After last night’s disappointing loss to the Brewers, the Cardinals now sit 3.5 games out in the NL Central. Today they turn to new acquisition Justin Masterson to end their losing streak at home and prevent falling any further in the standings.

The Pitching Matchup: Masterson (4-6, 5.51 ERA) makes his first start for the Cardinals after coming over from the Cleveland Indians tonight at 7:15 CST. So far this season, Masterson hasn’t been able to repeat his career-best performance from last year, and I wrote earlier this week about how I felt his addition was a mistake by the Cards’ front office. That being said, the Cards definitely have confidence in the sidewinder, and Manager Mike Matheny stated his approval earlier today.

images

“Yes, the numbers don’t quite look the same as what they looked last year, but we’re talking a year ago,” Matheny said. “Still, good movement, he’s able to attack the strike zone. We can see there’s a lot of potential here to help us out.”

Only a handful of these current Brewers have faced Masterson before, but they have had great success. Lyle Overbay is 6 for 11 against Masterson while Irving Falu is 2 for 2 and Gerardo Parra is 2 for 3. Masterson didn’t last very long in his last start, giving up 5 earned runs in just 2 innings pitched against the Yankees.

Pitching for the Brewers tonight is Kyle Lohse (11-5, 3.07 ERA), a Cardinal for five years from 2008 to 2012. Lohse has been a dominant pitcher this year for the Brewers, compiling a 2.3 WAR and a 122 ERA+. However, Lohse has only faced the Cards once this season, throwing 6 innings of three run ball and taking a no-decision. For their careers, Matt Holliday and Jhonny Peralta have had decent success against Lohse, with Holliday batting .338 with a homer and Jhonny Peralta going 5 for 17.

The Skinny: While not a must-win game, this game is crucial to the remainder of the Cards’ season. Right now the Cardinals cannot afford to drop any further back in the division, especially with Cincinnati rebounding from their rough start out of the break. Hopefully, Justin Masterson can prove his worth tonight, and the Cards rebound for a decisive win against the Crew.

The Lineup:

  1. Matt Carpenter 3B
  2. Kolten Wong 2B
  3. Matt Holliday Lf
  4. Matt Adams 1B
  5. Jhonny Peralta SS
  6. Oscar Taveras RF
  7. Peter Bourjos CF
  8. Tony Cruz C
  9. Masterson P