By: John Knicely, KMOV.com
I did a double take late in the Cardinals Opening Day game when in the late innings I looked at the scoreboard. San Diego had 2 runs on 2 hits and St. Louis had 2 runs on 10 hits. It just didn't make sense. Neither did how the Cardinals lost this one 5-3.
First the positives. The Opening Day festivities were tremendous. It's always awesome to see Stan Musial and the cast of Hall of Famers. Chris Carpenter pitched a heck of a game and put the Cardinals in great position to win. Lance Berkman got off to a great start in a Cardinal uniform with 2 hits (still felt weird cheering for him at Busch Stadium). Colby Rasmus had a great day at the plate with a triple, a single, and 2 walks. David Freese made a great play at third base coming off an injury plagued rookie year. And last but not least, Matt Holliday. He did his job with a clutch 2 out RBI single (but yes he did later get picked off at second base, huh?). And in the bottom of the 8th Holliday brought Cardinals Nation to their feet with his laser shot home run to center field. Many fans headed for the exits thinking it was in the bag. It wasn't.
That brings us to the negatives. Albert Pujols had a disappointing day at the plate to say the least. He grounded into 3 double plays for the first time in his career. And he popped up to third base with one out and a runner on third. I don't think any Cardinals fan is worried about Albert's production this year, but it didn't help the uneasiness surrounding him and his contract uncertainty. In the 9th Ryan Franklin came in to close it out following the Holliday go ahead home run, but he didn't. He sat down the first 2 batters, but then gave up a bomb of a home run to dead center field to tie the game. Not good when you're biggest concern as a team is the bullpen. And in the 11th inning, what was that defense? Jon Jay's terrible throw into second base and Ryan Theriot's botching it allowed the game winning run to score. Yikes. One of the big question marks surrounding Theriot is his defense and he didn't set Cards fans at ease in his first game.
In the grand scheme of things we know it's a long season. The Cardinals have about 161 games left and we know there will be a few losses mixed in there. But as a Cardinal fan I woke up on Friday feeling like I'd been kicked in the shins. Now let's hope our Red Birds bounce back and kick the Padres in the shins this weekend.