First and foremost, the City of St. Louis has experienced historic rainfall and catastrophic flooding over the last week. My heart goes out to everyone in the area that was impacted and I hope you all were and are safe. Just a tip from a gal that grew up on a peninsula and knows a thing or two about flooding: cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water. If you see moving water on a flooded roadway, please turn around. You can check for closed roadways at traveler.modot.org\maps.
In happier news, the St. Louis Cardinals have traveled to Washington, DC to take on the Nationals. The Nats at 34-66 are in fifth place in the National League East. The Cardinals are 3-2 over their last two series and the last place Nationals might be an opponent to help the Cards get back on track.
One of the major storylines of this series will be Juan Soto. The Cardinals have been rumored to be interested in Soto and have been named as contenders in acquiring him at the trade deadline. I don’t want to get too much into that, but personally, I don’t find that very likely. I think a trade for Soto would require the Cardinals to give up Jordan Walker and I don’t think that is a very palatable option for the organization, at least on a deadline deal. But you never know! Let me know what you all think!
The Cardinals face three pitchers that they have not seen that often. On Friday evening they take on Anibal Sanchez. Sanchez has eight games started against the Cardinals. He has spent most of this season on the Injured List — he was activated two weeks ago from the 60-day IL when the Nats moved Stephen Strasburg to the 60-day IL. In his two starts he has given up seven runs. In the past he has thrown up to seven different pitches. In the two starts from this season he has primarily thrown a cutter, changeup, sinker, and 4-seamer with an occasional curveball and slider.
On Saturday Erick Fedde will take the mound for the Nationals. Has has only pitched two games against the Cardinals. He mostly throws a sinker, curveball, and cutter with a rare changeup. His sinker has been a strong pitch for him this season though his groundball percentage is down this season to 43.5% from a career average of 51.1. He also gets hit pretty hard; he is the 10th percentile in hard hit percentage per Baseball Savant.
The Cardinals have never faced Paolo Espino as a starter, the Nationals starter for Sunday. After nearly 13 years in the minors, Espino made his major league debut at 33 years old back in 2020. Espino mostly throws a 4-seamer at 88 mph and mixes in a curveball that is in the 97th percentile in MLB in spin, per Baseball Savant. It has been his best pitch so far this season. He also throws slider. He doesn’t strikeout many, but he walks nearly the fewest batters in the game with a walk percentage at just 4.7%. This season he has a 3.48 ERA and a 4.51 FIP which makes him arguably one of the Nationals’ best pitchers.
Besides Soto, Josh Bell is the only real threat the Nationals have on offense. Bell has hit 13 homers and has only struck out 13.5% of the time. He is slashing .302/.387/.490 for a 142 wRC+.
The Cardinals line up well this series. The Nationals are having a down year. Hopefully the Cardinals can put together some wins.
Friday, July 29 at 6:05 pm CDT: Miles Mikolas vs. Anibal Sanchez
Saturday, July 30 at 6:15 pm CDT: Dakota Hudson vs. Erick Fedde
Sunday, July 31 at 12:35 pm CDT: Andre Pallante vs. Paolo Espino