Let’s all acknowledge the last two games happened, take a deep breath, and realize it doesn’t mean anything. Losing two straight games to a bad team happens. It happens to every team in existence. There are 162 games. The 2019 Dodgers lost all four games they played against the 2019 Angels, who went 72-90 while the Dodgers won 106 games. No team can escape a bad series against a bad team. If the 106 win Dodgers can’t, the 2021 Cardinals certainly can’t.
Also, the Tigers had the better pitching matchup in both games. So we weren’t exactly facing the 32-42 Tigers, we were facing whatever you think a Skubal/Manning duo against Oviedo/Gant would result in over 162 games. I’m not sure the Cardinals would have a winning record there. I doubt it makes you feel better, I just don’t think this two-game sweep is as bad as, like losing four games to the Pirates.
BACK ON TARGET, WHAT A SEGUE GABE LET’S DO THIS.
So pitching matchups. I think that’s arguably a more important thing to look at than W-L of teams. You may have faced the 70-92 Mets, but if you happened to be facing Jacob deGrom that day, you might not feel that great about your chances at winning. And hey the 2009 Cardinals were pretty good but if Todd Wellemeyer was on the mound, you’d better be prepared to accidentally fall asleep, and when you wake up, you somehow only missed one batter even though it’s been 30 minutes. THROW THE BALL ALREADY TODD.
Chad Kuhl vs. Carlos Martinez
Really didn’t live up to the family name, did you Chad? Because you are most definitely not Kuhl. I’m sorry I’m mad at myself for that one too, but I’m not deleting it because he is NOT KUHL. Chad usually strikes out more than he has (17% this year, 20.3% for career) and he’s compensating for less strikeouts with more walks (13.8%, 10.2% career). There is no stat that makes him look Kuhl. 5.66 ERA,5.19 xERA, 5.88 FIP, 5.78 xFIP, 1.5/10 KUHLMeter.
Carlos meanwhile has better advanced stats, and you know what that means. The regression monster is his friend. I don’t know why I’m talking to you guys like you’re 8, just go with it. His 6.62 ERA is higher than literally every advanced stat, with his best stat being FIP at just 4.51. I will not, I refuse to mention his other stats, but they are better than 6.62 that’s all you need to know DON’T LOOK IT UP. Against the Pirates, he threw 8 innings of zero run ball earlier this year.
ADVANTAGE: NOT COOL
Will Crowe vs. Adam Wainwright
Will Eat Crowe, totally his middle name take my word for it, is probably not very good. He has thrown 49 career MLB innings. He has allowed 40 earned runs. He has improved upon last season’s stats with a 6.42 ERA and a 5.79 FIP and no, I am not joking. He was very bad in 3 starts last year. He was in the Josh Bell trade. He faced the Cardinals earlier this year. He walked four, struck out two, and gave up 3 ER in 5 IP.
What can I say about Adam Wainwright except that if Crowe repeats that performance, Wainwright will pitch better than him? No seriously, what can I say about Wainwright, we’re talking nearly 18 years of people saying things about Adam Wainwright, most of them good, and all of them better than I can say. Well maybe not all. WainoSucks69 has not once made a good point, so I’m better at word things than him.
JT Brubaker vs. Kwang-Hyun Kim
Brubreaking his back to become a good pitcher good god somebody stop me. Yeah this is a dangerous matchup. Brubaking his pitches past opposing bats has an extremely good K/BB ratio and gets groundballs and really his only fault is that a few balls have flown over the fence than neutral luck would suggest. Which is why his FIP is 4.07 and xFIP is 3.57. So hopefully we make JT Snow blind from all the homers and jesus Gabe that doesn’t even make any sense unless this is a JT Riddle. It is not.
Kim meanwhile has been mildly concerning since returning. He has only allowed two runs in 10 IP since returning, but it has come with six walks. Admittedly, five of those were in his first game back, so maybe we’re good. But his last start only came with two strikeouts. It feels like it’s been a while since Kim staind us with a start that didn’t appear to be close to coming off the rails. Just me?
Tyler Anderson vs. Johan Oviedo
TAnderson, I’m not even going to call you Tyler, because you don’t deserve the same name as TON, otherwise known as Bro’Neil, otherwise known as Mr. Canada, otherwise known as Otherwise Known As, otherwise know as TBD, otherwise known as Milk Steak Muscle Boy, and you can tell I have nothing to say about TAnderson can’t you? He’s a lefty. He gives up lots of homers because he’s a flyball pitcher without a lot of strikeouts. He generally avoids the walk, something he does have in common with Yuniesky Betancourt did not think I was going in that direction did you? That’s what we call a swerve in the preview business. I swear I’m not on drugs.
Oviedo, well, Oviedo, well Oviedo, well Oviedo, well Oviedo, well Oviedo, and this bit work better on video I think. Probably not a great sign that I look at his stats and think “how are they not worse?” so you know.... on the other hand, You Don’t Mess With Johan I’ve never even seen that movie why am I making this reference?
ADVANTAGE: NOT ADAM SANDLER
Jacob Stallings, god you have the perfect name for a late bloomer, he sure took his time to become an average MLB catcher, some might say you were............. stalling. I heard you guys all groan and it’s okay. I’m taking myself directly to the authorities and will probably be in jail when you read this. Him and Yadi are pretty much a wash, with identical rest of season projected wRC+.
Colin Moran has surpassed the potential his name gave him and become a marginally above replacement player. He is actually hitting slightly better than Paul Goldschmidt, but that’s both not expected to continue and Goldy is a better defender.
ADVANTAGE: STAY GOLD, PONYBOY
Adam Frazier is having a pretty good year this year. Might make the All-Star Game this year. Tommy Edman is having a solid year, but Frazier’s .361 BABIP has him beat.
ADVANTAGE: DOWN GOES FRAZIER
Third base may be a more interesting matchup in an about a year, because Ke’Bryan Hayes has 175 career PAs, which is less than Nolan Arenado has this year. Hayes only has 60 PAs this year, but has been a better hitter than Arenado so far. Way way way too early to give the nod to Willie Mays Hayes though.
ADVANTAGE: NOLAN DOWN THE RIVER
Would you believe me if I told you the Pirates have a significantly worse hitter than Paul DeJong at SS and I mean significantly worse right now, not like projected? Because Kevin Newman has a 44 wRC+ in 256 PAs. DeJong has a projected rest of season 104 wRC+ while Newman has an 82 wRC+.
ADVANTAGE: DR. ROCKS
I’m running out of energy, just know that Tyler O’Neill is better than current 80 wRC+ hitter Phillip Evans in left field.
ADVANTAGE: NICKNAME GENERATOR
Center field is another no contest, but this time it’s in favor of the Pirates, because Bryan Reynolds is having a hell of a season. Whether you look has his career 125 wRC+ in 1,044 plate appearances or his 154 wRC+ this year in 290 PAs, both are better than Dylan Carlson’s 112 wRC+. And though Reynolds is not a good defensive center fielder, Carlson really isn’t either, so no made up ground there.
ADVANTAGE: DENNIS REYNOLDS
I don’t want to do this to do you Gregory Polanco, but man has he fallen off. So much so that by projections, he’s kind of a wash with Lars Nootbar. Or really whoever the Cards throw at RF. If Edman is in right, he probably has Polanco beat. He has a projected 87 wRC+ thanks to a 71 wRC+ this year and 41 wRC+ last year. And 87 wRC+ back in 2019.
Well there you have it. The Cards have the more favorable pitching matchup in two games, probably the lesser pitcher in at least one game, and maybe a 50/50 matchup in the fourth. The Pirates have the better position player at two positions, the Cards and Pirates have a matchup that cancels out at two others, and the Cards are better at the rest. In theory, this means the Cards should win at least 3 out of 4. In practice, we’ll have to see.
Thursday: 7:15 Central Time
Friday: 7:15 Central Time
Saturday: 1:15 Central Time
Sunday: 115 Central Time