The St. Louis Cardinals look to set off a few fireworks of their own this Fourth of July, as they welcome the Miami Marlins to Busch Stadium to kick off a pretty favorable home-stretch against two third placed teams.
Miami comes into tonights game with a 41-44 record, six games back behind the Atlanta Braves in the NL East. After three straight games vs. the Marlins, the Cardinals will host the Pittsburgh Pirates for a four games series. Pittsburgh is currently looking up at the second place Cardinals and first place Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central.
St. Louis is back in the friendly confines of Busch after a west coast swing that saw the Cards go 5-and-5. They hit a rough patch against the Dodgers and Giants, suffering through a 24-inning scoreless streak, but won two in a row to finish the series in San Francisco. St. Louis finally found its offense, winning a 2-0 game on Wednesday night, and the Cardinals finished the trip strong with a 7-2 victory on Thursday night.
Three Cardinals–Matt Carpenter, Jon Jay and Matt Adams–notched doubles against the Giants on Thursday; and short stop Jhonny Peralta went deep for the 12th time this season with a first inning home run against Giants’ lefty Madison Bumgarner.
St. Louis enters this home stretch boasting a 46-40 record, currently five games behind Milwaukee for first place in the division. Though the road trip was essentially a wash, the Cardinals have plenty of reason to feel good heading back home, especially after winning the Giants series.
“Winning these two and to win this series was a huge, huge thing for us,” Matt Carpenter said, according to Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com. “If you look at it, the toughest part of our schedule is over. We still have to play good baseball, but it is lining up for us to take off.”
Storyline: How Will Lance Lynn Hold Up?
St. Louis opens the series against Miami with right-hander Lance Lynn (8-6, 3.38 ERA) on the mound. The Marlins will trot out their own right-hander, Nathan Eovaldi (5-3, 3.71 ERA).
It will be interesting to see how Lynn holds up this time around, after being taken out of last Saturday’s game against the Dodgers because of an open blister. He only pitched two innings, and gave up six runs to his name.
According to Caitlin Swieca of MLB.com, Cardinals’ manager Mike Matheny doesn’t seem to be too worried about Lynn; but he was cautious. “Everything looks good. It’s something we’ll have to continue to keep an eye on,” Matheny said. “Those things can end up causing you more trouble than what you want. But he seems to be toughening up that weak skin.”
Eovaldi is 0-0 against St. Louis in two career starts. His era is 3.21 against the Cardinals, and he’s pitched 11 and 2/3’s innings against St. Louis. He threw 113 pitches in his last start, against Oakland, giving up eight hits and five earned runs. Four of those runs came in the first inning.
When: Friday 7/4, 6:15 P.M. CT
Where: Busch Stadium. St. Louis, MO
Radio: KMOX 1120
TV: Fox Sports Midwest