After seven road games in three different cities to start off the season, the St. Louis Cardinals will play their first game of the season in Busch Stadium today. The game will be preceded by pre-game festivities as the Cardinals will celebrate their 2011 World Series victory.
They couldn’t have lined up the pitcher for this game any better as Adam Wainwright is set to make his second start of 2012 after missing all of 2011 due to Tommy John surgery. Wainwright was decent in his first outing. He lasted 5.2 innings (88 pitches) and allowed three earned runs on four hits and one walk. He struck out six batters. He hopes to get into the 100 pitch area for this one, but obviously a lot will depend on how he is feeling.
While the Cardinals enjoyed success on the road, the Chicago Cubs had a poor showing at Wrigley Field. They went 1-5 on their homestand and have lost three straight. Jeff Samardzija, the lone member of the rotation with a win, will be on the hill against Wainwright. On Saturday the pitching matchup is Lance Lynn vs. Chris Volstad. Sunday’s game features Jake Westbrook vs. Paul Maholm.
The Cubs enter the series hitting a paltry .221 with only three home runs total. They have a team OBP of .298. The pitching staff owns a 4.33 ERA, but have held opponents to a .221 AVG. The starters are faring better than the relievers with a 3.55 ERA vs. 6.19 for the pen. Three of the Cubs loses have been suffered by the bullpen.
BERKMAN DOUBTFUL FOR CUBS SERIES
Lance Berkman has been classified as day-to-day, but it sounds as if he will be doubtful to play in this weekend’s series according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. It remains to be seen exactly how long he will be out, but it could be several days. Matt Carpenter will likely get the starts at first base in Berkman’s absence.
- Here is a link to the pre-game festivities for today courtesy of MLB.com reporter Jenifer Langosch.
- The Cardinals are running promotions each day during the series. Friday is Magnet Schedule Day, Saturday is Replica Championship Ring Day and Sunday is Replica Championship Pennant Flag Day.
MY TWO CENTS
For what it’s worth, the Cardinals really need to take it to the Cubs in this series. The Cincinnati Reds come into town in the following series and will be looking to return the favor they received from the Redbirds. The Cubs are a rebuilding franchise so the Cardinals should be able to take advantage of that this weekend and throughout the season.
In 2011, the Cardinals went 10-5 against the Cubs. This season they get two more games against them. It is excellent to beat the teams said to the among the class of the division (Milwaukee Brewers and the Reds), but it is important not to take it easy on inferior opponents like the Cubs. Anything less than two wins this weekend will downplay the excellent results from the road trip. Let’s see if the Redbirds are up to the task.