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Series Preview 8/24-26: Cardinals at Rockies

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The Birds are in Denver for another important series against a National League West opponent

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Los Angeles Dodgers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

With a three-game sweep of the Dodgers this past week, the Cardinals won their eighth consecutive series and sit at a 71-57 record, 14 games above .500. St. Louis will look to continue their streak in Colorado this weekend after Thursday’s day off, as the Cardinals take on the Rockies in a three-game series that will begin Friday.

The Brewers (71-58) were also off on Thursday, a day that saw the Phillies and Rockies win. The Rockies and Brewers are tied for the second National League Wild Card spot, a half-game back of the Cardinals, while the Phillies sit a game out. In the Central, the 73-43 Cubs lead the way with a three-game lead over St. Louis. The West is led by the 71-56 Diamondbacks, just one game ahead of Colorado. Keeping track of these situations is madness.

The Cardinals will get to face an old friend this weekend. The 38-year-old Matt Holliday joined the Rockies’ organization a few weeks ago and was called up to the Majors on Thursday. Ironically, the date of August 23rd is notable for Holliday for... another reason.

On Friday night, Antonio Senzatela will take on Miles Mikolas at 7:40 PM Central time. Senzatela has appeared in 16 games for the Rockies this season, with only six of those as a starter. You may recall that Senzatela had a quality start against the Cardinals in St. Louis back on 8/2; a few days later, he was placed on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation. After missing two starts, Senzatela returned with five innings of two-run ball against the Braves on 8/18. In a total 52 13 innings for Colorado, Senzatela has maintained a 3.71 FIP.

Mikolas was matched up with Senzatela back on 8/2 and held the Rockies to two runs (one earned) in seven innings. In four August starts, Mikolas has logged 27 innings with just three walks and a 2.67 ERA. Mikolas ranks fifth in the National League with a 1.04 WHIP, trailing the likes of Max Scherzer, Aaron Nola, Jacob deGrom, and Patrick Corbin; it’s needless to state that Mikolas has definitely been one of the best starters in the league this year.

The pitching matchup for Saturday is set to feature German Marquez and John Gant at 7:10 PM. Marquez will make his 26th start of the season, his second full year as a starter. Like most Rockies pitchers, Marquez’s splits certainly favor being away from Coors Field; nonetheless, Marquez has been pitching well of late - both home and on the road. Over his last seven starts (three have been at Coors), the 23-year-old Marquez has a 3.35 ERA with 53 strikeouts.

This will be Gant’s 20th game for the Cardinals this season and his 13th start. In 79 innings of work in 2018, Gant has held his opponents to a .628 OPS, aided by his low, 0.68 HR/9 rate. The 26-year-old Gant has never faced the Rockies, so it’ll be interesting to see how he fares against a slugging-rich cast. Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado has 30 home runs, second place in the league for long balls behind Matt Carpenter’s 34 big shots. Trevor Story has 26 homers, and Charlie Blackmon has 22.

Sunday’s series finale is set to showcase Tyler Anderson and Austin Gomber at 2:10 PM. The left-handed Anderson will make his team-leading 27th start on Sunday and will be looking to turn his recent trends around. Over his last five starts, Anderson has surrendered 25 earned runs with 10 walks and nine home runs allowed. Anderson allowed four runs in his six-inning outing against the Cardinals back on 7/30; Jedd Gyorko took the 28-year-old deep that evening at Busch Stadium.

This will be Gomber’s sixth start for St. Louis and his first start against the Rockies - but he has some (very brief, at that) experience against the club. Gomber tossed a scoreless frame against Colorado back on the first of August and was the winning pitcher. Over his last four starts, Gomber has logged 20 innings with an ERA of 2.70. Eighteen batters were fanned by Gomber in this stretch, one that featured just one long ball off the lefty.