The Cardinals are coming off of a series win against the Cubs. They took two of three games in the weekend series, dropping the finale on Sunday. Now, with the trade deadline looming, they are getting ready for a four-game series with the Colorado Rockies.
John Mozeliak and company have still not made any moves indicating whether or not they’re buying or selling. At just one game over .500 and less than two days remaining until the deadline, this Rockies series could be a big one.
If St. Louis is to get in the playoffs, it’s likely going to be via the Wild Card game. They currently sit five games out, trailing four teams for the second spot. The Rockies are one of those teams, at half a game back. Should the Redbirds take the first game convincingly, it may be enough to sway Mozeliak into making a move to win. If they fall on their face, he may do the opposite.
The trade deadline is 4 pm ET on Tuesday, so the Cards will get in just one game with the Rox before then. Either way, it is still a big series for how the remainder of their season could go. The Rockies could bury them in both the Division and the Wild Card, or the Cardinals could get themselves back into the race for the second Wild Card spot.
Game one of the series will be Monday night. It will see the return of Carlos Martinez for the Cardinals. He will face off with Tyler Anderson.
Martinez missed another week with an oblique strain but looks to get back on track tonight. His last two starts were a little bumpy, going just five innings each time. He allowed three runs in the first and five in the second, all earned.
For the season Martinez has decent numbers, going 6-6 with a 3.39 ERA. His innings and strikeouts haven’t been there this season though. He has just 89 strikeouts in 95.2 innings this season over 17 starts. Martinez also has a FIP of 3.83 and a WHIP of 1.390.
Carlos has struggled against the Rockies over his career. Despite being 3-1, he has a 6.35 ERA and a 1.647 WHIP. They’ve hit him hard too. He’s allowed a .329 average to the Rox, a .429 BABIP, a .892 OPS and a tOPS+ of 160.
Tyler Anderson is having a career year for the Rockies. In his third big league season, the 28-year-old lefty has already surpassed his career high in starts, innings pitched, strikeouts and has tied his highest win total.
He comes into Monday night with a 6-3 record and a very respectable 3.57 ERA. What makes his success even more impressive is the fact that he’s made over half his starts at Coors Field. Anderson also has a 4.1 WAR in 2018, which ranks 10th in all of baseball among pitchers.
Anderson’s only career start against St. Louis came on September 19, 2016. He got stuck with the loss, despite going seven innings, striking out seven and only allowing two runs.
Tuesday night’s game will feature two future aces in Jon Gray and Jack Flaherty.
Many thought that Gray would be the ace for Colorado this season. However, he hasn’t pitched very well this season. He’s still young though, at 26, and still has time to grow.
This season, Gray has gone 8-7 with a 5.16 ERA and has posted a 1.3 WAR in 19 starts. He’s still getting a lot of strikeouts, 131 over 106.1 innings, but he’s also given up quite a few hits at 114. Despite his high ERA, his FIP is at a career low 3.00, suggesting he has been better than his numbers let on. However, his 1.373 WHIP could use some improvement.
Gray has just two starts against the Cardinals in his career. Neither of which have gone well for him. He’s allowed 11 total runs over the two outings and gone just 8.1 innings for an ERA of 11.88.
Flaherty is having a good sophomore campaign for the Redbirds. He’s probably gotten more work to this point than expected, after starting the season in Triple-A. With the loss of Alex Reyes, he’s been asked to carry a big load for the Cards and he’s answered the bell.
In 16 starts this year, he’s gone 4-5 with a 3.28 ERA, 4.05 FIP, 1.118 WHIP and 104 strikeouts over 85 innings pitched. According to Baseball Reference, he has put up a 1.5 WAR this season as well.
Tuesday will be Jack’s first ever start against the Rockies.
The third game of the series will be started by Kyle Freeland and Luke Weaver. Weaver has had his struggles for the Cards this year, while on the other side, Freeland has been one of the top pitchers in the National League.
Freeland is in his second year as a big league starter and is making the most of the opportunity. He’s been the best pitcher on the Rockies staff this year at just 25-years old.
After finishing seventh in Rookie of the Year voting last season, Freeland has been even better this season. By WAR, Freeland ranks fifth in all of baseball among starting pitchers. He has a 9-6 record, 3.13 ERA, 151 ERA+, 4.08 FIP and 100 strikeouts over 126.2 innings.
Freeland’s only start against the Cardinals came on May 27 of last year. He allowed three runs, on eight hits, over six innings that day and took the loss.
Luke Weaver hasn’t had the best year for St. Louis. He was expected to do a lot for them in the rotation this year, after an impressive run at the end of last season, but he’s been less than impressive.
Over 21 starts this year, Weaver has gone 6-9 with a 4.70 ERA. He has just 103 strikeouts over 113 innings and has walked 41 batters. His FIP sits at 4.21 and his WHIP is 1.381. He’s had a decent string of starts recently, with the exception of one against the Cubs where he walked five batters, lowering his ERA from 5.16 to 4.70, but he needs to keep it going.
That might be tougher than it sounds though. Luke only has one career start against Colorado and it didn’t go well. He went just two innings and allowed six runs on seven hits and a walk. Luckily for him and the Cards, it was just one start and he could very well turn around and pitch really well tonight.
The Cardinals will be behind their ace in the series finale. Miles Mikolas will square off with 23-year old Antonio Senzatela on Thursday.
Senzatela is not having as good of a season as he might’ve hoped after going 10-5 in his rookie campaign. He spent most of the year as a reliever, until he recently stepped into the rotation and has since made four consecutive starts.
Despite his 5.01 ERA, Antonio has a very good FIP of 3.79. He’s walked a few batters though and has given up a hit per inning, for a WHIP of 1.335. In his four starts, he’s been very hit or miss. His first start was a good one, where he threw seven shutout innings. However, he combined for just 11.1 innings in his next two and allowed 10 total runs. Then, in his most recent start, he allowed just one run over 5.2 innings. It’s anyone’s guess which guy will show up for Thursday’s game.
Antonio has two career starts against the Cardinals, both coming last season. In those two starts, he is 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA, allowing just four runs over 12 innings pitched.
All-Star and staff ace Miles Mikolas will get the go for the Redbirds in the series finale. Mikolas has come back from Japan and pitched better than maybe even he expected this year.
The Cardinals didn’t think they’d need Mikolas to be as good as he has, but it’s a good thing he has been. Over 21 starts this year Miles is 11-3 with a 2.83 ERA and a 3.1 WAR, according to Baseball Reference. In 130.1 innings Mikolas has walked just 23 batters to 91 strikeouts. His 3.31 FIP and 1.074 WHIP have been equally impressive, as he continues to be one of the best pitchers in the National League.
Mikolas has never started a game against Colorado. He did make a couple of relief appearances against them before he went overseas, but Thursday will be his first start.