Can Bader & Miller stay hot, or can O’Neill re-heat?
Harrison Bader found his stride in the Reds and Royals series. After back-to-back homers against Cinci, he now sits as the Cardinals third hottest bat per wRC+ ranking 55% above the MLB average. Bader is riding a four-game hit streak in games that he’s started, having six extra-base hits over this streak. Bader did not start in the finale of the Royals series after suffering from a severe migraine, entering the game as a pinch-runner in the eighth. He is expected to rejoin the starting lineup on Thursday.
Paul Goldschmidt & Brad Miller both sit within the top five in the MLB in OBP (.487 and .477 respectively). Goldy’s 21.8% BB% ranks second-best in the NL behind only Will Smith of the Dodgers. Millers 53.6% Hard Hit % sits at 15th best of all qualified hitters in the National League.
Josh Bell has historically been a Cardinals killer, with a .342 career wOBA and 112 career wRC+. Bell has struggled mightily so far in 2020 though, with his 43 wRC+ ranking as second-worst on the Pirates and going hitless in his last three outings, dropping his season average to a lowly .198.
Colin Moran has been the Pirates’ best hitter so far in 2020, with six homers and four doubles. His 130 OPS+ leads the team, which was greatly helped by his three doubles game against the Brewers. In that series, Moran has six hits and a walk in 10 plate appearances to really spearhead the Pirates to the series sweep.
With the Redbirds now sitting at 11-9 and only two games back of the Cubs, getting a sweep in this doubleheader could be big with the Cubbies not playing today. The pitching matchups look fun and I’m looking forward to seeing some Oviedo strikeouts and Bader staying hot (never thought I’d be saying that to close out an article)!