Craig's Corner: Cards, Reds Expected to Slug It Out - The Missourian: Sports

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Craig's Corner: Cards, Reds Expected to Slug It Out

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Posted: Wednesday, March 27, 2013 7:30 am | Updated: 8:07 am, Wed Mar 27, 2013.

With nearly a foot of snow now melting, it seems about right that the St. Louis Cardinals are less than a week away from opening the 2013 Major League Baseball season.

The Cardinals kick off the campaign with three games in Arizona starting Monday followed by three games in San Francisco before their home opener against Cincinnati Monday, April 8.

On paper, it looks like another good season is ahead in St. Louis.

The big question is health. This team needs to remain relatively healthy to have a chance to overtake the Reds in the Central Division.

And the season isn’t exactly starting out great in the health department.

It appears closer Jason Motte is headed to the disabled list with an elbow injury.

David Freese has a back issue and Carlos Beltran has something wrong with a toe.

Guys like Jaime Garcia and Jon Jay have had injury problems in the past, and really need to stay healthy this year.

If the overall health of the team holds up, I like the Cardinals’ chances for a return trip to the playoffs.

Like every season, there are questions.

Is Pete Kozma an everyday shortstop? What happens if he struggles? A trade is an option, but the Cardinals don’t want to give up any of their young pitchers.

Another option would be moving Daniel Descalso from second base to shortstop and plugging in Matt Carpenter as the everyday guy at second base.

Allen Craig and Matt Holliday both are poised for big seasons.

The Cardinals don’t have a very strong bench.

Matt Adams is the only player with some punch coming off the bench. Some will say newcomer Ty Wigginton has a power bat, but his best days are behind him.

What’s the plan for rookie phenom Oscar Taveras? He might start the season in Triple A, unless Beltran goes on the DL. Who knows, maybe that will turn into an Albert Pujols replacing Bobby Bonilla thing.

The starting rotation is a bit of a concern to me.

We know Adam Wainwright is the ace and will do his thing. The Cardinals need to reach a new deal with him soon. He is eligible for free agency after this season.

I think Lance Lynn will have a good season. Jake Westbrook and Garcia are question marks. Will they be healthy? Even if they are, how effective will they be?

Shelby Miller has been named the fifth starter. He’ll only get better as the season progresses.

Entering spring training, I felt good about the bullpen. But with Motte now injured, who will start the season as the closer?

The logical choice is Mitchell Boggs. So who pitches the eighth inning? Maybe Trevor Rosenthal?

The Cardinals signed veteran lefty Randy Choate during the offseason, but he’s had a tough spring. Maybe he’ll turn it on when the season begins.

Fellow southpaw Marc Rzepczynski got hurt while playing golf at spring training. He seems OK now, but his spring has been average.

How will the Cardinals use Joe Kelly, who was beat out by Miller for the fifth spot in the rotation? There’s also Fernando Salas and Edward Mujica in the bullpen.

When push comes to shove, I think the Cardinals will be good enough to challenge the Reds, but fall a little short.

The two best teams in the National League are Washington and Cincinnati. Atlanta, San Francisco and St. Louis are a notch behind, but will be in contention.

I just think it will be Washington’s year. The Nationals are loaded with young pitchers, both in the rotation and the bullpen.

Division winners in the National League will be Washington in the East, Cincinnati in the Central and San Francisco in the West. The two wildcard teams will be St. Louis and Atlanta.

The two best teams in the American League are Los Angeles and Detroit.

Think about the Angels’ lineup with Pujols, Mike Trout, Josh Hamilton and Mark Trumbo leading the way.

Division winners in the American League will be Tampa Bay in the East, Detroit in the Central and Los Angeles in the West. The wildcard teams will be Toronto and Texas.

When the smoke clears, I’m going with Washington over the Los Angeles Angels in the World Series.

/

Area Scoreboard

Football

Friday, Aug. 22

Washington 26, St. Clair 21

Borgia 48, Owensville 12

Parkway West 49, Union 39

Pacific 28, De Soto 20

Park Hills Central 34, Sullivan 27

St. James 12, Cuba 6

Hermann 61, Montgomery Co 12

Warrenton 26, St. Dominic 23

Trinity 28, Wright City 24

Friday, Aug. 29

Sullivan 30, Washington 8

Borgia 56, Union 13

Ozark 41, St. Clair 0

Potosi 34, Pacific 13

Hermann 54, Cuba 12

Blair Oaks 42, Owensville 0

St. James 36, Houston 18

Warrenton 28, Troy 0

Orchard Farm 36, Wright City 18

Volleyball

Tuesday, Aug. 26

Potosi def. Union, 18-25, 25-18, 25-15

Francis Howell C def. Washington, 25-19, 25-22

Farmington def. Pacific, 25-23, 22-25, 25-8

New Haven at Cuba    5:30 p.m.

Owensville at Bourbon    5:30 p.m.

St. James at Salem    5:30 p.m.

Borgia def. Cardinal Ritter, 25-3, 25-3

Wednesday, Aug. 27

ECC def. Central Methodist JV, 25-12, 25-14, 25-15

Thursday, Aug. 28

Potosi at St. Clair    4:30 p.m.

*Borgia def. Notre Dame, 25-15, 25-8

*Washington def. Ft. Zumwalt South

Union def. Battle, 25-17, 25-11

Pacific def. Seckman, 25-17, 20-25, 30-28

Hermann at Jefferson City    5:30 p.m.

Belle at New Haven    5:30 p.m.

Linn at Owensville    6 p.m.

Friday, Aug. 29

Mississippi Valley at Crosspoint    5 p.m.

Softball

Saturday, Aug. 23

Union Tournament

Union Sports Complex

G1 Washington 21, St. Clair 0

G2 Pacific 15, Liberty 3

G3 Farmington 15, Union 0

G4 Park Hills Central 4, Borgia 2

G5 Liberty 6, St. Clair 5

G6 Union 9, Borgia 2

G7 Washington 5, Pacific 4

G8 Farmington 5, Park Hills Central 2

Consolation — Union vs. Liberty Postponed due to heat

Seventh Place — Borgia 16, St. Clair 0

Championship — Farmington 5, Washington 0

Third Place — Park Hills Central 7, Pacific 6

Monday, Aug. 25

*Borgia 5, Notre Dame 4 (8 innings)

Union 14, Rolla 7

New Haven at Cuba    4:30 p.m.

St. James at Salem    4:30 p.m.

Belle at Owensville    5 p.m.

Sullivan at Westminster Tny    TBA

Tuesday, Aug. 26

*Ft. Zumwalt S 5, Washington 2

Warrenton 4, Union 3

Duchesne 10, Pacific 5

Steelville at Owensville    4:30 p.m.

Vienna at St. James    4:30 p.m.

Wright City 6, St. Clair 2

New Bloomfield at New Haven    5 p.m.

Hermann at Montgomery Co    5 p.m.

Wednesday, Aug. 27

Borgia at Pacific, PPD to Sept. 5

Thursday, Aug. 28

St. Clair 3, Borgia 2

*Ft. Zumwalt N at Washingto, PPD

Bourbon at Hermann    4:30 p.m.

Owensville at Linn    4:30 p.m.

Friday, Aug. 29

Pacific at Lutheran South    4:15 p.m.

New Haven at Wellsville    4:30 p.m.

Belle at St. James    4:30 p.m.

Washington at Battle Tny    TBA

Saturday, Aug. 30

Washington at Battle Tny    TBA

Boys Soccer

Tuesday, Aug. 26

*Union 1, St. James 0

Fredericktown 4, St. Clair 1

Pacific 2, Hillsboro 0

Sullivan at SLUH    5 p.m.

Wednesday, Aug. 27

Borgia at Union, PPD

Thursday, Aug. 28

Union at De Soto    5 p.m.

Pacific at North County    5 p.m.

*St. James at Sullivan    5 p.m.

*St. Mary’s 4, Borgia 0

Friday, Aug. 29

Mississippi Valley at Crosspoint    4:30 p.m.

ECC at McKendree JV    7 p.m.

#Washington at Francis Howell North, 4:15 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 30

Washington at Pky W/Northwest Tny    TBA

Cross Country

Friday, Aug. 22

Sullivan at Fleet Feet Inv    4 p.m.

Thursday, Aug. 28

Borgia at Parkway Central Inv    TBA

Friday, Aug. 29

St. Clair at First Capitol Inv    4 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 30

Washington at Lafayette Inv    9 a.m.

Girls Golf

Monday, Aug. 25

Borgia 215, Washington 241

Thursday, Aug. 28

Borgia 280, Lutheran St. Charles 284, Washington 292

Boys Swimming

Friday, Aug. 29

Borgia, Washington at Ft. Zumwalt E Inv    3:30 p.m.

*Conference Games

@Fort Scott Tournament

#Parkway West/Northwest Tournament

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