By Patrick Kelly
After what has been a wild month for the St. Louis Cardinals, fans finally got the opportunity to see their club in action on Sunday. The Redbirds played their first spring training game in the Grapefruit League against the Washington Nationals where the teams played to a 4-4 tie. While the Cardinals didn’t see much out of their veterans, a lot of the young guys managed to register a hit in a game that saw several pinch-hitters give everyone a look in the first outing of the year.
The main topic of conversation was the first look at the possible opening-day batting order that saw Tommy Edman leading off, followed by Matt Carpenter, Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado batting fourth. The Cardinals also gave a lot of different opportunities to different relievers who all went about an inning.
While the Cardinals will be seeing the same four teams in rotation for the next month, it will give fans more of a chance to focus on several different questions that will come up entering the season. Carpenter found his way into the first lineup in the DH spot, but unfortunately that’s not somewhere he can find a permanent home. While Arenado and John Mozeliak have stated he will will be a part of the lineup, the capacity to which he will play will be interesting. For the Cardinals to make an improvement deep in the playoffs (or even qualify for the post-season), they will need consistent play from guys like Carpenter and Harrison Bader. After the initial excitement following the acquisition of Arenado, it is apparent he is not a miracle cure and the Cardinals need to see more out of players they expect to be important parts of their lineup.