The St. Louis Cardinals have posted their opening day line-up. Matt Carpenter will lead off and play third. Kolten Wong will bat second and play second base. Matt Holliday is in his familiar spot of third while playing left field. Allen Craig will play right field and bat clean-up. Catcher Yadier Molina will bat fifth, first baseman Matt Adams will bat sixth. Jhonny Peralta will bat seventh and play shortstop and Peter Bourjos will bat eight and play centerfield.
The opposing Cincinnati Reds will start the season with eight players on the disabled list. They are relievers Aroldis Chapman and Jonathon Broxton, starting pitchers Mat Latos, Brett Marshal and Sean Marshall, catcher Devin Mesoraco, former Cardinals outfielder and second baseman Skip Schumaker and infielder Jack Hannahan.
ESPN ranks the Cardinals as the best team in Major League Baseball in its 2014 pre-season power rankings. The Los Angeles Dodgers, beaten by the Redbirds in the 2013 National League Championship Series, rank second. The Reds are ranked 11th and ESPN notes that there were "no substantial improvements" to a club that placed third in the National League Central last year.
This is the third time in the last 20 years that the Cardinals have played their home opener on March 31. They won both of the previous times, 6-0 over the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1998 and 11-9 over the Milwaukee Brewers in 2004.