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.

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Birds look to take flight against fish

 

Photo Credit: Jeff Roberson/AP

 
The countdown to Opening Day has hit Matt Holliday’s number on this Easter holiday. That means just one more week until the games count, and one more week until everything is right in the world.

Sunday, however, the Cardinals are looking to rebound against the Miami Marlins after an ugly game against the Washington Nationals on Saturday.

The Cardinals committed five errors and were shutout 7-0. Mike Leake had a tough outing, and the defense behind him didn’t help matters. 

Jaime Garcia will face off against the Marlins’ Jose Fernandez Sunday afternoon. The teams have played five games against each other this spring and the Cardinals have won three of those games.

Garcia has pitched 9.2 innings and compiled 11 strikeouts this spring. His ERA is above six. Sunday will mark one of his last tune ups before the regular season.

Here’s how the Cardinals will look on the field this afternoon:

Starting Lineup

Carpenter 3B

Piscotty RF

Moss LF

Adams 1B

Gyroko SS

Peña C

Pham CF

G. Garcia 2B

J. Garcia LHP

First pitch from Roger Dean Stadium is at 12:05. The game will be televised on Fox Sports Midwest.