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Series Preview 9/10-12: Cardinals at Rockies

MLB: Colorado Rockies at St. Louis Cardinals
Hudson will make the start on Wednesday evening.
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The 81-62 Cardinals are on the final stop of their second-to-last roadtrip of the regular season, as they are out in Colorado for a series with the Rockies. With their biggest lead in the National League Central this season, the Cardinals will look to make hay against a Rockies bunch that they have won 13 of 17 games against since 2017.

In Tuesday’s opener, Chi Chi Gonzalez and Michael Wacha will take the mound. Gonzalez gave up five runs in 4 13 innings when he worked against the Cardinals a couple weeks ago in St. Louis. In his start following that, on 8/29, Gonzalez was knocked for seven earned runs and failed to make it out of the first inning. And in his most recent start, Gonzalez turned in six frames of two-run ball with nine strikeouts against the Dodgers. Go figure, for sure!

The Cardinals opted to use Wacha last Wednesday on short rest to open up their game against the Giants. Wacha needed 38 pitches to turn in two scoreless innings, and manager Mike Shildt noted after the game that the right-hander was on a leash. Wacha has fanned 21 batters in his last 17 23 innings and will face a Rockies roster that has fanned 1,322 times entering this series; that is the eighth-most in baseball.

On Wednesday, we will see Antonio Senzatela and Dakota Hudson. The last few weeks have not been kind to Senzatela, the third-year Rockie who has made a career-high 21 starts this season. In three starts dating back to 8/25 in St. Louis (this was that game with multiple rain delays), Senzatela has given up 17 earned runs in a total of 9 23 innings. Opponents are hitting .317 off Senzatela at Coors Field this season, so we will see if the Cardinals can live up to this. Matt Carpenter and Paul Goldschmidt each have four hits off the 24-year-old.

Hudson breezed through six scoreless innings against the Giants back on 9/5, with a Kevin Pillar single the only hit allowed by the righty. In his start before this, back on 8/31, Hudson worked into the eighth inning for the first time in his career. Entering this assignment, Hudson has allowed only one homer in his last 40 innings. Even with Hudson riding a solid stretch, this streak will be put to the test in one of the most homer-happy ballparks in the league.

The series will conclude on Thursday, with Tim Melville and Miles Mikolas as the pitching matchup. If you’re not a regular Rockies observer but the name ‘Tim Melville’ still rang a bell, then you must have a fantastic memory when it comes to pitchers the Cardinals have had success against. Melville started for the Reds back on April 15, 2016, and gave up six earned runs in three innings in a start on a Friday night in St. Louis - one that turned out to be a Holliday.

Fast forward a few years, and Melville will make his fifth start of the year for Colorado after not working in the Majors in 2018 and pitching in the Minors most of this summer as well. Melville struck out eight Padres in his last start, a new career-high for the St.Louis-area native.

After walking only four batters in his last 35 innings leading up to his start on 9/6, Mikolas walked four Pirates in his last outing. Nonetheless, Mikolas was able to limit them to one run in five innings while fanning seven batters, making that start his fifth this year with at least seven strikeouts. Ryan McMahon, Daniel Murphy, and Nolan Arenado have four hits apiece off Mikolas, highlighted by Arenado’s two long balls.

So, to recap:

Tuesday, 9/10, 7:40 | Gonzalez vs. Wacha | FSMW, KMOX, CRN

Wednesday, 9/11, 7:40 | Senzatela vs. Hudson | FSMW, KMOX, CRN

Thursday, 9/12, 2:10 | Melville vs. Mikolas | FSMW, KMOX, CRN

Notes from around the league:

  • Cubs infielder Javier Baez will miss the remainder of the regular season with a left thumb fracture. Shall the Cubs play in the postseason, Baez is likely to return to the roster.
  • Mets rookie Pete Alonso hit two more homers on Monday night and is up to 47 this season. Might he top the record of 52 homers for a rookie, set by cross-town rival Aaron Judge just two years ago?