2014 Cardinals Outlook
In 2013, the St. Louis Cardinals captured their 19th National League pennant in franchise history, but ultimately fell to the Boston Red Sox in the World Series. St. Louis reloaded its roster during the offseason, and the Cardinals will attempt to return to the World Series for the second consecutive year -- and capture the franchise's 12th World Series title. Last season, 3,369,769 fans went to Busch Stadium to watch the Cardinals -- an average of 41,602 per game. Those numbers figure to rise this season, as the Cardinals are one of the favorites to win the 2014 World Series. If you're a Cardinals fan, or just want to check out Busch Stadium, don't delay, and buy your tickets to check out the new-look defending National League champions today!
Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak made significant changes during the offseason. Carlos Beltran left through free agency, signing with the New York Yankees. Hometown hero and former World Series MVP David Freese was traded to the Los Angeles Angels for Peter Bourjos -- one of the top defensive center fielders in the game. Bourjos has a career UZR/150 of 20.2 -- and in 2012, Bourjos posted a UZR/150 of 40.8 -- giving the Cardinals an elite outfield defender they've lacked since Jim Edmonds was traded to the San Diego Padres. Bourjos' acquisition likely moves incumbent center fielder Jon Jay to the bench. With Freese out of the picture, Matt Carpenter will shift back to his natural position, third base, opening the door for top prospect Kolten Wong to start at second base.
Mozeliak made sure to upgrade shortstop during the offseason, signing former Detroit Tiger Jhonny Peralta to a four-year contract. Peralta replaces Pete Kozma, who was viewed as the only weak spot on the 2013 Cardinals team. Last season, Peralta hit .303/.358/.457 in 107 games for the Tigers, and constitutes a major upgrade over Kozma. Peralta was not tendered a qualifying offer by the Tigers, partially because he received a 50-game suspension, after being linked to the BioGensis scandal. The Cardinals, however, are giving Peralta a chance to redeem himself -- and didn't have to surrender a first-round pick to sign him.
Allen Craig, St. Louis' first baseman in 2013, will shift to right field, replacing Carlos Beltran in the outfield. Matt Adams projects to start at first base for the Cards, giving the defending National League champions an entirely new starting infield.
The only two players returning to the same starting position they held in 2013 are stalwarts Yadier Molina and Matt Holliday.
St. Louis boasts one of the top pitching staffs in all of baseball. Perennial Cy Young candidate Adam Wainwright anchors the rotation, and is joined by young fireballers Shelby Miller and Michael Wacha. Lance Lynn, Jaime Garcia, Joe Kelly and Carlos Martinez will battle for the final two rotation slots during Spring Training.
2014 Cardinals Schedule
The Cardinals are not short of rivals in the National League Central. St. Louis' rivalry with the Cincinnati Reds heated up in recent years. St. Louis jettisoned the Milwaukee Brewers in six games in the 2011 NLCS, preventing the Brewers from returning to the World Series for the first time since 1982. Likewise, the Cardinals ousted the Pittsburgh Pirates in five games in the 2013 NLDS -- the first time the Pirates made the playoffs in over 20 years. As always, the Cards and Chicago Cubs will renew their rivalry -- even if the Cubs are out of the playoff race by the All-Star Break.
2014 Cardinals Interleague Schedule
St. Louis takes on the American League East this year in interleague play -- and St. Louis fans will have an opportunity to watch the Cardinals take on teams they seldom play. Derek Jeter's farewell tour will come to Busch Stadium in May, when the Cardinals host the Yankees on May 26, May 27 and May 28. Mike Matheny's Cardinals will try to exact revenge on the Boston Red Sox, when the Redbirds host the Red Sox on August 5, August 6 and August 7. The Cardinals will head to Toronto to take on the Blue Jays (June 6, June 7, June 8) and to Camden Yard (August 8, August 9, August 10) to take on the Baltimore Orioles. The defending National League champions will also head to Tampa Bay June 10 and June 11, before hosting the Rays July 22 and July 23.
About Busch Stadium
Busch Stadium III opened in 2006, and was promptly Christened with a World Series title -- despite the fact St. Louis only won 83 games in the regular season. Since then, Busch Stadium III has hosted playoff baseball in 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013. The stadium hosted St. Louis' World Series-clinching Game 7 win over the Texas Rangers in 2011, and also hosted three World Series games in 2013. In addition to hosting Cardinals baseball, Busch Stadium III hosted concerts for Dave Matthews Band, the Eagles and U2, as well as Premiere League soccer. With a capacity of 43,975, there are fewer venues better to catch a game or concert than Busch Stadium.
Cardinals franchise facts
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