I keep thinking that maybe the corner has been turned, but alas, it seems like we are in a circular room. Just more corners await us. After a poor showing against the Houston Astros in the final two games of their series, the St. Louis Cardinals are scheduled to face the New York Yankees. So let’s see what they are about.
The Yankees at 45-36 are currently in third place in a tough American League East. As a team their offense sits at 21st in the league per wRC+. They are led by Aaron Judge who is slashing .291/.404/.674 with 19 homers for a 188 wRC+, but is currently on the 10-day Injured List. Former Cub Anthony Rizzo has also been a key contributor with a 123 wRC+. Of course there is Harrison Bader, the Cardinals former centerfielder. He is still providing excellent outfield defense while hitting for a 111 wRC+.
The bullpen has been the strongest element of the this Yankees team so far. Yankees relievers are pitching a 3.66 FIP, which is fifth lowest in baseball. Closer Clay Holmes has had a very strong season so far with a 2.51 ERA and 2.19 FIP. He strikes out nearly 30% of batters and had yet to give up a home run this season. After ditching the 4-seamer this season, he primarily throws a sinker along with a slider and mixes in a sweeper.
The Yankees rotation has been middling overall. The starters are 19th in the league with a 4.48 FIP and 4.19 FIP. Part of that is due to some struggles from the starter the Cardinals will face on Friday, Luis Severino. After being one of the league’s top pitchers, Severino has been hampered by injury in the last few seasons. This season strikeout percentage is a career low 19.5% and his home runs per nine innings is a career high at 2.00. He throws a 4-seamer about 50% of the time, along with a changeup, slider, and cutter. Per Baseball Savant’s run value his best pitch when healthy is his 4-seamer that averages nearly 97 mph. That hasn’t been the case though this season, and in fact none of his pitches this season have a negative run value.
On Saturday one of the top pitchers in the league toes the rubber against the Cardinals in Gerrit Cole. Cole’s strikeout rate is down from previous years at 26.8%, but he has lowered his home runs allowed down to 0.87 homers/nine. He has also lowered his ERA to 2.78 while his FIP overall is 3.96. He throws one of the most valuable 4-seamers in the league, per Baseball Savant’s run value and throws it 56% of the time. He follows it with a slider and curveball while mixing in an occasional changeup.
So that is what the Cardinals are up against this weekend. On paper, the Cardinals actually rank above the Yankees in several team stats, but that does not seem to matter for much with the Cardinals this season. Let’s see how this goes!
Friday, June 30 at 7:15 pm CT: Luis Severino vs. Matthew Liberatore
Saturday, July 1 at 1:15 pm CT: Gerrit Cole vs. Jack Flaherty
Sunday, July 2 at 1:15 pm CT: TBD vs. Jordan Montgomery