While Fred Bird was stretching, the Clydesdales were being primped, and hundreds of Busch kegs were chilling, the 2013 season started with impressive debuts from five former Cardinals. The rebuilding Astros spanked the stockpiled Rangers in the first official game of the “Spurs and Chaps Showdown” between Houston and their northern neighbors. As National League fans we can cheer for our former foe, Houston or boo them both.
Beloved Lance Berkman smacked two hits versus his original ball club as the DH for the Rangers, all while moving like a puma. Former Cardinals Ronny Cedeno and Brett Wallace, both contributed tonight with one hit each and scored runs as Houston trounced Texas 8-2. But the man of the night was former St. Louis pitching prodigy and outfielder Rick Ankiel, who proved his worth by pulling a pinch-hit three run dong over the wall in right field, which gave his home Astros a five run lead in the sixth, and was more than enough for the W. So, former Cardinal brain Jeff Luhnow should be proud of the team he threw together with less money than Alex Rodriguez makes in one season. Tonight’s victory means something. What exactly that lesson is will be revealed later.
The good news for the Cards is that Bud Norris is no longer in the NL Central to torture the lineup. The better news for Astros fans is that the Cardinals offense will not be creaming their other pitchers throughout the season, only during a couple of interleague matchups this summer.
Tomorrow night the Birdinals take flight in Arizona! Excitement will be in the air whether the roof is closed or open. After an extended 2012 season and considering the lethal 2013 roster that has been retained, this season’s team looks promising in countless ways, but there are many things that are unclear. Monumental 2012 and preseason injuries have left the infield, starting rotation and bullpen in flux. Mike Matheny needs to show that he learned from his rookie errors, while the bench players must support the leading roles, which for some are new.