Three To Watch: Cardinals Meet The Brewers

Opening Day is in the books for the defending champions, now the St. Louis Cardinals will play the remainder of the month against the Central Division and it starts with a series in Milwaukee against the Brewers.

It’s time to grab a cold frosty one (heh, heh, heh), make some nachos and settle in on the couch, the season is starting.  Don’t get any cheese on the keyboard and I will tell you the three things you should be watching for during this series.

Ryan Braun
The reigning Most Valuable Player had quite the tumultuous offseason.   Follow that up with a decidedly uncharacteristic Spring Training, and many wonder whether or not it is all weighing on his mind too much to focus on the game.

When faced with a scandal that will get a player ridiculed around the league, there always seems to be an over-enthusiastic level of support at home.  Braun will certainly get some home cooking and be focused in the dome of Miller Park.  With the weight of a scandal, and a franchise, on his shoulders, it may be time that fans learn what Ryan Braun is really made of.  The team will be relying heavily on him to help with the transition away from the Prince Fielder years.

Adam Wainwright vs Zack Greinke
If you are like me and love a good pitching match-up, Saturday’s game is tailor made for you.  Adam Wainwright toes the rubber for the good guys while Zack Greinke is on the bump for the Brew-Crew.

Greinke is in a contract year, which is part of the business of the game that he does not feel we should discuss, and is establishing himself as one of the premier arms on the market this offseason, if not a prime candidate for an extension.  Wainwright took notice this week of Matt Cain‘s deal and will pitch in his first regular season game since 2010.

This setting may feature two hurlers that are in the discussion for the league Cy Young Award before all is said and done.

Matt Holliday
I’m not sure you can take much away from a one game series against the Marlins in a lime green ballpark, but one thing stood out more than anything else to me.   Matt Holliday seemed frustrated.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a guy to make a big deal out of the statistics for one game.  It will take more than that to convince me that a player is struggling or on a hot streak.  What I did notice, is that Matt Holliday was visibly upset at the call made by the umpire and at himself when he missed a few pitches.  A player that is that upset this early is one that seems to be pressing, to me at least.  Keep an eye on how the Cardinals’ outfielder not only performs in Milwaukee, but how he reacts if he is not performing well to determine if he truly is struggling.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball
He is the host of I-70 Radio, hosted every week on BlogTalkRadio.
Follow him on Twitter here.

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