The Cardinals kicked off the MLB season on Sunday afternoon, and unfortunately, it didn’t go as planned as the team was beat by Pittsburgh 4-1. Here’s a few of my notes from the game.
- The Cardinals struck out 14 times; 10 were to lefty starter Francisco Liriano. I think the strikeouts will be a huge problem for the team this year. 9 of the 14 were tied to 4 players: Randal Grichuk (3), Kolten Wong, Stephen Piscotty, and Matt Adams (2 each). Piscotty is the surprise, as he typically has a pretty good batting eye.
- Again, the Cardinals struggled against a lefty; the Cards didn’t have a baserunner until the 3rd and have a hit until the 4th. Lefties have been an issue for a few seasons now and the team hasn’t addressed the issue. They also had bases loaded in the 4th and 6th and failed to score both times; leaving men on base has been an issue in the near past. These issues might be foreshadowing hitting problems again this season, but one game is too small of a sample size to assume this yet.
- Adams didn’t start the game; he came in to start the bottom half of the second after Tommy Pham left with an injured oblique. Pham has a history of injury issues, but it’s disappointing to see it pop up in the first game. Pham is headed to the DL, so we’ll see more of Adams, Brandon Moss, and Jeremy Hazelbaker; the Cardinals have promoted Aledmys Diaz to take Pham’s roster spot.
- If you would have told me that Hazelbaker would have made the opening day roster, I’d say you were crazy. Sure, he hit well last season between Double A and Triple A, but a lot of guys do that. I think we’ll get a small sample of him, but he’ll be the first guy down when another reliever is needed or Ruben Tejada is back. Hazelbaker struck out in his only at bat.
- Seung Hwan Oh also made his MLB debut on Sunday; he pitched an inning, striking out 2 and walking 2. He threw his fastball (4-seam, 51.9%), slider (29.6%), sinker (2-seam fastball, 11.1%), and change (7.4%). He’s going to need to work on his control, or he’s going to struggle in the majors; while his ERA is 0.00 after the appearance, he had a xFIP of 5.31.
- Finally, Adam Wainwright got off to a bit of a rough start; 2 of his 3 runs allowed were in a second inning that saw him allow 3 hits and a walk on 19 pitches. After the second, he settled down and pitched pretty well. Like Oh, he allowed 3 walks total and his 5.32 xFIP would imply the damage was limited (his ERA was 4.50). He also received a quality start, which is the dumbest stat in MLB history.
Typically, my Cardinal stuff is at the Cards Conclave, but I plan on doing more of it for Nyrdcast; I’ll still be writing there, but what’s the point of having this site if we’re not using it?