Opening Day. The 2019 major league baseball season begins today.
Paul Goldschmidt makes his Cardinals debut after coming over from Arizona during the off season and signing a long term contract last week. The infield looks good with Goldschmidt at first, Kolten Wong at second, Paul DeJong at short and Matt Carpenter as the everyday third baseman. Goldschmidt at first will do much to shore up what has been a very shaky defense in recent years.

Despite the mid March offensive woes in Florida, this team will hit--and score runs. The keys to how good the offense is rests upon Dexter Fowler and Harrison Bader. Bader talked during spring training about cutting down on strikeouts. If he does that, a lot of good things will happen.

I particularly like the pitching staff. Miles Mikolas gets the start in today's opener.
If Michael Wacha is the 4th starter in the rotation, the staff is solid. Jordan Hicks
and Andrew Miller provide a solid righty/lefty combination to close games. Who pitches
the 8th and who pitches the ninth will be determined by the game situation on a given day.

I expect about 90 wins from the Cardinals. That should be enough to win the National League Central--but not by much. As the season opens, it appears that there are no really weak teams in that division. It is entirely possible that an 81-81 record will mean a last place finish in the NL Central. The competitive nature of the division might make it tough for the second place finisher to grab a wild card berth.

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