Barring any last minute issues, Yadier Molina should start behind the plate after suffering an oblique muscle injury on his right side over a week ago in Florida. The Cardinals begin their defense of the Central Division with their season opener at Cincinnati.
Taking the ball for St. Louis will be Chris Carpenter of the Cy Young contenders last season when he went 17-4 with a 2.24 ERA. In my opinion the heart and soul of this pitching staff. The team feeds off his success and he’s proven time and time again over the last few years, when he’s healthy and he’s pitching…the Cardinals are winning. That has never been an issue against Cincy, where last year, Carp was 4-0 with a 1.29 in four starts last year against the Reds.
The Reds will send Aaron Harang, their ace who had a down year going just 6-14 with a 4.21 ERA. He’s 12-31 in the last two seasons.
Back to the health issues of the Cardinals. At one point this spring, Albert Pujols missed time with a sore back and Matt Holliday was out with sore ribs. Both recovered, but it showed just how the Cardinals may lack the depth on the bench if one of them missed extended time. The Cardinals will bring three young outfielders with them into the regular season. Allen Craig, Nick Stavinoha, and Joe Mather all made the team. Of course, health is any team’s main concern over the course of six months.
However, healthy, there is no doubt this lineup can roll through the National League.