By Stefan Guilliams, Staff Writer
With opening day a month away, we look forward to new competition, new faces and another chance for the Cardinals to win number 12. February is a sacred month for true baseball fans. Pitchers and catchers report, college baseball begins and Spring Training officially kicks off.
The Cardinals were on the edge of baseball immortality last year with their heartbreaking loss to the “Bean Town Beards” (The Boston Red Sox) in the World Series. The “Win it for Beltran campaign” fell short and since then he’s decided to move on and finish his career with the New York Yankees. However, the loss of Beltran will not hinder the Birds from getting right back to business in 2014. With a healthy Allen Craig at right field, Oscar Tavares expected to come up mid-season, the acquisitions of new speedster Pete Bourjos and Jhonny Peralta, the Cardinals looked primed to make another World Series run.
The Birds will have a very tough road back to the NLCS for the fourth straight year. With the National League Central quickly becoming the most competitive in baseball, the Cardinals have to fend off the attacks from the Pirates of Pittsburgh, the always-dangerous Cincinnati Reds squad, and the extremely unpredictable “Brew Crew” out of Milwaukee.
So far the new additions have shown great potential. Peralta, Bourjos and Ellis have been making waves in the first five games in Jupiter. Even if Spring Training doesn’t mean a whole lot in regard to the overall record, it helps show off the talented team the Cardinals have put together. With the surprising success of the young bullpen, the Cardinals can’t help but to be psyched about their prospects.
Despite the loss of Cy Young winner and two time World Champion Chris Carpenter, the Cardinals rotation looks to be the strongest in recent history. The Birds are sure to miss him, but simultaneously welcome Adam Wainwright as the official ace in the rotation. The rotation mixed with a young and talented bullpen will be key in the Cardinals making another deep postseason run.
The Cardinals are already on top of the National League historically and have been for the better part of the decade. The “Birds on the Bat” look to be on top of MLB hoisting the Commissioner’s Trophy above their heads while riding down Clark Avenue this November.