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Series Preview 8/28-30: Indians vs. Cardinals

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MLB: Cincinnati Reds at St. Louis Cardinals
Waino is scheduled to start on Sunday.
Joe Puetz-USA TODAY Sports

The Cardinals are back at the .500 mark, sitting at 11-11 as we enter the final weekend of August. The final leg of this St. Louis homestand brings in the home team’s toughest matchup: the Cleveland Indians.

The 19-12 Indians come to Busch Stadium on Friday to start a three-game series. The Indians have won 9 of their last 12 games, while the Cardinals are coming off a disappointing doubleheader on Thursday.

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On this day in 1945, Jackie Robinson had his first meeting with Branch Rickey about joining the Brooklyn Dodgers. In a week where we have seen several games postponed across all sports as acts of protest of social injustice, this day is particularly noteworthy in this year.

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In the series opener on Friday evening, Daniel Ponce de Leon and Triston McKenzie will be the starting pitching matchup. Ponce de Leon will make his fourth start of the year and look to pitch beyond the fifth inning for the first time in 2020. Walks have been a problem for Ponce de Leon this season, with 10 in 12 innings this year. The Indians have taken 136 free passes this year — the third most in the Majors, trailing only the Rays and Athletics.

McKenzie made his MLB debut last weekend against the Tigers, and the 23-year-old didn’t disappoint. McKenzie held Detroit to one run over six frames, racking up 10 punchouts along the way. McKenzie missed all of 2019 with a shoulder injury. He last pitched in 2018, when he posted a 2.68 ERA in 16 starts at Double-A.

Saturday afternoon will feature Jack Flaherty and Carlos Carrasco. Flaherty one-hit the Royals for five innings in his last start. He had thrown only 64 pitches, but the Cardinals were up by six runs at the time he was pulled. This will be Flaherty’s second career start against the Indians and first in more than two years.

Carrasco will make his seventh start of the year for Cleveland. ‘Cookie’ opened the year with three quality starts, but he hasn’t made it out of the fifth inning in any of latest three starts, and walks and home runs have been a big part of the problem. The Cardinals haven’t faced Carrasco since 2015.

The series will wrap up on Sunday, with a mound matchup of Adam Wainwright and Aaron Civale. Wainwright will make his team-high fifth start of the year on Sunday, which happens to be the right-hander’s 39th birthday. Wainwright has logged seven innings apiece in his last two starts.

Civale debuted last summer and made 10 starts for the Indians down the stretch in 2019. Sunday will be Civale’s seventh start of the year, and he has been very impressive. Civale has logged at least six innings in all of his starts, including a complete game against the Pirates on 8/19. Civale enters this assignment with a 31:3 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

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Friday, 8/28, 7:15 | Ponce de Leon vs. McKenzie | FS1, FSMW, KMOX, WJIR

Saturday, 8/29, 12:15 | Flaherty vs. Carrasco | FOX, KMOX, WJIR

Sunday, 8/30, 1:15 | Wainwright vs. Civale | FSMW, KMOX, WJIR