While the Cubs scuffled against the Yankees and Rockies, the Cardinals ripped off a six game winning streak because, Cardinals. Their pitching has rebounded from early season struggles to have the second best ERA in the leage (n.b. they are tied in FIP with the Cubs), and their offensive wRC+ is smack on 101. They even have fewer HR than the Cubs. They have not seemed to figure out what this year's Devil Magic seems to be, but there is still time for it to reveal itself. Hopefully it does not do so in this series.
- OBP: Matt Carpenter (.424)
- ISO: Jedd Gyorko (.289)
- HR: Matt Carpenter (7)
- R+RBI: Carpenter (42)
- wRC+: Gyorko (174)
- BSR: Dexter Fowler (1.4)
- SP K/9: Carlos Martinez (10.71)
- SP BB/9: Mike Leake (1.56)
- SP FIP: Leake (2.53)
- RP K/9: Trevor Rosenthal (15.32)
- RP BB/9: Matt Bowman (1.71)
- RP FIP: Rosenthal (1.40)
- WAR: Gyorko (1.5)
- OBP: Kris Bryant (.401)
- ISO: Bryant (.248)
- HR: Bryant (7)
- R+RBI: Bryant (41)
- wRC+: Bryant (148)
- BSR: Jon Jay (2.4)
- SP K/9: Jake Arrieta (10.24)
- SP BB/9: John Lackey (2.36)
- SP FIP: Jon Lester (3.58)
- RP K/9: Pedro Strop (12.34)
- RP BB/9: Brian Duensing (1.29)
- RP FIP: Wade Davis (1.35)
- WAR: Bryant (1.4)
Injuries, transactions, vengeance pacts, etc.
Brett Anderson is on the DL with no return range specified due to a back injury/general ineffectiveness. There has no news since he was put on the DL and I'm guessing he'll be out for some time. Heyward is out with a sprained finger and may return next week. Addison Russell is dealing with some shoulder soreness that kept him out of Wednesday's game. The Cubs called up Eddie Butler to take Anderson's rotation spot and have had a flurry of other transactions to deal with their gassed pen. As of right now, Pena and Candelario are up and Grimm is back in Iowa.
The Cardinals have a bunch of banged up players. Dex suffered a shoulder injury on a diving catch a week ago and has been able to pinch hit, but not play the field. In that same game Piscotty suffered a hamstring injury that should keep him out for a while. Johnny Peralta has been out with a bad allergic reaction to some meds, and the Cards are in no hurry to rush him back with Gyorko hitting the cover off the ball. Michael Wacha was in line to pitch Saturday's game, but the Cardinals used yesterday's off day to skip his turn in the rotation and get him some extra rest.
K%, BB%, ERA, projected ERA listed for each starter.
Friday: Eddie Butler, RHP (-,-,-,4.97) vs Mike Leake, RHP (6.02, 1.56, 1.79, 4.04), 7:15 PM CT
Butler has a sparkling 1.17 ERA in Iowa to go along with his laughably low 4.99 K/9, which is actually a lot higher than I would have guessed. His FIP looks pretty good because he has not given up any home runs, and while it looks like he's had a little success in suppressing them at the minor league level, not so much in his brief stints in the bigs. His game seems to mainly be killing a clownboatload of ground balls, so I wouldn't be surprised to see Javy in this one.
Mike Leake did Mike Leake things last year with the Cardinals, throwing a ton of strikes and getting a lot of grounders. He might be the next Bronson Arroyo, filling the role of the RHP who I always assume is a lefty. He was okay with some bad strand rate luck last year, that luck has reversed itself so far this season.
Saturday: Jon Lester, LHP (8.71, 3.48, 3.27, 3.21) vs Carlos Martinez, RHP (10.71, 3.64, 3.86, 3.46), 3:05 PM CT
Jon hasn't been quite himself this year, walking far more batters and generally being less efficient. He had a solid outing his last time out, striking out nine Yankees in seven innings as a part of the Cubs marathon loss.
Martinez looked like he should be finding a place for a Cy Young trophy in his opening day start against the Cubs. Since then results have been more mixed, capped off by a eleven strikeout, eight walk game against the Yankees in mid-April in which he somehow only gave up three runs.
This game features a matchup of two CYA contenders who have just fallen off a cliff this year. Both players have huge ERA-FIP splits so bouncebacks should be in the cards, but based on what we've seen of Jake and Waino's one start against the Cubs batters are simply hitting them a lot harder this year. This could be a long game.