St. Louis Cardinals: Five Things to Watch in First Chicago Series
Cardinal Starting Rotation vs. Chicago Lineup
The Cardinals will send Mike Leake to the hill tonight, followed by Jaime Garcia in Game Two and Carlos Martinez in the finale.
Leake has struggled in April after turning in a strong spring down in Jupiter. Leake has surrendered four earned runs in each of his two starts, going 0-2 with a 6.97 ERA in 10 1/3 innings.
Tonight’s start could be a big one (good or bad) in terms of the direction that Leake is headed as the Cardinals’ fifth starter.
Jaime Garcia, our game two starter, is coming off of one of the best performances in all of Major League Baseball thus far in 2016, and arguably the best of his career.
All Jaime did last time out was strike out 13 Milwaukee hitters en route to his first complete game shutout since he had two in his first eight starts back in 2011.
He carried a no hitter into the sixth, and finished the game with a single walk issue as well as a single hit allowed.
The Chicago lineup figures to challenge Jaime a bit more than those Brewers did, though.
Carlos Martinez will close things out for the Cards on Wednesday. He’s been the same filthy “Tsunamy” in 2016 as he was a season ago, en route to an early 2-0 record.
Were it not for one mistake pitch in his last start on Friday against Joey Votto and the Reds, he very well could have been on his way to a “Jaime-like” performance of his own.
Carlos is 2-0 in his career against Chicago with fairly high ERA (4.55) and WHIP (1.453) values in 31 2/3 innings pitched.
The Cubs are second to the Cardinals in runs scored so far in 2016, and their team OBP of .356 ranks third behind St. Louis (.362) and Pittsburgh (.385).
The Cubs are coming off of a 2-0 shutout loss to the Rockies at home in a series that they lost two of three.
Between the Cubs’ five middle-of-the-order bats, Ben Zobrist, Heyward, Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and Jorge Soler, they have struck out 47 times in 201 at-bats.
Soler has the highest average of those five, checking in at .235.
It’s pretty simple, really, keep those big bats down and don’t let them break out against us. Leake needs to really step up and set the tone in game one tonight.
Next: How much Hazelbaker/Diaz?