According to Adam Wainwright, it was an acquisition many hitting videos in the making. Nolan Arenado to the Cardinals.
Thursday afternoon, on a typically chilly spring afternoon at Busch Stadium in what St. Louisans call an official holiday-a Cardinals home opener-Arenado will get to show John Mozeliak a new hitting video. This will be an at-bat from the eighth inning with Milwaukee and St. Louis tied at one run apiece. Arenado has a runner on and blasts a baseball into the left field stands. It was like watching two completely different plans-a pitcher trying to strike out a hitter and a guy trying to get a hit somehow-smash into each other with only one emerging. I think Mozeliak will love that video. That home run helped the home team win, 3-1.
If you haven’t heard about the new guy in town, you certainly will tomorrow.
It was a culmination of a perfect home opener in the Lou. Adam Wainwright starting. Dylan Carlson saving runs in center. Arenado being the difference maker. Alex Reyes closing it out. An eclectic collection of skills merging together for a gritty win. After a shaky start in Cincinnati, the Cards are 5-2. I think Bill DeWitt Jr. and Mozeliak can breathe a sigh of relief that their plan is working.
It was the President of Baseball Operations, and former General Manager (hello Michael Girsch), made the steal of the offseason when the Cardinals acquired Arenado from the Colorado Rockies for a price that baseball analysts deemed a bargain. After loitering around the big trade block for years, the Cardinals made two inside three years. Thursday, Arenado rescued the day when his co-star, Paul Goldschmidt, was down with a sore back. For the first time in a good while, the Cardinals have backup.
Here’s how the Arenado plan is going so far. He is 10-29 with two home runs. Both home runs came late and changed the game. The first one narrowed a wide gap while the second one won the whole fucking thing.
The entire time, it was as if you were watching a dream become a reality. Arenado releases a battle cry as he rounds first base, smiling and charging into the arms of Yadier Molina and his Cardinal teammates. It’s like seeing a surreal virtual reality play out in real time. A close game that the Cardinals from 2016-2020 would lose seven times out of ten. A chance to get ahead with a big bat coming up. That bat proceeds to come through.
But Arenado is that big bat, and he did the thing today. The thing that won the game, turning a low-scoring affair into a win. He didn’t act alone.
Young phenom-to-be Dylan Carlson made a first inning running catch that saved three runs. Adam Wainwright the Brewers in check before the cavalry (aka the pen) came in to shut it down. Heck, an error by Wainwright and Carlson allowed Milwaukee to get on the board.
Kolten Wong, who owns the biggest heart in baseball, had a teary-eyed return to Busch, drawing a four-pitch walk while wiping water from his eyes. It appears St. Louis is still a destination after all for baseball players.
Just ask Waino.
*Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images*