St. Louis Cardinals: Three easy overreactions from the opening series

CINCINNATI, OH - APRIL 4: Carlos Martínez #18 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches to Nick Castellanos #2 of the Cincinnati Reds in the first inning at Great American Ball Park on April 4, 2021 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - APRIL 4: Carlos Martínez #18 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches to Nick Castellanos #2 of the Cincinnati Reds in the first inning at Great American Ball Park on April 4, 2021 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) /
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Okay, the St. Louis Cardinals’ opening series didn’t go as we hoped, but let’s not overreact.

I admit it was tough to watch Sunday’s game vs the Reds. The rotation, the bullpen, and the five measly hits didn’t give fans much to cheer about. On top of it all, Reds’ right fielder, Nick Castellanos, made the St. Louis Cardinals pitching staff his girlfriend over the weekend.

Although the Cards lost two of three over the weekend, not all was bad. The lineup produced 17 runs in the first two games and the Goldschmidt/Arenado one-two punch looks formidable. Also, Tyler O’Neill, Paul DeJong, and Dylan Carlson had their moments at the plate during the first two games.

Additionally (with the exception of DeJong’s two errors), the Cardinals’ defense looked solid. We saw why Nolan Arenado is a Gold Glove defender and Tommy Edman looks like he could be a Gold Glover at second. The new outfield configuration looks like it won’t hurt the Cardinals defensively at all.

Nevertheless, the series created concerns, which led to overreactions. Here’s what I think the overreactions are:

No. 1: The Starting Rotation

We were certainly hoping for a better first outing from at least one of three starters this weekend. However, it seemed like the three were only one out or one pitch away from getting out of a jam at times.

Hindsight is 20-20, but in Carlos Martinez’s case, Mike Shildt should have allowed him to walk  Castellanos in the 5th inning of Sunday’s game. We know Jack Flaherty and Adam Wainwright have gotten it done in the past. There is no reason to think they won’t rebound and pitch deeper next time out. Martinez is capable and talented and looked really strong on the mound until the 5th.

Yes, there are concerns about the back end of the rotation going into Miami on Monday, but let’s just wait and see what happens. John Gant has been a favorite among fans for a rotation spot and Daniel Ponce de Leon has come through in the past when called upon.

No. 2: The Bullpen 

The bullpen definitely struggled over the weekend, however, there were important bright spots. In their one outing, Alex Reyes and Jordan Hicks both pitched well, as did Giovanny Gallegos. Also, there is no reason to think Ryan Helsley, Tyler Webb, and Genesis Cabrera won’t be effective in Miami and Milwaukee this week.

And just in case they do need some extra help this week, Mike Shildt told Derrick Goold of the Post Dispatch, the Cardinals could add a ninth reliever and call upon either Seth Elledge or Kodi Whitley from the Taxi Squad.

No. 3: The Brawl

The Jake Woodford-Nick Castellanos-Yadi Molina bench-clearing dust-up was fun to watch on Saturday. Castellanos will now be a villain to Cardinal fans, replacing Brandon Phillips.

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However, the Cardinals-Reds brawl in 2010, was a real….BRAWL. It was a brawl that included Cardinal Manager Tony LaRussa and Reds Manager Dusty Phillips squaring off against each other. It also was a brawl that seemed out of control for a much longer period than the one on Saturday and featured more than pushing and shoving.

In addition, Cardinal backup catcher, Jason LaRue saw his baseball career ended when he was kicked in the head by the Reds hurler, Johnny Cueto. LaRue suffered a concussion on that day, which he never fully recovered. Watching the video, you can see the viciousness of Cueto’s kick to LaRue and also see the Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter slammed up against the wall during the melee.

In Saturday’s event, no one was hurt and the two managers didn’t square off on the field. It was a baseball “brawl” that never reached the proportions of 2010.

To wrap up

Finally, as fans, we often overreact. All the same, we need to keep in mind there are still 159 games left. Let’s see what happens this week in Miami and Milwaukee, we can overreact anytime.  I believe we can expect to see better outings from the rotation and the bullpen.

Next. Nick Castellanos Reignites Rivalry with Cincinnati Reds. dark

As far as a potential brawl is concerned, there will never be one like in 2010.