St. Louis Cardinals: Positive takeaways from Opening Day
By Brian Swope
Opening Day is an exciting day for every baseball fan. The games are real and they count. It wasn’t a great day for the St. Louis Cardinals, but there were some positives.
Any time your team is going up against Noah Syndergaard you know it’s going to be a tough game. The St. Louis Cardinals were up to the task, sort of. The offense put up four runs on the Mets ace. But that was all.
Carlos Martinez was inconsistent and the bullpen imploded. The end result was an ugly 9-4 Opening Day loss. That’s the bad news. Here is the good news.
Jose Martinez drew the start at first base, something Cardinal fans have asked for. He slotted into the fifth spot in the lineup and did not disappoint. Martinez went 3-for-4 with a HR, 2 RBI and 2 runs. The very fact Mike Matheny was willing to slide Matt Carpenter to third base just to get Jose’s bat in the lineup is encouraging. This should bode well for JMart and the team’s outlook moving forward.
Keep in mind Dexter Fowler, Tommy Pham, Marcell Ozuna, and Kolten Wong all went hit-less. That is not going to happen every game. Despite that, the offense still put up four runs against one of the best pitcher’s in the league. When this offense gets hot, watch out!
The bullpen was a letdown again. Undoubtedly, many fans walked away from today’s game thinking, “Here we go again.” There were encouraging things from the bullpen though.
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Mike Mayers pitched the fifth inning and handled himself well. He gave up two hits, but recorded a strikeout without allowing a run. After a great spring, Mayers continued to shine out of the bullpen today. Hopefully he can keep this going and steady the pen.
The highlight of the game has got to be the debut of Jordan Hicks. His fastball was electric today, consistently hitting triple digits. One pitch even touched 102 mph. Though he gave up one hit, Hicks got the double play and then struck out Jay Bruce on four pitches.
The news of Hicks’ promotion from A ball directly to the majors came as a surprise. However, it seems the front office knew what they were doing. Hicks definitely looked ready today. This young man is going to be fun to watch.
The talk of the day for Cardinal fans this Opening Day had nothing to do with the game though. Last minute news informed the baseball world that reliever Greg Holland has agreed to terms on a one year deal with the St. Louis Cardinals.
This was a move that probably should have happened weeks ago. With the way the offseason market moved though, this signing is a steal for the Cardinals and should solidify the back end of the bullpen moving forward.
Next: Spring Training creates nostalgia for opening day
Sure, we lost the game today. Hang on though Cardinal Nation. There were some encouraging signs today that say this season is going to be quite a ride.