The first series of 2017 for your St. Louis Cardinals is in the books.
It’s officially time to freak out.
Fans were treated to a walk off win in game one, a fart of a loss in game two, and a bullpen blow up loss in game three.
When all was said in done, we at the RedBird Daily, and Cardinal fans everywhere got our first glimpse of what this season has in store for us.
Here is what we know, what we don’t and the head scratching moments that will undoubtedly plague us throughout the rest of the year.
Mathen-aging is still very much a thing
From the 5-out save he let Seung Hwan Oh try to have in game one, to the experiment turned full time thing of Matt Adams playing left field, many Cardinals fans are still much in arms about manager Mike Matheny’s decision making in the 2017 season.
Say what you want, but there were no doubt, some questionable calls being made by Matheny, and this is an on-going trend from previous years.
Why let your closer have five outs in the first game of the year? Was it a case of just using your best pitcher in the most pivotal situation? And is Oh really the best pitcher for that situation?
And I don’t care who you are, if you watched Matt Adams in the field, it was just painful. He is hitting, but there has got to be a better way to get him in the line up than trying that experiment.
Cardinals fans and couch seat managers everywhere surely weighed in.
What to make of Brett Cecil?
The Cardinals paid heavily for an elite bullpen arm this offseason, one that could be used in an Andrew Miller type role – where you could throw him out there in any inning to shut down the heart of the order, no questions asked.
With the Chicago Cubs line up, it seems they have a “heart of the order” one through nine (minus Jason Heyward), and yet Cecil was nowhere to be found, except for an appearance in the seventh inning of Game 3.
Cecil imploded – giving up a three run bomb to Kyle Schwarber, and didn’t even record an out in the inning.
He warmed up in a high leverage situation in game one, but gave way to the aforementioned Oh for the five out save in game one.
A number of other arms were used out of the pen before him, and while you want him pitching in the best possible situation, it was interesting to see how he wasn’t called upon earlier.
Is Cecil just going to become another bullpen arm this season, or is he going to be used and pitch like the dominant 30-million dollar arm we signed him for?
Only time will tell.
Jhonny Peralta looks lost
If any player on the Cardinals roster got raked over the coals more than the last week than anyone, it was Jhonny Peralta.
He batted clean up, and needed a clean up after his performances in the first two games, striking out four times in eight at bats.
He registered two weak hits, but looked completely out of rhythm and out of sync, and was out of the line up for Jedd Gyorko in game three.
It begs the glaring question – is this just start of the season jitters, or is this the beginning of the end for Mr. Peralta?
The line-up will go as Fowler, Diaz and Carpenter go
It goes without being said, but I will say it anyway – if the top of your order doesn’t get on, your line up isn’t worth a damn.
This means way more for this 2017 group.
I loved the way Dexter Fowler, Aledmys Diaz and Matt Carpenter worked counts and were basically a huge pain for the Cubs pitchers all series long.
They were able to get on, push on the base paths, and set the table.
If, and only if, that continues, the Cardinals line-up will be able to compete this season.
After that, it’s honestly a toss up, which brings me to my next point.
Who wants to bat fourth?
The four hole is going to be an on-going experiment this season, as Jhonny Peralta clearly demonstrated he cannot and probably shouldn’t hit there.
Yadier Molina was given a shot in game three, and if it were not for a Ben Zobrist error, he would have hit into a double play.
If you’ve been watching Molina over his career, he has a tendency for those, and isn’t the greatest runner.
Not a guy you’d like to have in that spot.
So who goes there?
Well, see my last and final point.
Randall Grichuk is a bright spot, and one the Cardinals need to capitalize on right now
Grichuk provided the heroics in game one, and is hitting really well to start the year.
Granted it is early, but honestly, he won’t be any worse than Peralta or Molina, and provides better athleticism to prevent the GIDP when the top of the order does get on base.
Randy is hitting well, and Mike Matheny would be wise to right the ship early instead of letting the ship sail off the track.
Yes it is early, but…
This club needs to figure it out now, and not later.
These are little things that have been talked about for awhile now, and are now rearing their ugly heads in full-season action, against the top team in the division.
There was still a LOT to like about what the Cardinals did – Carlos Martinez’s effort on the mound, solid base running, some flashes of improved defense (minus a miscue or two), and good outings from a few guys in the bullpen.
At the end of the day, the Cardinals walk into the next series against the Cincinnati Reds with their first series under their belts, and now know what their club is, and what it can be.
They obviously should just take my advice, that’s all.
Let the Twitter trolls commence.
Thanks for reading.
For more over reaction, day time stories, and things I do in my free time, follow @TonOfClayton