The trade deadline has come and gone. The playoffs don’t start for another five weeks. You can be forgiven if you just want the playoffs to arrive. The Cardinals have a very good shot at the moment despite an up and down season. However, let this post serve as a reminder that we are getting dangerously closer to a time without baseball, so make sure you get as much you possibly can now. The Cardinals should destroy the Athletics.
Three of the bigger trades in Cardinals’ franchise history have been made with the team coming to town this week. Mark Mcgwire, Mark Mulder, and Matt Holliday all arrived in St. Louis via Oakland as the team let Dan Haren get away in the Mulder trade, but did not give up much of consequence in the other two deals. Brett Wallace and Daric Barton have had MLB careers, but McGwire and Holliday have had incredible impacts on the Cardinals franchise over the past two decades.
You can be forgiven if you haven’t been paying too much attention to the Oakland A’s. The team is just 55-72, plays in the American League, have had their franchise pitcher Sonny Gray struggle through injuries and inconsistency, and they traded away two of their best players in Rich Hill and Josh Reddick at the trade deadline. They’ve only made news recently as Danny Valencia and Billy Butler got into a fight.
You might remember Khris Davis from his Milwaukee Brewers days. He has 33 homers, but has struck out 27% of the time and has a .301 BABIP that this year would make him a decent fit on this Cardinals team. Danny Valencia is a lefty masher who has used a .361 BABIP to make him well above average (126 wRC+) instead of just slightly above average where he is more likely to be going forward.
The team acquired Yonder Alonso in the offseason for Drew Pomeranz in a trade this author thought was a win-win. Those thoughts appear to be mistaken as Alonso has been a below-average hitting first baseman while Pomeranz went from swingman to great trade chip at the deadline for the Padres. Max Muncy (not a made up name, I looked it up) has been playing second base and Chad Pinder could get some time there as well although it does not appear either one is ready to hit big league pitching.
At shortstop, Marcus Semien, obtained in the Jeff Samardzija deal, isn’t Addison Russell at shortstop, who they gave up in the other Jeff Samardzija deal, but he has been adequate and based on scouting reports, has improved his defense significantly after starting out absolutely horrendously. Ryon Healy, playing third, is another young guy and he has some power, hitting 20 homers across three levels, but at this point expectations are fairly low.
In the outfield, there is Valencia, Davis, and Jake Smolinski in center field. Smolinski is a high-contact guy, but has hit 7 homers in limited time in the majors this year. Coco Crisp is on the team, but he might or might not be riding the bench so Oakland doesn’t have to pay him next year. Billy Butler seems unlikely to be used this weekend as the games will not have a designated hitter.
Tonight, Ross Detwiler will take the mound for Oakland. The lefty has moved back and forth between the rotation and the bullpen throughout his career, but has not had much success at either of late. He hasn’t finished a season above replacement since 2013 and will have a tough time making it this year. He has a low-90s fastball and sinker along with a slider and a change. In 16.2 innings this year, he has just seven strikeouts against 5 walks (and a HBP). Luke Weaver makes his third major league start for the Cardinals.
On Saturday, Zach Neal pitches for the A’s. The 27-year-old righty has pitched out of the pen and the rotation. He doesn’t strike a lot of guys out, nor does he walk many which could make him prone to homers (7 in 39.1 IP). He throws fourseam, twoseasm, and cut fastballs along with a change, but hasn’t had a lot of success this season. Mike Leake will pitch for the Cardinals.
On Sunday, Andrew Triggs is pitching. Triggs is also a 27-year-old righty who has spent time in the bullpen and rotation. He’s actually slightly intriguing with a unique arm slot and a solid FIP on the season. Jeff Sullivan profiled him here and I’m not sure I can provide you any better information than what is in there. Jaime Garcia pitches for St. Louis.
Tonight’s game is at 7:15 pm CT and will air on FOX Sports Midwest.
Saturday’s game is at 6:15 pm CT and will air on FOX Sports Midwest.
Sunday’s game is at 1:15 pm CT and will air on FOX Sports Midwest.