Starting Monday, June 28 at 7:15 pm CT through Wednesday. June 30 at 12:15 pm CT the St. Louis Cardinals will host the Arizona Diamondbacks for three games. The Cardinals have had a terrible June, but the Diamondbacks have had and even worse month, somehow. Please, let these series be fun.
I already previewed the Diamondbacks back in May when the light and good favor of the universe still shone on the Cardinals. Since then things have been bleak and I don’t care to repeat my work, so I am going to try something different. Here are nice things about each team.
12. The Arizona Diamondbacks City Connect uniforms look pretty sharp
11. Carson Kelly has really come into his own with more playing time. He is currently on the 10-day Injured List with a wrist, but he leads the D-Backs in rWAR with 1.7 and is tied for third among position players in fWAR with 1.5. He has a 132 wRC+ and is slashing .260/.385/..460 and walking 15% of the time. Again though, on the Injured List, so the Cardinals will likely not see him.
I have to be honest, I had no idea Wade LeBlanc was on the team. Apparently at some point between his last appearance with the Baltimore Orioles on April 24 and first appearance with the Cardinals on June 17 he was signed by the Cardinals. He has made four appearances with El Birdos and has a 14.3% strikeout rate with a 3.6% walk rate, the lowest on the Cardinals. He will be starting on Monday instead of John Gant, who will move to the bullpen.
9. Carlos Martínez will start Tuesday evening. Since coming back from injury his walk rate has ballooned to 10.1% and his strikeout rate has dropped to 14.9% this season. There is something that has gone right for him lately, though: his HR/9 is .86, which puts him in the top 25 in all pitchers that have pitched over 70 innings.
8. Diamondbacks third baseman Eduardo Escobar leads his team with 17 homeruns, which puts him tied for the 14th most in the league. His wRC+ is just 110, but his ISO is .228.
7. Giovanny Gallegos has the second lowest walk rate on the team at 5.4% and tied for the highest strikeout rate with Alex Reyes at 31.8%. Gallegos has the seventh highest strikeout to walk rate in among pitchers with 40 or more innings in Major League Baseball with 26.4%. He has been the second most valuable pitcher for the Cardinals after Adam Wainwright, according to Fangraphs, with 1.2 fWAR.
6. Lefty Caleb Smith has pitched some solid innings in relief and out of the D-Backs rotation. He will make the start for the Diamondbacks on Tuesday. In just over 59 innings he has a 3.03 ERA and 3.97 FIP. He has given up .91 HR/9 and has a 11.7% walk rate to a 26.2% strikeout rate. He throws a very good four-seam fastball that has a -7 run value per Baseball Savant. He plays off the fastball with a slider and sometimes adds in changeup against righties.
Nolan Arenado leads the Cardinals in fWAR at 2.2 and rWAR at 2.4. He is also tied with Tyler O’Neill for the team lead in homers with 15 and his 125 wRC+ is second on the team behind Tyler O’Neill. Tyler O’Neill should probably be an All Star Candidate.
4. Yadier Molina passed Johnny Bench in hits with hit number 2,049 over the weekend.
3. Ketel Marte leads the Diamondbacks in wRC+ with 165. He missed some time due to injury earlier in the year but since his return on May 19 he has slashed .349/.400/.382. His season average is .370/.419/.556. He strikes out very few times with a 14.2% strikeout rate.
2. Tyler O’Neill is probably having the best season for the Cardinals so far. He leads the team in wRC+ with 139 and is tied for lead in home runs. He is second on the team with 1.9 fWAR and 2.2 rWAR.
1 June is almost over and hopefully with the conclusions of the month, so two will the Cardinals conclude their troubles. Jack Flaherty has played “light catch” a few weeks ago and Harrison Bader is set to go on a rehab assignment soon. It won’t fix everything, but reinforcements are on the way and that should hopefully help.
Game 1 - June 28, 7:15 PM CT - Jake Faria vs. Wade LeBlanc
Game 2 - June 29, 7:15 PM CT - Caleb Smith vs. Carlos Martínez
Game 3 - July 30, 1:15 PM CT - Riley Smith vs. Kwang Hyun Kim