The kids are all right
Five Quick Things to Love About the 2012 Cardinals So Far:
Matt Carpenter. Okay, okay, I’ve fallen too hard too fast before (Bo “Hold On, My” Hart, anyone?), but this lanky, loping young thing is exciting. He’s got a sweet, smooth swing, a fair dose of power, and, by all accounts, a terrific attitude. (And his Twitter account is charming: e.g., “I feel like such a rookie. But I need some ideas for a good spot for dinner tonight?”) Lance Berkman offered to stay on the bench if BabyCarp was planning to keep hitting the way he did in today’s 4-for-4, one-base-shy-of-the-cycle performance—and indeed, it’s going to be tough to send the kid back to Triple-A if he continues to rake. Given that the Cards could use his lefty bat off the bench, he may not see Memphis again for a while.
The leaner, meaner Jake Westbrook. Two games is only two games, but the svelte Westbrook has been coaxing ground balls in Dave Duncan-approved fashion, and pitching around defensive lapses that might easily have led to crooked numbers a year ago. The 0.64 ERA is, uh, unlikely to hold up throughout the season, but it’s a fine start for a good guy who accepted last fall’s omission from the NLCS roster like a true professional.
Lance Lynn. We fell in love with him last year and thought he might have starter stuff someday. Who knew his time would come so soon—and with the added oh-hey-no-pressure element of being Chris Carpenter’s stand-in? Lynn’s a cool, bushy customer who’s even helped himself out with a couple of hits so far. The Cards’ rotation may not be out of the woods yet, especially if Adam Wainwright’s last outing wasn’t just a case of one-time demonic possession, but Lynn’s first two starts have taken a lot of the initial sting out of BigCarp’s nebulous injury.
Yadi, Yadi, Yadi! Isn’t it weird that just a few months ago, we were all fretting that Yadier Molina was going to sulk through his first season without his best friend (you know, TFHFWSNBN) and sign a lucrative contract with the Angels as soon as he had the chance? We were so silly! Yadi’s not just hitting like mad and doing his usual rock-solid job behind the plate, he’s also grinning as much as I’ve ever seen him grin, and embracing the new kids on the team with apparent delight. It would be premature and petty to surmise that he’s flourishing now that he’s out of the shadow of his surly BFF, but…..I’m just going to go ahead and suggest that he’s flourishing now that he’s out of the shadow of his surly BFF.
Mike Matheny. Notice how no one’s been talking much about Matheny during his first ten games as a big-league manager? That’s because he’s doing a good job. Personally, a few of the early signs that I’m excited about are the team’s increased (and, for the most part, intelligent) aggressiveness on the basepaths; his apparent disinclination to micromanage; and the fact that I have yet to hear him invoke Jesus in a public forum.
More to come. More to love.