As much as any fan of the St. Louis Cardinals, I was disappointed when we lost Adam Wainwright for the year to say the least. I felt at that time that the Brewers had become the team to beat in the NL Central in 2011, and I thought it would be close before losing Wainwright. The odds makers have put the Brewers and Cardinals with the same odds to win the division, but I’ll be curious to see what they say now. As we all know by now, the Brewers lost Zack Greinke the other day when a cracked rib from playing a pick-up basketball game flared up again. Greinke is now supposed to miss about a month of regular season games.
In my opinion, if Chris Carpenter’s hamstring injury causes lingering problems all year, it will end up being too much to overcome the loss of both of our aces. However, if “Carpenter being Carpenter” is something we can count on, we might have just caught a huge break. It seems to me that a rib injury to a pitcher is something that could really hamper Greinke’s performance all year. The Brewers are saying that it’s only going to be a month, but don’t most medical staffs rush to their judgment most of the time anyway?
It still seems like there’s a lot of optimism in Cardinal Nation for the 2011 season. I’ve moved my thoughts to that camp now as well. Again, health will play a big part, especially with David Freese and Lance Berkman. If those guys, along with Carpenter can pitch and play as expected without injury, it seems the team is bound to score more and not get shut down by 4 and 5 starters very often. Also, hopefully their good health and the addition of Ryan Theriot can keep the Cardinals respectable against the soft tossing lefties they’ve had problems with over the last handful of years.
I know of lot of Cards fans are worried about the Reds still. I find that it will be difficult for them to come from behind as many times as they did last year, so I still think the battle will be between the Cards and Brew Crew. I just hope Kyle McClellan can pitch as well as a starter as Dave Duncan thinks he can.