Rants Daily: Wainwright struggles in Cardinals home opener against Cubs


The St Louis Cardinals debut at Busch Stadium in 2012 started out magnificently, with all the Cardinals Hall of Famers making appearances in the famous red jackets, representatives from the last four World Series teams bringing out the World Series trophies, ceremonial first pitches thrown by Bob Gibson, Ozzie Smith, David Eckstein, and Jason Motte to Red Schoendienst, Whitey Herzog, Dave Duncan, and Tony LaRussa, and, of course, an appearance by Stan the Man. It was a lot of pageantry and was quite possibly one of the best Opening Day pregame presentations ever. The game, though, did not go the way the Cardinals had hoped.

Pitcher Adam Wainwright was making his first start at Busch Stadium since September 19, 2010, after losing all of last season to Tommy John surgery. He was shaky and got hit pretty hard through the first three innings. He gave up four hits in the first innings, including a homer to Ian Stewart. This was followed by a solid second inning, but another offensive outburst by the Cubs in the third, including a Bryan LaHair grand slam. After another run in the fourth inning, the Cardinals entered the fifth inning down 9-0.

The Cardinals battled back, tacking on five runs in the fifth. Jon Jay had an RBI single, scoring Shane Robinson. After Carlos Beltran hit a single, advancing Jay to third, Freese scored the center fielder with an RBI single. Yadier Molina knocked in Beltran, and he and Freese scored thanks to a two RBI triple by Matt Carpenter.

The rest of the game was scoreless, but the damage done in the first three innings put the game out of reach. In total, Wainwright gave up eight earned runs through three innings. He allowed nine baserunners and struck out three. The game also saw appearances by Victor Marte and scoreless outings by J.C. Romero, Fernando Salas, and Kyle McClellan.  After a rough start to the season for Salas, it was encouraging to see him put together a scoreless inning. Also, Jon Jay, Carlos Beltran, and David Freese’s timely hitting continued hot starts to the season for the trio.

News from the DL

  • Skip Schumaker played an extended spring training game on Thursday, seeing time at second base and in the outfield. Skip could start a rehab stint at either AA or AAA as early as Sunday. Due to a lack of at bats during Spring Training, he may need a fair amount of games to get his bat back to 100%
  • Allen Craig participated in the Opening Day festivities, but returned to his physical therapy afterwards. Craig could either participate in extended Spring Training or a rehab stint on Monday. He is optimistic about his return and notes that he has had no setbacks.
  • Chris Carpenter still has no timetable for his return, but is continuing strengthening exercises for his shoulder. Carpenter notes that he is “feeling better and definitely getting stronger.” The Cardinals will be conducting battery tests soon to get a better gauge on the state of his throwing ability.
  • Lance Berkman is not officially on the DL, but missed today’s game with a minor tear in his calf after sliding hard into third on Tuesday. Berkman lobbied to play in the home opener, but manager Mike Matheny did not want to risk pushing him. Berkman is questionable for this series against the Cubs.

Today’s Game

The Cardinals continue the festivities today as they receive their World Series rings for last season’s miraculous run to the championship. The ring ceremony is set to begin at 11:30 AM with a first pitch time of 12:05. The Cardinals will try to counter today’s game by sending out Lance Lynn to face Cubs pitcher Chris Volstad. Volstad came over from the Marlins in the Carlos Zambrano trade. He was very shaky in his first outing against the Brewers. Lynn is coming off an eight strikeout,  six and two thirds inning performance also against the Brewers. Our Chris Ferguson will have the recap of the game tomorrow.

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