Game 1 Postponed

Well, that stinks.

Albert Pujols hit a solo home run.
Rick Ankiel hit a two-RBI double.
Yadier Molina hit a two-RBI single.

The Cardinals had a 5-1 lead.

But, forget that any of that exists.  The game was postponed til tomorrow night at 7:15 e.t.
Kyle Lohse will pitch against ironically, Kip Wells.

Cardinals advantage yet again.

But regardless, that is a sad outcome to a game where the Cardinals were on fire. 
Pujols is gonna be a beast this year, I’m telling you.

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Game One: Colorado Rockies VS St. Louis Cardinals

Adam Wainwright said it best:

“We’re playing with that sense of ‘What do we have to lose?”‘ Wainwright said. “Nobody’s expecting anything from us. We’re going to go out there and play free and easy and … go after it with an excitement level that’s pretty hard to match.”

What do we have to lose?  Right?  Yeah, the Cards have been picked to finish third to last, second to last, and last in the National League Central this year.  The same “experts” who picked St. Louis to lose in three games in the 2006 World Series are now saying a “patchwork rotation” and “spotty lineup” and “questionable bullpen” will cause the downfall of the 2006 World Champions.  Well, so-called experts, that’s a bold prediction.  Very bold. 

 

Sure, the rotation is patchwork, but when you throw in Kyle Lohse and Matt Clement, your patchwork is made of something less like cloth and more like steel. 

Sure, the lineup features Cesar Izturis and the pitcher in the 8 hole.  But the Cardinals said goodbye to the aging and oft-injured Scott Rolen and Jim Edmonds in favor of Troy Glaus (multiple seasons of 35 HR) and Rick Ankiel (who can hit with the best of them; amazing bat speed).  The Cardinals also finally found a leadoff hitter in outfielder Skip Schumaker, and I think he’s going to make a name for himself this year.  Brian Barton, picked up in the Rule 5 Draft, is going to be a star once he gets going, and he also will help a once-shoddy lineup.

 

As for the bullpen, despite having early discontent with the move, I’ve grown more towards liking the move of Anthony Reyes to the bullpen.  I believe he’s going to a great long reliever, and if Tony has faith in him, so do I.  Russ Springer and Ryan Franklin are no joke.  They are going to really be the nails that hold this bullpen together.

 

And besides, this pitching staff is only going to get better.  After the all-star break the Cards should have a rotation of something like this:

Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, Matt Clement, Mark Mulder, and Braden Looper/Joel Piniero/whoever does well.

That’s quite a step up from 2007…

 

But anyway, here is your preview of today’s game, which starts at 3:15 p.m. central time.  It starts the moment the bell rings for school to get out and I have another appointment at 4:15, so I can’t do much but listen to the game for thirty minutes and head back to town for what I have planned, but I’m going to have my mind on the game, that’s for sure.

It’s opening day; to me it’s a national holiday.

 

So, the Cardinals start out with a lineup of:

1. Skip Schumaker (LF)

2. Ryan Ludwick (RF)

3. Albert Pujols (1B)

4. Troy Glaus (3B)

5. Rick Ankiel (CF)

6. Yadier Molina (C)

7. Cesar Izturis (SS)

8. Adam Wainwright (RHSP)

9. Aaron Miles (2B)

 

And the Rockies:

1. Willy Taveras (CF)

2. Troy Tulowitzki (SS)

3. Todd Helton (1B)

4. Matt Holliday (LF)

5. Garrett Atkins (3B)

6. Brad Hawpe (RF)

7. Yorvit Torrealba (C)

8. Jayson Nix (2B)

9. Jeff Francis (LHSP)

 

Now, looking at both lineups, I see a lot of offensive firepower.

I see guys who can go deep at any time in Pujols, Glaus, Ankiel, Tulowitzki, Helton, and Holliday.  The lineups are both very good and feature lots of diverse players.  I really don’t know who to give the advantage to as far as offense goes, because for every Cesar Izturis non-factor player there is a Jayson Nix to counteract it. But, there’s something to remember here.  This is St. Louis.  This is a home game for the Cardinals, and the home team comes to play and has their fans behind them.  Another thing to note is that Albert Pujols is still much better than Matt Holliday.  Glaus is more proven than Tulowitzki, as well.  Helton has the upside against Ankiel because Helton is a proven star who can take anyone deep…but age may player a role.  Ankiel is much younger and his bat speed is better. 

ADVANTAGE: Cardinals

 

With defense, you have to look at each position.  At catcher, Yadier Molina is three times what anyone else in the National League can bring to the table.  That’s a little biased, but there is no one better to be catching for Adam Wainwright and no one better to throw off any kind of running game Colorado might try to bring in this game.  At first, Albert is a gold glove winner.  At second, Miles is sure-handed and doens’t make too many mistakes, so I give him the heads up over Jayson Nix, who I’ve never heard of before (ashamed to admit this, but I have to be honest).Third base goes to Garrett Atkins, who is still better than Glaus (who is an offensive guy, not a defensive guy).  At shortstop, Troy Tulowitzki is in my opinion the best shortstop defensively in the NL.  Jimmy Rollins, Hanley Ramirez, watch out.  Tulo is a good one.  In the outfield, Holliday is good, and Taveras is okay, but Ankiel has a great arm and has progressed a lot as a fielder and Skip Schumaker is one of the best defensive outfielders on the team.  At least Barton and Duncan are playing today.

 

ADVANTAGE: Cardinals

 

Finally, as much as this plagues me, the pitching game today is going to determine the winner.  Adam Wainwright is very good, and he can pitch with the best of them when he’s got it going (look at the second half last year), but which Wainwright will we see today?  No idea, but throw Wainwright out of the talk.  Colorado starter Jeff Francis is the water to the Cardinals’ fire.  Francis is 4-1 against the Cards in his career and has an ERA of something like 2.02 against St. Louis.  These Tony La Russa teams always have one huge glaring weakness for some reason: soft-tossing left handed pitchers.

 

Francis is a soft-tossing left handed pitcher.  This is a new, more powerful lineup, but if they can’t hit Francis, all my team predictions go down the drain.  For whatever reason, left handed pitchers who mix in a lot of offspeed pitches always dominate the Cardinals (at least in the past few years).  Francis’s record and ERA prove that point.  Despite Waino being as good as he is, odds are that Francis will be more effective today.

 

ADVANTAGE: Rockies

 

Overall, it’s going to come down to one thing: Can Adam Wainwright keep the Cardinals in the game long enough for St. Louis to get a shot at the Colorado Rockies bullpen?  That Rockies lineup is a good one, but if Wainwright can neutralize those threats, the Cardinals have a real chance.  I think that will happen.  If the ‘Birds can’t get to Francis, they’ll get to the bullpen eventually.  I like our chances from that point on.  A lot rests on this pitching battle…

 

FINAL SCORE:

St. Louis – 4

Colorado – 2

 

Hopefully we can finish the day saying “That’s a Winner” and start off the 2008 season on a high note. 

GO CARDINALS!

 

 

2008 Civil Rights Game Coverage

autozone entrance.JPG

MEMPHIS, Tennessee – The second annual Civil Rights Game was for the second year threatened by rain in the Memphis and outlying areas, but despite the damp weather the New York Mets return to Shea Stadium with a 3-2 victory of Ozzie Guillen and the Chicago White Sox.

Now, enough of the official news story.  You can get that anywhere.  Instead, I’m going to take you all through the game, the experience, and what the Civil Rights Game is all about – to African American baseball players, to baseball in general, and to me.

As I arrived in Memphis, nothing seemed out of the ordinary, just another crazy weather day in the southern part of the United States.  I’m used to it, living in Arkansas and all.  After the two hour drive to reach Memphis, I was happy to see some civilization (it’s a very boring drive).  As we drove over the very, very flooded Mississippi River and passed the somewhat now unused Pyramid, something hit me.  I’m not sure exactly what it was, but it was definitely something.  It could be the excitement that precedes every baseball game I go to, it could be the realization that baseball season is just about to begin, it could be the fact that for the second straight year I’m enjoying one of baseball’s most meaningful games, or it could be the fact that I realized just how meaningful this game is. 

As you see at the top of this post, there is a picture of the AutoZone Park entrance.  AutoZone is the home of the Cardinals’ AAA team, the Memphis Redbirds.  That may explain why I was decked out in my Cardinals jacket and cap headed to the game.  Regardless, just like last year, as I entered the front gates to the ballpark, adrenaline ran through my veins.  This is baseball, and today, we’re honoring the players who helped integrate the sport.  It’s something to celebrate and realize every day, but putting aside the Civil Rights Game each year is a wonderful way to show baseball’s appreciation. 

The picture below is one I snapped as I walked through the front entrance.  It was a very neat angle to take this picture from, and I thought it came out well for the cruddy little camera I was using.  The rain had slowed just enough for me to take the picture:

fake pitcher catcher.JPG

Continuing, as I made my way inside, I was greeted by some of the Redbirds’ very friendly workers and emptied my pockets for security.  I waited on my best friend, my mother, and my friend’s mother to make it through and then I picked up this year’s lanyard and a game day book, both of which were free (kind of like this new MLBlogs setup, which I happen to LOVE).
Speaking of the lanyard, this is what it looked like:

lanyard.JPG

So we made our way into the ballpark and looked around a bit.  I went into the gift shop and came away with an $18 Civil Rights Game t-shirt to commemorate what will likely be the last Civil Rights Game I get to attend (for multiple reasons, but I’ll get to that in a bit).  I also bought three seat cushions for $5 a piece (one for myself, one for my friend, and one for my friend’s mom – note: my mother brought a towel to sit on) Then, once we were ready, I made my way to my seats.  I sat with my friend in section 103, row H, seats 7 and 8.  I’ll you an idea of how good the seats were in a bit, but first, I want to show you what gave me chill bumps when I walked out in the light rain to see an empty stadium.

CRG on screen.JPG

So, I sat in the rain for a good two hours (seeing as the gates opened at two and the game started at four) and watched as Mets and White Sox fans filtered in.  It was interesting to see the number of each team’s fans that would show up and the number of pure, true-to-heart baseball fans that would come to this game.  In the end, the number of great, friendly people and pure, true-to-heart baseball fans greatly outnumbered the rabid Mets and White Sox fans.  To give you an idea of how wonderful the atmosphere was, I actually smiled and said hi to a man wearing a Chicago Cubs jacket and cap.  As I said before, I was fully decked out in St. Louis attire, so that took a lot on both parts not to talk just a little trash…but we didn’t, and that’s because today’s game was more than just a game.  It was about honoring those who helped make the game what it is today.  And if you think that picture of the Civil Rights Game logo on the jumbotron made me get goose bumps, take a look at this honorary guest.

frankrobinson.JPGBlurry as it may be, that man on the far right (just to the right of famous actress Ruby Dee) is Frank Robinson.  A wonderful man with a huge heart and a great baseball mind, Frank Robinson was a great representative of the Civil Rights Game.  It was a pleasure, an honor, and a wonderful moment to see him only 25 yards away from me accepting a Beacon of Life award on the behalf of Major League Baseball.  That is the kind of moment I’ll treasure as a human being and a baseball fan.  That is the kind of moment I want to share with you that ESPN really couldn’t put into words today…that is the kind of moment I live for and I couldn’t be happier to have MLBlogs at my fingertips to share it. 

I sat down with my friend and we took a few pictures to savor the great time we were having.  She isn’t a fan of baseball and doesn’t know much about the sport, but I’ve been trying to teach her and despite the fact that she refuses to watch it on TV, she really enjoyed the game today, which was pretty cool in my book.  Anyway, before the game started, the Tennessee State Aristocrat Band came and played several songs in the outfield, and despite the strangeness of hearing band music at a baseball game, it was refreshing and unique.  It just added to the experience, really.

By the time 4:00 p.m. central time rolled around, I was ready for some baseball.  It had rained and rained and drizzled and dripped and sprinkled til I was at my wit’s end, but just like last year, nothing was keeping the Civil Rights Game from taking place.  Sure enough, it only rained one more time during the game, and it lasted a whole three minutes or so.  But, just for the sake of enjoying each moment of a baseball game, I snapped this picture of the first pitch thrown by John Maine of the New York Mets to Nick Swisher of the Chicago White Sox.  Well, it was about to be thrown, an
yway.  And it gives you an idea of how good my seats were.

first pitch.JPG
So, the game went on, and I had to make up my mind who to root for.  I used to co-host a radio show and my co-host is a huge Mets fan.  I also am good friends with Zack Hample here on MLBlogs, and I know he roots for the Mets when possible, too.  Then again, once I was seated and comfortable on my seat cushion, a woman and her young son sat down beside my friend and I.  She had driven from Chicago just for this game.  She was a pure, true-to-heart baseball fan, although both her and her son were covered in White Sox logos. We talked for about ten minutes just about baseball and the Cardinals and the White Sox and the Mets and the Civil Rights Game and about where we come from and so forth, and that’s something I fail to mention when talking about baseball games – the people are for the most part great.  After talking to her, I felt inclined to root for the White Sox, despite my intense dislike for Ozzie Guillen and catcher A.J. Pierzynski (Pierzynski at least lived up to his reputation today, yelling the F-word very loudly after a strikeout early in the game).

I also spoke with a Mets’ fan behind me who had been to every MLB stadium, including a few no longer in existence.  He was a great guy, very knowledgeable baseball fan, and I gave him a no-harm-intended jab about Adam Wainwright striking out Carlos Beltran in the ’06 NLCS.  It was fun to meet someone like that who had traveled and seen so many baseball games.  The only other person I know to have seen as many is the man, Zack Hample. 

Continuing, in the Mets’ half of the fourth inning, Beltran himself took Jose Contreras yard for the first runs of the game (the Mets then lead 2-0).  I’m not even entirely sure this was the at-bat, but here’s a picture of Beltran at the plate at some point during the game (notice the rain-thinned crowd – only 7,717 showed up for a game that was sold out). 

beltran.JPG

The Mets would end up winning the game 3-2, and despite not knowing exactly who to root for, I knew where my loyalties lied today: with baseball.  It’s not a game, it’s the game.  And as a fan of all college sports, I will argue up and down that Major League Baseball is the best, most-loved, and truest professional sport there is.  Cheaters, liars, and high salaries aside, baseball is America’s Past-time.  I love this sport.  I live for this.

On a final note, I read on Yahoo! Sports today that those in charge of the Civil Rights Game are considering moving it away from Memphis after this year.  I was very – no, extremely – upset upon reading this.  Memphis is the true home of the Civil Rights movement.  Memphis is where it began.  Memphis has that southern hospitality, right-at-home feel that no place else can offer.  The staff at AutoZone Park have worked their tails off to make this game a success, and even though the weather affected the crowd the first two years, I can say from my own account that the game was a tremendously positive experience.  The fact that it is played at a Minor League ballpark is another big plus, especially with it being as nice as AutoZone.  The staff were super-friendly and ultra-helpful.  Twice before the game a worker came and used a towel to dry off the seat-backs for my friend and I.  You’re not going to get that kind of service at Atlanta or Washington D.C. My voice may not be heard by those who make the decisions, but I wish it would.  The Civil Rights Game belongs to those who took part in the Civil Rights movement and those who helped integrate baseball.  Memphis was chosen for a reason, and for that reason, the simple approach of “don’t fix it if it ain’t broke” should apply here.  I would be extremely disappointed if anything to the contrary were to take place.

So, I’m home and blogging again.  Baseball season starts Monday, and I’m as excited as I’ve ever been despite the so-called “experts” having no hopes for my Cardinals.  I look at it this way, though.  The last time the experts went very heavily against the Cardinals, they picked the Tigers to win in three games in the ’06 World Series.  The Civil Rights Game means so much to this sport, and this sport means a whole lot to me.  I’m headed to bed now, seeing as I have church tomorrow, but I won’t be sleeping off today’s experience.  Today, I rooted for human freedom and for the great sport that is baseball.  That’s the way it should be. 

brady and katie.JPG
That’s me and my friend above, just so you guys have an idea of what I look like.  Like I said, I live for this.  I hope more of you can enjoy the Civil Rights Game in the near future, and I hope it can stay at Memphis, Tennessee, where it belongs.  This has been the easiest and most-enjoyable post I’ve done since I started with MLBlogs.  I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it.

My Season Predictions (Cards and MLB)

Monday is the day.  Yes, baseball season is only a weekend away from starting.  It’s crazy, but I’m ready for it.  I think it’s going to be a heck of a baseball season this year all-around.  I noticed on Yahoo! Sports that there were season predictions up, and one particular article caught my eye: player awards and individual leader predictions. 

After reading these, I decided to do my own.

So, here goes:

AL MVP: Alex Rodriguez.  Another monster year and a big one for the Yankees could easily give him the award again.  Look for Miguel Cabrera to come in second place with the Tigers, who will be the best team in baseball this year despite a weak bullpen.

NL MVP: Albert Pujols.  Guys, here’s an interesting point that came to my mind while reading that Yahoo! Sports article.  Not one writer picked Pujols as the winner or as a dark horse.  Is it possible at all that after a "down" year last year that Phat Albert is being overlooked?  I think so.  And in all honesty, I really and truly believe that 2008 is going to be Albert Pujols’ best campaign yet.  I think he’ll put up the best numbers of his career and take the MVP.  I also believe that Matt Holliday of the Colorado Rockies has a great shot to win it.  That team is going to be just as good this year, and he’s a great player.

AL Cy Young: Justin Verlander. I think this guy has everything in takes in his third season to be a star.  He was a great rookie in 2006, had a little slump last year, and is going to come back on fire with a great surrounding cast in 2008.  The Tigers are loaded, and Verlander is leading in my opinion one of the best rotations in baseball (not to mention a great defense behind him).  My dark horse candidate is Josh Beckett. He was great last year, and we all know what Boston is capable of as a team.  Can he stay healthy?  Who knows…but if he does, watch out for Beckett.

AL Rookie of the Year: Evan Longoria.  Longoria is going to be a BEAST for the Devil Rays, and he’ll put great numbers his frosh year as a pro.  If he doesn’t win the ROY award though, it will be Jacoby Ellsbury of the BoSox who brings home the hardware.  Both kids are going to be stars, it just depends on who rises to the top the fastest. 

NL Rookie of the Year: Kosuke Fukudome.  The Cubs got a great player in Fukudome, and he’s going to really help that team reach the next level.  (It pains me to say that, but it’s the truth.)  If he can produce consistently, his impact on the team itself and getting the Cubbies over the hump will give him this award. Johnny Cueto, starting pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds, will also make a lot of noise.  Don’t be surprised if he wins the award.  I’ve heard some great things about him coming out of camp…

AL Home Run Leader: Alex Rodriguez.  This was an easy pick, and the same pick as all of the Yahoo! Sports writers.  If A-Rod doesn’t lead the American League in home runs, I’ll eat my shoe (barring Rodriguez getting hurt).  David Ortiz could pull it off though, but Big Papi had a somewhat down year in 2007.

NL Home Run Leader: Albert Pujols.  I’m telling you, this isn’t even my Cardinals bias setting in, this is what I really believe.  He’s going to put up sick numbers this year, possibly 45-50 home runs with Glaus batting behind him and Rick Ankiel in the lineup.  (Also worth noting is that Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports said Ankiel was his dark horse candidate for this category…) Ryan Howard is who I think could take the award from Pujols.  Injury can always change everything though, but if Albert stays healthy, look out in Big Mac Land.

Well, there are my individual predictions.

I want to talk about the Cardinals right now though.

A lot of people have been saying the Cards aren’t going to be any good this year.  Sports Illustrated’s most recent issue has the Cards finishing second to last in the division, above only the Pirates, and 18 games back of the Cubs.  I do agree, the division is the Cubs’ to lose.  But here’s why the St. Louis Cardinals are going to be right in the thick of things come September.

10 Reasons Why the Cards Can Win the Division:

1. It’s the Cubs.  They choke, what more can you expect out of them?  100 years and counting 😛

2. The Astros have no chance of being a contender this year.  They have more of an aging team than the Cardinals have had recently.

3. The Brewers are going to struggle because Ryan Braun, Rickie Weeks, and Prince Fielder are going to go into slumps this year.  Braun has to stay healthy, Weeks is not the star he was supposed to be, and Fielder has gone on a vegetarian diet and isn’t approaching things the way he used to on the field.

4. The MV3 is back…well, sort of.  The St. Louis Cardinals had Albert Pujols at first, Jim Edmonds in CF, and Scott Rolen at third base to make up the MV3 in the past.  All three put up MVP like numbers but recently faded into the distance.  Rolen and Edmonds were inconsistent and injury prone.  Now, the Cardinals have Pujols at first, Rick Ankiel in center, and Troy Glaus at the other corner spot.  Pujols and Glaus are used to putting up MVP like numbers and Glaus is primed for a major comeback.  Ankiel is going to stun the baseball world, as well.  The MV3 makes for a dangerous lineup…

5. The Cardinals starting rotation is going to surprise people.  Many see that as the biggest team weakness, but believe it or not, Kyle Lohse is going to win some games.  Adam Wainwright is going to lock down that number one role.  When Matt Clement gets back, he’s going to be a reliable number three guy.  Todd Wellemeyer is going to be inconsistent, but he’s going to pitch well when he’s got his head on straight.  Braden Looper needs to work on his day game performances (correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t he struggle in day games last season) and he will be the best number three or four starter in baseball.  Brad Thompson is going to struggle at times but when he is doing well, he’s going to win games.  He used to have a problem with giving up the long ball (strangely enough for a pitcher with a great sinker) but I think he’s fixed that problem now.  Oh, and guys, this isn’t the rotation.  Remember that.  If this group of pitchers can keep the Cards at LEAST around .500 by the All-Star Break, the Cards can have a rotation of Chris Carpenter, Wainwright, Lohse, Mulder, and Looper/Piniero.  That’s a darn good rotation that can help this team win the division.

6. Skip Schumaker and Brian Barton.  There’s something about these guys.  Chris Duncan has struggled mightily in ST, but these two kids keep producing.  And I think they’ll be great corner outfielders for the Cardinals and will hit anywhere from .285 to .310 (both of them) this season.  It’s optimism, but I really am impressed from what I’ve seen so far.  Great bat speed for both.

7. Rick Ankiel.  He’s going to hit a lot of home runs and hit for average this year.  He’ll be as feared in this lineup as Pujols and Glaus.  And my friends, that’s saying something. 

8. The Reds are not going to be any good.  If they are, I’ll eat crow, but the way things look, Adam Dunn isn’t going to do much but strike out and their pitching staff is very, very young.

9. Tony La Russa.  He’s the winningest CURRENT manager in baseball.  Like him or not, he’s doing something right.

10. The bullpen.  Jason Isringhausen will be back to his normal game as closer this year, and that’s a huge boost to the bullpen.  I’m not sure Anthony Reyes is suited for long reliever, but either he or Kelvin Jiminez will be able to provide bullpen support.  Ryan Franklin is a great reliever as evinced by 2006 and 2007, and Russ Springer is the most underrated guy on the team.  He’s going to pitch consistently well yet again.

Do you feel better about the Cardinals?  I know I do.  I now say we finish second in the division, but our odds of winning it keep rising in my opinion.  It’s going to be an exciting season, and the possibility of disappointment is always there.  But I truly believe the Cards are going to compete.  That’s what they do.  They play a hard nine.  That’s all you can ask for.

-Brady

BTW, check back soon for Civil Rights Game coverage.  I’ll be there tomorrow afternoon!

Updates from this week and today’s game so far

Two more days to the Civil Rights Game.  I’ll be bringing you coverage right here on the blog after I get home and have time to write and upload pictures.  It’ll be a great experience.

Wanted to update everyone on some things.  Matthew Leach said on www.stlcardinals.com that Juan Gonzalez is done for now, being placed on the temporarily inactive list this week.  He also said that reliever Kyle McClellan and outfielder Brian Barton are going to almost for sure make the roster.  (http://stlouis.cardinals.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080326&content_id=2459106&vkey=spt2008news&fext=.jsp&c_id=stl)

Another great article written by Leach details the battle between Anthony Reyes and Kelvin Jiminez for the final remaining bullpen spot (likely the role of long reliever).  Go here to read about it.  My personal opinion is that Jiminez should get the job and the Cardinals should trade Anthony Reyes for either starting pitching or infield help.  He’s pitched well enough this Spring to have trade value again, so it would be a smart move for the Cardinals.  Of course, if he can be a dominant long reliever, I vote to keep him, but as inconsistent as he has been over his time with the Cardinals, I’m not sure about it.  Jiminez has earned my respect as a reliever, and I think he fits that role perfectly.  I just don’t think Reyes will be what the Cards are looking for.

An update on today’s game, Kyle Lohse is on the mound, and I have very high hopes for him.  He’s pitching very well so far in Spring Training, and so far today he has allowed two hits and no runs in three innings to the Florida Marlins.  Skip Schumaker, Chris Duncan, and Cesar Izturis have the only hits for the Cardinals and Albert Pujols reached base his second time up via a walk.  Duncan had a two-out RBI single, bringing home Izturis to put St. Louis up by a score of 1-0.  A live box score can be found here.

Well everyone, as I sit here at 1:04 P.M. central standard time, it is 4 days, 2 hours, 12 minutes, and 40 seconds til opening day.  It’s baseball time, and I’m pumped…let’s get your season predictions in! Let me know what place you think the Cards will finish in and what their record will be.  I’ll put the comments up as a post and average them out to find what the fans overall think what the Cards will be this year.

Go Cardinals!