Eye on the Enemy: Scouting the St. Louis Cardinals
Friday: Jack Flaherty (2-0, 1.93 ERA) vs. Yu Darvish (6-1, 1.47 ERA)
Saturday, game 1: Adam Wainwright (3-0, 2.65 ERA) vs. TBD
Saturday, game 2: TBD vs. TBD
Sunday: TBD vs. Jon Lester (2-1, 5.11 ERA)
Monday: TBD vs. Kyle Hendricks (4-4, 3.78 ERA)
Dexter Fowler, OF, 10-day injured list
Ricardo Sánchez, LHP, 45-day injured list, left elbow pain
Andrew Miller, LHP, 10-day injured list, left shoulder fatigue
The Cardinals and the Cubs renew their rivalry in a mouth-watering pitching matchup on Friday. Both teams start their aces at Wrigley Field as the race for the NL Central crown heats up.
Flaherty, who emerged as the Cardinals ace last season, has been stellar this season, albeit a start against the Cubs the lone hiccup in his 4 starts. He’s pitched to a 1.93 ERA, a 0.804 WHIP and struck out 17 in 18.2 innings of work. His first start back after the Cardinals missed a large portion of games because of the COVID-19 outbreak that hit the team came against the Cubs, and he pitched just 1.2 innings, allowing 1 run on 1 hit and 2 walks and struck out 3. It had been 25 days since the last time he had pitched, so the Cardinals were being extra cautious with his usage. In his 2 starts since, he’s been stellar. He’s allowed just 4 hits in 10 innings and struck out 8 while allowing just 1 run.
On Saturday, the Cardinals turn to the ageless Wainwright. He’s turned in a quality start in all but one of his starts this season, which was a 5-inning performance against the White Sox in the Cardinals first game back from their outbreak. He was magnificent in his last start in which he told his team he’d give the bullpen a rest and throw a 120-pitch complete game — he did just that. He struck out 9 Cleveland hitters, allowed 2 runs on 4 hits and twirled a 122-pitch complete game. With five games in four days, he might need another – albeit 7-inning — complete game.
Offensively, the Cardinals have been led by the ever-dependable Paul Goldschmidt. The veteran first baseman is slashing .337/.478/.517 for St. Louis this season. The real revelation of the team offensively, though, has been Brad Miller. The third baseman has a whopping 1.131 OPS and leads the team in home runs (5), RBI (19) and extra-base hits (11).
The Cardinals’ bullpen has been dependable this season, posting the third-best ERA among bullpens in the National League at 4.09. Opponents are hitting just .210 against the Cardinals’ relievers. That pen is anchored by Mexican closer Giovanny Gallegos, who is emerging into a highly dependable closer for the Cardinals. He’s pitched to a 1.08 ERA with 11 strikeouts in 8.1 innings of work. He’s pitched 1.2 innings against the Cubs, striking out 3 and allowing just 1 hit.