The World Champions looked like just that last night as they defeated the new look Miami Marlins 4-1 to officially open Marlins Ballpark. Most of the ballpark’s “firsts” are now attributed to Cardinals’ players. The first hit was Carlos Beltran. He was also the first run scored. The first RBI was to David Freese. The first strikeout went to Josh Johnson, but he was the batter as Kyle Lohse fanned him in the bottom of the 3rd. We did not, however, get to see the new home run sculpture get a use.
Kyle Lohse certainly lived up to the billing of an Opening Day starter, taking a perfect game into the fourth and a no-hitter into the seventh. If not for a missed call at first base, he would have gotten out of the game without allowing a run and maybe gotten an opportunity to finish out the game himself. It was probably the best Opening Day performance by a St. Louis pitcher since Todd Stottlemyre threw 7 scoress innings of 3-hit baseball as the Cardinals shut out the Dodgers.
Lohse, who got the Opening Day call after Chris Carpenter‘s injury, was the team’s best pitcher over the course of last season, leading the rotation in wins, ERA, and WHIP.
The ballpark certainly looked beautiful, and that’s probably the biggest crowd Miami has seen for a baseball game in quite some time. The question will be whether they can maintain that attendance through the season or is it just a matter of time before it returns to it did while they were still the Florida Marlins.
Overall for me, it was probably the best game I remember the Cardinals playing that I can think of. Everything was clicking and going well and even against one of the best pitchers in the league. The team was certainly not missing Albert Pujols. One thing was sure though, David Freese will get the opportunity to come up big this season. Twice last night they walked Lance Berkman to face Freese. Considering how he handled the pressure in October, I think he’s certainly capable of handling it.
The Cardinals now shift their attention to a rematch of the NLCS and last years’ NL Central division race with a three game set with the Milwaukee Brewers that will start on Friday with Jaime Garcia facing Yovani Gallardo.
And I’ll leave today’s quick post with just a joke I saw on Twitter this morning… What do the Miami Marlins and the Chicago Cubs have in common? Neither have won a World Series in their new ballpark.