By Patrick Kelly
In what was a delayed opening day with a lot of Cardinals fans holding their breath, the Redbirds gave them a lot of promise during the opening weekend. The biggest question coming into the season was about the offense and whether they would be repeat what was seen in intrasquad games. The Cardinals silenced those problems early on Friday night with Tyler O’Neil crushing a ball out of the park. He was followed two innings later by Dexter Fowler and finally Paul DeJong in the seventh to give them three home runs in a 5-4 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Redbirds had a little hiccup in the ninth when fresh reliever Kwang Hyun Kim got his first MLB appearance. After a few errors and line drives, the Cardinals found themselves with their backs against the wall but the man known as KK hunkered down and finished off the win for his first save.
The Cardinals had to wake up a bit earlier on Saturday, but they showed that Friday’s bats weren’t a fluke. Paul Goldschmidt belted one to left field to give the Cardinals an early one-run lead. The Birds continued to pile it on, finishing with a total of 10 hits in a decisive 9-1 win, with a chance to sweep the series on Sunday.
Alas, the Cardinals didn’t quite have the success they experienced the previous two days. After going up 1-0 early, the Pirates chased pitcher Dakota Hudson after he allowed two home runs and seven hits. The Cardinals weren’t able to get anything going offensively and dropped their first game of the season.
Still, this was a weekend that had a lot of positives. Although they were unable to get the sweep, this was the first time since 1954 that not a single MLB team started 3-0. The pitching showed up as everyonee hoped it would with more of the same from Jack Flaherty on Friday and Adam Wainwright putting up a nice performance on Saturday in what is his 16th year with the club. The offense was the main shining light, at least for the first two games. Goldschmidt stepped up in the way he is expected to, batting .417.
There is hope that Tommy Edman will have a big year and he showed what he can provide with a triple and three RBI. The Cardinals are off on Monday before traveling to Minnesota for a two-game series with the Twins on Tuesday and Wednesday.