Adam Wainwright gave up a three-run homer to Ian Stewart in the first and a grand slam to Bryan LaHair in the third Friday as the Cardinals lost 9-5 to the Cubs in their home opener.
Wainwright was taken out after allowing eight runs in three innings. He fell to 0-2 with an 11.42 ERA on the young season.
In Wainwright’s defense, LaHair’s slam was wind-aided and still barely cleared the fence in left-center. A better left fielder than Matt Holliday might have been able to go up and take it away.
Still, Wainwright wasn’t impressive at all. His velocity actually appears to have regressed since the beginning of the spring, and he walked a pair of batters leading up to LaHair’s slam.
Fortunately, all of the Cardinals’ other starters have looked impressive thus far, and they should be able to hang in the NL Central race even with Chris Carpenter out indefinitely and Wainwright struggling out of the gate. They’re currently 5-1 in games not started by Wainwright.
Athletics president Dave Kaval is ready to take full advantage of the interleague series between the Giants and A’s this season. While the two teams customarily play a few preseason “Battle of the Bay” games each year, they’re also scheduled to meet each other six times during the regular season; once for a three-game set in San Francisco, then for a three-game set in Oakland. On Saturday, Kaval announced that any Giants fans looking to park at the Coliseum this year will be charged $50 instead of the standard, general admission $30 — an additional “rivalry fee” that can be easily waived by shouting, “Go A’s!” at the gate.
This isn’t the first time that a major-league team has tried to keep rival fans at bay, though Kaval doesn’t seem all that intent on actually driving fans away from the ballpark. Back in 2012, the Nationals staged a “Take Back the Park” campaign after people began complaining that Phillies fans were overtaking Nationals Park during rivalry games. They limited a single-series presale of Nats-Phillies tickets to buyers within Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia in hopes of filling the stands with a few more friendly faces. Washington COO Andy Feffer told the press that while he would treat all guests with “respect and courtesy,” he wanted Phillies fans to feel irked enough to pay attention to the Nationals. In the end, things went… well, a little south for all involved.
Whether the Giants are planning any retaliatory measures has yet to be seen, but it’s not as if this is going to be an enforceable rule. The real travesty here, if you’re an A’s fan or just pretending to be one, is that the parking fees have increased from $20 to $30 this season. Unless you’re a season ticket holder with a prepaid $10 parking permit, it’s far better to brave the crowds and take advantage of local public transportation. There are bound to be far fewer irate Giants fans on BART than at the gates — even if the gag only lasts a few days out of the year.