So we’re doing this again, huh? We’re going to get emotionally invested in 162 (preferably more) of these games, most of which will take more than three hours, and somehow this is our idea of a good time? Are we sure we want to do this? Okay.

It’s wonderful to have this baseball thing back – it really is – but it’s also a drag if you fan like I do. I takes regular season losses worse than I should. The type who avoids Quick Pitch the following morning or any other medium that might replay the main events from a loss that I’m going to quickly forget about anyway once 7:00 pm rolls around so the cruel cycle can repeat itself. I can’t imagine it’s good for the soul to take in this sport like most of us do.

But here we are. Locked in arms. Ready to all inevitably feel miserable together. It’s always good to have you back, Cardinals.

The good guys kick off the season today in Milwaukee against the defending division champs just after 1:00 pm Central Time. Might as well get used to these Brewers because we’re going to see them ten times over the course of the next 24 games. I probably don’t need to tell you that the NL Central is going to be a grind but you’re going to have to look very hard to find a nice vacation of games on this schedule since most of the teams in the National League are at least honorably trying to some degree. And assuming the Cardinals are still in the thick of it when the homestretch rolls around, they can look forward to closing out the season with the Cubs seven times over their final ten games. With the Cubs and Brewers counted on the be the main competition in the NL Central, the key to this season just might be Mitch Hedberg’s joke about pancakes.

I’m not one who typically cares about the lineup all the much but given that this is Mike Shildt’s first full season as manager and the addition of Paul Goldschmidt, I am going to be waiting in anticipation to see what Shildt has in store for us today. If I could choose, it would look like this:

  1. Matt Carpenter
  2. Paul Goldschmidt
  3. Paul DeJong
  4. Marcel Ozuna
  5. Dexter Fowler
  6. Yadier Molina
  7. Kolten Wong
  8. Miles Mikolas
  9. Harrison Bader

The Brewers enter this season looking very similar to last year: A formidable lineup with some starting pitching questions (and currently a banged up bullpen). The difference is you’d be foolish this year to not take them seriously. Maybe they over-performed to reach those 96 wins, and got hot and flukey at just the right time (with some help from us).

And sure, one of the best bullpen’s in baseball in 2018 will probably regress this season. But that lineup scares me and should scare you, too, and now it’s even better with the addition of catcher Yasmani Grandal.

In my head I have this Brewers team finishing in third place, which is also where they were picked to finish on this very site. That’s not denigrating them as much as it’s a compliment to this division and I’m guessing none of us would be surprised if they are once again the best team when it’s all said and done.

And there you have it. It’s going to be an exciting season. Do your best to enjoy it and know that if the Cardinals somehow reclaim their spot at the top of the standings they will have certainly earned it. Let’s play ball.

Courtesy of FanGraphs, here are the projected starters and the Cardinals’ win probability for each game of this four-game series.

Screen Shot 2019-03-27 at 9.57.38 PM

Today and Sunday’s games are set for the afternoon, Friday and Saturday start at approximately 7:00 and 6:00 pm, respectively, St. Louis time. 

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