Cardinals: Tommy Edman vs. Madison Bumgarner is intriguing matchup

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Tommy Edman #19 of the St. Louis Cardinals in action against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on May 1, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Tommy Edman #19 of the St. Louis Cardinals in action against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on May 1, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /
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Cardinals’ Tommy Edman has had a strong start to the season, and that could continue against Madison Bumgarner on Friday night.

Tommy Edman has been the most pleasant surprise for the St. Louis Cardinals this season. He is hitting at a high level and playing even better defense, primarily playing at second base while seeing time at shortstop and the outfield.

But on Friday night, in a matchup against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Edman could be primed for a breakout game. As noted by Inside Edge, Edman is 18 for 45 (.400) against breaking pitches this season, which is tied for best in Major League Baseball. Madison Bumgarner, the Diamondbacks’ starting pitcher, has thrown breaking pitches 59.7 percent of the time this season, tied for second highest among qualified starters.

Now, this doesn’t guarantee that Edman is going to have a big game. Opponents are hitting .172 against Bumgarner’s curveball this season and .200 against his changeup. The pitch he has been most vulnerable on is his cutter, with opponents hitting .296 against it with three home runs and six extra-base hits.

But the matchup certainly favors Edman and could further establish him as one of the Cardinals’ most important players. He is hitting .273/.323/.392 with four home runs and 14 RBI while stealing nine bases. His defense has been sublime and what has prompted recent buzz from scouts calling him one of the most underrated players in baseball.

The Cardinals have certainly needed Edman. Without his performance, it’s unlikely they would have led the National League Central through 50 games. It’s everything the organization could have hoped for when they decided to part ways with Kolten Wong. And quite frankly, they couldn’t have asked for anything more.

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Friday is yet another way for Edman to show his value. And if the start of the season is any indication, he is likely to come through.

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