The Cardinals start their July road odyssey with three games in
Since the millennium, the Cardinals have owned
Mostly well-known tidbit: Cincinnati is the oldest franchise in baseball, in terms of continuous play. They used to play the first game of the baseball season, until MLB threw tradition on the scrap heap (see play, interleague and All-Star Game, ‘this time it counts’). Also, the Reds didn’t believe in retiring numbers until 1998. Before that, only Fred Hutchinson (who died while working for the team in 1964, number retired in 1965) and Johnny Bench (1984) had been so honored. Since then they’ve retired another 7 numbers.
3 July: Piniero vs Homer Bailey. Bailey (1-0, 8.68) is a ‘can’t miss’ prospect who’s struggled at the ML level. He is only 23, so he’s far from a bust; but time will tell if he lives up to expectations. Bailey has started 2 games this year, thrown an average of 100 pitches, and retired a total of 28 hitters. Bailey suffers from ‘walk-itis’ – he walked 6 and 7, respectively, in his two starts. Our not-so-patient club (see 29 June’s game vs Lincecum) would be well-served to take some pitches against this guy. He’s faced the Cardinals twice; he’s 0-2 with a 14+ ERA, and has never survived the fourth inning. His last start was 10 June 08.
Good Ol’ Joel followed his 2-hit masterpiece against the Mets with a loss to
4 July: Thompson vs Micah Owings. Micah Owings is one of the best hitting pitchers in baseball. His BABIP is a ridiculous .381. Thankfully his pitching isn’t quite so stellar (5-8, 4.63), although he’s won 2 of his last 3 starts, and he pitched well overall in June (2-2, 3.72). He’s only started one game against
Brad Thompson hasn’t had a run scored for him in his last 14 innings pitched. Although based on the scores of his last two starts, some run support wouldn’t have changed the outcome at all. Let’s hope the Cardinal offense shows up on the Fourth. His last start vs the Reds was 2 June, when he went 5 innings in a no-decision (the Cards won 5-2). Brad’s pitched against the Reds more than any other team in the league, and he’s 3-0, 3.69 in 20 appearances (5 starts). He’s 1-0 with a 2.14 ERA at GAB, and in his last start there (15 Aug 08) he went 5 and won 5-3.
Fourth of July Trivia: The Cardinals last played the Reds in 2000 (W), and in
5 July: Carpenter vs Bronson Arroyo. Carp gets a break from his run of Cy Young-winner opponents, with the decidedly non-elite Bronson Arroyo. It’s not a good sign when you’re best known for long hair, guitar-playing, and a funky delivery, as opposed to actual pitching results. Arroyo is 8-7 with a stratospheric 5.69 ERA in 16 starts this year. He gives up a LOT of HR – in fact, the 20 he’s given up lead the league. Starting a day game in that bandbox? How many HR will Pujols hit – 3? 4?
Arroyo is 5-7 with a 4.57 ERA in 18 starts against
Carpenter comes off his worst start of the year. He can’t help but be better, because that was truly awful. He threw a complete game 3 hitter against
Prognosis. As the Cardinals careen towards .500, urgency is growing to stay in the race. This year’s NL Central is pretty weak and ripe for the taking; but the offense has to wake up. There is no better time than a 3-game series in
Cards sweep this series.