After a two game series split vs. the Marlins this past weekend, (Game: 3 was rained out) The St. Louis Cardinals leave Miami and head north to Cincinnati for a huge, huge, huge, 3 game series vs. the Reds. These two teams have been in nothing short of a pitched battle for division supremacy all season long.
The Cincinnati Reds are 60-48 on the season (33-23 at home and 30-25 on the road). They have won 8 of their last 10. They are (at this writing) riding a 3 game winning streak and hold a 1 1/2 game lead over the Cardinals. They are a young and extremely talented team.
The St. Louis Cardinals are 61-49 on the season (with an eye popping 38-18 record at home and a dismal 23-31 on the road.) That road record must improve if the Cardinals are going to be competative in this series and for the rest of the year.
Let’s take a look at all 3 games:
Game: 1- Monday- August 9th- 7:10pm EST
The opener pits Chris Carpenter (12-3, 2.91 ERA) for St. Louis vs. Mike Leake (7-3, 3.86 ERA) for Cincinnati.
Chris Carpenter, 35, is coming off a very good performance vs. Houston on August 4th. He went 7 1/3 innings while giving up just 4 hits and 2 runs. He has allowed just 11 earned runs in his last 6 starts while logging 44 innings pitched. Lastly, he is 3-0 in 5 starts with a 1.64 ERA since the All-Star break and most importantly is 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA vs. Cincinnati thus far in 2010. Chris is a big game pitcher and this is a big game.
Mike Leake has had a tough go of it lately. He has lost 3 of his last 4 decisions while surrendering 20 runs in his last 30 innings pitched which in turn drove his ERA from about 3.00 to 3.86. That’s the bad part….the good part is he beat St. Louis 4-3 back on May 15th while going 6 innings and allowing just 4 hits and 2 runs. Edge: STL
Game: 2- Tuesday August 10th- 7:10pm EST
The middle game features Jamie Garcia (9-5. 2.53 ERA) for St. Louis vs. Johnny Cueto (11-2, 3.24 ERA) for Cincinnati.
Garcia, as I mentioned in a Redbird chirp the other day, is 2-2 with a 4.29 ERA in his last 7 starts. He was 7-3 with a 1.79 ERA in his 12 starts prior. Is he having stamina issues being he’s never thrown more that about 40 innings in the big leagues prior to this season ? as a Cardinal fan, I hope not but it does remain to be seen. In his last start against Houston ( not known for their offense) he surrendered 8 runs (albeit only 4 were earned) and gave up 10 hits in just 5 innings. There is a big difference in home and away ERA too, his home ERA is 1.94 while his road ERA is 3.12…still very respectable, but he is obviously better at home. Last note, His ERA in August is 7.20….ouch.
Cueto is enjoying a huge season. Topped off by his last start, a 6 inning, 3 hit, 1 run performance vs. Pittsburgh on August 4th. He is 6-1 with a 2.11 ERA in his last 10 starts. He does however win the “strangest stat of the week award” with this….his road ERA is 2.69 and his home ERA ? how about 3.90..weird. Edge: Cinn
Game: 3- Wednesday August 11- 12:35pm EST.
The last game of the all so important series for both team sees Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright (16-6, 2.07 ERA) vs. Bronson Arroyo (12-6, 3.83 ERA).
There isn’t that much more I can say about Wainwright that I haven’t said already. If not for Ubaldo Jimenez (COL), Wainwright would be running away with the CY Young Award. Pitch after pitch, start after start this guy has been sensational all year long. Now 7-2 with a 1.58 ERA in his last 10 starts, he was masterful in his last start vs. the Marlins while cruising thru 7 innings giving up just 2 hits and no runs. Just keep him on grass fields though because his ERA on grass this year is 1.91 while his ERA on artifical turf is 9.00.
Arroyo is an awesome 7-3 with a 2.62 ERA in his last 10 starts. I think the most impressive stat for him is this…in night games his ERA this season is 4.52 and in day games its 2.94. Look up at the start time of this game…its says 12:35pm EST….it’s a day game. This bodes well for him. Edge: STL