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

Boys Basketball

Friday, Jan. 2

Sullivan at Washington    7 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 6

Community Christian at Fulton SA    5:30 p.m.

Cardinal Ritter at Borgia    6:45 p.m.

*Crosspoint at Liberty Christian    7:30 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 8

Fulton SA at Bethel    6:30 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 9

*Borgia at St. Dominic    6:45 p.m.

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

*Crosspoint at Eagle Ridge    7:45 p.m.

Fulton SA at Calvary Lutheran Tny    TBA

Saturday, Jan. 10

&Borgia vs. Lutheran N    TBA

Fulton SA at Calvary Lutheran Tny    TBA

Monday, Jan. 12

%St. Charles vs. Bayless    6 p.m.

%Westminster vs. Washington    7:30 p.m.

Fulton SA at Providence    7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 13

%Borgia vs. St. Clair    6 p.m.

#South Callaway vs. North Callaway    6 p.m.

#Hermann vs. Russellville    6 p.m.

Heritage Classical at Crosspoint    7 p.m.

%Francis Howell Central vs. Union    7:30 p.m.

#Montgomery Co vs. New Bloomfield    7:30 p.m.

#Harrisburg vs. New Haven    7:30 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 15

#South Callaway-North Callaway loser vs. Montgomery Co-New Bloomfield loser    6 p.m.

#South Callaway-North Callaway winner vs. Montgomery Co-New Bloomfield winner    6 p.m.

Bethel at Fulton SA    6:30 p.m.

#Hermann-Russellville loser vs. Harrisburg-New Haven loser    7:30 p.m.

#Hermann-Russellville winner vs. Harrisburg-New Haven winner    7:30 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 16

%St. Charles-Bayless loser vs. Westminster-Washington loser    4 p.m.

%Borgia-St. Clair loser vs. Francis Howell Central-Union loser    5:30 p.m.

*Crosspoint at Community Christian    6:30 p.m.

%St. Charles-Bayless winner vs. Westminster-Washington winner    7 p.m.

Providence at Fulton SA    7 pm.

#Seventh-place game    7:30 p.m.

Consolation game    7:30 p.m.

%Borgia-St. Clair winner vs. Francis Howell Central-Union winner    8:30 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 17

%Seventh-place game    2:30 p.m.

#Third-place game    3:30 p.m.

%Consolation game    4 p.m.

%Third-place game    5:30 p.m.

#Championship game    6:30 p.m.

%Championship game    7 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 20

Fulton SA at Liberty Christian    6:30 p.m.

Crosspoint at CAGSL    7:30 p.m.

%Washington Tournament

#South Callaway Tournament

Girls Basketball

Friday, Dec. 26

Seckman Tournament

Mehlville vs. Northwest    noon

Festus vs. Patriettes    1:30 p.m.

Oakville vs. Seckman    3 p.m.

Pacific vs. Carnahan    4:30 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 27

Seckman Tournament

Festus-Patriettes loser vs. Mehville-Northwest loser    noon

Pacific-Carnahan loser vs. Oakville-Seckman loser    1:30 p.m.

Festus-Patriettes winner vs. Mehville-Northwest winner    3 p.m.

Pacific-Carnahan winner vs. Oakville-Seckman winner    4:30 p.m.

Monday, Dec. 29

Seckman Tournament

Seventh-place game    1:30 p.m.

Third-place game    1:30 p.m.

Consolation game    3 p.m.

Championship game    3 p.m.

Rolla Tournament

St. Clair vs. Waynesville    3:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 30

Rolla Tournament

St. James-Sedalia loser vs. Waynesville-St.Clair loser    2 p.m.

St. James-Sedalia winner vs. Waynesville-St. Clair winner    5 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 31

Rolla Tournament

Consolation game    9 a.m.

Seventh-place game    9 a.m. at MS&T

Third-place game    12 p.m.

Championship game    3 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 2

Hermann at Washington    5:30 p.m.

New Haven at Bourbon    6 p.m.

Monday, Jan. 5

*Union at New Haven    6 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 6

*Holt at Washington    5:30 p.m.

*Crosspoint at Liberty Christian    5:30 p.m.

*Borgia at St. Dominic    6:45 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 7

Borgia at St. Clair    7 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 8

Fulton SA at Bethel    5 p.m.

Park Hills Central at Pacific    5:30 p.m.

Cuba at New Haven    6 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 9

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

*Crosspoint at Eagle Ridge    6:15 p.m.

Fulton SA at Calvary Lutheran Tny    TBA

Saturday, Jan. 10

Borgia vs. MICDS (St. Joseph’s Academy Shootout)    12:30 p.m.

Fulton SA at Calvary Lutheran Tny    TBA

Monday, Jan. 12

Lutheran South at St Clair    5:30 p.m.

Lindbergh at Pacific    5:30 p.m.

@Washington vs. Patriettes    5:30 p.m.

#Harrisburg vs. Russellville    6 p.m.

#New Bloomfield vs. Montgomery Co    6 p.m.

Fulton SA at Providence    6 p.m.

@Helias vs. Sullivan    7 p.m.

#North Callaway vs. New Haven    7:30 p.m.

#Hermann vs. South Callaway    7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 13

Pacific at Ursuline    4:30 p.m.

Ft. Zumwalt East at St. Clair    5:30 p.m.

Heritage Classical at Crosspoint    5:30 p.m.

@St. Charles West vs. Union    5:30 p.m.

@Borgia vs. Eureka    7 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 14

#Harrisburg-Russellville loser vs. North Callaway-New Haven loser    6 p.m.

#Harrisburg-Russellville winner vs. North Callaway-New Haven winner    6 p.m.

#New Bloomfield-Montgomery Co loser vs. Hermann-South Callaway loser    6 p.m.

#New Bloomfield-Montgomery Co winner vs. Hermann-South Callaway winner    6 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 15

Bethel at Fulton SA    5 p.m.

Northwest at St. Clair    5:30 p.m.

@Washington-Patriettes loser vs. Helias-Sullivan loser    5:30 p.m.

@St. Charles West-Union loser vs. Borgia-Eureka loser    7 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 16

@Washington-Patriettes winner vs. Helias-Sullivan winner    5:30 p.m.

Providence at Fulton SA    5:30 p.m.

#Seventh-place game    6 p.m.

#Consolation game    6 p.m.

@St. Charles West-Union winner vs. Borgia-Eureka winner    7 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 17

@Seventh-place game    1 p.m.

#Third-place game    2 p.m.

@Consolation game    2:30 p.m.

@Third-place game    4 p.m.

#Championship    5 p.m.

@Championship    5:30 p.m.

Monday, Jan. 19

*Owensville at St. Clair    5:30 p.m.

Union at Warrenton    6 p.m.

Montgomery Co at New Haven    6 p.m.

*Duchesne at Borgia    6:45 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 20

Fulton SA at Liberty Christian    5 p.m.

Parkway West at Pacific    5:30 p.m.

New Haven at Wellsville    5:30 p.m.

Crosspoint at CAGSL    6 p.m.

O’Fallon Christian at Borgia    6:45 p.m.

@Union Tournament

#South Callaway Tournament

Wrestling

Friday, Dec. 26

Union, Pacific at Hillsboro Tny    TBA

Saturday, Dec. 27

Union, Pacific at Hillsboro Tny    TBA

Monday, Dec. 29

Washington at Lindbergh Tny    TBA

Tuesday, Dec. 30

Washington at Lindbergh Tny    TBA

Wednesday, Jan. 7

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

Thursday, Jan. 8

Washington at Granite City    4:30 p.m.

Borgia at Hancock Tri-Meet    5 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 9

Washington at GAC Championships    TBA

Saturday, Jan. 10

Washington at GAC Championships    TBA

Tuesday, Jan. 13

Union at Liberty Quad    5 p.m.

Washington at Warrenton    6 p.m.

*Sullivan at Pacific    6 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 14

*Washington at Holt/Ft. Zumwalt East    6 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 15

Westminster at Pacific    6 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 16

Union at Branson    5 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 17

Borgia at Owensville Tny    9 a.m.

Washington, Pacific at 141 Rumble    TBA

Union at Branson Tny    TBA

Tuesday, Jan. 20

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

Union at Sullivan/St. James/Warrenton    5 p.m.

Girls Swimming

Wednesday, Jan. 7

Borgia at Kennedy    6:30 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 9

Borgia/Washington at MICDS    4:15 p.m.

Monday, Jan. 12

Borgia at DuBourg    6 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 15

Washington at Clayton    4:15 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 16

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

Tuesday, Jan. 20

Washington at Ft. Zumwalt East/Timberland    3:30 p.m.

*Conference Games

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