The first series for the redbirds is in the books. Matt Holliday is on the shelf with an appendectomy, Albert Pujols seems only able to ground into double plays, and Jake Westbrook got absolutely torched in his outing.
There were some things to not like about this series. I already mentioned Westbrook and Albert. I think Westbrook will rebound, and of course Albert isn’t going to .154 all year. One of the things that really concerns me is the bullpen. Ryan Franklin faltered in the first game, and he didn’t look good at the end of last year. Call it a hunch, but I am not convinced that he closes game at the end of June. But the problem is that Jason Motte throws 98 MPH in a straight line. It turns out, most major league hitters can hit a fastball at any speed that has no movement. It also turns out that if you hit a ball going 98 MPH, it goes far. With McClellan in the rotation, it depletes the bullpen that much more. The Cards will need to address the closer situation, and the closer of the future is not currently on the roster.
The biggest thing to like about this series was that Jaime Garcia looked really sharp. He pitched a brilliant game this Sunday, striking out nine and giving up no runs in a complete game shut out. With Wainwright down, Jaime has to step up, and he did so Sunday. Call me crazy, but I think Colby Rasmus looked good as well. It almost seems like his approach to this year is completely changed.
Next up for the Cardinals are the Pirates. One of the downfalls of last year is the Redbird’s inability to beat teams that we should have. On paper, the Cardinal’s are exponentially more talented than the Pirates. Anything less than a series win would be a disappointment.
Matt Holliday news, the team has yet to put him on the DL, which bodes well for a quick recovery. This is good news, since his bat is crucial for the offense.