When last seen by the Cardinals, the Arizona Diamondbacks seemed like a team destined to finish around .500, perhaps in the race, perhaps not. Although, the Cardinals should have destroyed the Diamondbacks in the last series, the two teams split four games. That series was in Arizona. The upcoming series, just three games in length, is in St. Louis. The Cardinals should destroy the Diamondbacks.
Without repeating verbatim everything I wrote in the last preview. I will say that much of it still holds true. Paul Goldschmidt is still awesome, although he keeps walking tons even if his overall production is slightly down. Jake Lamb has continued to have a very nice season at third base for the Diamondbacks. If you expected Jean Segura to slow down after a hot start, he has yet to do so with a very high BABIP and just four walks on the season.
David Peralta is currently on the disabled list, which has handed Brandon Drury the starting right field role. Drury started the season in more of a utility role, but was able to get a bunch of starts in both the infield and outfield even before Peralta went down. Drury is just 23 years old and came over in the misguided trade that sent Justin Upton to the Atlanta Braves. He has held his own thus far with a 127 wRC+, but it has been propped up by a .343 BABIP. He has just four walks on the season and his six home runs are just one off his total in over 600 professional plate appearances last season.
Nick Ahmed, another player from that Upton deal, remains the starting shortstop and he still can't hit. Wellington Castillo remains roughly average behind the plate, and Yasmany Tomas needs a super-high BABIP or power to stay above average. Tomas has not hit a home run since the Cardinals' series. Michael Bourn is now with the time and might get a start while Rickie Weeks is also on the Diamondbacks bench.
In the first series against the Diamondbacks, the Cardinals saw Zack Greinke, Shelby Miller, Patrick Corbin, and Rubby de la Rosa. The Cardinals will miss Miller and de la Rosa in this series. Patrick Corbin starts the first game. In Corbin's first start, Aledmys Diaz homered, but the start was ultimately done in by Adam Wainwright's three-run triple. Corbin still can't seem to get his strikeout numbers up, but he put together reasonably decent starts against the Marlins, Braves, and Giants over his last three. He'll face off against Carlos Martinez, who pitched eight shutout innings in their first matchup.
In the second game of the series, The Cardinals will see Robbie Ray for the first time this season. Ray generally has not been pitching deep into games with just 24 innings over his last five starts, but he has been striking a lot of guys out. In his last start, against the Yankees, Ray went seven innings, striking out six with just one walk and two runs. He has given up his fair share of walks this year, but the lefty could prove tough. Mike Leake goes for the Cardinals after missing the Diamondbacks in the first series.
In Sunday's game, a resurgent Zack Greinke will pitch. After getting beat up against the Cardinals, Greinke has pitched 26 innings in four games, striking out 27 against just 6 walks, good for a 2.71 FIP. He looks back to being the pitcher the Diamondbacks thought they signed and will be a tough matchup for the Cardinals and Jaime Garcia, who wasn't sharp against the Rockies, with four walks.
Friday's game is at 7:15 pm on Fox Sports Midwest
Saturday's game is a dreaded shadow game with a 3:05 pm start. The game will be nationally televised on FS1, and does not conflict with Game 4 of NHL's Western Conference Finals, which starts at 6:15.
Sunday's game is at 1:15 pm on Fox Sports Midwest.
Enjoy the weekend.