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The Chirp: Reflections of the first game

10:34 AM, Apr 2, 2013   |    comments
Apr. 1, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA: St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday reacts after grounding out against the Arizona Diamondbacks during opening day at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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(The Chirp) -- Last night's season opener for the Cardinals wasn't what anyone expected.  And of course, one game of 162 should not be a cause for anyone to grow alarmed.  The game had its positive moments as well as its negatives. 

But don't we say that every year?

So, here are a few of the things that concerned me and would concern me after any game at any time of the year.  On defense, it appeared to me that maybe Beltran's toe was affecting his speed and his ability to get to fly balls I've seen him get to before. Cardinals beat writer Jenifer Langosch agrees, writing ...a defense exposed by an expansive outfield kept the Cardinals from being able to bail out Wainwright in the second Opening Day start of his career.

Dan Moore, of SB Nation, clearly saw the same thing from right field, writing this morning: One emerging narrative worth looking out for: Carlos Beltran's defense. Last year he had stretches where he drifted between so-graceful-it-looks-like-he's-not-trying and just-not-very-fast-out-there, but it's worth asking how a toe injury that had him on the verge of a disabled-list stint will affect his defense. So you don't have to look it up yourself: No, he hasn't played an MLB game at first base (yet.)

On offense, who did not get excited when Matt Carpenter opened with a hit and scored on Matt Holliday's double?  But after that, the bats went silent.  We saw this happen last season.  Explosive offensive innings, followed by silence.  Now, let's give credit where credit is due.  Ian Kennedy was on-it last night, and that is what every Cardinal fan has to be saying to themselves.  But isn't that just an excuse?

I asked Rene Knott if there was anything that concerned him about last night's game.  He said,"lack of production and did Wainwright get hurt on that comebacker?"

That was a scary moment for Wainwright in the third inning.  He stayed in the game, but it was clear to me that the comebacker affected him.  So far, we've received no update on Wainwright's condition.

Tara Twellman of Aaron Miles' Fastball, also took note of the defensive lapses and some regrettably familiar base running mistakes.

We see Waino struggle and we wonder if the fact that he had to ninja swipe a liner off his shoulder early in the game caused him to tighten up. We see Carlos Beltran (and Jon Jay, for that matter) fail to cover ground effectively in the outfield and we question their defensive proficiency, and the Oscar Taveras option. Matt Holliday and Daniel Descalso foolishly try to take an extra base and get thrown out, and we decide the season is doomed.

On the positive side, Frank Cusumano reminds us that although Wainwright's giving up 11 hits in 6 innings is not good. "He touched 94 on the gun."  That does say a lot.  Frank believes Wainwright's comments last night that the comebacker will not affect him.  "I believe he will be fine," said Cusumano.

Tonight, the Cards will ride the hot left arm of Jaime Garcia.  Today is yesterday's tomorrow, so "go get 'em." 

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