It’s a weird time around the world. Spring training has been suspended with little knowledge of when they can start the regular season. The panic and chaos caused by the coronavirus have led to a lot of turmoil for baseball fans. The St. Louis Cardinals are going into a battle this year to come out on top in the NL Central. Now, we are looking to at least the middle of May for the first pitch to be thrown.
Pause in Play
One of the veterans in the Cardinals clubhouse is Adam Wainwright, and he doesn’t even seem to know how to react to this suspension of play. He spoke on the current state of the clubhouse:
“Complete confusion and unknowing. No one knows what to do, there’s no precedent.” – Adam Wainwright
Wainwright doesn’t know how to prepare for play when the start date is still in doubt. Their local facility will be open for voluntary workouts for players who live in the area. Spring training is intended to get players physically ready for the 162-game season, but it looks like this year was just a tease. Several ideas have been considered to play every game this season, including having a fair share of doubleheaders.
The MLB can be glad this didn’t happen at the end of the year, just as it did with the NBA and NHL. Commissioner Rob Manfred has time to make his decision but, has to rely on others for updates and information. Seeing opening day games without fans in attendance is not out of the question, and slightly expected.
As time moves forward, it seems many players are electing to take care of injuries and even some are deciding to go ahead and have surgery. It’s hard to say who this pause is helping the most, but it is affecting more than just the date of the first pitch. Starting pitchers Miles Mikolas and Andrew Miller were expected to start the season on the DL, but this time might give them the ability to get healthy in time.
So, there’s no exact date of when to expect to see Wainwright take the mound but, talking about the coronavirus gets old. The Cardinals have an exciting National League Central battle ahead, including a trip to London to play the Cubs (if the suspension ends in time).
Many experts predict a close battle in the NL Central. The Cardinals, Chicago Cubs, and Cincinnati Reds are all teams that could be in a close competition at the end of the season. The Cardinals are hoping to keep an improved Reds team off of their heels. The Reds have made this race a far more interesting one. Finishing fourth last year, experts have them moving up with odds right beside St. Louis and Chicago to take the division.
St. Louis has high hopes for the starting rotation and gaining a more consistent offense to stay on top. Jack Flaherty will need to start where he left off during the second half of last season. If he does, he will surely be in the Cy Young debate. The bullpen will need to gain strength if these doubleheaders do actually happen. They will have a couple of holes to fill to go along with Andrew Miller, Glovanny Gallegos, Alex Reyes, and others.
The St. Louis Cardinals had departures last season of Marcell Ozuna, Michael Wacha, and Jose Martinez. They haven’t replaced these holes during the offseason by any trades or acquisitions but look to fill them internally. A player in the minors to keep an eye on this year is Dylan Carlson. Many say it is a matter of time before the 21-year-old outfielder gets the call up to the majors. They will also be relying on key veterans such as Yadier Molina, Paul Goldschmidt, and Dexter Fowler to continue their great careers and perhaps find the fountain of youth.
It would usually be a bit more exciting time in baseball, with a little more to write about. As for now, it’s a waiting game to see how the 2020 season is going to unfold. With not much on the horizon for a game at Busch Stadium, it’s going to be sweet when it finally arrives.
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