Cardinals at Dodgers series preview: Everything you need to know for Opening Day

The St. Louis Cardinals face a tough opponent in Shohei Ohtani's Los Angeles Dodgers to open the 2024 season. Here's what to expect.
2024 Seoul Series - Los Angeles Dodgers v San Diego Padres
2024 Seoul Series - Los Angeles Dodgers v San Diego Padres / Gene Wang/GettyImages
1 of 5

As we edge closer to Thursday's Opening Day and the Cardinals' first series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, we have the probable pitching matchups. The "midwestern farmers" will take on LA's new superteam headlined by offseason acquisitions Shohei Ohtani, Tyler Glasnow, and Yoshinobu Yamamoto, and Cardinals fans are understandably nervous as the team tries to avoid a repeat of 2023. Starting strong is key for the Cardinals, and there's no tougher opponent to start off against.

There are many questions surrounding the Cardinals' Opening Day, and as the resident Dodgers expert, I'm here to break down the lineups, the rotation order, and the matchups. The Dealin' the Cards Podcast has also done a full preview of the opening series, which you can find here.

Game 1: Miles Mikolas vs Tyler Glasnow

Unfortunately for the Cardinals, the revamped rotation won't be fully ready for the start of the season as Sonny Gray will begin on the 15-day IL. After an offseason focus of "pitching, pitching, pitching," it looks like the Cardinals will be forced to repeat with Mikolas as the Opening Day starter while the Dodgers will show off their new-look pitching staff with Tyler Glasnow, a starter the Cardinals notably missed out on.

When healthy, Tyler Glasnow is among baseball's best, and it looks like he might finally be healthy and ready to go for 2024. After undergoing Tommy John surgery and addressing his other lingering injuries, Glasnow may be primed for his best and longest season yet. He was absolutely dominant this Spring, and while he struggled with his command in the Seoul Series, allowing four walks in five innings, Glasnow will be a formidable opponent for the Cardinals' lineup.

Between Mikolas and Glasnow, there may not be a more lopsided pitching matchup on Opening Day as Mikolas is coming off his worst season in St. Louis, in which he posted a 4.78 ERA marred by inconsistency and bad luck. He did have a solid Spring Training, but his Opening Day nod is a testament to the Cardinals' failure to acquire sufficient pitching depth this offseason.

Opening against the Dodgers, who have a notoriously left-handed heavy lineup, with a right-handed starting pitcher in Mikolas is also extremely risky. Shohei Ohtani, Freddie Freeman, Max Muncy, and James Outman may prove too difficult for the veteran righty to handle, especially in his first start of the season.