After a sweep of the Pirates over the weekend and a day off on Monday, the 61-55 Cardinals are in Kansas City to take on the Royals in the second half of the 2019 I-70 Series. Back in May, the Royals and Cardinals split the two games in St. Louis.
Entering play on Tuesday, the Cardinals are two games back of the Cubs for first place in the National League Central. Over in the American League Central, the Royals are in fourth place, at 43-76, with the Indians and Twins at the top.
The Cardinals made a few roster moves prior to this series, highlighted by Yadier Molina’s return from the injured list and a promotion to the Majors (finally!) for Randy Arozarena.
On Tuesday evening, Glenn Sparkman and Jack Flaherty will start the series opener. Sparkman is 27 years old and was drafted by the Royals back in 2013 and actually came up with the Blue Jays in 2017 before joining Kansas City in 2018. In 22 games (14 starts) this season, the right-handed Sparkman has a 5.71 ERA in 93 innings. Opponents have hit .293 off Sparkman with 21 long balls. Sparkman has allowed 18 earned runs in his last 14 innings, but he does have an ERA of 3.00 in 51 innings at home this season - compared to a 9.00 in 42 on the road.
Flaherty is in the midst of perhaps his best stretch of the season. Against the Cubs and Dodgers in his last two starts, Flaherty has logged back-to-back outings of seven scoreless innings with a combined 19:3 strikeout-to-walk ratio. In his last six starts dating back to early July, Flaherty has a 0.94 ERA. In fact, Flaherty has allowed just two runs in his last 24 innings over his last four outings.
Brad Keller and Dakota Hudson are set to start on Wednesday evening. Keller will make his team-leading 26th start of the season on Wednesday. Keller leads the Kansas City staff with 152 innings pitched this season and has logged more than six innings in five of his last six starts. Keller held the Cardinals to two runs in his seven-inning outing back on May 22nd.
Hudson has allowed 10 runs over his last 11 2⁄3 innings. Ironically, Hudson’s last outing was his first with zero strikeouts and also his first with zero walks. It’s ironic, because it came after an outing where he walked a season-high five batters and whiffed seven - another 2019 best. This will be Hudson’s fifth interleague assignment and first time facing the Royals.
So, to recap:
Tuesday, 8/13, 7:15 | Sparkman vs. Flaherty | FSMW, KMOX, CRN
Wednesday, 8/14, 7:15 | Keller vs. Hudson | FSMW, KMOX, CRN
Notes from around the league:
- With two more homers on Monday night, Yankees rising start Gleyber Torres has 13 homers against the Orioles this season. The two East opponents have two more games this week.
- Phillies starter Jake Arrieta’s 2019 campaign may be in the books, as a bone spur in his right elbow has caused him pain and hurt the effectiveness of his offspeed pitches. The club could announce their plan for Arrieta sometime this week.
- Brewers outfielder and league MVP candidate Christian Yelich is expected to return to the lineup on Tuesday. Yelich had missed his last five starts with back discomfort, an issue that has lingered throughout the season.