When the St. Louis Cardinals announced the signing of Carlos Villanueva, there wasn’t much expected by it. The 31 year old Villanueva had been a swing man through most of his career. A decent reliever and an abysmal starter. He was mostly brought in to be a long reliever for the Cardinals. A guy who can pick up innings if a starter has to exit early or potentially make a spot start or two for you.
As I’m sure everyone has heard by now, as a result of the injury sustained during Saturday’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers, Adam Wainwright will likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season. There’s even an outside shot that he may be a little delayed in his preparations for 2016 as well given the rehab time frame discussed yesterday of 9 to 12 months. He will have surgery on Thursday to repair a torn Achilles tendon.
It didn’t take very long for the complaints about the Cardinals’ offense to start rolling in. Averaging 3.7 runs per game, the Cardinals currently stack up just below the National League average of 3.75 runs per game. They’ve hit four home runs and stolen five bases and are hitting .241 with a slugging percentage of .349. This is all John Mabry’s fault.
Or is it? Can we even say that we know anything about what this offense will be this year based on the first six games of the season? I don’t think so.
One of my complaints with the Cardinals’ this season so far is that the lineup is too top heavy. Once an opposing pitcher works his way through Matt Carpenter, Jason Heyward, and Matt Holliday, there really isn’t much to fear beyond them. Sure, Jhonny Peralta and Matt Adams scare when they have a platoon advantage, but that’s not enough. Meanwhile Jon Jay and Yadier Molina may not live up to past success while Kolten Wong generally needs to get his OBP higher.
The Cardinals picked up the win in their season opener tonight against the Chicago Cubs. The much talked about Cubs offense was quiet as Adam Wainwright pitched well enough, even as he struggled a little bit. He walked none and struck out six over his six innings of work. Just going to throw a few of my observations out there.
The lefty lineup worked. I wasn’t one of the many complaining about the Cardinals’ lineup today. I did wonder if Matheny would consider playing Randal Grichuk and Pete Kozma over Jon Jay and Kolten Wong, but Matheny stuck with Jay and Wong, probably because of the honor associated with being in the Opening Day lineup. I’m also okay letting left handed hitters play their way out of the lineup against left handed pitchers early in the season.