Ah, a Friday night game where the Cardinals play the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park … that reminds me of my favorite Cardinals game ever. And while the Cardinals could definitely find themselves playing Game Five of the National League Division Series again this year (although minus Chris Carpenter), the 56-71 Phillies definitely won’t. But they will take on the Redbirds this weekend — and here’s a preview of the series ahead.
How We Got Here
The Cardinals begin a six-game road trip that takes them to both Eastern and Western Pennsylvania, with the first stop being Philadelphia. The Cards enter tonight’s series having won four straight, including a sweep of the Reds, and seven of their last 10 games. They’re a season-high 12 games over .500, just 1.5 games behind the Brewers in the National League Central standings and currently hold the top spot in the NL wild card race with a two-game lead over the Giants.
The Phillies, on the other hand, are … well, not very good. They’re solidly in last place in the NL East, 17.5 games behind the first-place Nationals, and have spent much of the season there too. They did just win two of three from the Mariners, although they did not face Felix Hernandez, but have won just four of their previous 10 games.
The Cards and Phillies met in St. Louis for four games June 19-22 and split the series, with the Phillies taking the first two games and the Cardinals the last two.
Friday, Aug. 22
6:05 p.m. Central Time
Adam Wainwright (15-7, 2.40 ERA) vs. Kyle Kendrick (5-11, 4.90 ERA)
Mike Matheny adjusted the rotation to keep Wainwright on his regular rest and start tonight, which more importantly means he’ll be on track to start in the Cards’ remaining two series against the Pirates and Brewers. Wainwright has made 11 career appearances against the Phillies, including nine starts, and has a record of 5-1 with a 2.25 ERA. He faced them on June 21, picking up his 10th win of the season as he went 8 innings and allowed just 1 run on 6 hits with 7 strikeouts.
Kendrick faced the Cardinals the following day and was the losing pitcher, allowing 5 runs on 8 hits in 6 innings pitched. He’s made 11 career appearances against the Cardinals with nine starts with a 3.32 ERA. And here’s an interesting tidbit: Kendrick has a 9.00 ERA in the first inning, which is the highest in baseball among pitchers with at least 20 starts this season. He has also allowed eight first-inning home runs, including one Saturday to the Giants’ Hunter Pence.
Saturday, Aug. 23
6:05 p.m. Central Time
Shelby Miller (8-9, 4.25 ERA) vs. David Buchanan (6-7, 4.25 ERA)
Miller has faced the Phillies just twice in his career, and both times at Busch Stadium. His record is 1-1, with the loss coming on June 19, and he has a 2.84 ERA. Back in June he pitched 6.2 innings and allowed 4 earned runs on 7 hits, including a 2-run homer by Ryan Howard.
Buchanan was Miller’s starting counterpart on June 19 and it was the rookie’s first appearance against the Cardinals. He held the Cardinals to 4 hits and 1 run in 7.2 innings. He enters tomorrow’s game coming off back-to-back losses to the Mets and the Giants.
Sunday, Aug. 24
12:35 p.m. Central Time
Justin Masterson (6-7, 5.64 ERA) vs. Jerome Williams (3-5, 5.91 ERA)
Masterson has faced the Phillies three times previously … but it’s been a while. He made one start against them at Citizens Bank Park way back on June 18, 2008, when he was on the Red Sox. He picked up the win after allowing 2 runs on 4 hits in 5 innings. He also faced the Phils twice in relief in 2009 when he was still on the Sawx. He has a 2.16 ERA in those three appearances. This will be Masterson’s fifth Cardinals start. Of the previous four, the one against the Marlins was outstanding. In the other three, he allowed 5, 5 and 4 runs in 6, 2 and 5 innings respectively.
Williams will be making his third start as a Phillie, after the team claimed him off waivers from the Rangers on Aug. 10. He began the season as an Astro before he was released in July and signed by Texas. That’s a lot of moving in one season, but the Phillies are now his seventh team. He’s faced the Cardinals nine times in his career, starting eight of those, and most recently last season when he was on the Angels. It did not go well for him, as he only lasted 1.2 innings and allowed 7 runs on just 4 hits with 4 walks. Jon Jay hit a 2-run homer off Williams as the Cards won 12-2.
Cardinals team hitting: .254/.321/.375 (4th/4th/10th in NL)
Cardinals team ERA: 3.61 (8th in NL)
Phillies team hitting: .242/.304/.365 (12th/12th/13th in NL)
Phillies team ERA: 3.97 (13th in NL)
Who’s Hot and Who’s Not (last 7 days)
Hot: Jon Jay, .556
Peter Bourjos, .500
Daniel Descalso, .429
Not: Kolten Wong, .136
Shane Robinson, .143
Tony Cruz, .167
Hot: Cody Asche, .389
Darin Ruf, .364
Ben Revere, .345
Not: Carlos Ruiz, .091
Chase Utley, .208
Jimmy Rollins, .211