I should have written this yesterday. But only now am I starting to regain any feeling in my frozen fingers...
It's only one game. But Monday's loss to the Pirates was surely a disturbing start to the 2009 season. Mostly because it was so reminiscent of the 2008 season: The Cardinals played well the whole game and then coughed up a lead in ninth to blow it.
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
I feel terrible for rookie closer Jason Motte who was pummeled for four runs in his first game as the St. Louis closer. He nearly got out of the mess he made for himself by getting ahead of Pirates shortstop Jack Wilson 0-2 with two outs and the bases loaded. But he grooved a pitch and got plastered.
Whether it was nerves or the cold, Motte didn't have the control he demonstrated throughout spring training. His pitches were up and over the plate. And, while fans probably were aiming their venom at management for refusing to go after an established closer over the off-season, it didn't do Motte any favors to leave the field to a chorus of boos.
As bad as the weather was, it was a thrill to see Stan Musial make it to opening day. Nearing 90 years old, stan doesn't get out like he used to. So I wasn't expecting to see him at the ballpark.
Player of the Game: Ryan Ludwick hit the only homer of the game to give the Cardinals the lead after they surrendered it once in the game. On a cold day he managed to belt the ball 417 feet into the left field bleachers.
Lowlight: Motte pitched one inning and gave up four runs to turn a 4-2 lead into a loss. I hope manager Tony La Russa gets him back out there quickly. And hopefully under more favorable weather conditions. No need to let this fester.