Cardinals vs. Cubs
1) I almost forgot that Adam Wainwright missed half of spring training with his abdominal injury. He only had three spring training starts, but was more than ready for the start of the season. Wasn’t as efficient as he would have liked, but put his team and himself in a position to get a win.
2) The Cubs did a good job of covering up their bleachers construction with the Ernie Banks tarps in the outfield. If you can’t use the bleachers, that’s a much better look than the construction we’ve seen at other stadiums. We’re talking to you, Oakland.
3) I do like the idea of seeing more of Joe Maddon. I’ve thought he was the manager that did the best job with what he had while he was in Tampa. And he’s one of the few coaches or managers in sports that understands he’s in the entertainment business. So I appreciate him and am glad he’s in the NL.
4) I guess we can pump the brakes on the Cubs going 162-0. Sure, they’ll be improved. But odds of winning the World Series at 14-1? Same as the Angels and better than the White Sox, Tigers, Padres and Giants? Really?
5) As I watched ESPN’s bottom line, I noticed that Washington will host the 2018 MLB All Star game. That means four straight All Star games will be played in NL parks…Cincinnati, San Diego, Miami and Washington. Shouldn’t the All Star game be played in a park of the league that wins the WS?
6) I like the K Zone being available live for every pitch.
7) Okay, Jason Heyward. You can hit lefthanders. I was wrong.
8) Matt Holliday is something with runners in scoring position.
9) If 31 year old Jon Lester averages 26 starts a season through the duration of his six year deal with the Cubs, he’ll get $1 million a start. And that opener against the Cardinals, 4 1/3 innings, eight hits, three runs…was one of those million dollar starts.
10) Regardless what you think about the Cubs, I think you have to be rooting for Jason Motte to do well, don’t you? What a class act.
11) A little surprised that Mike Matheny had Adam Wainwright hit in the top of the sixth. But he’s been solid and doesn’t appear to be laboring.
12) Wainwright got help from Matt Holliday’s defense in the sixth, and then the ball dying in right to end the inning. I wonder how much differently that ballpark will play with all the changes.
13) With three open dates in the first ten days of the season (including two in the first five), it was smart of Matheny to get Carlos Martinez into a game. He’s the sort that will do well having had a chance to settle down in a regular season game before his first start.
14) The last time we saw Trevor Rosenthal in 2014, he didn’t display great command. In the opener, he was dynamic…throwing nine of his sixteen pitches for strikes and striking out the side. The Cubs weren’t able to put a ball in play against him.
15) A shutout is a great way to start the season. The Cardinals are built on pitching, and…while opening day is always overrated…Wainwright and the bullpen have now set the tone for what should be expected of the pitching staff.
Blues vs. Blackhawks
1) That’s a winner! Blues in first place in the Central Division with three home games to go.
2) Obviously, Brent Seabrook is STILL a creep.
3) How can the Blues not at least consider Jake Allen as their playoff goalie? He’s good enough, and obviously has a hot hand.
4) When the NHL season ends, the Central division will have three of the top seven teams…the Blues, Blackhawks and Predators…in the whole league. And those three, in some order, will be second, third and fourth in the Western Conference. And Minnesota will probably finish fifth.
5) It would be pretty cool if Olli Jokinen would make Nashville regret trading him. Big goal.
6) I joined the chorus wondering why Patrik Berglund was playing every game for the Blues, but I have to give it to him, he’s played very well for a couple of weeks now.
7) In addition to being a great rivalry, Blues-Blackhawks is the most entertaining series in the NHL right now. Both teams have such great speed and use the entire ice. It’s really fun to watch.
8) Are you worried every time the opposition puts a sixth attacker on the ice against the Blues at the end of the game? I am. Every time.
9) If the playoffs started today, the Blues would take on a Minnesota team in the first round that they’ve beaten in a shootout and lost to twice. The Blues end the regular season Saturday afternoon against the Wild.