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Series Preview 5/21-22: Royals vs. Cardinals

The I-70 Series is in the Gateway City this week!

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Texas Rangers Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

Fresh off a 2-4 roadtrip through Atlanta and Texas, the Cardinals return to Busch Stadium this week with a record of 24-23. After starting the month on a five-game winning streak, the Cardinals are 5-13 in the month of May.

The Cardinals were off on Monday and are back in St. Louis to take on the Royals for a quick, two-game series that will start on Tuesday evening. The Royals are 16-31 and have dropped five of their last seven games.

In Tuesday’s series opener, the Cardinals will send Michael Wacha to the mound to take on familiar foe Homer Bailey and the Royals. This game is set for 7:15 PM Central time. Wacha has nine walks in his last three starts, and that could be particularly troublesome against this Royals roster, one that leads the Majors with 47 stolen bases entering the series. Adalberto Mondesi has 17 stolen bases to lead the league, and Billy Hamilton has swiped nine. Wacha has held this current Kansas City roster to a .218/.310/.356 slash-line in his career, though, so perhaps his history will be on his side.

This is the 33-year-old Bailey’s first year in Kansas City after spending 12 seasons with the Reds. (It seems like he should be much older than 33.) In 45 13 innings this year, Bailey has a 1.46 WHIP; that is his lowest since 2014. With 42 punchouts, Bailey’s strikeout rate is at its highest point in nearly three years. Matt Carpenter has hit Bailey at a .444 (20-for-45) clip in his career, while Yadier Molina is 20-for-50 with three long balls.

It’ll be a quick turnaround from Tuesday, as Adam Wainwright and Brad Keller will toe the rubber in Wednesday’s 12:15 game. Wainwright gave up five runs against the Braves back on 5/16, with five walks coming back to bite him. In 60 23 career innings against the Royals, Wainwright has a 3.71 ERA with a 46:11 strikeout-to-walk ratio. We’ll see if Wainwright can continue to carve up Hamilton, who fanned eight times in 16 plate appearances against the right-hander while with the Reds.

Keller is serving out of the rotation for Kansas City this year after appearing in 41 games (20 starts) in 2018. The 23-year-old Keller has logged at least five innings in all 10 of his starts this year and has gone six or more frames in half of those starts. So, it’s not surprising to see Keller leading the staff in innings pitched. Left-handed batters have hit just .194 off Keller this season.

So, to recap:

Tuesday, 5/21, 7:15 | Wacha v Bailey | FSMW, KMOX, CRN, WJIR

Wednesday, 5/22, 12:15 | Wainwright v Keller | MLB Network, FSMW, KMOX, CRN, WJIR

Notes from around the league:

  • The Cardinals officially released Luke Gregerson on Monday.
  • Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes suffered multiple fractures in his right ankle over the weekend in an accident at his ranch in Florida. Cespedes was recovering from surgery on both heels, and it wasn’t super likely that he would be able to return this season anyway. Now with this, it’s expected that Cespedes will not play at all in 2019.
  • The Braves and Mariners completed a trade on Monday afternoon that sent Anthony Swarzak to Atlanta and Arodys Vizcaino and Jesse Biddle to Seattle.