What We Have Learned So Far 4-17-2012…
Posted by JE Powell
It is still early in the season, only 1/16 of the season has been played, and the Cardinals sit at 7-3 and in 1st place in the Central division. So, as the title of this suggests, what have we learned? (Also, I am playing around with this being a recurring column several times through out the season, probably every two to three weeks as the season progresses).
- We have learned that Adam Wainwright has a long way to go to get back to the form he had before Tommy John surgery. Wainwright has allowed 11 earned runs in just 8.2 innings as of the time of this writing and has not looked good.
- Matt Carpenter has looked, so far, like a very good replacement for the replacement (Lance Berkman) for Alber Pujols. Matt Carp has 1 HR, 10 RBI, and is batting .409 so far. Whether he can keep it up remains to be seen, but so far, he is looking pretty good.
- Despite David Freese and Berkman missing several games apiece (arguably the Cardinals two best pl ayers) the Cardinals have still won games and have done it in style, amassing the most runs in the Majors in this young season.
- Jon Jay hit 10 homers all of last season and has two already this year, which puts him on pace to hit 32 or so. Of course, he could lose some playing time when Allen Craig returns, and the likelihood of Jay hitting that many over the course of a full season are fairly low anyway, it is still good to see him showing some power early in the season. His current .344 batting average is looking pretty good to. His .382 OBP aint to shabby either.
- Jake Westbrook lost 20 lbs in the off-season and has looked very good through two starts this season. I hope his limited (read: one inning) of work in the 2011 post-season lit a fire under his ass and he is out to prove something this year. With Chris Carpenter currently on the DL (and it’s starting to look like it could be at least until the All-Star break due to needing to build up arm strenght) the Cardinals will need Westbrook to be at his best…and then some.
- Lance Lynn has filled in nicely for Carp and is now 2-0. Hopefully he can have a 2011 Kyle McClellan like start until Carp returns or the Cardinals find a veteran starter, if Lynn doesn’t become a permanent fixture in the rotation.
- Wainwright and Carpenter never seem to be able to pitch a full season together, but hopefully they will both be healthy and at the top of their games should the Cardinals make the playoffs.
- Mike Matheny seems to manage the bullpen similar to the way Tony La Russa did, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. That was one of my concerns about Matheny, but so far I am content.
I am pretty happy with the way the season has been going so far. I certainly hope that the Cards have enough talent to keep winning and, in my opinion, I think they do. Freese and Berkman should be back before to long and Craig could return sometime in May. The Cards are the only team in the division that look worth a damn right now, so I am wishing for them to get a big lead in the division early and run with it. My over taxed heart cannot take another late season run like the Cards had in 2012.