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Cardinals at Pirates Series Preview August 25-27

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The 70-59 Cardinals head to Pittsburgh to play three against the 67-63 Pirates.

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A Man of Importance
A Man of Importance
Justin K. Aller
Schedule

  • John Lackey will face Francisco Liriano tonight at 6:05 central.
  • Lance Lynn and Gerrit Cole get the start tomorrow at 6:05.
  • Adam Wainwright and Jeff Locke are scheduled for Wednesday at 11:35.
Mise-en-scene
I think this covers it:

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Series Notes
  • After missing six weeks with shoulder fatigue, Gerrit Cole had a successful return against Atlanta last week. He hit 100 mph in the game, and if he can recapture his late season magic from 2013, he'll play a big role in the playoff race.
  • Gregory Polanco was sent down to AAA this morning. Since rosters expand in a few days, the move is likely intended to give him a brief break and some time to work with the organization's minor league instructors.
  • Francisco Liriano has had a rough season, but he's been pretty good since the All-Star Break with an ERA, FIP and xFIP all withing spitting distance of 3.00 in 42 innings.
  • On the other hand, Jeff Locke has been atrocious. He's striking out 6 per 9 and walking 4 per 9 to a 4.75 ERA and 6.04 FIP in 41 innings.
  • Starling Marte is swinging a hot bat, hitting .355/.437/.645 since the break.
  • Josh Harrison has played his way into a starting job with a .304/.339/.490 line in 418 PA's this year. Look for him at 3B, while the scuffling Pedro Alvarez will do some pinch hitting and maybe get a start at 1B.
  • Andrew McCutchen is back in the lineup after missing time with a rib injury.
  • In case you missed it, John Axford is now a Pirate.
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  • The Cardinals have 33 games remaining on the schedule. The Rockies and Diamondbacks have three each of those, and everything else is within the division. After this series with the Pirates, the Cards have four in Busch against the Cubs and then three in Busch against the Pirates, which will finish the season series with the Bucs. The Cardinals currently lead it 7-6.
  • Rank the three Cardinals starters this series in your level of confidence right now. I think I go Lynn, Wainwright, Lackey, but it's close. I'm happy casting my lot with any of them in a wild-card playoff game.
  • Tyler Lyons was recalled this morning for the Cardinals. Mike Matheny is reportedly planning on starting Justin Masterson against the Cubs next week, so look for Lyons to be used in the pen while Nick Greenwood recovers from yesterday's long relief outing. Lyons is on full rest, so it's possible he could handle long relief today and start against Chicago with an off-day after the Pittsburgh series. Greg Garcia was sent down in the corresponding move. The bench is paper thin.
  • Regarding Wainwright's health, read this passage from Hummel's recent article:

Asked if his arm was as strong and healthy as he would like it to be, Wainwright said, "No. But this is the point of the year when no one’s is.

"I suspect it will be soon, though, because you get a second wind. I’m not hurt (he had some elbow issues in late June) but I expect I’ll get over the hump here shortly."

Manager Mike Matheny said he didn’t believe Wainwright to be physically compromised.

Regarding my health, my filthy children gave me a virus, and I just told my wife I'm writing about the Pirate Pitcher Carrot Goal, so this will have to do.


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