We are officially one week into the 2015 MLB regular season and the St. Louis Cardinals’ home opener has arrived. The Cardinals are prearing for their first homestand of the 2015 season having already played 5 games ending up with a record of 5-2. Let’s preview this upcoming homestand by taking a look at how the Cardinals have looked through the first five games of the season.
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What we know is that the team is pitching rich and pitching will likely be the backbone of this team going forward. The staff started out in a really good way the first night, with Wainwright pitching six innings, allowing 0 runs and striking out six. The bullpen then kept the door shut on the Cubs allowing 0 H and 2 BB for the final three innings. The Cardinals dropped the next game against the Cubs 2-0 in a pitchers duel that saw Lance Lynn pitch admirably (6 IP 2 H 9 K) but allowing 2 R on some preventable mistakes. The Cardinals then took on the Reds in a weekend series where the Cardinals won two out of three for the series win. In those three games the Cardinals’ starters only gave up 7 ER and although four of them came from Lackey in the first game of the series with Michael Wacha and Carlos Martinez giving up 1 and 2 ER respectively.
Meanwhile, the offense has had a little bit of struggle with a low team average of .240 scoring just 18 R through the first five games. Many fans have been taking to social media to express their concerns over the offensive production so far. It is way too early to be worrying about this offense. There are a lot of consistent performers in this lineup that are going to produce as the season progresses. One positive to take from the first five games so far is that Jason Heyward has gotten off to a strong start at the plate with 6 H in 24 AB giving him a .250 average so far. However, those stats don’t tell the entire story. Heyward has a much calmer approach at the plate and looks to be locked in, more importantly Heyward faced a tough lefty in Jon Lester last Sunday and smacked two doubles off the of the lefty hurler. Heyward added a double that scored a run in yesterday’s win against Cincinnati as well giving him three doubles so far this season. Another Cardinal hitter off to a good start is Matt Carpenter, Carpenter has been off to his old ways with 6 H, 4 BB, and only 3 K in 20 AB. Carpenter also had the game winning HR yesterday in Cinicinatti which oddly enough was the Cardinals’ first extra innings HR since the 2013 season. So, while most fans have been worried about the offense, I am not and I expect this team to perform better than last season offensively.
Looking to this coming series against the Milwaukee Brewers who are currently struggling coming in with a record of 1-5 so far. The Brewers struggle comes from a combination of both offensive and pitching woes. Coming in with an ERA of 4.35 allowing a total of 29 ER and a team BA of .219 scoring a total of just 16 R through 6 games so far. A couple players to watch for them so far are their SS Jean Segura and C Jonathan Lucroy. Lucroy, has been a solid performer for them in past seasons; setting a record last season for 2B by a C. However, he has not had the start to the season that he would like, only registering 1 H in 20 AB so far. On the other hand, Segura has had a solid start to the season for the Brewers; hitting .316 with 1 2B and 1 HR in three different spots in the lineup (2nd, 7th, 8th). This is a welcome sight for Segura who had a disappointing season last season in just his second full year in the majors. In 2013 Segura had decent success against the Cardinals totaling an average of .254 in 15 games. More importantly for the Brewers is his overall success, in 2013 Segura provided a WAR of 3.5 the same number that Lucroy provided in that same year so together the two of them were worth about 7 wins. However, last season was a career year for Lucroy where he had a 6.2 WAR alone making up for Jean Segura’s lack of any value (0.0 WAR). If the Cardinals can stimey these two players they should be in for a good series as the pitching for the Brewers is not anything to be feared.