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Game Preview: Cards at O’s (8/9/2014)

The first half of the Cardinals’ Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of trade deadline acquisitions pitched yesterday, now its time to see the better half. Coming into today’s game, the Cards sit 2 games back in the NL Central and are 0.5 games back in the wild card chase. However, the Orioles are one of the hottest teams in the MLB and show no signs of ending their offensive outburst any time soon.

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The Pitching Matchup: John Lackey (12-7, 3.55 ERA) takes the field for the Cardinals this afternoon looking to better the effort put out by Justin Masterson last night. In his first appearance with the Cardinals, Lackey bested the Brew Crew with 7 innings pitched only allowing two earned runs and striking out four. Lackey has been having a very good season so far, posting a 1.7 WAR with both Boston and the Cards as well as a 110 ERA+. One concern for today’s game, however, is the Orioles familiarity with Lackey’s pitching style. Six Orioles have above a .300 average against Lackey for their lifetime, and centerfielder Adam Jones has hit 3 home runs off of Lackey. Manny Machado has had the most success against the Cards’ new pitcher, posting a .389 average with two home runs and four RBI’s.

Returning for the O’s tonight is right hander Ubaldo Jimenez (3-8, 4.52 ERA). Jimenez has had mostly a rocky season and currently leads the AL in walks allowed. Jimenez has missed the last month of the season with a sprained ankle, and with the O’s recent surge, Buck Showalter with have a difficult decision to make next week. There was some speculation that Ubaldo may be sent to the bullpen instead of rejoining the rotation, but now it seems like the Orioles may go with a six-man rotation. Only Jhonny Peralta has had some degree of success against Jimenez in this Cardinals’ lineup, going 9 for 26 with a homer.

The Skinny: The clear advantage in this game points to the Cardinals as John Lackey has had a fairly decent season and Jimenez is just coming off of an injury. However, this Cards’ offense does need to show up tonight unlike last night, and the O’s bats cannot be underestimated. These are the games against contenders that the Cards need to win to prove they belong in playoff baseball.

The Lineup:

  1. Matt Carpenter 3B
  2. Kolten Wong 2B
  3. Matt Holliday LF
  4. Matt Adams 1B
  5. Jhonny Peralta DH
  6. Oscar Taveras RF
  7. AJ Pierzynski C
  8. Jon Jay CF
  9. Daniel Descalso SS
  • Lackey P

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