The Cardinals did some good things
Thursday. But they did enough that wasn't good enough, and they gave away a game
they should have won, falling to the Padres 5-3 in 11 innings.
Shortstop Ryan Theriot,
making his Cardinals debut, fumbled a bouncing throw from right fielder Jon Jay
in the 11th inning and then threw high to the plate as one San Diego run scored and
another was set up.
Three-time Most Valuable
Player Albert Pujols, a .472 hitter for 10 previous Opening Days, rapped into
three double plays and fouled out with a runner at third and one out. He ripped
one ball particularly hard, but it was caught at the warning track in the eighth
Left fielder Matt Holliday had three hits, including a tiebreaking homer in the eighth inning. But
Holliday got caught off second in the sixth when a baserunning gambit went awry
and the Padres tricked the Cardinals with right-hander Tim Stauffer making an
inside move to second.
Also, Cardinals second
baseman Skip Schumaker had the ball knocked out of his glove on a steal attempt
by Ryan Ludwick in the fifth inning, setting up a San Diego run.
Still, Cardinals closer
Ryan Franklin, though hit hard by the first two batters in the San Diego ninth,
was one out away from the save when Cameron Maybin swatted a 417-foot,
game-tying homer to center.
Bryan Augenstein, the
sixth Cardinals pitcher, suffered the loss in his Cardinals debut, giving up
both runs in the 11th. Jason Motte and Mitchell Boggs, both important parts of
the Cardinals' bullpen last year, didn't get into the
Link to boxscore
RHP Chris Carpenter worked seven
prime innings, giving up just two hits and two runs. He struck out four and
walked two while throwing 98 pitches, 57 for strikes. But he took himself to
task for letting a cutter get too far over the plate when he was trying to pitch
around Padres C Nick Hundley in the fifth inning, and Hundley hit a run-scoring
double with the pitcher coming up next.
RHP Ryan Franklin, who hadn't
blown a save at home since Sept. 19, 2009 - a stretch of 15 straight
conversions - said he didn't think San Diego CF Cameron Maybin's game-tying homer
in the ninth inning was going to go out. But Franklin said, "I'm not going to
let one game affect me. I'm not going to let this one game, one pitch, bother me
for the rest of the year. I'm not worried."
In a game in which the Cardinals'
bullpen generally pitched well, RHP Bryan Augenstein suffered the loss in his
Cardinals debut. Augenstein, who was victimized by SS Ryan Theriot's error,
allowed three singles, but two of them were ground balls. "He got the loss, but
did he pitch ineffectively?" manager Tony La Russa said. "I don't think
1B Albert Pujols grounded into
three double plays for the first time in his career. He was 0-for-2 with men in
scoring position after hitting .472 in Opening Day games in his
LF Matt Holliday knocked in the
first run of the game with a two-out hit in the first inning. He led the
National League with 50 two-out RBI last year.
5 - Consecutive times the
Cardinals have lost a season opener at home.
"I had a bad
- 1B Albert Pujols, after he went
0-for-5 and hit into three double plays in the season
Spring training got off
to a rough start when 20-game winner Adam Wainwright suffered a ligament injury
to his elbow, requiring surgery before he had thrown a pitch in an exhibition
game. That injury stripped the Cardinals of their major advantage over their
National League Central competitors, that they had two No. 1 starters, with
Chris Carpenter being the other.
1. RHP Chris
2. RHP Jake Westbrook
3. LHP Jaime Garcia
4. RHP Kyle Lohse
5. RHP Kyle McClellan
McClellan was a valuable
member of the bullpen last year and the Cardinals will have to fill in for him
there somehow. The key to the rotation might be Lohse, who is healthy now after
battling forearm problems for the last two seasons. Garcia struggled early in
spring training and the Cardinals will need him to be good as the only
left-handed presence in the rotation.
RHP Ryan Franklin
LHP Trever Miller
RHP Miguel Batista
The veteran Franklin
doesn't throw as hard as most closers but still is efficient. For more velocity,
the club can turn to Motte and Boggs in the seventh and eighth
Miller, whose control was
off last year, will have to bounce back, and Tallet will have to be better than
the pitcher who gave up 20 homers when he was starting for Toronto last
1. SS Ryan
2. CF Colby Rasmus
3. 1B Albert
4. LF Matt
5. RF Lance Berkman
6. 3B David
7. C Yadier Molina
8. 2B Skip
Manager Tony La Russa
hadn't seen fit to hit the pitcher eighth this spring, and he said that if the
offense doesn't struggle, he won't do that this year. Theriot, the new
shortstop, and Schumaker both led off last year, but Schumaker was very
productive this spring hitting down in the lineup. At the start of the season,
switch-hitting Berkman will hit fifth behind Pujols and Holliday, but Rasmus
could drop from second if Berkman falters.
C Gerald Laird
INF Tyler Greene
INF Daniel Descalso
OF Jon Jay
OF/INF Allen Craig
Jay and Craig divided
time in right field last year after Ryan Ludwick was traded to San Diego, and either
would provide a suitable substitute if Berkman can't play every day. Non-roster
3B Matt Carpenter was the rage of camp, but he doesn't play middle infield so
Descalso, was kept at the start of the season until Nick Punto returns after
having had hernia surgery.
RHP Adam Wainwright
(Tommy John surgery in February 2011) went on the 60-day disabled list March 25.
He will miss the entire 2011 season.
INF Nick Punto (hernia
surgery in February 2011) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March
22. He hopes to return in late April.