Well, it’s here. Almost. Hang on with me for three more days and then we will have baseball. The D’backs will host St. Louis in a three-game series beginning Monday night. You guys know all that, but let’s see what else is included in the game 1 preview.
Ian Kennedy will get the nod for Arizona on Monday. In 13 IP against the red birds last year, IPK posted an ERA above 6 and allowed 11 runs. I’m going to forget I mentioned that statistic. This is a fresh year for Kennedy and I expect big things from him. Ian will go up against Adam Wainwright, who didn’t pitch in Chase Field last year but did win his only meeting with Arizona in 2012. Wainwright, who recently signed a five-year extension, is a possible CY candidate. Pitching edge in game 1: I don’t know, flip a coin or something.
It’s funny that about three months ago, I was joking about how much outfield depth we had. I didn’t think we would actually need to use it all, though! As for Opening Day, there will be no Adam Eaton and no Cody Ross in the lineup. The Diamondbacks’ DL makes up one pretty damn-good team by itself but there are certainly others to step in and fill roles. The D’backs will most likely have Gerardo Parra leading off to start 2013. The only other mix up is that A.J. Pollock will probably start in CF. That is pretty much by default with the injury bug hitting Eaton at literally the worst possible time: a week before Opening Day. Apparently shortstops can’t stay healthy in Arizona but there to save the day is Cliff Pennington, who will very likely start there on Monday. The Cardinals are aging. No doubt about it, but their lineup is still pretty scary with the likes of Holliday, Beltran, and you can also play “Name That Molina” in STL. The Cards are old but they have some great young talent coming up. It’s weird to associate St. Louis with young talent but Shelby Miller and Oscar Taveras are prolific young stars. Taveras is often referred to as “Baby Vlad.” Not only is the nickname adorable, but it also tells you what to expect from this five-tool phenom (Taveras will begin the year in Triple-A Memphis). The big bummer for the Cardinals to start 2013 is that David Freese will be out of the lineup with some back issues. His plan is to return by the second week of the year. Both teams are struggling from the same issues with their roster but Arizona combated that with younger players. Lineup edge in game 1: D’backs.
The Cardinals finished 5-1 against Arizona last year but if St. Louis can play like their ages suggest then Arizona should be alright. D’backs will win the series with victories on Monday and Wednesday. The game on Monday night will be nationally televised because ESPN will do anything in their power to air a Cardinals game.
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