A Look At This Weekend’s Cardinals-Phillies Series

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.

Phillies-LogoHow 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. Continue reading

Finally, Cardinals Baseball Again Starting Tonight

dodgers_logoThe All-Star break seems like it’s been going on forever but, at last, the Cardinals are back in action tonight at Busch Stadium to begin a five-game homestand.

First up: three games against the Dodgers, who haven’t played in St. Louis since last October and the National League Championship Series. While these games don’t have exactly the same magnitude, the Dodgers currently are leading the National League West by just one game over the Giants and the Cardinals are only one game behind the Brewers in the National League Central.

To help prepare you for the series, here’s a preview courtesy of the latest issue of The Bird’s Eye View from the United Cardinal Bloggers, which I wrote. If you don’t yet receive these previews before each series, subscribe now here to stay up-to-date throughout the second half of the season.

Birds Eye View Header

Los Angeles Dodgers (54-43) vs. St. Louis Cardinals (52-44)
July 18-20, 2014
Busch Stadium

Let the second half begin! Or, more accurately, let the final 40 percent of the season begin! (That really doesn’t have the same effect, does it?) Regardless of the schedule-related math, the All-Star break is finally over. Time to get back to real baseball that matters, where we don’t have to hear about That Guy Who Plays Shortstop In New York And Is Retiring for a while (although, hey, it’s his final start to the second half of the season tonight!) nor hear the words “pipe shot” anymore. (Hopefully. Thankfully.)

Tonight it’s back to National League baseball at Busch Stadium, where the pitcher bats and these games really do count for something: the Dodgers battle for the top spot in the NL West and the Cardinals fight for the same in the NL Central. Yes, the Dodgers return to St. Louis for the first time since last October’s National League Championship Series for these next three games. Let’s take a look at what’s ahead … Continue reading

Cards Home Again, To Face The First-Place Nationals

washington_nationals_logoThe Cardinals returns home to Busch Stadium for a 10-game series against the National League East, beginning with three against the first-place Nationals.

First-place Nationals? Yes, I was surprised too — I hadn’t looked at the standings in a week or so. Yet they are, and they’ve been on roll as of late — they won three straight over the Giants in San Francisco before losing yesterday afternoon after taking two of three last weekend in San Diego.

Here’s a preview of the upcoming three games, from the latest issue of the United Cardinal Bloggers email preview series The Bird’s Eye View.

If you don’t yet receive it, subscribe now here to stay up-to-date throughout the season.

Birds Eye View HeaderWashington Nationals (35-30) at St. Louis Cardinals (34-32)
June 13-15, 2014
Busch Stadium

How We Got Here
Does this sound familiar? The Cardinals, coming off a disappointing loss of an interleague game in which they had a lead, enter the weekend facing the East’s first place team, one that’s been hot and won eight of its previous 10 games, with Lance Lynn, Shelby Miller and Jaime Garcia set to start?

Yes, it’s deja vu all over again – only with the Cardinals back at home to face the National League East-leading Washington Nationals this weekend. St. Louis is the final stop on the Nationals three-city road trip where they’ve taken two of three from the Padres, three of four from the Giants and the NL East lead from the Braves. The Cardinals return home after their own three-city journey through Kansas City, Toronto and Tampa Bay that began with a victory over the Royals and included three straight shutout wins — two over the Blue Jays, one over the Rays. The other three games were losses — and the Cards scored first in all three. Ah, these 2014 Cardinals …

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A First Coming Up In Pittsburgh This Weekend

Ah, Pittsburgh … and here the Cardinals are, back there again.

PNC Park - Sept. 1, 2013

PNC Park – Sept. 1, 2013

We all know PNC Park is beautiful. If you’ve ever been there, you know it’s true and even if you’ve just seen it on television, you can tell also. Plus the FOX Sports Midwest announcers remind us of that fact every single game that’s there.

We’ll be hearing a lot about how beautiful the ballpark is on Sunday, I’m betting, plus a lot about the 2013 Pirates’ success since it’s a monumental game that night: the first-ever broadcast from PNC on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball.

There’s more on that in the preview below, which is the latest issue of The Bird’s Eye View e-newsletter, produced before each series by a member of the United Cardinal Bloggers — and I wrote this one.

If you don’t yet receive our e-newsletter, subscribe now here to stay up-to-date throughout the season.

Birds Eye View HeaderSt. Louis Cardinals (18-17) at Pittsburgh Pirates (14-20)
May 9-11, 2014
PNC Park, Pittsburgh

Okay, who predicted that the Cardinals would be four games behind the Brewers in second place in the National League Central and the Pirates would be 7 1/2 games back in fourth place when the two teams met for the third time of the year and second time at PNC Park? Or even that the Brewers would be in first place on May 9 and tied for the best record in baseball?

Needless to say, the season isn’t off to the kind of start any of us were expecting. (Probably. Someone will no doubt say he or she knew it all along.) The good news: it’s May 9. The Cardinals have played only 35 games. There’s plenty of season left. Continue reading

The Cardinals Bird’s Eye View: Pirates Series Preview

pirateslogoAh, the Pirates … ahoy there again, mateys! The Cardinals haven’t seen you in about six months now, not since they ended your storybook season in Game Five of the NLDS.

Here’s a preview of this weekend’s games at PNC Park from the latest issue of The Bird’s Eye View, produced before each series by a member of the United Cardinal Bloggers — and I just happened to write this one.

If you don’t yet receive it, subscribe now here to stay up-to-date throughout the season.

Birds Eye View HeaderSt. Louis Cardinals (2-1) vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (2-1)
April 4-6
PNC Park

After taking the first series of the season in Cincinnati, the St. Louis Cardinals continue their National League Central tour against the team they played the most in 2013: the Pittsburgh Pirates. The two battled 24 times last season and split those games, with the Pirates winning the regular season series 10 games to 9 but the Cards taking the more important postseason series 3 games to 2. These three games are the first of 19 regular season contests between the two in 2014. And, before we’ve quick to say that they won’t meet in October again this year, think back to the beginning of April 2013. Would you have imagined then the Cardinals and Pirates would play in the NLDS?

The Pirates have a little bit different look from last season after A.J. Burnett, Marlon Byrd, Garrett Jones and Justin Morneau departed. Newcomers include Edinson Volquez, who will face the Cards on Sunday, and Travis Ishikawa. They also, of course, have the reigning National League MVP in Andrew McCutchen and Manager of the Year in Clint Hurdle.

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Taking a Look at the Seattle Mariners

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.

Seattle-Mariners-LogoAnyway, 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.

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Five Things to Know About the Pirates

From sweeping the Phillies to being swept by the Braves … ugh.

Now it’s off to Pittsburgh for the Cardinals where — perhaps you’ve heard — there’s a five-game series coming up these next four days. Since the Cards haven’t played the Pirates since the end of April, I asked Brian McElhinny of Raise the Jolly Roger for an update. Here are his five things to know. (I provided him with five things on the Cardinals too, which you can find here.)

pirateslogo1) The Bucs are for real. Obviously the standings will tell you that this is a big series, but if I was a Cardinals fan I’m not sure I would really be taking the Pirates seriously at this point. They’ve been a joke for 20 years and after strong starts the last two years, they collapsed in the second half. Well, I don’t know if these Pirates are one of the top-5 teams in baseball or if they’ll match the Cardinals through the rest of the year, but they’re in a great position to finally complete a winning season … and even if they don’t win the division, they’ve got a huge lead in the wild card and look to be playoff-bound. That said, there are only about 60 games left, and the Pirates have played well against the Cardinals lately … even during last year’s collapse … and they will see each other a lot the rest of the way. Buckle up.

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Three Things For Cardinals Fans To Know About The A’s

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.)

OaklandTo 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.

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