If the St. Louis Cardinals’ 2009 home opener Monday looked like an M. Night Shyamalan movie—promising at first, but a complete mess by the end—then Tuesday’s 9-3 romping over the Pittsburgh Pirates was more reminiscent of a Michael Bay film.
Action-packed, and always a happy ending.
Saying the Cards simply “came out swinging” would be an understatement. The lineup came out with a vengeance. After falling 1-0 early to the Pirates, the Redbirds pounced on Pirates starter Ian Snell, scoring two runs in the first and never looking back.
Revitalized Chris Duncan went deep, El Hombre crushed his first homer of the season, Khalil Greene and Colby Rasmus each showed some of their potential. Even Yadier Molina joined in with a long ball and, yes, a triple.
Let’s put it this way: If Yadi’s plating a three-bagger—only the second of his career—you know it’s going to be a good night.
And indeed it was. By the fifth inning, the Cards were already up 9-1. Kyle Lohse went on cruise control, and the game was history. For at least one night, Cardinal Nation—and Jason Motte, for that matter—didn’t have to put 911 on speed dial.
The offense and a quality start got the job done for the club Tuesday night, as the young, talented roster and effective-when-healthy rotation are expected to do this season. After Monday’s circus appearance by the bullpen, though, it remains to be seen if the final piece to the Cardinals’ puzzle will show new life this year or continue to give fans sleepless nights.
While I’d be the first to admit that the bullpen’s opening-day performance made me seriously consider seeing a psychiatrist, it’s way too early to freak out just yet. Motte at least deserves a few more chances, and there’s always Chris Perez waiting in Memphis for his shot at the ninth as well. Dennys Reyes looked impressive Tuesday night too, giving hope that someone on the Cards’ roster that throws with their left hand could be effective this year.
In fact, you heard it here that the Cards’ bullpen could actually be much better this year. They just need to get the “Ghost of Izzy” out of the locker room.
Until an exorcism is performed in the bullpen or an actual save is recorded (whichever comes first), the ninth inning will continue to be a roller-coaster ride.
For now, though, Cardinal Nation can celebrate the Redbirds’ first win of 2009. With that kind of offense and starting pitching, this team has a solid shot at being a contender all season.
Opening Day didn’t have the “hope” feel to it that it should in St. Louis.
Tuesday night, it did.
And, as Morgan Freeman would say, hope is a very good thing.
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