Generally, it is a bad idea to read too much into one game, even if that one game is the only game we have to go on. I'm going to switch things up a little bit. After last night, Alex Crisafulli said it was okay to freak out, if that was what you wanted to do. Taking a slightly different tack, I'm going to focus on our coverage in the Season Preview, which came out just six days before the season started. Here is where we went wrong.
This is what we had for the Cardinals likely everday lineup:
Brandon Moss did not start Opening Day, and not only did he not start, when it came time to substitute a first baseman, he was not the player selected. Matt Adams came into the game instead. Ruben Tejada did not last the week, getting hurt in a Spring Training game. Jedd Gyorko started in his place. Which brings us to...
I mentioned four players when discussing the bench, and it is not clear that any of them are still on the Cardinals bench. Brayan Pena: hit the disabled after slipping on wet dugout steps and is now likely out a month. Eric Fryer has been called up to take his place. Matt Adams: Presumed to be on the bench after a disappointing 2015 season, He was the first man in when Matt Holliday moved to the outfield. He might be the presumptive starter at first base, although this could easily change again. Jedd Gyorko: Signed to be a utility player, but when Jhonny Peralta and Ruben Tejada went down, he became the Opening Day shortstop. How long that lasts remains to be seen. Tommy Pham: Poor Tommy Pham. He actually earned the Opening Day start in left field, but is now out at least a few weeks and maybe more.
To compound the Pham issue, I spent a good deal of words concerned about whether Pham would get playing time. Those fears were alleviated when he got the first start, and then rendered moot when he got injured before he get could a second at bat.
The preview did not even mention Greg Garcia, who has managed to remain in his role, or Jeremy Hazelbaker, who made the team when Ruben Tejada got hurt and is now the backup center fielder despite just 20 games there over the past few years in the minors. It is possible that Brandon Moss, with the third-highest salary among position players on the active roster, is now in a bench role as the season continues. Another player could be in a bench role and he could be starter.
We mentioned Aledmys Diaz in the preview down in the prospects, but one game into the season, Diaz finds himself on the active roster. Whether he is on the bench or the new starting shortstop is unknown. The Cardinals wanted to get Diaz a steady stream of plate appearances in Triple-A to make sure his development was not stunted. It will be interesting to see if the Cardinals still prioritize plate appearances for DIaz in the early part of the season. We saw with Kolten Wong two years ago that John Mozeliak will not hesitate to put a prospect back in the minors to get him playing time even if the manager prefers to see him in a bench role.
All of this is to say that many of our assumptions will prove correct or incorrect as the season wears on. So much can change in just a week or even just a day. It's sort of the reason why we watch the games. We have no idea what will happen. It's exciting, and I'm glad we finally have baseball season back.