Well, the Cardinals did what I had no faith they could do last night. They beat Cole Hamels, one of the most talented young pitchers in the game, with Joel Pineiro on the mound in the Phillies' park.
Pineiro was masterful, riding a sharp sinker and tight slider to a shutout performance. The few times he found himself in a jam, Joel made the pitch he needed to and got the double play in a couple of key situations. He didn't rack up the strikeouts the way that Hamels did, but at the end of the night, Pineiro's name had a W next to it, and that's all that mattered.
As good a game as we saw last night, though, it was only a warmup.
Tonight, we see the main event. Of course, just what kind of event it's going to end up being is anybody's guess, but I think it's pretty safe to say that it will be an event either way.
Mark Mulder will take the mound tonight and make his first start of the year.
Instead of giving you a whole lot of detailed analysis and possibly snarky commentary on what I think Mulder might do, I thought we would try something different today. I thought we might have ourselves a little contest.
What I want from all of you is your predictions. Give me Mulder's line. Innings, hits, walks, strikeouts and runs. I also want the final score of the game.
Put your predictions in the comments section below, and the person who comes the closest to the actual totals will be declared the winner.
The winner of this contest will receive a $20 gift certificate to a local restaurant. I have a list of places you can choose from. We'll work the details out after we see just exactly how this whole thing works out.
Alright, everybody, get your predictions down. It's free food.