The St. Louis Cardinals fell short, 5-4, in their opener at Miller Park against the Milwaukee Brewers. And, it wasn't the top-of-the-oder for the Cardinals who put runs on the board.
In the second inning, 'the bottom of the order' came through with back-to-back knocks.
Brewers Jhoulys Chacin had two outs on the board in the second. Batting seventh, Dexter Fowler drew a walk. Next up - Kolton Wong. Wasting no time, Wong connected with Chacin's two-seam fastball and sent a missile out of Miller Park for a two-run homer. His first Opening Day home run.
Wong made his debut with the Cardinals August 16, 2013. His first full season in 2014 and has been part of the opening roster since. Not only his first home run on opening day, but his first hit on opening day.
"Good things come to those who wait"?! For Kolton Wong and Cardinals fans, the wait is over. At least for the first game of the season to see him with "POP".
He opened the Cardinals scoring with his two-hole shot and added his second home run, a solo, in the seventh. That brought Cardinals within one of the Brewers lead what would be the final score.
Is this the real "Kolton Wong" we will see in 2019. He was 2-3 at bat yesterday. Cardinals need for him to be much improved this season. His defense is above board excellent. Now for him to prove this was not a "one game' deal.
However, a great opening day for Cardinals Wong and Harrison Bader. Bader was named to the Opening Day 25 man roster as Cardinals centerfielder. Making his debut appearance, following Wong at the plate. Chacin serves up yet another two-seam fast ball and Bader connects with the leather sending out a solo shot to give the Cardinals an early 3-0 cushion for Opening Day starter Miles Mikolas.
For both Wong and Bader, just my opinion, one of the biggest challenges probably was completing a "high-five' with Jose Martinez.
Bader made his debut with the Cardinals, July 25, 2017. Being part of the roster in 2018 to begin the season, strangely enough, his first game appearance was April 3, at Miller Park. He came into the game, as pinch hitter in the sixth for starter Jack Flaherty, with a fly-out for his one at bat. The Cardinals were handed a 5-4 loss. Bader dispelled any 'coincidence' and showed his capability for "POP" to begin his 2019 season.
CARDINALS SO CLOSE TO SEEING A TIED GAME
"Close only counts in hand grenades and horse shoes".
In the ninth, Brewers reliever Josh Hader returned for his second inning to close. Two outs on the board. Jose Martinez in as pinch hitter for Wong. On a 1-0 count, he slugs out a beauty, sailing what looked to go over the centerfield wall. Lorenzo Cain rob him of a score-tying home run with a monumental leap and a very strong glove in tow. Cain robbed Cardinals twice in yesterday's opener.
A beautiful hit followed by a great glove to close the game for the Brewers, 5-4, victory in Game One of the four game series.
ALREADY, HPU ISSUES
Overall, my assessment of our Cardinals. Some great defense behind our pitchers - especially for our bullpen who kept hits on the ground to achieve their outs and holding the Brewers scoreless. Mikolas was roughed up taking the heat of 3 HR/5 ER given up, thus - I give a "C+" for the game.
However, a 'lot of deep counts' issued by the HPU Gary Cedarstorm to the Cardinals. Some warranted, many not so much. Not saying he was 'biased', but what looked to be very, very similar pitches made by the Brewers for strikes versus balls called for the Cardinals. And to see veteran Cardinals hitters 'brief discussions' with him, in my opinion, they felt the same way.
All runs in the Opening Day Game One were via home runs. Just that Brewers had on extra runner in place. Wong, (2 HR/3 RBI), Bader (1 HR/1 RBI). Mike Moustakas (1 HR/1 RBI), Christian Yelich (1 HR/3 RBI) and yes, Chacin (1 HR/1 RBI).
'No DH needed in the NL'.
TONIGHT'S MATCH-UP ~ First pitch at 7:10 (CST),
FSMW, FSWI AND MLB Network (out-of-market only).
Cardinals Jack Flaherty will face Brewers Freddy Peralta.
Flaherty earned his spot in the Cardinals rotation this Spring. He closed camp pitching in five games, starting three. In his total 17 IP he posted 22 SO with a only issuing three walks. Did allow 11 hits, but only 4 ER for his 2.12 ERA this spring. In his young career, 62 game appearances, he has recorded 202 SO. Last season, facing the Brewers at Miller Park, in 12 IP, he only allowed two runs while stockpiling 22 SO against them.
F Peralta, is another very solid young arm. In his rookie season, 2018, he recorded 78.1 IP with 96 SO, 6-4/4.25 ERA. Even though, at home he was 4-1/2.73 ERA. So which Freddy Peralta will we see tonight. In Brewers Spring camp, he was 1-1/5.06 ERA/10.2 IP in his four game starts. Against the Cardinals last season, he was 0-1/3.72 in 9.2 IP.