The Cardinals hold their own destiny moving forward. It would be easy to overlook the upcoming series against the San Fransisco Giants, with series against both Milwaukee and Chicago looming.
But this is a must win series. And unfortunately for the Cardinals, they have some stiff competition awaiting them.
The Giants have given up this season, but they could still look to play spoiler as the season finishes up. The Giants are hurting offensively, but their strength lies in two of the starting pitchers they send out against the Cardinals.
In game 1, Madison Bumgarner will take the mound against Cardinals starter John Gant. Gant has been a serviceable starter for the Cardinals who have suffered numerous injuries at starting pitcher, but he isn’t on the same level as Madison Bumgarner. Mad Bum is 6-6 on the year with a 3.14 ERA over 19 starts, while Gant is 7-6 with a 3.53 ERA over 24 appearances (17 starts). The Cardinals have issues with left handed pitching, and Bumgarner is one of the best. Thankfully for the Cardinals, Bumgarner hasn’t pitched particularly well against the Cardinals throughout his career.
Bumgarner has 9 career starts against the Cardinals with a record of 4-5 and a 4.61 ERA over 56.2 total innings. His SO/9 against the Cardinals is just 8.4 compared to 8.7 for his career. The numbers suggest that the Cardinals should be able to get some runs across against Bumgarner, but it will be a challenge nonetheless. Thankfully for the Cardinals, San Fransisco owns one of the worst road records this season going just 31-47.
For game 2 the Cardinals send out Adam Wainwright against rookie Dereck Rodriguez. Rodriguez is the son of Hall of Fame Catcher Ivan Rodriguez. In his last start Adam Wainwright was lights out against the Dodgers. The 37 year old went 6 innings and gave up just 2 hits while striking out 9 batters. The Cardinals hope that Waino can replicate this outing against San Fransisco. He has only made 6 starts on the year going 2-3 with a 3.72 ERA.
On the other hand for San Fransisco, Dereck Rodriguez has been nothing short of spectacular. He made his Major League debut earlier this season against the Colorado Rockies, where he took over for starter Jeff Samardzija going 3.1 innings allowing just 1 earned run. He sits at 6-4 on the season in 19 appearances (17 starts) sporting an impressive 2.30 ERA. He has made one start against St. Louis this season where he went 6.2 innings giving up 2 ER on 5 H and 2 BB while striking out just 1 batter.
The last game of the series sees Miles Mikolas taking the mound against Andrew Suarez. Mikolas has been the workhorse of the Cardinals staff this season to many fans amazement. Mikolas sits at 7th in the NL with 185.2 innings pitched. If Mikolas has 2 good starts in a row, he has a chance of hitting 200 innings on the season. Mikolas is also among league leaders in strike percentage, which tends to allow more hits which he will hope to limit against San Fransisco. Mikolas is 16-4 on the season with a 3.01 ERA.
The Giants send out Andrew Suarez, who on the season is 7-11 with a 4.24 ERA. He also made his MLB debut earlier this season against the Arizona Diamondbacks where he went 5.1 innings allowing 4 ER, taking a loss. He has made 27 starts for the Giants this season, but has struggled in the month of September so far. He has a 4.58 ERA allowing 16 hits and 8 walks over 19.2 innings.
This series comes down to the Cardinals ability to hit against some tough pitching from San Fransisco. The Giants don’t have many offensive weapons, but if the Cardinals cannot capitalize early, it could be a tough series. The Cardinals need to take 2 of 3, but in a perfect world, they would sweep the Giants. They need to remain focus on the task in hand. The Brewers and Cubs will still be there once this series is over. The Cardinals should benefit from a series at home.
I think Bumgarner could be due against the Cardinals while the numbers look good against Rodriguez and Suarez.
Cardinals win series 2-1
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