All it took was a single game for Paul Goldschmidt to get settled in wearing a St. Louis Cardinals uniform.
Friday night in Milwaukee, he broke out with three home runs, each of which were majestic bombs that left the outfielders looking up at the sky like a kid watching a fighter jet zip by.
The first baseman added a single and an intentional walk (remember this is game #2 of the season) to his big night, which included five RBI, helping the Cardinals beat the Brewers by the score of 9-5.
Goldschmidt's OPS currently sits at 2.225, which is what a moderate producing Major Leaguer would like to have, but multiplied by three.
According to Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, Goldschmidt's exit velocity on his four hits all were equal or exceeded 105 miles-per-hour. The third home run went off the bat at 106 mph, which is something Jordan Hicks can't even touch, or at least not yet.
In addition to the tyranny at the plate, Goldschmidt made a fine play on a double play ball to end an inning. It's a long stretch from the ugly moments last year where Jose Martinez's footwork at first base resembled an overly caffeinated salsa dancer. Goldschmidt's mighty lumber comes with gold plated gloves as well, making him an unstoppable force.
He hits three home runs, rips a single, draws a walk, makes a slick play in the field, and may have saved a cat from a tall tree and baked a cake as well. He's the complete package. All it took was one three strikeout game on opening day to awaken the beast that the Cardinals just locked up for five years.
The fact that he did it against the Brewers, a fierce division rival that can put up some runs, made the historical occasion extra sweet. Goldschmidt does a lot of damage against Milwaukee and the Chicago Cubs, two teams that stood in the Cardinals' way last year in making the playoffs. Something tells me the new guy is going to change that.
Seeing Goldschmidt tee off on three different pitchers Friday night made me think back to the Albert Pujols days. Pujols was the last widely feared slugger whom other teams had to find a way to deal with. With no offense to Matt Holliday and Matt Carpenter, they aren't Goldschmidt. There's simply not a DNA match for treating baseballs like scorched Earth.
Acquiring Goldschmidt may have been the final piece to the puzzle, the last push for the Cardinals to get back into playoff contention, and soon enough, World Series possibilities. On a night where their young phenom starter, Jack Flaherty, couldn't last five innings, and the Brewers once again tried to make a couple comebacks, Goldschmidt got out his bat and said that's enough. He's the thumper this team has been missing.
As the Athletic's Joe Schwarz tweeted out last night, a Paul Goldschmidt at-bat is going to be appointment television for the next half-decade.
Seeing the intentional walk in the ninth inning in March makes you think of the impact he could have on his teammates as well. If Paul DeJong manages to stay in the three spots, he could see some juicy pitches if teams bypass the gold rush. Marcell Ozuna should see some action as well.
Possibilities. What could be. Goldschmidt showed you what could happen in one game when he is dialed in. The man doesn't put up routine .880 OPS marks and 5.0 WAR without being able to take over a game. He's going to take away a lot of those one or two run losses that afflicted the Cardinals these last few years.
Goldschmidt could very well mean October baseball. It's early, so please withhold your premature warning-stuffed judgement.
When I watched that third home run sail into the left center deck behind Lorenzo Cain, I thought of a great Rolling Stones song, Sympathy for the Devil.
“Please to meet you
Hope you guess my name, oh yeah
Oh, what's puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, oh yeah.”
Goldschmidt showed little sympathy on Friday night. If I were the rest of the National League, I'd take it as a warning. You bet they were watching those highlights and thinking, "oh boy, look at what we have to deal with now."
Doom. You're dealing with doom, fellas. His name is Paul.