Craig's Corner: Cardinals Should Contend in 2014 - The Missourian: Sports

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
|
||
Logout|My Dashboard

Craig's Corner: Cardinals Should Contend in 2014

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 12:45 pm | Updated: 1:00 pm, Wed Mar 26, 2014.

Baseball season has arrived.

The St. Louis Cardinals open the 2014 season Monday in Cincinnati.

After three games against the Reds and three more in Pittsburgh, the home opener in St. Louis is Monday, April 7, against the Reds.

So what’s in store for the Redbirds after losing in six games to Boston in last season’s World Series?

Well, most prognosticators are picking the Cardinals to win the National League’s Central Division crown.

At this point, there doesn’t appear to be many questions or position battles as the regular season approaches.

The starting rotation is set, the eight regulars, at least to start the season, are nearly ready to go and the team appears to be focused on defending the NL title.

One of the few questions I have is who will start in center field on opening day?

After all the talk in the offseason about him being gone, I think Jon Jay is going to be the starter in center.

The Cardinals acquired Peter Bourjos from the Angels in the Davis Freese trade, but he’s been a little beat up, as has top prospect Oscar Taveras.

Jay isn’t the long-term answer for the Cardinals, but he works in the short term. You have to think Bourjos and Jay will start the season platooning.

Flanking Jay in the outfield will be sluggers Matt Holliday in left field and Allen Craig in right field.

Holliday and Craig need to stay healthy. If they do, both will have big years.

As far as the infield goes, Matt Carpenter moves from second to third base, which is his natural position.

It’s unrealistic to expect Carpenter to have the same season he did last year, but if he can find a way to get on base from the leadoff spot, that will be huge.

The Cardinals made a big move by signing free agent shortstop Jhonny Peralta, who will provide some offensive punch in the lineup to help replace Carlos Beltran, who’s now with the New York Yankees.

On the right side of the infield, first baseman Matt Adams needs to cut down on his strikeouts and just focus on putting the ball in play.

Rookie second baseman Kolten Wong will be under the microscope after struggling at the plate at the end of last season.

If Wong struggles, newcomer Mark Ellis will be there to take over at second base.

Of course, you have Yadier Molina behind the plate.

The offense has a chance to be very good.

Peralta, who was nailed for PED use last season while with Detroit, should make a big difference.

As far as pitching goes, the starting five to start the season are Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Shelby Miller, Lance Lynn and Joe Kelly.

A southpaw starter would be nice, but Jaime Garcia is injury prone and unreliable.

The bullpen looks strong with the likes of Randy Choate, Seth Maness, Kevin Siegrist, Carlos Martinez and Trevor Rosenthal to close it out. Jason Motte is back after having Tommy John surgery last year, but it will take time for him to return to full strength.

All and all, I expect the Cardinals to win the NL Central.

Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Milwaukee will provide a challenge, but will run out of gas in September.

The Los Angeles Dodgers will win the NL West and the Washington Nationals will take the NL East.

The two National League wild card winners will be San Francisco and Atlanta.

In the American League, division winners will be Detroit in the Central, Oakland in the West and Boston in the East.

Wild card winners will be New York and Kansas City.

The World Series will come down to Los Angeles and Detroit with the Dodgers winning it all.

As far as individual awards go, I’m picking Wong to be the NL rookie of the year.

There are plenty of NL MVP candidates. Names I’ll throw in the mix are Craig, Washington’s Bryce Harper, Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman, Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen, Los Angeles’ Hanley Ramirez, Colorado’s Carlos Gonzalez and Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt.

In the end, it’s going to be Molina who finally wins the MVP award.

Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers is the popular pick to win the NL Cy Young award, but I’ll go with Miami’s Jose Fernandez.

Predicting the AL MVP is a lot easier. You have to go with Mike Trout of the Angels.

Texas’ Yu Darvish will win the AL Cy Young, although Detroit’s Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer will be in the mix.

/

Area Scoreboard

Football

Week 10 Schedule Playoff Round 1

Friday, Oct. 24

Washington at Battle, 7 p.m.

Kennedy at Borgia, 7 p.m.

Pacific at Union, 7 p.m.

St. Clair at Westminster

Priory at Sullivan

Salem at St. James

Southern Boone at Owensville

Transportation and Law at Hermann

Moberly at Warrenton

Wright City at O’Fallon Christian

Friday, Oct. 17

Francis Howell N 24, Washington 20

Westminster 35, Borgia 14

*Union 35, Hermann 32

*St. Clair 26, Owensville 12

*Pacific 34, St. James 22

Helias 56, Sullivan 3

Ft. Zumwalt East 42, Warrenton 0

*Clopton-Elsberry 20, Wright City 0

Saturday, Oct. 18

Cuba at Hogan Prep    2 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 10

Holt 21, Washington 14

Borgia 42, St. Clair 7

Union 68, St. James 20

Hermann 32, Pacific 24 (OT)

Sullivan 38, Owensville 12

Orchard Farm 28, Warrenton 3

Wright City 22, North Callaway 18

Father Tolton 35, Cuba 0

Friday, Oct. 3

*Ft. Zumwalt East 62, Washington 35

*Borgia 49, St. Mary's 11

*Union 56, Owensville 16

*Hermann 38, St. Clair 0

Festus 39, Pacific 14

*Sullivan 40, St. James 10

Cuba 46, Lincoln 38

*Warrenton 47, Winfield 6

*Van-Far 24, Wright City 18

Friday, Sept. 26

Union 54, Washington 14

*Borgia 45, Duchesne 7

*St. Clair 57, St. James 55 (2 OT)

*Pacific 40, Owensville 34

*Hermann 24, Sullivan 12

Cuba 74, Liberty Wentzville 7

Parkway West 20, Warrenton 7

Mark Twain 32, Wright City 18

Softball

Sectional Games

Wednesday, Oct. 15

Bolivar 17, Sullivan 2

Mexico 5, Warrenton 4

Thursday, Oct. 16

Pacific 12, Rosati-Kain 0

Saturday, Oct. 18

Quarterfinal — De Soto 5, Pacific 2

District Tournaments

Softball

Class 4 District 4

Wednesday, Oct. 8

(4) Northwest 11, (5) Rolla 3

Saturday, Oct. 11

(1) Lafayette 3, Northwest 1

(2) Eureka 4, (3) Washington 0

Monday, Oct. 13

Championship — Eureka 5, Lafayette 0

Class 3 District 3

At Lutheran South

Wednesday, Oct. 8

(4) Affton 3, (5) Bishop DuBourg 2

(3) Pacific 21, (6) Bayless 0

Sunday, Oct. 12

(1) Lutheran South 11, Affton 1

Pacific 1, (2) Notre Dame 0

Championship — Pacific 2, Lutheran South 1

Class 3 District 7

At St. Dominic

Wednesday, Oct. 8

(4) Borgia 9, (5) Wentzville Liberty 8

(3) Winfield 15, (6) O’Fallon Christian 1

Saturday, Oct. 11

At Borgia

(1) St. Dominic 12, Borgia 3

(2) Warrenton 11, Winfield 2

Championship — Warrenton 1, St. Dominic 0

Class 3 District 9

At Sullivan

Wednesday, Oct. 8

(4) St. James 12, (5) Owensville 3

(3) Sullivan 11, (6) St. Clair 1

Saturday, Oct. 11

At Union High School

St. James 10, (1) Union 5

Sullivan 5 (2) Salem 4 (8 innings)

Championship — Sullivan 11, St. James 6

Class 2 District 10

At New Bloomfield

Wednesday, Oct. 8

(4) New Bloomfield 5, (5) Belle 0

(3) South Callaway 9, (6) Hermann 0

Saturday, Oct. 11

South Callaway 7, (2) Linn 2

(1) Fatima 6, New Bloomfield 1

Championship — Fatima 7, South Callaway 4

Class 1 District 4

At Community R6, Laddonia

Wednesday, Oct. 8

(4) Wellsville-Middletown 8, (5) New Haven 2

(3) Van-Far 4, (6) Community R6 2

Saturday, Oct. 11

(1) Clopton 13, Wellsville 0

(2) Silex 10, Van-Far 0

Championship — Silex 3, Clopton 0

Volleyball

Monday, Oct. 13

De Soto def. St. Clair, 25-20, 25-14

Warrenton at Union    5:30 p.m.

Ft. Zumwalt North def.  Pacific, 25-19, 25-21 

Fatima at New Haven    5:30 p.m.

Owensville at Cuba    5:30 p.m.

Borgia def. Hermann, 25-15, 25-11

Tuesday, Oct. 14

Panthers Home School at Crosspoint    4:30 p.m.

*Washington def. Ft. Zumwalt East, 25-23, 25-10

*Pacific def. St. Clair, 25-20, 25-20

*Sullivan def. Union, 25-14, 25-22

*St. James at Hermann    5:30 p.m.

*New Havent def. Owensville

*Rosati-Kain def. Borgia, 25-22, 25-21

Wednesday, Oct. 15

ECC at Culver-Stockton JV    6:30 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 16

*Washington def. Ft. Zumwalt S, 25-10, 25-12

Hillsboro def. St. Clair, 25-12, 25-21

Villa Duchesne def. Borgia, 23-25, 25-13, 26-24

Friday, Oct. 17

ECC at Illinois Central Tny    TBA

Saturday, Oct. 18

Crosspoint at MAC All-Star Match    TBA

ECC at Illinois Central Tny    TBA

District Tournaments

Class 4 District 3

At Rockwood Summit

Monday, Oct. 20

(4) Eureka vs. (5) Pacific, 5 p.m.

(2) Northwest vs. (7) Parkway South, 6:15 p.m.

(3) Washington vs. (6) Rockwood Summit, 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Oct. 21

(1) Lafayette vs. Eureka-Pacific winner, 5 p.m.

Northwest-Parkway South winner vs. Washington-Rockwood Summit winner, 6:15 p.m.

Championship, 7:30 p.m.

Class 3 District 8

At Union

Monday, Oct. 20

(4) Union vs. (5) St. Clair, 5 p.m.

(2) Sullivan vs. (7) Salem, 6:15 p.m.

(3) Owensville vs. (6) St. James, 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Oct. 21

(1) Borgia vs. Union-St. Clair winner, 5 p.m.

Sullivan-Salem winner vs. Owensville-St. James winner, 6:15 p.m.

Championship, 7:30 p.m.

Class 2 District 6

At Lutheran St. Charles

Monday, Oct. 20

(4) Barat vs. (5) Wright City, 5 p.m.

(2) Hermann vs. (7) Bowling Green, 6:30 p.m.

(3) Whitfield vs. (6) Montgomery County, 8 p.m.

Tuesday, Oct. 21

(1) Lutheran St. Charles vs. Barat-Wright City winner, 5 p.m.

Hermann-Bowling Green winner vs. Whitfield-Montgomery Co. winner, 6:30 p.m.

Championship, 8 p.m.

Class 1 District 9

At Calvary Lutheran, Jefferson City

Monday, Oct. 20

(4) Smithton vs. (5) Otterville, 6 p.m.

(3) Chamois vs. (6) Bunceton, 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Oct. 21

(1) New Haven vs. Smithton-Otterville winner, 6 p.m.

(2) Calvary Lutheran vs. Chamois-Bunceton winner, 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 23

Championship, 7 p.m.

Boys Soccer

Thursday, Oct. 9

St. Louis United at Fulton SA    4:15 p.m.

Crosspoint at Thomas Jefferson    4:30 p.m.

*Ft. Zumwalt South 5, Washington 1

Perryville 2, Borgia 0

Saturday, Oct. 11

Troy 2, Washington 1

*ECC 2, Jefferson 1

MAC Tournament    TBA

Monday, Oct. 13

Pacific at Ft. Zumwalt N    4:30 p.m.

St. Clair at Hillsboro    5 p.m.

De Soto at Sullivan    5 p.m.

Tuesday, Oct. 14

ECC at Lewis & Clark    4 p.m.

Fulton SA at Valley Park    4 p.m.

*Ft. Zumwalt E 5, Washington 2

*Union 5, Sullivan 1

St. Clair at Festus    5 p.m.

Bayless at Pacific    5 p.m.

*Duchesne 2, Borgia 0

Crosspoint at Invitational Tournament    TBA

Wednesday, Oct. 15

*Holt 2, Washington 1

Crosspoint at Invitational Tournament    TBA

Thursday, Oct. 16

*Pacific 3, Union 1

Borgia 1, O'Fallon Christian 0

Belton at Sullivan    5:30 p.m.

Fatima at St. James    5 p.m.

Crosspoint at Invitational Tournament    TBA

Friday, Oct. 17

ECC 2, Missouri Baptist JV 1

Barat at Fulton SA    4:30 p.m.

*Washington at Ft. Zumwalt N    5 p.m.

Crosspoint at Invitational Tournament    TBA

Saturday, Oct. 18

Washington 1, Borgia 0 (Penalty kicks)

Cross Country

Saturday, Oct. 18

Borgia Inv, 9 a.m. Varsity races at 9:45 a.m. (boys), 10:15 a.m. (girls)

Boys Swimming

Friday, Oct. 17

Borgia at Ft. Zumwalt N    3:30 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 18

Borgia at Ft. Zumwalt W Inv    10:30 a.m.

*Conference Games

Racing News