St. Louis Cardinals: Positives from the opening series
With the Opening Series against the Milwaukee Brewers now in the books, there is a lot to look forward to this season for St. Louis Cardinals Nation.
Though the first series of the new MLB season against the Milwaukee Brewers could have gone better for the St. Louis Cardinals, there were still plenty of positives to take away from the last four games. The Cardinals dropped three of four games against NL Central rival Milwaukee, and I’m not going to lie, it was tough to watch.
This was especially true with reigning NL MVP Christian Yelich murdering our pitching staff, and the gut-wrenching walk-off double he hit to end the series on Sunday afternoon. We all definitely saw things that need improvement from the Cardinals, but let’s take a look at the positives from the series.
Paul. Freaking. Goldschmidt. The newly-acquired slugger had a phenomenal first series with the Cardinals. He even mashed three home runs in one game, making Cardinals fans glad to know that he is on their side for the next six years. In all, he hit 4 home runs, collected seven RBIs and six base hits in the four-game series. It’s going to be a lot of fun being able to see him produce like that almost every night.
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Goldschmidt wasn’t the only star from this series, second baseman Kolten Wong put on an absolute show all weekend. On Opening Day, he hit two home runs, but the production didn’t stop there. He went 8-for-14, brought in four baserunners and even managed to steal two bases.
Kolten Wong has seriously stepped up his game since former manager Mike Matheny got fired and Mike Shildt helped expand Wong’s game, primarily by showing faith in him through his struggles. If he continues to produce the way he has been as of late, he could play a major part in a potential playoff run for the Cardinals.
Though the rotation had trouble dealing with left-handed batters, especially Christian Yelich, Michael Wacha was stellar in his first start since he was placed on the IL for the rest of the season. Wacha was very solid last year before he got injured, with a 3.20 ERA over 15 starts.
Wacha didn’t lose a step from last season on Sunday, throwing six lights-out innings while only allowing four base hits and one earned run, and even struck out seven batters to sweeten the performance for Wacha. With Wacha hitting free agency for the first time of his career after the season, he could potentially have a massive season for the Cardinals and put himself in a great position for one of those large contracts pitchers have been getting as of late.
Matt Carpenter and Marcell Ozuna have been pretty solid offensively as well for the Cardinals, and Paul DeJong didn’t lose a step on his stellar defense. The bullpen is clearly showing signs of improvement from the atrocity of a bullpen last season. Yes, the series was rough, but there’s plenty of things to be excited for, Cardinals fans.
A new series starts on Monday, with longtime Cardinal Adam Wainwright potentially making his final season debut against the Pittsburgh Pirates, and ace Miles Mikolas gets the opportunity to bounce back the following game. It’s “Time To Fly”! Here’s to a great 2019 season, Cardinals Nation.