Back in 2012 I went to a Cardinals game in St. Louis. They were playing the Los Angeles Dodgers. It was a hot July day — the game time temperature at 7:15pm CDT was 103 degrees Fahrenheit. It was a classic Adam Wainwright versus Clayton Kershaw duel. Waino was in his first year back from Tommy John and had struggled a bit in the season, but he was looking more and more like his old self. Kershaw was in the height of his prime — probably the best pitcher in the league at the time. He was cruising, until he wasn’t.
The narrative at the time was the St. Louis heat. I couldn’t tell you if that was the case or not, but what I can say is that is was HOT and Kershaw looked like he was feeling every degree. The bottom of the sixth inning started out with a walk and the Cardinals piled on from there, tagging Kershaw with six runs in the inning, eight in the game.
There isn’t much of a point to this story, just that it has been really dang hot in St. Louis lately — the first real heat wave of the year so far. I don’t know how baseball players play baseball in this. The Cardinals have three games against the San Francisco Giants to play. stlcardsfan4 did a pretty comprehensive review the last time these two teams played, which was a week ago. That series was four games so the Cardinals will face two of those pitchers again this series: Logan Webb on Friday and Carlos Rondon on Sunday.
The main difference is Saturday. The Giants have scheduled to start Jakob Junis. Junis spent five seasons with the Kansas City Royals and will be making his second start of 2022. He has only pitched 15 total innings so far in 2022, but in his career he has a 4.72 ERA and 4.68 FIP. He has a career 21.2% K rate and a 6.4% walk rate. In 2021 he mostly threw a slider and 4-seamer and mixes in a cutter. So far in 2022 it looks like he has abandoned the cutter and the 4-seamer, throwing instead a sinker and changeup. A pretty average and useful pitcher to have on a roster.
The offense is really where the Giants look good. Most of their regulars have a wRC+ over 100. Leading the team are Austin Slater, Brandon Belt, and Joc Pederson. Slater made his debut with the Giants in 2017, but only saw his first real season in 2021. It was a solid first season, but he is off to a much better start in 2022. He is walking over 19% of the time and has an OBP of .413 for a wRC+ of 154.
Ryan Helsey has pitched pretty well, eh? Gosh, I really don’t want to jinx him, but in 10 innings this season he has a 64% strikeout rate and a very low walk rate and low homer rate. Very low. You get what I’m saying? They are very low.
Also Adam Wainwright appears to be cleared of COVID precautions.
Friday, May 13 at 7:15 pm CDT: Logan Webb vs. Jordan Hicks
Saturday, May 14 at 1:15 pm CDT: Jakob Junis vs. Dakota Hudson
Sunday, May 15 at 6:08 pm CDT: Carlos Rondon vs TBD (Waino?)