How sweet it is to watch the Cardinals win on opening day. Kyle Lohse arguably pitched one of the best games of his career going 7 and 1/3 innings and allowing only 2 hits and 1 ER, keeping the Miami Marlins off balance all night. It was the first time in his career that he had a no-hitter after 6 innings. Before I go any further, I want to go ahead and mention the only negative of the game, which was the notorious umpire Angel Hernandez.
How in the hell does this clown continue to stick in MLB? For those who might have missed it, Hernandez did what he does best and blew a call. It doesn’t matter where he is on the diamond, he’s guaranteed to get his 15 minutes a week on Sportscenter with his BS. When you can see it clearly in real time before the reply, you know it’s bad. I just wish I knew what Mike Matheny said to him when he came out to argue. Lance Berkman took 8 steps toward the dugout because he thought it was as clear to him as it was to everyone else, except, Hernandez. It wasn’t quite as bad as the Don Denkinger call of 1985 and obviously not as important, but it was close to being as bad a call. If not for the call, Fernando Salas strands the inherited runner on the obvious double play, and Lohse isn’t charged an ER.
Moving on, I’m happy for Matheny getting that first win out of the way. It was a nice touch to see Yadier Molina hand the game ball to Matheny after the game. Speaking of Molina, did anyone else notice his aggressive baserunning to first base on a weak ground out to 2B? And speaking of aggressive baserunning, it appears the Cardinals are going to continue the trend they laid out in ST. Marlins starter Josh Johnson was continually holding runners on as they took their long, secondary leads. If ST and Opening Day are any indication, the Cards are going to be more aggressive taking extra bases at every available opportunity and relying less on the 3 run HR.
Every Cardinal except Matt Holliday had at least one hit (My 2012 NL MVP prediction). It was great to see Rafael Furcal get 3 hits, especially considering the lingering questions about his health and added weight that resulted from not being able to work out as hard in the offseason because of an appendectomy. I think it was also important for David Freese to get off to a good start with 3 hits. The expectations for Freese are going to border on impossible to some people.
Jason Motte had a solid save, and it was great to see him change speeds to the last batter he faced. It looks like the cutter he developed last year it going to be one heck of an out pitch, as he threw it around 90 and 91 MPH with a sharp bite.
With the unusual 1 game series to start the year against the Marlins, the Cardinals will resume on Friday as they head to Milwaukee. It’s only one game, but it’s hard not to get excited from some of the things we saw tonight. I’ll be doing most of my post this year at the conclusion of every series rather than every game, and hopefully most of the time that will be after we take 2 of 3. What a great feeling that Cardinal Baseball is back!