The Cardinals opened the 2012 season on Wednesday by helping the new-look Miami Marlins inaugurate their weird-new-exotic ballpark by handing the Miami-nine something they were quite used to in 2011 - another loss, by a score of 4-1.
After the bizarre pre-game ceremonies which looked more like a Latin-version of Cirque Du Soleil, the home team looked anything but comfortable being introduced to the curious throng like cheesy beauty contestants escorted out to the field by a weird assortment of scantily-clad feathered-babes who were clearly enjoying the festivities way more than the embarrassed players.
Perhaps still in shock from the outrageous extravaganza they had been subjected to, Ozzie Guillen's highly touted squad promptly fell behind after the first half inning when World Series hero David Freese knocked in two runs off Marlins ace Josh Johnson; and with Cardinals pitcher Kyle Lohse yielding nary a hit through six innings, that was all that was needed to beat the Marlins, although the Redbirds tacked on another couple of runs, anyway.
After spoiling the Marlins' bizarre home opener with the win which also gave new Cards' manager Mike Matheny his first as a big league manager, the Redbirds headed north, where they would play the division-rival Milwaukee Brewers in their Friday home opener. After spotting the Brewers an early 2-0 lead, the Cardinals played long ball to take command of the contest; in the second inning, an extremely fit-looking Yadier Molina hammered the first pitch he saw from Yovani Gallardo (now 1-8 in his career against St Louis) over the right field fence. It was the first of four home runs the Cardinals would belt in the game; in the third inning, Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday hit back-to-back home runs to first, tie the game, then give the Redbirds a lead they would never relinquish. Then, with a man on, David Freese hit the third bomb of the inning deep to left field, extending the lead to 5-2, en route to an eventual 11-5 victory. Freese added another RBI later in the game, padding his two-game season total to five. In case anyone was wondering, that puts the red-hot and healthy Freese on pace to drive in 405 runs. Let's hope he stays healthy this year!
Cardinals starting pitcher, Jaime Garcia settled down nicely after yielding the two early runs; allowing no further scoring in his six innings of work.
The Cardinals, with a 2-0 record in the very early going of the 2012 season, have a two-game lead over the 2011 Cardinals, who dropped their first two games of the regular season, at home, to the San Diego Padres. As a footnote to that slow start, when the Redbirds went on to win the World Series last year, it marked the first time since 1946 the Cardinals lost their season-opener only to go on to win the Fall Classic.
Later today, the long-awaited return of Adam Wainwright to the Cardinal starting rotation becomes a reality, as Waino squares off against the goofy Zack Greinke, who went on record prior to last year's NLCS that "nobody on the Brewers likes Chris Carpenter because he yells a lot and stuff".
I hope Greinke adds Adam Wainwright to that "least-liked list" as the 2010 20-game winner tries to garner win number one against the Brewers at Miller Park.