Baseball’s Little Things Make the Difference on Opening Night for the Cardinals
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Little things make the difference in baseball and those little things helped make the difference for the Cardinals on opening night.
Cubs lefty Jon Lester evidently has trouble with throwing over to first these days. That’s a huge part of limiting the running game. It would appear that the Cardinals were wise to this problem. There were four stolen bases in five attempts by the Cardinals last night. That means a runner or runners in scoring position. It’s tough to score from first on most singles. It’s easy to score from second on most singles. That adds up over 162 games.
A little thing attributable to youth helped the Cards score their first run last night. Jorge Soler misplayed a line shot off the bat of Matt Holliday. If he fields the ball cleanly, Jason Heyward is probably held at third. That one run was all the Cardinals really needed last night with the performances of Adam Wainwright and the bullpen. One run scores thanks to a little thing. Catch the ball, then throw the ball.
The Cards also had some trouble with the little things, but the pitching was good enough to cover for it. Jhonny Peralta and Matt Adams didn’t move up the runners following a double steal to put runners at second and third in the top of the fifth. On a hot day at Wrigley with the wind blowing out to dead center, that failure—in particular the strikeout by Adams—could be a game changer. Cards had a chance to bury the Cubs given the way Wainwright was going and they missed out.
The National League Central appears to be pretty good across the board. Those little things are going to decide who gets to play baseball in October and who can reserve tee times on and after October 5th.