The Cubs haven’t won a meaningful game in quite some time. For the Cardinals, it’s been a month longer than that. This season, the Cubs are huge favorites and the Cardinals are supposed to be decent. After a long winter, real games start today. The Cardinals next three games are scheduled against the Cubs.
Both the Cardinals and the Cubs are now without wins or losses. While the two teams are rivals, you cannot throw their records out the window when they play each other because their records don’t even exist.
Since last season, both teams have undergone minor changes. The Cardinals moved on from Matt Holliday, Brandon Moss, Jaime Garcia, and Seth Maness. They added Dexter Fowler and Brett Cecil, and Lance Lynn returns from Tommy John surgery. They have attempted to remake the defense by putting Fowler in center, moving Randal Grichuk to left field, moving Matt Carpenter to first base, maybe giving more time to Kolten Wong at second base, hoping for better defense from a healthy Jhonny Peralta at third and a more seasoned Aledmys Diaz at shortstop. Yadi is Yadi.
The Cubs lost Dexter Fowler and let Jason Hammell go while David Ross retired. The team signed Jon Jay and Brett Anderson and Kyle Schwarber is back for the regular season. That’s really about it, with Albert Almora in line for more playing time in the outfield.
Tonight, the Cardinals will host the Cubs with Jon Lester facing off against Carlos Martinez. Lester is really good, but if any runner gets on base and doesn’t immediately take a 20 foot lead, I will yell at the television.
I know that the Cardinals made a bunch of outs on the bases last year, and it remains to be seen whether that will improve this season, but this is one out I am willing to sacrifice. Just go out there and don’t dance off the bag to try and break up his rhythm. Don’t take a lead a little bit longer than usual. And don’t break back to first base if he steps off the the rubber. Take a mammoth, gargantuan lead and force him to do something.
Carlos Martinez has been the Cardinals best pitcher the past two seasons, and he has been rewarded with a contract extension and the Opening Day start despite a healthy Adam Wainwright. El Gallo is fantastic and expect him to pitch like it.
On Tuesday, Adam Wainwright will face off against Jake Arrieta. It’s tough to call Arrieta’s season disappointing last year as he had a good season, but it was a drop from what he did back in 2015. It is not tough to call Wainwright’s 2016 season disappointing. We don’t know quite what to expect from him this season, although presumably a bit of a bounce back is in order. He is definitely someone who could benefit from better defense this season.
Salty bulldog John Lackey will take the mound for the Cubs on Wednesday afternoon. He is old and this might be the year he falls off a cliff. Whether he’s good or bad, he’ll probably be angry at some point on Wednesday.
Lance Lynn looks to get the start in this game. He is no bulldog, as he would have attended Mississippi State instead of Ole Miss if he were. He can be rather tenacious on the mound, but gregarious off it. He might be a bit underrated this season. You can't throw his stats from last year out the door for reasons mentioned in the second paragraph. Hope you like fastballs.
Sunday April 2, 7:30 pm CT, ESPN
Tuesday April 4, 7:15 pm CT, FSM, MLBN
Wednesday April 5, 12:45 pm CT, FSM, MLBN