Following the All Star Game break, the St. Louis Cardinals begin a ten game home stand. Up first are the visiting Miami Marlins. The Marlins own a record of 47-41, and are in second place in the NL East; six games behind the Division leading Washington Nationals. The Marlins feature Ichiro Suzuki and Giancarlo Stanton. Ichiro, 42, travels to St. Louis just ten hits shy of reaching MLB’s mystical and magical three thousand hit threshold. Stanton hit a record sixty-one home runs during the ASG’s Home Run Derby.
The three game set features Jaime Garcia (6-6), Adam Wainwright (8-5), and Michael Wacha (5-7), taking the mound for the Redbirds. Additionally, the Cards resume play with Brandon Moss, Matt Carpenter, Kevin Siegrist, Brayan Pena, and Jordan Walden on the fifteen day Disabled List; and a questionable bullpen with the exception of Seung Hwan Oh.
Friday’s starter, Garcia, has had flashes of brilliance coupled with some horrific outings so far during the 2016 season. Garcia owns a 4.01 ERA, in 101 innings pitched, striking out 87, with a WHIP of 1.35. In his last seven games, the southpaw has won 2 and lost 2, with an ERA of 4.79, in 41 innings pitched, allowed 50 hits, 22 earned runs, issued 15 walks, struck out 22, with a 1.57 WHIP.
In Garcia’s last three games he posted no decisions on June 26th, against the Seattle Mariners, and on July 6th, against the Pittsburgh Pirates. On July 1st, arguably, Garcia had one of his better outings of 2016, facing the Milwaukee Brewers. Against Milwaukee, Garcia worked 8 innings, allowed 4 hits, 1 earned run, 1 walk, and struck out 6. When Garcia is on, he has nasty stuff, with plenty of late ball movement. When he is on his game, Garcia is one of the best left-handed pitchers in MLB. The question facing Cardinal Nation is what Jaime Garcia is going for the Birds on the Bat on Friday?
Wainwright gets the nod for Saturday’s start. Wainwright got off to a slow and rocky 2016 start. He, along with Carlos Martinez, has appeared to have made necessary corrections thus far this season. Wainwright has a season ERA of 4.49, over 110.1 innings, has struck out 86, and has a WHIP of 1.32. In his last seven games the Cardinal Ace has 3 wins against 2 loses, with an ERA of 2.76, in 54.2 innings pitched, allowed 39 hits, 14 earned runs, walked 12, struck out 46, with a WHIP of 1.12.
In his last three games, Wainwright is 2-1, having lost on June 27th, to the World Champion Kansas City Royals. Wainwright earned wins on July 2nd, over the Brewers, and July 7th, over the Pirates. Hopefully, Wainwright shall continue building upon a winning season record.
Wacha is the probable starter for Sunday’s contest. Wacha was forced to exit the July 8th game against the Brewers, early, due to a right heel contusion. The Cardinals have him listed on the team’s Injury Report as Day to Day. Wacha is expected to make the scheduled Sunday start. So far this season, Wacha has a 4.36 ERA, with 105.1 innings pitched, with 93 strike outs, and a WHIP of 1.39. In his last seven games, Wacha is 3-1, with an ERA of 3.48, in 44 innings worked, giving up 41 hits, 17 earned runs, walked 13, striking out 39, with a WHIP of 1.23.
In his last three games, Wacha earned victories on June 28th, against the Royals and July 3rd, against the Brewers. The July 8th game, resulting in a no decision was when the right heel contusion occurred.
The Marlins-Cards match-up shall prove to set the tone and tenor for the second half of the 2016 season for the Redbirds. It is imperative the Cardinals win two games out of the three game set. The Marlins finished the first half of the 2016 season as the best hitting team in the National League; owning a .273 team batting average.
It is no secret the Cardinals’ home record is quite difficult to understand and accept. In the first half of 2016, the Cards have been 19-26 at Busch Stadium. The 2015 season home record for the Birds was 19-26. Suffice it to note, the Cardinals in 2016 have matched their entire 2015 home loss record. Additionally, the Cardinals have lost ten of their last fourteen games at home. To be honest, simple mediocrity at home cannot suffice the Cardinals in 2016.
Prediction: The Cardinals take two games out of three from the Marlins.
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Jim Tsapelas is a featured author at Baseball Thirty.