2013 MLB Preview: Opening Day St. Louis Cardinals vs. Arizona Diamondbacks

Jeff Curry- USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Cardinals open their 2013 season at Chase Field against the Arizona Diamondbacks with Adam Wainwright scheduled to pitch against Ian Kennedy.

When St. Louis last traveled to Arizona, they swept the three game series and finished the year 5-1 versus the Diamondbacks — one of those victories was an August 15th win for Wainwright. Kennedy started two games in 2012 against the Cardinals but lost both of those outings.

For Arizona, they have three starters who will open the season on the disabled list — one of which is newly-acquired third baseman Martin Prado.  Cody Ross and prospect Adam Eaton are the other two —  both outfielders — who are not in the lineup. In addition to those two losses, Arizona will be without their young star Justin Upton who was dealt to the Atlanta Braves.

For the Cardinals, Wainwright has been moderately successful pitching against the Diamondbacks in his career. Against the current roster, Wainwright has just over a 4-1 K/BB rate while holding the team to a .268 batting average. Look for outfielder Jason Kubel and catcher Miguel Montero — who has hit one homer against Wainwright — to give him trouble as they are hitting .429 and .364 against Wainwright respectively.

St. Louis will be without slugging third baseman David Freese as well as their closer Jason Motte. Motte might be missed more than Freese will as the offense is much more adept at plugging certain holes than the Cardinals bullpen is at the closer position. Former closer Mitchell Boggs will step into the role while Motte recovers. Could be interesting to see if he can handle the pressure of closing games as the Cardinals have had issues with that in the past.

Kennedy has been up and down against the Cardinals having a nearly 1-1 K/BB rate yet holding the current hitters to a .233 batting average. He’s had his best success against Freese but as mentioned, he won’t be in the lineup. Without a doubt Carlos Beltran likes hitting against Kennedy — he has a .300 average with two home runs. Matt Holliday doesn’t do to bad against Kennedy either hitting .375 with one homer.

Its seems to not favor a pitching duel despite both aces being on the mound. It won’t exactly be a barn burner either but you can look forward to a fair amount of offense tonight at Chase Field.

-Michael Augustine is a writer for Rant Sports covering the Saint Louis Cardinals.
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