The Cardinals’ season got off to a rough start in Milwaukee this past weekend. They dropped three of four to their division rivals, putting themselves in a hole to begin the year. There were some bright spots though, the biggest being newly acquired first baseman Paul Goldschmidt.
Goldy didn’t have the best game on Opening Day, but he made up for it over the next three. He did most of his damage in the very next game, although the next two weren’t too bad either.
Goldschmidt’s Opening Series
Opening Day was not the best for Goldschmidt or the Cardinals. In his debut at-bat with the Redbirds, Goldy struck out on a check swing in a full count. He didn’t like the call, but his efforts to change the mind of home plate umpire Gary Cederstrom went unnoticed.
Goldschmidt was punched out in his second at-bat as well. This time, he really voiced his opinion to Cederstrom, but to no avail again. In his next plate appearance, he was able to draw a walk, but he struck out again in his final at-bat of the day, finishing the game 0-3.
Despite their best hitter’s struggles, the Redbirds did put up four runs on the afternoon. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough for the pitching staff, as they gave up five runs in the loss.
With the first game behind him, Goldy got off to a much better start in the second. After a leadoff walk by Matt Carpenter, Goldschmidt launched an inside fastball over the left field fence for a towering home run, his first as a Cardinal.
His second at-bat of the game was fruitful as well. He smashed a two-out single to left field that third baseman Travis Shaw just barely get a glove on, though he was stranded after a fly out from Paul DeJong.
Goldy’s third at-bat of the game produced his only out of the game, when he lined out on a 2-2 pitch to center. It was also his hardest hit ball of the game, registering a 107.3 MPH exit velocity.
Paul’s next two at-bats resulted in two more home runs. His second of the game was a solo shot in the sixth and his third was a two-run bomb in the seventh. Goldy did get another plate appearance in the ninth, looking for his fourth dinger of the game, but despite being down 9-5, manager Craig Counsell decided to issue an intentional walk to the right-handed slugger, nixing his chance at history.
Goldschmidt became just the second player since 2015 to put five balls in play with exit velocities of 104.9 MPH or greater in single game. Thanks to his outburst the Cardinals took their first win of the season 9-5.
Saturday’s game wasn’t as good as Friday’s for Goldschmidt, but he did collect an RBI. After a line out in his first at-bat, he drove in Kolten Wong in the third with a single to left.
Unfortunately, that’s all he did for the Redbirds in game three. He struck out in both of his final plate appearances as the Cardinals dropped the game 4-2.
Goldy went 1-4 in the final game of the series as well. He also struck out twice, but his one hit was his fourth home run of the year. It came as the second of back to back shots with Carpenter in the fifth inning. At the time it put the Cards up 4-1.
The Redbirds eventually dropped the game 5-4 on a walk-off double though, and Goldschmidt didn’t reach base again.
That fifth inning homer was his fourth of the series though. It was also his seventh RBI. Goldy ultimately ended the series with a .375/.444/.1.125 slash line and a tie for the league lead in home runs.
Featured image by Morry Gash of the Associated Press