It’s April 26. This afternoon, the Cardinals should be taking on the Marlins at Busch Stadium, ending a three game set with Miami. It was scheduled to be game 28 on the season. Honestly, I wouldn’t have been surprised if this wouldn’t have been the annual Blogger Day.
So what could we have seen in those first month (basically) of games? We’d have seen Opening Day in Cincinnati, which is a treat in and of itself, and then of course the home opener. We’d have gotten our first look at the Orioles since the Cardinals played in Baltimore in 2017. It would have been the first appearance for the Orioles in Busch Stadium III, as they have not been to St. Louis since 2003. Which is a remarkable flaw in the scheduling since the Cards have played out in Camden Yards three or four times since then. Of course, we saw how it went with the Angels–scheduling quirks happen, especially when you are dealing with interleague play.
We would have seen the entire season series with the Dodgers, spending a good part of two weeks ago talking about West Coast start times as the Cardinals would have been in LA, followed by a trip to Colorado. We’d have gotten our first chance to see Mookie Betts wearing Dodger blue (and you have to figure, in seven games, probably seen him go deep at least once). We’d have seen if the Cardinals had finally figured out an answer for Walker Buehler and we would have relived all those great Clayton Kershaw moments.
Then, as noted, we’d have watched the Cardinals in Coors Field and you know the entire focus would have been on Nolan Arenado, manning third for the Rockies after a winter where he looked almost destined to be in St. Louis. No matter what side of the field he is on, it’s great to watch him play the hot corner.
Before that West Coast swing, though, the Cards would have their first runthrough at Wrigley. Given this would have been the first time in the Friendly Confines since that epic late-September sweep, highlighted by repeated beatings of Craig Kimbrel, we’d have seen a lot of those highlights. We’d probably see Yadier Molina and Paul DeJong go deep at least once a game, whether the highlights were warranted or not.
Then, after leaving the Mile High City, the Cards would have come home for a homestand of the Reds and Marlins, which would have finished up today. We’d be dreading the next couple of days, as the games in San Diego would get that 9:10 local time start.
But where would the Cardinals be in the standings? Sets against the Marlins and Orioles would help, and hopefully they’d put a licking on the Rockies to get them thinking about the trade deadline, but that’s a tough first part of the schedule. If the Cards were a couple of games over .500, would that be palatable? After all, the Nationals scuffled a lot last year and didn’t turn the corner until late May. Hanging around .500 in the first month wouldn’t be a death knell to any chances St. Louis might have. It’s unlikely anyone in the division is running away with it either, especially since 12 of those 28 the Redbirds had on their schedule were against NL Central opponents. We’d just be settling in for a good race.
Instead, we hear rumors of states starting to open up and deadlines for decisions approaching. It could be we’ll see baseball start to stir here pretty soon, though in what form we still don’t know. Whatever is coming, hopefully it’s great. Because chances are we’ve already missed a lot of goodness and there’s still of those gaps to come.