The Cardinals haven’t had the best start to September, but things are heading back in the right direction. After their series with Washington, they are going to play a sub-par Tigers team in a three-game series. They should be able to take advantage of this opportunity and get back on track before returning home to face the Pirates.
The first game of the series will be played on Friday. The Cards will send Austin Gomber to the mound to square off with Daniel Norris.
Norris is in his fifth big league season, though he’s missed the majority of it due to injury. He’s only made six appearances on a big league mound in 2018, three out of the pen and three as a starter. In those six games he’s gone 0-3 with a 5.49 ERA, 1.373 WHIP and 25 strikeouts over 19.2 innings.
Norris’ last start came against the Yankees on the first of this month. In that game he pitched 4.1 innings, allowed two runs on one hit and struck out seven. Friday will be his first career game against St. Louis.
Austin Gomber has been outstanding for the Redbirds in his rookie campaign. In 24 games, seven starts, he’s gone 5-0 and posted a 2.77 ERA over 55.1 innings. He stepped into the rotation full time back on August 4th and hasn’t looked back.
His last outing came against the Reds at Busch Stadium. He went seven innings and despite allowing 10 hits, only surrendered two runs and picked up the win. This will be his first appearance against the Tigers.
Saturday evening, Rookie of the Year candidate Jack Flaherty will take on Matthew Boyd.
Boyd has been in the big leagues for four seasons now, but has yet to find much success. He does have a WAR of 2.3 this year, according to Baseball Reference, but he also has a 9-12 record, 4.24 ERA and 4.05 FIP.
He did pick up a win his last time out against the Mets. That night Boyd threw six innings and allowed three runs on five hits, two home runs, and struck out six. Like both pitchers in game one, this will be Boyd’s first outing against the opposing team.
Flaherty is having a phenomenal rookie season. So far, he’s put up just eight wins to six losses, but his numbers don’t lie. He has a 2.9 WAR, 2.83 ERA, 3.79 FIP, 1.045 WHIP and 154 strikeouts in 127.1 innings over 23 starts.
His last outing wasn’t his best, but it was solid nonetheless. Flaherty pitched five innings of one-run ball against the Nationals, allowing just three hits and striking out five. It will also be his first career start against the Tigers.
The series and Cardinals road trip will wrap up on Sunday afternoon. In that matchup, John Gant will go against Michael Fulmer.
Fulmer was heavily rumored to be on the move at the trade deadline, but the Tigers couldn’t find a partner. He hasn’t been as good this season as in years past, posting a 3-10 record, 4.38 FIP and 4.57 ERA in 22 starts. He is currently nursing a small injury to his right shin, but it shouldn’t affect his availability for Sunday’s start.
Fulmer was solid in his last outing against the White Sox. He went 5.2 innings and allowed just one run on one hit, a solo home run, while he struck out five. The Tigers went on to lose the game and Fulmer took the no-decision. Following suit with the other starters in this series, Fulmer has yet to make an appearance against the Cardinals in his young career.
John Gant has been a solid starter for the Cards in a season where he wasn’t expected to be in the rotation mix quite this much. He’s made 22 appearances this year,15 starts, going 6-5 with a 3.19 ERA. In 96 innings pitched he has struck out 80 batters and walked just 46.
The walks are what caught up with him in his last start against the Nationals though, when he issued five free passes in 4.1 innings. He didn’t allow a run but came out of the game with his pitch count at 87. The Cardinals did go on to take the game 11-8, but Gant didn’t qualify for the win.
Gant has faced the Tigers one time, back on September 30th of 2016, which ended up being his last game with the Atlanta Braves. He finished the game, a 6-2 loss, by pitching an inning and a third without allowing a baserunner. He’s the only starting pitcher in the series with prior experience against the opposing team.
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