The Cardinals home stand will continue Monday night against another NL West team. After dropping two of three to the San Diego Padres, the Redbirds will open up a four game set with the defending National League Champion Dodgers tonight behind Miles Mikolas.
Squaring off with Mikolas will be Hyun-Jin Ryu. Ryu already has two wins this season and owns an ERA of 2.08.
Mikolas has struggled out of the gate this season. In his first outing on Opening Day in Milwuakee, he gave up five runs on three home runs in five innings. His second start in Pittsburgh was better, but still less than ideal. That game, he pitched five innings and allowed three runs on seven hits.
Overall Miles is 0-1 with a 7.20 ERA and 8.09 FIP. His one road loss is already more than he had throughout the entire 2018 campaign, when he went a perfect 10-0 away from St. Louis.
He will look to turn things around tonight though, in his first home start of 2019. Last year Mikolas was really tough at Busch, going 8-4 with a 2.17 ERA, 78 strikeouts and just 12 walks over 103.2 innings.
Keeping up that success will be no easy task against the Dodgers’ lineup. After two consecutive World Series appearances, LA has shown no signs of slowing down this year, going 8-2 in their first ten games.
This will be the first time since his rookie season, back in 2012, that Mikolas will face the Dodgers. That year he appeared in three games against LA, allowing one run in 3.1 relief innings. Clearly Miles is a much different pitcher with the Cardinals, and the Dodgers are a much different team, effectively making this their first meeting.
Unlike Mikolas, Ryu has gotten off to a hot start in 2019. In two home starts, against the Diamondbacks and Giants, he has gone six and seven innings, allowing just one and two runs respectively. He’s collected wins in both games and has struck out 13 total batters without issuing a walk.
This will be Ryu’s first away start of the season. In six road starts last year, he went 2-1 with a 3.58 ERA and 29 strikeouts over 27.2 innings. For his career, Ryu has a 22-15 record and a 3.56 ERA when pitching away from home.
Though Ryu has had good success over his career against the Cardinals, posting a 2.25 ERA in 28 innings, he didn’t fare too well in his only outing against them in 2018. On August 21, in Los Angeles, the Redbirds put up three runs against the lefty in just four innings.
Players to Watch
Throughout his big league tenure, Paul Goldschmidt has owned left-handed pitching. In 1197 plate appearances, Goldy owns a .322/.430/.587 slash line with 61 homers, 182 RBI and 189 walks.
Coming from the NL West, he’s also very familiar with the Dodgers. Over 130 games against them, he has a .302/.376/.551 slash line, 31 home runs and 98 RBI.
Looking at those stats it’s no surprise that Goldy has crushed Ryu. In 26 at-bats off Ryu, Goldschmidt has 11 total hits, three doubles, three home runs, three walks and nine RBI, for a .423 average and 1.367 OPS.
Former Rookie of the Year Cody Bellinger has played like an MVP in his first 10 games of 2019. He currently leads the league with 17 runs, 20 hits, seven home runs, 18 RBI, a .455 average, 1.023 slugging percentage, 1.512 OPS, 279 OPS+ and 45 total bases.
Though he hasn’t hit the Cardinals well in his two years, putting up a mere .189/.250/.321 slash line, he has hit right-handed pitching really well. In 827 total plate appearances against righties, Bellinger has 51 home runs, 116 RBI, 100 walks and a .942 OPS. Those numbers, combined with how hot he’s been, do not bode well for a struggling Miles Mikolas.
Featured Image by the Associated Press