The Good, Better And Best Of A Winning Home Opener

Umbrellas and raindrops were key parts of yesterday’s home opener but, thankfully, the rain wasn’t enough to delay the game. And the St. Louis Cardinals offense apparently likes being home, as the Cards scored five runs on nine hits to triumph over the Cincinnati Reds 5-3 in damp and drizzly home opening game.

Seven Cardinals had hits in the game — Peter Bourjos had two! — and Yadier Molina showed once again how much he loves driving in runs against the Reds with a three-run first inning double. While Trevor Rosenthal had an uncharacteristic ninth inning, it wasn’t as wild as past home opener adventures in recent years and the Cards won their first opening game at Busch since 2010. Maybe Trevor just wanted to keep us interested …

And while the photo below shows a little bit of that gray and rainy atmosphere, the bunting was out and the Opening Day logo was on the scoreboard and the field — therefore, it was a beautiful day at Busch Stadium.

Here’s a look at the good, better and best of the festivities and the game, and special thanks to Laura for the photos she provided.

home opener

Photo: Laura

The Good

TLR

Photo: Laura

Leading off the parade of Hall of Famers was the newest of them all, former manager Tony La Russa wearing his red blazer for the first time. He looked good, and did a nice job greeting his fellow Hall of Famers, Mike Matheny, the coaches and the players as the first one in the home plate receiving line. He and Ozzie Smith even had a polite moment as they shook each others’ hands. And, as Dan McLaughlin and Ricky Horton pointed out on television and which I also noticed when watching, TLR even steered Pat Neshek in the right direction when he was going to walk behind everyone.

Lynn-PD

Photo: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Lance Lynn upheld the respectful tradition initiated by Chris Carpenter a couple years ago and removed his hat after exiting his truck and approaching La Russa. It’s a little thing, and he was the only one I saw do it, but it impressed me in 2012 to see CC do it and it was good to see Lynn do the same. And look — he’s even smiling!

Photo: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Photo: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

On to the game itself, this was definitely good. Billy Hamilton finally got a hit, Billy Hamilton’s speed on the bases was predictably gushed over on the television broadcast and then Billy Hamilton got caught in a rundown and was thrown out. Excellent work by Kolten Wong, who fielded the grounder hit by Joey Votto, in getting the rundown started.

Holliday-PD

Photo: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

As mentioned at the beginning, good to see the offense! Although, Matt, that’s one heck of a slide … even with the other Matt’s coaching.

The Better

Photo: Laura

Photo: Laura

Ah, new year and new outfield wall decor! Yes, there’s a nice addition to the right field wall that honors the reigning National League champions — and, of course, an official new pennant on the flagpole too. Raising that flag was part of yesterday’s pre-game ceremony.

PB-PDThere was much rejoicing (at least via Twitter) over the first hit (and then second hit) by Peter Bourjos and his high socks … as well as the launch of the official Gorgeous Bourjos Fan Club and — guys, just for you — its companion, the Bourjos Bromance Club. All are welcome! And speaking of Twitter, with many opportunities to see Peter B and that smile of his throughout the game, I wonder how many of those previous “MrsFreese” and similarly named Twitter accounts suddenly changed names last night?

The Best

Photo: Laura

Photo: Laura

Red Schoendienst — always among the best, and especially in a red convertible.

Photo: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Photo: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

What a pitch – part 1 … Yes, it was Chris Carpenter throwing out a ceremonial first pitch to his former catcher. It was a fantastic pitch too, right on the inside part of the plate. (Moment of silence for the injuries that cut short his career.) Check out the bling on CC’s left hand … yep, both his World Series rings. Looks like the Carpenter kids enjoyed being on the field with Dad too.

Photo: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Photo: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

What a pitch, part 2 … Michael Wacha finally allowed an earned run to the Reds — though just one, and the first he allowed in 21 career innings against them. He gave up seven hits and only struck out three in six innings, but the kid continues to impress — especially in distraction-heavy outings like he went through since it was the home opener. Nothing fazes him, although we already knew that from last October.

Photo: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Photo: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

And, saving the best for last, Yadi just loves the Reds … or is that Yadi loves destroying the Reds? Regardless, once again he got the best of them, did it with a smile — and no one was booing him this time.

Speaking of booing, Dan McLaughlin had his usual comment on the still-continuing booing of Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips: we would love him if he was a Cardinal. I decided to test that theory, so please click to vote if you haven’t yet done so.

Just like yesterday with Wacha vs. Tony Cingrani, tonight is another pitching rematch from last week as Homer Bailey and Lance Lynn face off again. Note that the game is on Fox Sports 1, and only on Fox Sports 1. If you’re not sure where you can find that on your television, check here. If you do, you’ll also see the unfortunate news that Thom Brennaman is doing the play-by-play. Gee, he won’t be biased for the Reds at all, will he?

Game time is 7:15 p.m. Central.


Christine Coleman is the lead writer for Aaron Miles’ Fastball. Follow her on Twitter, @CColeman802, or email aaronmilesfastball@gmail.com. Also follow @AMilesFastball for the latest updates and like AMF on Facebook if you don’t already.

One thought on “The Good, Better And Best Of A Winning Home Opener

  1. Oh no, not Thom Brennaman! I was afraid he’d do the game. I was hoping they’d get some good new people to do the FOXSports1 games. I’ll be at a minor league game and miss most of it anyway.

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