Opening day got off to a promising start for the Cardinals Monday night in Arizona.
The Redbirds drew first blood with a run on a pair of doubles in the opening inning and sharp work by starting pitcher Adam Wainwright.
But Wainwright was hit by a line drive on his pitching shoulder in the fourth inning -- he claimed the ball hit his glove when manager Mike Matheny came out to check on him, but replays indicated otherwise -- and he struggled terribly after the incident.
Prior to the start of the fourth inning, Wainwright held Arizona scoreless on two hits. After the blow, he surrendered four straight hits and three Diamondbacks runs before he could get out of the inning. Then, for some reason, Wainwright was allowed to pitch two more innings despite the fact that he was leaving his pitches up in the strike zone. When his night was done he had given up 11 hits in six frames of work. He surrendered four runs, three of them earned while striking out six and walking none.
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It was reckless to leave the Cardinals ace who just signed a new five-year contract, in the game when he was obviously struggling after being hit on his shoulder. And not just because of the impact on one game. History is littered with pitchers who ruined their arms trying to pitch through minor injuries.
Dizzy Dean destroyed his arm in the prime of his career when trying to pitch with a broken toe caused him to alter his mechanics with devastating results.
When manager Mike Matheny did pull Wainwright, Fernando Salas was completely ineffective. He allowed three hits and two runs without getting an out. Marc Rzepcznski and Joe Kelly pitched scoreless innings of work to close out the game.
The Cardinals had no answers for Diamondbacks starter Ian Kennedy who allowed two runs on five hits through seven innings of work.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Daniel Descalso had one hit in three at-bats and drove in one of St. Louis' two runs.
Cardinals Play of the Game: Matt Holliday hit a line drive to the left centerfield wall in the first inning that seemed like it was going to be the start of an offensive eruption. Unfortunately, it wasn't.
Lowlight: The Cardinals defense Monday night was terrible. Carlos Beltran contributed significantly to the Diamonbacks' three-run outburst in the fourth inning by failing to get to a pair of fly balls that seemed like they hung in the air long enough for him to have a chance to catch them. Hobbled by a broken toe, he couldn't even get close. If Beltran can't play at full speed, he shouldn't be in the game.