Typically, the St. Louis Cardinals facing the Colorado Rockies would not be a headline-worthy story. But this is no ordinary series.
It marks the first time since the Rockies traded star third baseman Nolan Arenado to the Cardinals. The package — left-handed pitcher Austin Gomber (tonight’s starter), infielders Elehuris Montero and Mateo Gil and right-handed pitchers Tony Locey and Jake Sommers — was laughable. Then it was reported that the Rockies were eating $51 million of Arenado’s contract and the trade will go down as one of the all-time heists in baseball history.
The trade, orchestrated by president of baseball operations John Mozeliak, changed the outlook on the Cardinals season. No longer were they just contending for a division title. These Cardinals were looking to win a World Series and Arenado, widely regarded as one of the best players in baseball, would put them in contention with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
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So far, Arenado has delivered as promised. He is hitting .276/.336/.488 with five home runs and 22 RBI. Those numbers are better than last season, when he dealt with injuries, but still below his career averages across the board. Arenado has said that he is still getting accustomed to his new surroundings, his new teammates and being in a new city. So it is more than fair to expect that his numbers will increase as the season goes on, which is a scary thought for opposing teams as the Cardinals are 18-14 and in first place in the National League Central.
But you can expect that Arenado will bring his A game for the Rockies series. The man who traded him – Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich – stepped down only 22 games into the season. Even then, he will want to prove something to the organization and to owner Dick Monfort, the man who ultimately signed off on any Arenado trade.
The crowd at Busch Stadium will likely give Arenado a louder ovation than usual in what figures to be an electric atmosphere once he comes to the plate for the first time. And you can bet that Arenado will be ready.