- Adam Wainwright takes on Jake Odorizzi tonight at 7:15 central.
- Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb pitch tomorrow night at 6:15.
About the Rays, briefly
When the Cardinals saw the Rays in early June (that series preview is here), Tampa was 16 games under .500. Today they are 6 games under. They've managed that 10 game swing over the last 40 days primarily because their hitting has really come around. In the last 30 days, among players with at least 50 AB's, only Jose Molina has a wRC+ below 100, and Desmond Jennings' 129 ranks fifth on the team in that period. Among key players, only Evan Longoria has continued to underwhelm. Kevin Kiermaier, the subject of last preview's "Who the hell is that?!" is looking quite like a long-term starting player. He has a .315/.360/.570 line over 179 PA's with plus defense.
They Rays enter the series having won 5 games in a row and they are now 8 games back in the AL East. With the trade dealing looming and trade rumors swirling, it's hard to know just how motivated the Rays really are to sell, though coolstandings still has their playoff odds under 10%.
About the Cardinals, more briefly
With 2 righties pitching for the Rays, Mike Matheny should give Oscar Taveras a couple of starts in a row. If Oscar isn't playing against every RHP starter, he should be sent back down to continue to see game action. It'll be interesting to see if George Kottaras gets to start either game. With yesterday's off day and another coming Thursday, there's no need to rest Tony Cruz. If he gets either start, it would indicate some willingness to use the catchers in split duties rather than a simple starter-backup situation.
The Cardinals helped Adam Wainwright's CY case by scoring 3 runs off Clayton Kershaw in 6 innings Sunday. Wainwright now has a slight lead over Kershaw in the ERA title chase, while Johnny Cueto has faded a bit.
Adam Wainwright and Jake Odorizzi squared-off June 10. The Cardinals won 1-0.
Odorizzi grew up in Highland, IL and was a huge Cardinals fan. Prepare to hear all about it. Here's an article if you're interested.
Alex Cobb has never faced the Cardinals. If you've not seen him pitch before, the 26 year-old righty is a lot of fun to watch. He throws a sinking fastball, a curve, and a splitter. He's mostly a groundball pitcher, but his splitter gets a ton of swings and misses. His 22.65% swinging strike rate on that pitch this year is better than Waino has ever earned with his curve. Cobb has pretty good command as well, but he's had issues with home-runs and health (oblique) this year, leading to mediocre numbers. Enjoy the rare chance to see this interesting pitcher.
Keys to the Series
Don't intentionally throw baseballs at defenseless people. Pick up your toys. Don't pull the dog's ears.
Editor's Note: Oh, hi there. It's me, Aaron Finkel. You might know me from such articles as PLATOON and THE REMAINS OF THE GAME. I'm here today to tell you about an exciting new opportunity offered by FANDUEL. SB Nation's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $18,000 Fantasy Baseball league for tonight's MLB games. It's $2 to join and first prize is $2,000. Jump in now. Here's the FanDuel link for today's games. The Cardinals might not be able to trade for MIKE TROUT and GIANCARLO STANTON, but that doesn't mean you can't. Try FANDUEL today!