Entering play on Monday, the Cardinals sit 6 1⁄2 games back of the Cubs for first place and 5 1⁄2 behind the Brewers for second in the National League Central division. St. Louis sits four games out of a Wild Card spot. In the East, the Marlins are in the basement and enter the series on a six-game losing streak.
Before Monday’s game, the Cardinals placed outfielder Tyler O’Neill on the disabled list with groin inflammation and promoted outfielder Adolis Garcia from Triple-A Memphis. Left-hander Brett Cecil was sent out for a rehab assignment with the Redbirds.
In Monday evening’s series opener, Wei-Yin Chen will face off with Luke Weaver at 6:10 PM Central time. Chen has pitched very well in his eight starts at home this season. Opponents are batting just .209 in 45 1⁄3 innings against the lefty at Marlins Park in 2018. We’ll see if Chen, whose 1.52 HR/9 is his highest since 2016, is able to contain the hot-hitting of Matt Carpenter. Carpenter’s secret salsa seems to be working, as he was (again) named NL Player of the Week. And like Carpenter, Rougned Odor of the Rangers was named AL Player of the Week for the second time this year.
Weaver enters his Monday assignment with a 4.86 ERA over his last seven starts, including a 2 2⁄3 inning outing against the Rockies. Weaver has a pair of relief appearances in career against Miami, and this will be his first start. Perhaps Weaver will have the state of unfamiliarity on his side, as the current Marlins batting order has a total of five at-bats against the 24-year-old.
The middle game of the series will feature a matchup of Pablo Lopez and Miles Mikolas at 6:10 PM. Lopez made his Major League debut back on 6/30 and will make the seventh start of his career on Tuesday evening. Half of Lopez’s starts have been quality, yet he has surrendered at least one home run in five of his outings.
Mikolas has allowed five runs over his last 18 innings with 14 strikeouts and five walks. The All-Star held the Marlins to one unearned run in his seven-inning outing back on 6/7. Mikolas continues to lead the Cardinals in virtually all categories, with a 3.26 FIP in 137 1⁄3 innings across 22 starts.
The finale of this series on Wednesday (and the final meeting of these two clubs until several games in Florida in March) will be started by Trevor Richards and John Gant - another 6:10 PM start. Richards, like Lopez, is in his rookie season, but Richards has a bit more work under his belt; Richards has 16 starts this since. In 11 of those starts, dating back to 6/7, Richards has worked to a 3.49 ERA. Richards worked five innings of three-run ball against the Cardinals on the seventh of June
Gant enters his start having failed to reach the five-inning mark in his last two starts. The Marlins typically roll out a pretty left-handed lineup, featuring Derek Dietrich, Justin Bour, J.T. Riddle, and former Cardinal Magneuris Sierra. This might be a tough task for Gant, who has allowed a .233 batting average to left-handed hitters, compared to a .202 to those on the right side.