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Cardinals should destroy the Diamondbacks

A series preview

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Philadelphia Phillies Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

In checking the Playoff Odds over at FanGraphs, it would appear the Cardinals are headed to a .500 record. They’ve got a roughly 10% chance of winning the division and another 7% to take the Wild Card. The reason the Wild Card odds are so low is due to two teams out West. The Colorado Rockies after 15 games above .500 and a .500 record the rest of the way gets them to 88 wins. The other favorite for the Wild Card is hosting the Cardinals in this series, and they can go below .500 the rest of the way and still win 90 games. The Cardinals should destroy the Diamondbacks.*

*With title, .533 W%. Without title, .448 W%.

As a hitting team, the Diamondbacks aren’t that much different from the Cardinals. Arizona has a 98 wRC+ after factoring in their park, just a touch higher than St. Louis’ 96 this year. Where the Diamondbacks separate themselves is on the bases. They have 60 steals, which is in the top-five in the majors, but where they really separate from the rest of the pack is running when the ball is in play. When you consider all aspects of baserunning, the Diamondbacks are 19 runs above average, best in baseball, turnin themselves from a below-average offensive team to an above-average offensive team just by running and running intelligently, having made outs on the bases the fewest times in baseball.

Paul Goldschmidt is probably your National League MVP if the season ended today. He does everything well and his 4.0 WAR is nearly a win above everybody else in the NL. After Goldschmidt, third baseman Jake Lamb is good, with a 128 wRC+ this season. David Peralta, in the Cardinals system a decade ago as a pitcher, is now an outfielder. He had trouble last season with injuries, but has rebounded this season with a 120 wRC+.

As for the rest of the outfield, both A.J. Pollock and Yasmany Tomas are on the disabled list. Gregor Blanco, former Cardinals legend Daniel Descalso, Chris Owings, Reymond Feuntes, and Chris Hermann have all seen time in the outfield over the past week. Chris Owings is the normal shortstop and put up surprising offensive number not likely to last, but nobody in the entire group is a real offensive threat. You can throw catcher Jeff Mathis in there, too. Brandon Drury, the second basemen, is solid, however.

In tonight’s game, Taijuan Walker will pitch for Arizona. Walker, a 24-year-old righty, was acquired in the offseason in the deal that sent Jean Segura to Seattle. Walker had home run problems with the Mariners, but has not had that issue this season, leading to a good 3.46 FIP and 3.43 ERA. He throws a mid-90s fourseamer, a high-80s splitter, a slider, and a curve. Carlos Martinez will pitch for the Cardinals.

On Wednesday, Zack Godley goes for the Diamondbacks. The 27-year-old righty was in the Miguel Montero trade with the Cubs before the 2015 season, but had some mixed results in 2015 and 2016. This season, he’s gotten 60% ground balls in his eight starts using a sinker and a cutter along with a change and a curve. He’s got a very good strikeout and walk rate and the groundballing seems to keep the ball in the yard, producing a 3.18 FIP and 2.53 ERA. Adam Wainwright pitches for St. Louis.

On Thursday afternoon, Patrick Corbin takes the mound for the Dbacks. After missing all of the 2014 season, Corbin had an abbreviated, but successful 2015 campaign. From a stamina standpoint, he was better last season with 24 starts and 155.2 innings between the rotation and the bullpen. From a results standpoint, he wasn’t very good, putting up a 4.84 FIP and 5.15 ERA. This season, he’s been a bit better, limiting walks, but still giving up a decent amount of homers leading to a 4.63 FIP and 4.89 ERA, both a bit below average, even accounting for ballpark. The lefty throws a fourseamer, sinker, and slider most of the time. He’s had two good decent outings in a row, but both came against the Phillies. Lance Lynn will oppose him.

That means the Cardinals will miss both Zack Greinke and Robbie Ray, Arizona’s two best pitchers.

Tonight, June 27, 8:40 pm CT, Fox Sports Midwest

Wednesday, June 28, 8:40 pm CT, Fox Sports Midwest

Thursday, June 29, 2:40 pm CT, Fox Sports Midwest, MLB Network