The Cardinals enter the series with the Diamondbacks with a 10-8 record. After losing the first two games in the Cubs series, the Cardinals have won 3 of 4 as part of a run that has seen the team win 10 of 15 games since the ugly sweep at the Pirates to begin the season. The National League has a bunch of really good team and really bad teams with few in the middle. The Cubs and Pirates represent the upper echelon while the Brewers, Reds, and Braves are at the bottom. The Padres are a slight step up from the bottom-dwellers while Arizona likely represents the NL team most likely to finish .500.
The Diamondbacks best position players are Paul Goldschmidt and A.J. Pollock. Unfortunately for the Diamondbacks and baseball fans in general, Pollock is likely to miss the entire season. Goldschmidt is a perennial MVP candidate and has hit well so far this season. After Goldschmidt, there is a considerable dropoff, but that would be true for any team with Goldschmidt given his excellence. David Peralta is a solidly above average hitter. Jake Lamb and Wellington Castillo are average. Peralta is left-handed, which provides a tough matchup against the Cardinals first starter, Jaime Garcia, and Lamb, another lefty will sit the first game out.
Jean Segura, disappointing over the past few seasons with the Brewers, has played well so far this season with the Diamondbacks. Nick Ahmed is a defensive-first shortstop, but cannot hit well. Yasmany Tomas, signed last season out of Cuba, is the same age as Aledmys Diaz, but received $60 million more in guarantees. His power in practice did not show up in games last season, but it is possible he is turning the corner a bit on that front this season with four homers so far. He is supposedly terrible on defense. Chris Owings rounds out the position players taking over in center field, but he is not a very good hitter.
On the mound, the Diamondbacks have prized free agent Zack Greinke taking the mound. Greinke is a fantastic pitcher who had a rough go of it at the beginning of the season in starts against the Cubs and the Rockies. His last two starts were much more promising, giving up a total of 3 runs over 14 innings, striking out 12 against just two walks. With Garcia taking on Greinke, this game has all the makings of a pitcher's duel. Except Greinke to stay in the game for a while as the Diamondbacks burned much of their bullpen in an extra innings game yesterday.
In the second game, the Diamondbacks are sending old friend Shelby Miller to the mound. Miller played left field in the game yesterday, but on the mound so far this season, the Diamondbacks big trade acquisition has struggled. He has pitched just 14.2 innings in four starts and has more walks than strikeouts. Whether he will return to form against the Cardinals is up for debate. Miller faces off against Carlos Martinez, who has started the year with three straight quality starts.
The Diamondbacks are sending Patrick Corbin to the mound on Wednesday. Corbin's strikeout numbers are mediocre, but his walk numbers are fine. It has been home runs that have given him the most trouble so far, giving up six already this season. Corbin was solid back in 2013, but missed a year and a half due to Tommy John surgery. He should turn things around and produce better results, although his current 3.51 ERA is about as good as can be expected. Corbin faces off against Adam Wainwright, who keeps trying to right the ship, but has yet to do so through four starts.
This is a four-game set and the Diamondbacks will hope the Rubby de la Rosa can put things together against the Cardinals on Thursday. de la Rosa throws hard and has spent some time in the bullpen this year. In his last start against the Pirates, he struck out six against one walk in six innings, letting just one run in. Home runs have hurt him in the past. The Cardinals send a seemingly resurgent Michael Wacha to the mound. Wacha didn't get a single strikeout in his last start, but due to limiting the long ball, his ERA and FIP are both under three.
All games begin at 8:40 central time. The Cardinals are a better team than the Diamondbacks, and while facing Greinke is tough and we don't know what we will get from Wainwright, I feel safe saying, you guessed it, the Cardinals should destroy the Diamondbacks.