Shelby Miller (7-6, 3.56 ERA) looks to fight through injuries of his own to bolster this ailing rotation heading into the season’s midway point. With Michael Wacha and Jaime Garcia already on the DL, the Cardinals cannot afford to lose Miller as well, so the discomfort he felt in his last start is more than concerning. In his last three starts, Miller is 1-1 with 2.01 ERA. Miller struggled against the Phillies, but has been hot of late, shutting out offensive powerhouse Toronto and only giving up one run to the Nationals. However, one concerning trend for Miller so far this season is his declining K/9 rate and increasing BB/9 rate. As a rookie, Miller struck out 8.8 batters per 9 innings and walked only 3.0, but this season, his K/9 rate has decreased to 6.3 while his BB/9 has increased to 4.1. As such, Miller has already almost walked as many batters this season (41) as he did all of last year (57).
Pitching for the Rockies tonight is league veteran Jorge De la Rosa (6-6, 4.75 ERA), now in his 7th year with the club. De la Rosa is in his 11th year in the league, and he has spent time in both the rotation and in the bullpen. While De la Rosa’s 2014 stats are nothing to admire, they are more or less in line with his career numbers. De la Rosa is walking hitters at a fairly high clip while not striking out many batters, but he’s done that his entire career. Truth be told, there really isn’t much to fear in this matchup, as De la Rosa has not escaped the 4th inning in either of his past two starts. Also, his 8.20 ERA for the month of June does not bode well for his prospects of staying in the rotation for the entirety of 2014.
The Skinny: This matchup favors the Cards, plain and simple. De la Rosa is not a very good pitcher; never has been, never will be, but he does manage to pull an impressive start out of his hat every once in a while. The Cards shouldn’t have a problem in this game as long as Shelby Miller pitches as he has been the past few games. The bigger picture for this game and series, though, is can Miller stay healthy to keep this team afloat before the All-Star break? If so, with Garcia and Wacha back for the second half of the season, this team could make a run. If not, we’re in for some trouble.