Two days after beating the Miami Marlins in their home opener, and park opening, the St. Louis Cardinals find themselves in another opposing stadium during a home opener.
This one is a little more important as it is against the Milwaukee Brewers, a NL Central rival and defending division champion. Every game the Cards play against a NL Central team is important as this division could come down to a win or two. Head to head matchups could be the difference in ties of win/loss record at the end of the season.
Gallardo was 17-10 with a 3.52 ERA and 207 strikeouts in 2011. He is 1-7 with a 5.60 ERA against the Cardinals in his career.
There is definitely some bad blood between the teams as there was a lot of back and forth chatter last season and then a bench clearing incident between Nyjer Morgan, Chris Carpenter and Albert Pujols. Despite the departure of Tony La Russa, Pujols and former Brewer Prince Fielder, the teams do not expect much difference in the way they feel about each other. But as Morgan says, courtesy of MLB.com reporters Adam McCalvy and Jenifer Langosch:
“They’re still the champs,” Morgan said, “and everybody has to chase the champs. You can’t lose track of that. They might [have a shift in personality], but the only way to know is to watch the way they approach the game. By the All-Star break, that’s when you tell what kind of team you have.”
We’ll see if there is any carryover to the bad blood and if the rivalry continues to burn.
LINEBRINK HEADED TO DL
By mid-day yesterday, Scott Linebrink was headed off to get an MRI on an area near his right shoulder according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Cardinals had Victor Marte in Milwaukee in no time at all. He is set to be added to the roster should Linebrink, in fact, have to be placed on the 15-DL.
MY TWO CENTS
For what it’s worth, this series does mean more than others. Yes it is early on in the season, and every game counts, but some more so than others. My contention is that any game against the Brewers and the Cincinnati Reds are going to mean that much more this season. They are by far the stiffest competitors for the Cardinals in the NL Central. The best way for the Cards to gain an edge is to win as many games as possible against their main rivals. All three teams should do well against the remaining teams in the Central. So, it matters more what they do against each other. Another reason this series means a lot is because of the onslaught of NL Central games the Cardinals play in the first month. Wins don’t count more in April than they do in September. But, wouldn’t it be nice if the Redbirds could play ahead of everyone else this season instead of making a dramatic push at the end of the year?
Tags: Albert Pujols Cardinals Chris Carpenter Corey Hart Jaime Garcia Jonathan Lucroy Matt Holliday Milwaukee Brewers Nyjer Morgan Rafael Furcal Ryan Braun Scott Linebrink St Louis Cardinals Victor Marte Yovani Gallardo