading off the inning, Kolten Wong singled off of right hander Kevin Gregg. Matt Adams then flew out, bringing Matt Carpenter up to the plate. Battling like always, Matt drew a 3-2 count. Carpenter then muscled a pitch to downtown bleacher city, lifting the Cardinals up two on the scoreboard 7-5. Matt’s first homer of the season propelled the Cards to a series win against the rival Reds.
Let’s look ahead to tomorrow…
Taking the mound tomorrow for the Cardinals is ace, Adam Wainwright. He is being opposed by Brewers’ starter Matt Garza. Any game with the Milwaukee ball club is fun, but add in the St. Louis Opening Day flare and there’s no telling what kind of game you’re getting into!
Thanks for reading!