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Cardinals open season at home against Pirates - A short series preview

Welcome back, old friend.

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MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis Cardinals Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

It is Opening Day! It feels like it has been forever since we last saw our Cardinals take the field, but it has not been much longer than usual, really. With the lockout and everything else, the offseason has felt like years, at least to me. Then after it was all said and done, the season started just a week late. It’s funny how that works.

So what has changed since last year? For the Cardinals there will be a few differences. The biggest news was the firing of Mike Shildt that left the former manager “heartbroken” per Bob Nightengale. (I had to double-check to make sure that firing occurred at the end of last season. As I said before, the offseason was a long one.) Taking his place at the helm of the team is the Cardinals former Bench Coach Oliver Marmol. In his inaugural season, Marmol will be the youngest manager in baseball.

The lineup stays mostly the same with one major difference: the addition of veteran righthander Albert Pujols. With the National League adopting the Designated Hitter, there was some room to take on chance on the Cardinals legend. In 2023 the team might look more different than it has in 17 seasons with the likely departure of Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright (and Albert Pujols again).

As for the pitching staff it again stays mostly unchanged with a big exception: Jack Flaherty will start the season in the Injured List. Jordan Hicks has been named the fifth starter:

2021 was a down season for the Pirates. They had the second-worst offense in the league with an 83 wRC+ and one of the highest FIP in the league at 4.74. There top player was Bryan Reynolds at 5.5 fWAR and a 142 wRC+. He projects for another good year in 2022 with a 125 wRC. I wrote a little bit about him last season.

And that’s about it for now. First pitch is a few minutes away so I better get this posted along with a fresh game thread. Baseball is back!

Matchups:

Thursday, April 7: JT Brubaker vs. Adam Wainwright
Saturday, April 9: Mitch Keller vs. Miles Mikolas
Sunday, April 10: Bryse Wilson vs. Steven Matz (LHP) (oh yeah the Cardinals also signed Steven Matz)