Cards happy to leave Arizona

The Cards dropped their opening series of the year in Arizona to the D-backs 2 games to 1.  All I can say is good riddance.  I don’t like the Cards playing in the thin air in AZ or Colorado.  I don’t think you can put too much stock in anything that happened in this series going forward.  The ball flies out of Chase field too easily, and the OF’ers have too much ground to cover.  Pitchers not accustomed to playing in CO or AZ usually have troubles.

Starting with the first game of the season, I thought it was pretty clear that Adam Wainwright was back.  Until being struck in by a ball in his throwing shoulder, he was cruising along.  He was hitting 94MPH on the radar gun with his fastball, and he had everything working except the cutter.  After that, AW wasn’t the same.  Although he claimed to be fine, his velocity immediately dropped and his control wasn’t the same.  I think AW will be back to 2009-2010 numbers when it’s all said and done.  Mistakes in the thin air will cost any pitcher.  Just ask Fernando Salas, who is the early season whipping boy.

In game 2, Jaime Garcia pitched pretty well until the 6th inning.  With 2 outs, Garcia walked the bases loaded and was bailed out when Edward Mujica came in and struck out the final batter of the 6th.  The Cards bats came alive, especially against Heath Bell.  Again though, I don’t like to put too much stock in these games, as I doubt we’ll see Pete Kozma hammering HR’s 440 feet to dead center at other ballparks.

The final and 16-inning marathon game to end the series is one of those games you say to yourself that the Cards have to win.  Last year it was the 1-run (21-26) and extra-inning games (6-12) that cost the team the division.  They’re now 0-1 in both categories to start 2013.  Lance Lynn couldn’t get the ball down.  The same can be said for Joe KellyTrevor Rosenthal and Mitchell Boggs both blew 1-run saves, Rosy in the 8th and Boggs in the 12th.  The Cards led 4-1, 7-5, 8-7 and 9-8 in this game before losing 10-9 in the 16th, which was the longest game in Chase field history. 

The Cards had a tough draw to open the season on the road at Arizona and then San Francisco.  I’m happy to get these games out of the way early, but I never expected great results.  The Cards have a very tough schedule in the first month.  If they go .500 I’ll be surprised.  16 of the Cards first 22 games are on the road and the 2 home series are against the Reds and Brewers.

Thankfully, it appears Wainwright, Matt Holliday and Allen Craig are all ok.  Craig slide into the concrete wall with his left knee and Holliday was hit on the wrist with a fastball.  So, let’s just chalk this series up to the thin air for now, and see what happens from here on out.

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