ST. LOUIS — We made it! Opening day is finally upon us.
The Cardinals will kick off the 60-game campaign on Friday at home against the Pirates, and while fans may not be able to see their team in person this season, there are still reasons to be excited.
Here are some things Cardinals fans can look forward to this season.
5: We get to see Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina together for what may be the final time
While Molina has made it clear he wants a new contract and Wainwright could ask for the same because of the shortened season, there is still the chance this is it.
If you asked me to bet on if we'd see these two together in 2021, I'd say yes. However, it's not a given.
Wainwright and Molina are both bound for the Cardinals Hall of Fame, and their relationship has been one of the driving forces behind St. Louis' success for the past 15 seasons.
Even though we can't see them in person, let's appreciate how special this duo is once again.
4: Dylan Carlson is coming
He's not on the opening day roster, but at some point in 2020 we'll see Dylan Carlson taking an actual at-bat at Busch Stadium.
The Cardinals' top prospect has all the makings of a stud, and when he comes up, there's a chance he never goes back down.
The switch-hitting outfielder is one of the most exciting prospects in all of baseball, and the day he comes up will be an event for Cardinals fans.
3: Paul DeJong and Kolten Wong are special up the middle
DeJong and Wong worked together nearly the entire time baseball was on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They were already in-sync, but it's only stronger now.
The gold glover Wong and criminally underrated DeJong make up one of the most solid double play tandems in the sport. On any given night they could give you a jaw-dropping play.
They're also not too shabby with a bat. Last season, DeJong became the first Cardinals shortstop to hit 30 home runs. He looks like he's ready to pick up his power right where it left off. Wong put it all together last season and was the team's most consistent offensive performer.
These two are fun to watch, and should fill up the highlight reel this season.
2: They have a legitimate chance to repeat as NL Central champs
Yes, this team has a lot of offensive questions, but they're still the reigning division champs.
The rest of the division, and most of the rest of their 2020 schedule, isn't exactly the strongest bunch of teams in baseball. The opportunity to grab another division crown is ripe for the taking.
And with expanded playoffs for 2020 being announced, the Cardinals simply have to be in the top half of all teams in baseball to play for the title. I think that's a good bet.
1: The pitching is among the best in baseball
If you love watching exciting pitching, you're going to love the 2020 Cardinals.
The starting rotation has one of the most exciting you talents in baseball in Jack Flaherty. It has a guy in Carlos Martinez who at his best is one of the nastiest pitchers in the league. And it has above average pieces in Dakota Hudson, Miles Mikolas and Adam Wainwright.
The bullpen, even with the losses of John Brebbia and Jordan Hicks, is still stacked.
Daniel Ponce de Leon and Austin Gomber would start for about 20 other MLB teams.
Newly announced closer Kwang-Hyun Kim has been nearly un-hittable in the preseason.
And Andrew Miller, John Gant, Tyler Webb, Ryan Helsley and eventually Giovanny Gallegos create a very solid group.
The Cardinals may have trouble scoring runs again in 2020, but with a pitching staff with talent and track records like this, the other team is going to have its work cut out for them every night.