After taking two of three from the Chicago Cubs, the first place Cardinals lost both games against the Red Sox, including blowing a 4-run lead on Wednesday. St. Louis is no longer in first place, as the Milwaukee Brewers currently lead the division by one game. The Cardinals now host the disappointing San Francisco Giants for a three-game series.
The San Francisco Giants have not played good baseball so far this season. A look up and down the Giants lineup reveals the following
- Buster Posey is good.
- Brandon Belt is good.
- All Giants hitters not named Buster Posey or Brandon Belt are bad.
Brandon Crawford hasn’t been terrible, but hasn’t really been good. The same could be said for Denard Span. Joe Panik’s wRC+ is 80. Hunter Pence, who was looking for coffee reccomendations in St. Louis, has put up a wRC+ of 70. Eduardo Nunez is at 69. Christian Arroyo is at 64. Other guys with at least 50 PA are even worse with Nick Hundley at 63, Gorkys Hernandez at 33, and Conor Gillaspie at 9. Pence and Gillaspie are currently on the disabled list.
The good news for the Giants is that they probably won’t play this poorly going forward, but Posey and Belt are really the only above-average bats on the team. As for the pitching, the Cardinals will miss Johnny Cueto and Madison Bumgarner is on the disabled list. It sure is hard to keep pitchers healthy. Bodies really just weren’t made to throw a ball over 90 miles per hour around 100 times every five days. It’s really too bad when good pitchers like Bumgarner hurt their shoulder due to throwing a...wait what? Bumgarner hurt his shoulder how? Riding a dirt bike? In the middle of the season? Well, that’s just dumb.
Tonight, starting for the Giants will be Matt Moore. Formerly of Tampa Bay, the 27-year-old lefty was traded to the Giants in the middle of last season. Moore hasn’t gotten off to a great start this season with a 4.86 FIP and a 5.67 ERA. He’s been a bit better his last couple starts with 12 strikeouts and four walks in 12.2 innings pitched. He should settle in as a league-average pitcher over the course of the rest of the season. Moore was previously a fastball, change, and curve pitcher, but he has begun using a cutter a lot so far this season. Michael Wacha, who was skipped last time through the rotation, will start for the Cardinals.
On Saturday, Jeff Samardzija makes the start for San Francisco. Samardzija has seemed to be very unlikely so far this season. He’s striking out 29% of batters, walked 5% and posted an average home run rate for a good 3.11 FIP. Due to a .343 BABIP and a somewhat ridiculous 59% left-on-base rate, he has an inflated 5.26 ERA. That should impove. Unlike Moore, Samardzija has appeared to have abandoned his cutter this season. Carlos Martinez gets the call for St. Louis.
Sunday, Matt Cain starts for the Giants. Over the past three seasons Cain has been awful, making 53 starts and being half a win below replacement. He’s actually been sort of okay this year. He’s not striking out a ton of guys and he walks a decent amount of players, but his home run rate is decent, which has made him pretty close to league-average so far. It’s not really clear he can keep it up, but Matt Cain giving up 0 or 1 run in five of his eight starts this year is very surprising. Adam Wainwright will pitch for the Cardinals.
Tonight, May 19, 7:15 pm CT, Fox Sports Midwest, MLB Network
Saturday, May 20, 6:15 pm CT, FOX
Sunday, May 21, 1:15 pm CT, Fox Sports Midwest, MLB Network