The St. Louis Cardinals currently sit two games ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers, propelled by a string of strong outings after initially coming out the All Star Break with a little stumble. After losing three of four out of the break they have gone on to win twelves of sixteen since. Part of that stretch was a series loss two games to one to the Colorado Rockies in Colorado. This week the Cardinals are back home with redemption in mind.
Starting off the series against the Birdos is a familiar face in Kyle Freeland. The Cardinals earned their only win of their previous series against the Rockies against him, shelling him for six runs in just over four innings pitched. On the season the 29-year-old lefty has a 4.84 ERA and 4.25 FIP. He has about as even a pitching arsenal as I’ve seen, throwing a 4-seamer, slider, sinker, curveball, and changeup from 24.3% percent of the time for the fastball to 14.9% of the time for the change.
The Cardinals also faced off again Germán Márquez, who bested them in an 8-6 final score last week. Márquez allowed only two runs on eight hits with six strikeouts and and a walk in that contest. On the season more of those baserunners come around to score; he has a 5.08 ERA to a 4.70 FIP. Similarly to Freeland, he has four pitches he throws over 20% of the time: a 4-seamer, a slider, a sinker, and a curveball.
Antonio Senzatela is the Rockies starter for the final game of the series. He differs a little bit from the other two pitchers in his approach. He throws a 4-seamer almost 54% of the time, then leans on a slider as his secondary pitch. He might sprinkle in a changeup, a curveball, or a sinker all less than 8% of the time. He has a pretty low strikeout rate at just 12.9% and walks about 5.7%. In 2022 his ERA is 4.67 and 5.24.
I mean this as gently as possible when I say that the Colorado Rockies just are currently not an exciting team to me. According to Fangraphs fWAR these three pitchers, who, to be clear, are perfectly adequate, especially for pitchers pitching primarily in Denver, are the top three on the team. The player with the highest wRC+ is Kris Bryant and if I can be completely honest here I didn’t even realize he was with the Rockies until just this second. It appears he missed a lot of time in May, most of June, and so far all of August dealing with plantar fasciitis so he only has played in 42 games so far this season. The next best hitter per wRC+ is C.J. Cron, who has 23 homers and is slashing .275/.328/.506 with a 115 wRC+.
The two most exciting players for me might be second baseman Brendan Rodgers and third baseman Ryan McMahon. They have been average at the plate with a 101 and 97 wRC+, respectively, but it is in the field where they really shine. At 14 defensive runs saved, Rodgers is fourth in all of baseball among qualified players (behind Ke’Bryan Hayes, Nolan Arenado, and Steven Kwan). McMahon is tied for eleventh in baseball with 10 DRS.
Tuesday, August 16 at 6:45 pm CDT: Kyle Freeland vs. Jose Quintana
Wednesday, August 17 at 6:45 pm CDT: German Marquez vs. Jordan Montgomery
Thursday, August 18 at 12:15 pm CDT: Antonio Senzatela vs. Adam Wainwright