FanPost

No West Worries

Check out my latest blog at http://mosportsnaj.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/no-west-worries/

While it's true the St. Louis Cardinals are in the midst of a rough stretch through the American League West, we must realize that it represents a very small sample size over the course of the season. Specifically, it's only 4.9% (8 out of 162 games).

It does not appear to be easing any time soon with the red-hot Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, who are returning home after vanquishing the Tigers and Astros in six straight games. Even though this appears to bode poorly for the Cardinals, a look at the next three pitching matchups hints to future success for the Birds on the Bat.

In Game 1, we got the winningest hurler in Major League Baseball over the last two years in Lance Lynn going against Jered Weaver, who has given up 4 runs or more in three of his last four starts. Weaver's June ERA is at 4.40 is pretty much on par with his whole season, which is mediocre. Then one look at his opponent batting average of .271 in June and the Cardinals should be licking their chops. On the other hand, Lynn's June ERA of 4.83 is actually worse, but his opponent's batting average is much lower at .229 and his K to Innings ratio is also superior at 0.90 compared to Weaver's 0.76.

In Game 2, this is another pairing that slightly favors the Cardinals with rookie sensation Shelby Miller dueling Jerome Williams. While a quick glance would appear to suggest that Miller, a Rookie-of-the-Year frontrunner should have a huge edge over Williams, that is not the case. Miller is struggling in the month of June with an ERA of 4.31. Even with the rough outing in Oakland, he has given up four or more runs in three of his last four starts. The inability to consistently throw a secondary pitch to his moving fastball is a cause for worry. Jerome Williams has had a solid year with a 3.21 ERA and a good WHIP of 1.19. However, he has also tailed off a bit in June with a couple of rough outings against the Pirates and Orioles, so the Cardinals should rate the favorite here.

In Game 3, St. Louis will have a huge edge with their stopper, Adam Wainwright, going for his 12th win of the season against lowly Joe Blanton. Wainwright has been consistently magnificent with June actually being his best month of the season with a monthly ERA of 1.77 and an opponent's batting average of .220. Even though Blanton has come on in June after a disastrous start to the season with a monthly ERA of 3.44 and an opponent's batting average of .203, his performances have come against weak hitting opponents Seattle, Pittsburgh, and Houston twice. He did face the Red Sox in June, but they smote him for 7 runs on June 9th. I see the Cards doing similar damage.

As I see it, it will be difficult for the Angels to extend their winning streak beyond six games due to an inconsistent pitching staff. Even though their high-priced offense is starting to heat up in June with an offense that is generating the third-highest run total in baseball, they will be facing a stiff test against the Redbirds' sterling staff. It also does not help the Angels staff to be facing a high-scoring Cardinal offense that is among the best in baseball.

Even a sweep of the Angels will not offset a disappointing road trip, but my guess is that the Cardinals bounce back with a series win and halt the momentum of the red-hot Angels.

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