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, Sept. 19

*Ft. Zumwalt S at Washington    7 p.m.

Cardinal Ritter at Borgia    7 p.m.

*St. Clair at Union    7 p.m.

*Pacific at Sullivan    7 p.m.

*Hermann at Owensville    7 p.m.

Ash Grove at St. James    7 p.m.

Cuba at Brentwood    7 p.m.

*St. Charles West at Warrenton    7 p.m.

South Callaway at Wright City     7 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 12

*Ft. Zumwalt North 49, Washington 0

*Borgia 35, St. Dominic 0

*Union 27, Pacific 19

*Sullivan 47, St. Clair 21

Hermann 65, Wentzville Liberty 7

*Owensville 29, St. James 28 (OT)

Cuba 22, Windsor 6

*Warrenton 14, St. Charles 6

*Bowling Green 55, Wright City 0

Friday, Sept. 5

Warrenton 14, Washington 6

Borgia 13, Maplewood-Richmond Heights 0 (forfeit)

*Union 32, Sullivan 19

*Pacific 20, St. Clair 18

*Hermann 52, St. James 20

Owensville 35, Cuba 8

*Wright City 36, Montgomery Co. 0

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

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

Softball

Tuesday, Sept. 16

*Borgia at Notre Dame    4:30 p.m.

*Washington at Ft. Zumwalt N    4:30 p.m.

*Union at Owensville    4:30 p.m.

*Pacific at New Haven    4:30 p.m.

*St. James at St. Clair    4:30 p.m.

*Hermann at Sullivan    4:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 17

Washington at Warrenton    4:30 p.m.

Sullivan at Northwest    4:30 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 18

*St. Dominic at Borgia    3:45 p.m.

*Union at Hermann    4:30 p.m.

*St. Clair at New Haven    4:30 p.m.

*St. James at Pacific    4:30 p.m.

*Owensville at Sullivan    4:30 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 19

Union at Ft. Zumwalt N Tny    TBA

South Callaway at New Haven    5 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 20

Union at Ft. Zumwalt N Tny    TBA

St. James Tny    TBA

Monday, Sept. 22

*Washington at Ft. Zumwalt S    4:30 p.m.

Union at North County    4:30 p.m.

Warrenton at St. Clair    4:30 p.m.

Principia at Sullivan    4:30 p.m.

Hermann at Cuba    4:30 p.m.

Owensville at Cuba    4:30 p.m.

St. James at Bourbon    4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 23

*Borgia at Duchesne    4:30 p.m.

*Holt at Washington    4:30 p.m.

*Pacific at St. Clair    4:30 p.m.

*Owensville at New Haven    4:30 p.m.

*Hermann at St. James    4:30 p.m.

Volleyball

Tuesday, Sept. 16

*Sullivan at St. Clair    4:30 p.m.

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

*New Haven at Union    5:30 p.m.

*Pacific at Hermann    5:30 p.m.

*Owensville at St. James    5:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 17

Washington at Duchesne    5 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 18

*St. Clair at Owensville    5 p.m.

*Union at Pacific    5:30 p.m.

*Hermann at New Haven    5:30 p.m.

*St. James at Sullivan    5:30 p.m.

O’Fallon Christian at Borgia    6:30 p.m.

Washington at Gateway Match Up    TBA

Friday, Sept. 19

Eagle Ridge at Crosspoint    5:15 p.m.

Providence at Crosspoint    7:15 p.m.

Washington at Gateway Match Up    TBA

Saturday, Sept. 20

New Haven Round Robin    9 a.m.

ECC at Wentworth    1 p.m.

ECC vs. Graceland JV (Wentworth)    3 p.m.

Washington at Gateway Match Up    TBA

St. Clair at Seckman Tny    TBA

Monday, Sept. 22

St. Clair at Salem    5 p.m.

Bourbon at Sullivan    5:30 p.m.

Dixon at St. James    5:30 p.m.

Hermann Tournament    TBA

Tuesday, Sept. 23

Cuba at St. James    5:30 p.m.

Crosspoint at Bethel    5:30 p.m.

Crosspoint vs. Thomas Jefferson    6:30 p.m.

Hermann Tournament    TBA

Boys Soccer

Tuesday, Sept. 16

Crosspoint at Fulton St. Albans    4:30 p.m.

Tolton Catholic at Borgia    5:30 p.m.

*Washington at Ft. Zumwalt E    6 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 17

*St. Louis at ECC    4:30 p.m.

Union at Affton    5 p.m.

St. Clair at De Soto    5 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 18

*St. Clair at St. James    5 p.m.

Dixon at Sullivan    5 p.m.

Borgia at Trinity    6:15 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 19

Eagle Ridge at Crosspoint    4:30 p.m.

Tolton at Fulton SA    5 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 20

*Ft. Zumwalt S at Washington    10 a.m.

Crowder at ECC    2 p.m.

Monday, Sept. 22

Hillsboro at Union    5 p.m.

CYC Tny    TBA

Tuesday, Sept. 23

*Fulton SA at Thomas Jefferson    4:30 p.m.

North County at Union    5 p.m.

*St. James at Pacific    5 p.m.

*Borgia at St. Dominic    6:15 p.m.

CYC Tny    TBA

Cross Country

Thursday, Sept. 18

St. Clair at Lutheran North    4 p.m.

New Haven, St. James at Steelville Inv    4 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 20

Festus Inv.    9 a.m.

Hermann at Fulton Inv    9 a.m.

Thursday, Sept. 25

Washington at Rolla Inv    4 p.m.

Union, Owensville, St. James at Belle Inv    4 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 27

Hancock Inv    8:30 a.m.

Pacific at Viburnum Inv    10:30 a.m.

Monday, Sept. 29

St. Clair at Elsberry Inv    4 p.m.

St. James at Dixon    4 p.m.

Girls Golf

Tuesday, Sept. 16

*Borgia at St. Dominic    3:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 17

Duchesne at Borgia    3:30 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 18

Ft. Zumwalt S at Washington    3:30 p.m.

Borgia at AAA Meet, Lutheran SC    TBA

Wednesday, Sept. 24

Washington at GAC Central Meet    TBA

Thursday, Sept. 25

*Duchesne at Borgia    3:30 p.m.

Boys Swimming

Saturday, Sept. 20

Borgia at Ft. Zumwalt W    8:30 p.m.

Monday, Sept. 29

Washington at Ft. Zumwalt South    3:30 p.m.

*Conference Games

Racing News