The Cardinals kicked off the 2017 campaign with a tough challenge in the Chicago Cubs and a disappointing series against the Cincinnati Reds. Let’s take a look at what went right and wrong for the Redbirds.
The Cardinals went 1-2 to start the season. While the record might not look as pretty as they would like, there are still lots of positives to take away from their first series.
The Battery: Starting Pitching and Catcher
Martinez won the duel against Lester, and was absolutely dominant. Striking out 10 while walking none, the Tsunami was in the driver’s seat from pitch #1. Check out his heat maps from the start:
— Zach Gifford (@zjgifford) April 3, 2017
Picture perfect location, painting the low and away corner with his nastiest pitch.
Outside of Martinez, Wainwright and Lynn both showed very promising signs, allowing 2 runs in 5 and 5.1 innings, respectively. While Wainwright came out with just 82 pitches, Lynn will need to do better to limit his offerings. his 98 pitches knocked him out earlier than the Cardinals would have liked. This could have been a factor in the following bullpen implosion.
All in all, promising signs for the Cardinals top 3, except for whatever this was:
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 5, 2017
Yadi picked up right where he left off in the WBC, absolutely dominating to get the year going. He hit baseballs so hard that they even tried to get revenge:
Jajajajajajaja a Yadi Molina se le olvidó limpiar su peto después de comer un algodón de azucar. pic.twitter.com/cBtzBxrg0W
— Joshúa Maya (@PlaysOfTheWeek) April 6, 2017
Cardinals fans have never fully backed Matt Adams, but I’m a fan. He came off the bench and proved that he could provide some pop. While in his start he still struck out twice, he was able to produce with a clutch single and play (somewhat, not quite) passable left field.
— cardinalsgifs (@cardinalsgifs) April 6, 2017
If he can prove to be a legitimate option, the Cardinals will be a much more dangerous team.
Onto the legitimate outfielders, Grichuk, Fowler, and Piscotty looked like a top 5 NL outfield. Grichuk demonstrated some real pop, while Fowler continued his success at setting the table for the rest of the lineup. Though their batting averages are not perfect, expect them to even out as they get more at bats. Piscotty should win an award for just surviving that 5th innings:
— SouthernSportsNation (@SoSportsNation) April 6, 2017
Also, an obligatory shout out to Jose Martinez. Keep doing you, Jose.
What needs to be better?
Please prove me wrong, Cardinals relievers. Nobody wants to endure another year of mediocrity at the back end. Seung Hwan Oh blew his first save opportunity, and expensive LHP Brett Cecil was tagged for 4 runs without recording an out. However, he did throw a scoreless outing in the day before.
However, it was not bad news. The smaller named arms in the ‘pen were effective and dominant. Matt Bowman looked sharp, as did Socolovich and Tuivailala. Seigrist and Broxton also showed promise. Both Oh and Cecil are veterans, and we should not be worried by their slow starts.
That’s really it.
One can try and make judgments based off of small sample sizes, but that does not do much for us. The Cardinals looked solid in their first series, and played the reigning World Series Champions very competitively.
PHOTO CREDIT: Scott Kane USAToday Sports