The Cubs have caught fire over the past few weeks, but the same can be said for the Cardinals. Their offense (112 wRC+) has been on par with the Cubs (114 wrC+), but their pitching staff has been a dumpster fire. Their starters sport a 4.47 ERA, which is slightly worse than average, but that masks an absurd 81.5% strand rate. Only the Rays have a higher rate, but the rest of their peripherals are far better than the Cards, which place them near the bottom of MLB.
I’m switching to 2019 numbers now, though small sample sizes abound. Also I’m too lazy to look up which 2018 team leaders are actually still with the teams.
- OBP: Dex (.415)
- ISO: Ozuna (.356)
- HR: Ozuna (10)
- R+RBI: Ozuna (55)
- wRC+: DeJong (162)
- BSR: DeJong (2.5)
- Defense: DeJong / Bader (4.6)
- SP K/9: Jack Flaherty (10.45)
- SP BB/9: Flaherty (1.74)
- SP FIP: Flaherty (4.44)
- RP K/9: Giovanni Gallegos (15.68)
- RP BB/9: Ryan Helsley (0.00)
- RP FIP: John Brebbia (3.01)
- WAR: DeJong (2.2)
- OBP: Heyward (.436)
- ISO: Contreras (.361)
- HR: Baez (10)
- R+RBI: Baez (49)
- wRC+: Contreras (181)
- BSR: Bryant (1.7)
- Defense: Baez (2.3)
- SP K/9: Darvish (10.36)
- SP BB/9: Q (1.42)
- SP FIP: Lester (3.35)
- RP K/9: Ryan (13.50)
- RP BB/9: Kintzler (1.32)
- RP FIP: Ryan (1.52)
- WAR: Baez (1.9)
Offseason moves, injuries, vengeance pacts, etc.
Obviously the Cardinals made a big move this offseason, trading perpetually position blocked catching prospect Carson Kelly and yo-yoed starting pitcher Luke Weaver to the Dbacks for perennial MVP candidate Paul Goldschmidt, who they promptly extended. He’s doing just fine with his new team, batting .264/.350/.512 with nine homers.
Injury-wise, the Cardinals have a few people on the shelf. Brett Cecil has been out all year with carpal tunnel, and perpetually incredible/injured P Carlos Martinez is out with shoulder discomfort. Our old pal Dex has been day to day with an injury.
On the Cubs side, no real updates other than that Morrow was moved to the 60-day DL. It was kind of inevitable once he we shut down yet again, the current minimum return date is the ASB.
Projected K/9, BB/9, ERA listed for each pitcher.
Friday: Jack Flaherty, RHP (10.27, 2.98, 3.79) vs Kyle Hendricks, RHP (7.57, 2.23, 3.78), 1:20 PM CT
You know, it’s really inspiring that a guy could have a long career, going from SCTV to Freaks and Geeks and other beloved shows and still step in to being a starter for a MLB team. Why, (double checks name)….whoops. On stikeouts and walks alone, Flaherty looks pretty solidly the best pitcher on the Cardinals. However, he has given up approximately 214 home runs so far this season, which has held him back somewhat.
Kyle looked like Cyle again in his first start against the Dbacks. Facing the same team a week later, he was back to being eminently hittable. It could just be Coomer grinding an axe too hard, but it seems like Hendricks has had a tough time getting the ball down in the zone so far this year, and his fastball is not exactly the one that is leading the charge for the high strike revolution.
Saturday: Michael Wacha, RHP (8.13, 3.73, 4.52) vs Yu Darvish, RHP (10.53, 3.82, 4.24), 3:05 PM CT
Darvish had yet another start where he struggled to fins the zone for the first inning or two, then looked like a Cy Young contender the rest of the way. After a rough beginning, he ended up with eight strikeouts in six innings, allowing just a solo homer late in his start. It’s something to build on, but will be a lot tougher against this lineup.
Speaking of not being able to find the strike zone, Wacha has been almost as wild as Darvish this year. Wacha has walked 17 in 26.1 innings pitched, nearly half of which came in an eight walk outing against San Diego last month. Hopefully the Cubs grind out some PAs and chase him early.
Sunday: Adam Wainwright, RHP (7.53, 3.11, 4.53) vs Jose Quintana, LHP (8.67, 2.84, 3.75), 6:05 PM CT (ESPN)
Waino is a shell of his former self but just keeps plugging along. Something does feel right to see him getting the draw on Sunday night baseball, the only thing more perfect would be if he was facing off against Lester.
Q was solid again in his last start against anyone not named Eduardo. The strikeout numbers weren’t really there (just two) but the command of his pitches was just fine. This should be a fun one.