After winning the last two games in Seattle, the Cardinals are 43-42 as they enter the final weekend before the All-Star break. The Cubs and Brewers are tied for first place, while St. Louis sits just 1 1⁄2 games back in the Central. In their final series of the first half of the season, the Cardinals are in San Francisco for three games with the Giants. The Giants are 39-47, last place in the West. San Francisco has a -70 run differential, and the Marlins’ -86 is the only mark lower in the National League.
On Friday night, Drew Pomeranz and Dakota Hudson will be the pitching matchup. The 30-year-old, left-handed Pomeranz broke in with the Rockies back in 2011. Pomeranz spent time with time with the Athletics, Padres, and the Red Sox; this is his first year with the Giants. Pomeranz held the Diamondbacks scoreless for five innings in his last start and has whiffed 18 batters in his last 10 innings.
Things didn’t go very well for Hudson in his last start, one where he recorded just five outs. The Padres scored seven runs (just one of them earned) off Hudson, taking advantage of two homers, a throwing error, and a hit by pitch. Hudson has an ERA of 2.23 over his last 40 innings, and Friday will be his first career start against the Giants.
Madison Bumgarner and Miles Mikolas will go on Saturday. In what could be one of his final starts with the Giants (the rumor mill is really churning, even in early July), Bumgarner hurled seven innings of one-run ball back on June 29 to defeat Arizona. Bumgarner has struck out 29 batters in his last 22 2⁄3 innings, and his BB/9 rate is down to 1.97 after it was 2.98 last year. Bumgarner will make his team-leading 19th start of the season on Saturday.
Mikolas has allowed just four earned runs over his last three outings and will look to pitch his second consecutive quality start, something he hasn’t done since late May. Mikolas has allowed only two homers in his last four starts, but Mikolas will have to work to keep Evan Longoria in the park. Entering Friday, the third baseman for the Giants has four long balls in his last seven games.
In the series finale on Sunday, Jeff Samardzija and Jack Flaherty will take the mound. Samardzija is in his fourth year with the Giants and leads the staff with a .245 opponents’ batting average; that is his lowest since 2014. Samardzija fired eight innings in San Diego in his last start, and he’ll face a Cardinals team that he has plenty of history against. In 93 career innings against St. Louis, Samardzija has a 3.77 ERA with a 71:37 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Yadier Molina is batting .429 (12-for-28) in his career facing Samardzija, and Dexter Fowler is 8-for-32 with a home run, a double, and two triples.
Flaherty will look to reverse his recent stretch and enter his week off on a positive note. Against the Athletics and Mariners, Flaherty has allowed 11 earned runs in his last two starts and has a 7.12 ERA in his last 30 1⁄3 innings. Flaherty has allowed 10 homers since the start of June and 19 in 17 starts this season so far. In 28 starts last year, Flaherty allowed a total of 20 long balls, and batters are hitting .294 against him away from Busch Stadium.
So, to recap:
Friday, 7/5, 9:15 | Pomeranz v Hudson | MLB Network, FSMW, KMOX, CRN
Saturday, 7/6, 9:05 | Bumgarner v Mikolas | FSMW, KMOX, CRN
Sunday, 7/7, 3:05 | Samardzija v Flaherty | FSMW, KMOX, CRN
Notes from around the league:
- Don’t look now, but former Cardinal Lance Lynn has worked at least six innings in 13 consecutive starts - and at least seven innings in eight of those. With 11 wins, Lynn is the first Rangers pitcher to reach that mark before the All-Star break since 2012.
- The eight contestants for the 2019 T-Mobile Home Run Derby have been revealed: Christian Yelich, Pete Alonso, Josh Bell, Alex Bregman, Joc Pederson, Ronald Acuna Jr, Carlos Santana, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. The winner of this year’s event will win a $1 million prize.