Cardinals Swept By Pirates, and Questions Persist and Other Bullets

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Cardinals Swept By Pirates, and Questions Persist and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

cardinals sad injuryOooh! The first ‘Rogue One’ trailer is out. I am very excited to see what they’re able to do with these new, official “a Star Wars story” movies. The universe has so much potential if the flicks are well-executed. My reaction to this trailer? I can’t really tell if it’s just a standard action movie with a boring story that happens to live in the ‘Star Wars’ universe, or if it’ll be something uniquely good.

  • The Cubs get back in action tonight against the Diamondbacks, with former Cardinals starter John Lackey making his Cubs debut. The guy who replaced Lackey in the Cardinals’ rotation made his debut yesterday, facing the Pirates … and Mike Leake needed 42 pitches just to get out of his very first inning in Cardinals red. Ultimately, Leake lasted just 4.1 innings, giving up 4 ER on 7 H and 3 BB (1 K), and the Cardinals lost again to the Pirates. That’d be a series sweep to open the year, the first time the Cardinals have been 0-3 since 2007, which also happened to be the last Cardinals team to finish under .500. The Cardinals hit extremely poorly in the series, and their starting pitchers struggled to go deep. You can’t take away too much from one series, and the season is long. But the Cardinals that played in Pittsburgh flat-out looked bad (hitters struck out 31.9% of the time, while pitchers gave up walks 11.8% of the time), and locking in those three losses hurts them.
  • Of course, the flip-side of all of that is that the Pirates have now locked in three wins against a presumed-to-be tough opponent, so that’s bully for them. (Also bully for them? What looks to be another impressively-reclaimed starter in Juan Nicasio, who was dominant all Spring and again last night, with a fastball in the upper-90s). We can’t know just yet which of these teams we’ll be wanting to see lose games come August and September, so while it’s easy to say you’d rather see their series always end up 2-1, it’s possible that a few months from now, we’ll be happy about this sweep. Or bummed. Time will tell.
  • I’m not going to change my opinions of the teams based on one series, but I will say that the nagging injuries keep adding up for the Cardinals, and at some point, that does impact your view of a team’s chances for success. I already had some serious questions about the Cardinals heading into this season (as Michael articulated well before the season), and, while I think they can be a playoff contender, the Pirates series did at least put a further spotlight on those questions. Will Adam Wainwright be Adam Wainwright again? Can Leake effectively replace Lackey? Will Michael Wacha, Jaime Garcia, and Carlos Martinez be healthy and effective all year? Will the young bats step forward enough to make up for losing Jason Heyward and the decline of guys like Yadier Molina, Matt Holliday, and Jhonny Peralta (when he returns)? And so on and so on.
  • Also, I couldn’t help myself:

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.