Questions answered through first 11 games

 

Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports
 
Before the St. Louis Cardinals take on the Cincinnati Reds in a Sunday matinee matchup, I thought I’d answer some questions about the team through the first eleven games of the season.
Is Aledmys Diaz for real?

The answer is yes. Even I doubted Diaz during spring training due to his lackluster performance. Since being called up to the majors due to injuries, he’s been on a tear. Diaz has played in nine games so far and has two home runs, five doubles and a triple so far. He’s driven in eight runs and only struck out twice in 33 plate appearances and holds a .406 batting average. If that’s not impressive enough, Diaz’s BAbip (batting average of balls in play) is .393. If Ruben Tejada comes back soon as widely reported, Diaz should still be the everyday short stop. Once Jhonny Peralta comes back, Diaz could take over at second base.

Is Kolten Wong worth the money?

Sadly, the answer is no. Wong has been a defensive liability since he was called up to the majors a few years ago and has never been able to get things going at second base. Sure, the whole team has been bad defensively, but he and Aledmys Diaz have accounted for half of the team’s errors. He’s had bright spots offensively, but he’s not worth the five-year $25.5 million contract he signed during spring training.

Is Yadier Molina healthy?

I think his offense early on speaks for itself. Molina is hitting .311 with six RBI and four doubles so far. His thumb doesn’t appear to be a problem early on. I look for him to have another all-star caliber season this year.

What’s up with Randal Grichuk?

He walks up to the plate to the tune of Nelly’s “Here Comes the Boom” and it’s a fitting song. After a slow start to the season, Grichuk has raised his batting average to .219 (it was a .067 after the first series against Pittsburgh). Grichuk has also tallied two home runs and six RBI.

Is Jeremy Hazelbaker another Bo Hart?

For those that remember Bo Hart, you could see why I make the comparison. Hart played one solid season in 2003 for the Cardinals. He hit .277 with 13 doubles, four home runs and had an OPS of .713. So far in 2016, Hazelbaker is hitting .406 with three home runs and has seven RBI. Here’s to hoping Hazelbaker, who’s just 28 years old, isn’t a flash in the pan type of player for the Cardinals.

What’s wrong with Waino?

I’ve heard it from friends, I’ve seen it on Twitter, what is the deal with Adam Wainwright? He’s supposed to be the Cardinals’ best pitcher, right? Well here’s my answer, he still is. What great pitcher doesn’t have some rough outings? I get it, he’s supposed to throw complete games and shutout the worst teams in the league. Just be patient Cardinal nation. He will come around.

Martinez impressive in final spring start

  
Carlos Martinez looks to be primed and ready for the 2016 baseball season. The young righty pitched a solid six innings allowing just three hits and one run against the New York Mets on Monday.

Martinez will pitch in a minor league game Saturday before making his first start of the 2016 season April 9th. 

Martinez wasn’t the only pitcher who impressed Monday. Relief pitcher Jordan Walden pitched the 8th and gave up two hits while striking out two batters. That appearance solidified where he thinks he should be come Opening Day, the bullpen.

Matt Holliday blasted his first home run of the spring off Bartolo Colon in the first inning. He picked up another hit later and finished 2-2 on the day. 

Tuesday afternoon will be Adam Wainright’s final tune up game before he takes the bump Sunday against the Pirates for the first game of the season. In four starts this spring Wainwright is sporting a 4.80 ERA with six walks and 11 strikeouts.

Tuesday’s game against the Washington Nationals can be seen on Fox Sports Midwest at 12:05 pm.

Leake Takes the Hill for Birds in Saturday Matchup

The St. Louis Cardinals take on the Washington Nationals Saturday in Jupiter, Florida and Mike Leake will take the mound for St. Louis.

Leake is posting an ERA of .82 allowing just one run off 8 hits in 11 innings in this spring. He’s also struck out 12 with just one walk. He’ll certainly look to keep it rolling with just 8 days to go until Opening Day against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the steel city.

Matt Holliday will get another crack at first base and the overall the lineup looks pretty similar to what it could look like come next Sunday against the Pirates. Another player to watch this afternoon is Randal Grichuk who hit his second home run of the spring yesterday in a game against the Mets that ended in a 5-5 tie.

Ben Fredrickson of the St. Louis Post Dispatch is reporting all signs indicate Yadier Molina will be behind the plate Opening Day.

Here’s the lineup for today’s game against the Nationals which will be televised on Fox Sports Midwest.

First pitch is scheduled for 12:05.

Matt Carpenter (3B) 

Kolten Wong (2B) 

Matt Holliday (1B) 

Randal Grichuk (CF) 

Brandon Moss (LF) 

 Yadier Molina (C)

 Tommy Pham (RF) 

Ruben Tejada (SS)

Mike Leake (RHP)