It’s been nearly a year since the Cardinals last played the Kansas City Royals. And the Cards in-state rival is certainly in a much different place now that they were when the teams matched up in 2014.
Last year, the Cards hosted the Royals for two games at Busch Stadium on June 2-3 then were the visitors for two at Kauffman Stadium on June 4-5. It was definitely not a good four-game series for the Redbirds, as they lost both games at home before winning the first in K.C. and losing the second. After the final game, the Cardinals record was 31-30 and they were in second place in the NL Central and five games behind the Brewers. We obviously know how that Milwaukee lead held up …
Winning those three games gave the Royals a record of 29-31 and boosted them up from last place in the AL Central to a fourth-place tie with the Minnesota Twins — though both were just four games behind the division-leading Detroit Tigers.
Obviously, things improved from there as the Royals went 60-42 throughout the rest of the regular season to clinch one of the AL wild card spots. After the crazy comeback win in 12 innings over the Oakland A’s in the wild card game, they swept their way through the ALDS over the Angels and ALCS over the Orioles to meet up with the
stupid, awful, lucky San Francisco Giants in the World Series.
And the Giants are the team the Cardinals saw last October also, in the NLCS, as we unfortunately remember. Before playing for the NL pennant, the Cards went 59-42 through the rest of the regular season to win the NL Central plus defeated the Dodgers in the NLDS.
No streak lasts forever (except, perhaps, the 100-plus year streak of the Cubs not winning the World Series). And the St. Louis Cardinals 6-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays brought numerous streaks to an end.
To begin with, the Cardinals three-game winning streak ended.
That also means, unfortunately, so did the consecutive shutout streak by the Cards pitchers after three straight games. The streak of not allowing a run did reach 30 innings before coming to an end, however — and that streak is a tremendous accomplishment.
The end of the pitcher’s scoreless streak also meant the subsequent finish to the Rays’ own such streak on offense, which had reached 31 innings (with 12 of those against the Cardinals).
Then there’s Michael Wacha’s streak this year of not allowing more than three earned runs in a game this season. He gave up four runs to the Rays in the fourth inning and he obviously was not at his best. Wacha walked four — two in the fourth inning — and didn’t strike out a batter, which not surprisingly was a career first (and thus another streak that came to an end).
The less said about the Giants series, the better — so let’s look ahead to these next four games when the Cardinals face the Kansas City Royals for two games at Busch Stadium and then two games at Kauffman Stadium.
Since it’s been just over a year since the Cards and Royals last met — May 27-30, 2013, to be exact — an update on how the 2014 team is doing seems like a good idea.
Here to provide what we need to know about the Cards’ neighbors to the west on I-70 is Jen Nevius of Drinking the Royals Blue Aid. And you might be surprised as you read on — right now, other than the standings, these two teams are more alike than you might think.
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The Royals are heading into this series with St. Louis with a 26-30 record, good enough for dead last in the American League Central. Not a lot has been going right for the underachieving Royals, especially offensively. That led to a coaching carousel and Dale Sveum taking over the hitting coach duties at the end of his past week.
As a Cardinals fan, what do you need to know about your opponent the next four days? Here are five things to know about the Royals:
1. Power outage: The Royals have hit just 24 home runs this season, the least amount in the Majors. Their current roster has hit 22. Their normal middle of the order — Eric Hosmer, Billy Butler and Alex Gordon — have combined to hit six (with four hit by Gordon).
To go along with that power outage, many complain about how hard it is to hit the long ball at Kauffman Stadium. Well, opponents have hit 25 home runs this season at the K. The Royals? Just 10. Continue reading
The St. Louis Cardinals play their final interleague series this weekend as the Seattle Mariners come to town. It’s been a couple years since the two teams have played — since June 2010, actually.
And with the Cardinals currently in a first-place tie with the Pittsburgh Pirates (thanks a lot, Cubs!), it goes without saying (though everyone is saying it anyway) that every game is big with only 16 remaining. So this weekend is now the biggest series ever … until Monday and the four games in Colorado.
Anyway, looking back to 2010, the Cardinals took two of three from the Mariners, June 14-16 at Busch Stadium, and have won six of the nine games the two teams have played. Two of the three Mariner wins came during their first-ever series back in June 2002, including a Joel Piniero victory over Darryl Kile on June 12 — the second-to-last time Kile would ever pitch.
So what about today’s Mariners? They are currently 65-81, in fourth place in the American League West and have lost four straight, with the previous three a sweep by the Houston Astros. This month they are 3-8 and they’re 7-10 this season in interleague play. (The Cardinals, by the way, are 8-9.) They are 32-39 on the road.
The Mariner who many were looking forward to seeing, former Cardinal shortstop Brendan Ryan, was traded to the New York Yankees earlier in the week. And perhaps the best Mariner, former Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez, won’t pitch this weekend.
So who will? Here’s a look at the three starting pitchers for the series.
If it seems like the St. Louis Cardinals haven’t played the Oakland A’s in a while, that’s because they haven’t.
The last time was in June 2010, as a matter of fact — a three-game series at Busch Stadium where the Cardinals won two of three. Oh, and Jeff Suppan started the game they lost (although Blake Hawksworth was the losing pitcher) and such Cardinals as Felipe Lopez, Randy Winn and Nick Stavinoha all played.
(On a more positive note, the wins in that series came from Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright.)
To help get us all up to speed on the 2013 team, here are three things to know about the Oakland Athletics from Tamara Davis of The Oaktown Breakdown, the Aerys A’s site.
1. Coming into Friday, the A’s have a 46-34 record and are currently second in the AL West, just half a game behind the Texas Rangers. They have a 14-10 record for the month of June and are 5-5 over their last 10 games. After sweeping the two-game series against the Cincinnati Reds this week, they are now 7-2 in interleague games this season, also taking three out of four from the San Francisco Giants and two out of three from the Milwaukee Brewers.