In a game featuring two young arms, Shelby Miller and the Cardinals (35-32) face off against Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals (35-31) for the 2nd game of a three-game series tonight at 7:15 CST at Busch Stadium. These two pitchers battled in the nation’s capital just two months ago, with the Nationals pulling out a 3-2 win. Miller threw 5 1/3 scoreless innings, but he gave up four hits and a season-high five walks. On the other side, Strasburg struck out nine over six innings, but he allowed two runs. Last night, Lance Lynn pitched the Cards to a 1-0 victory over the Nationals, which was amazingly the Cards 4th shutout in 5 games. The Cardinals and Nationals combined for just five hits, with the biggest one being first baseman Matt Adams’ homer in the 2nd inning.
Pitching Matchup: Miller (7-5, 3.59 ERA) is coming off of his best start of the season last Saturday in Toronto. He threw a complete-game shutout in which he only allowed three hits en route to the Cards’ 5-0 win. In his three career starts against the Nats, Miller is 2-0 with a stellar 0.50 ERA. Oddly enough, tonight’s time and place do not favor Miller. This season, Miller has struggled when he has started at Busch (4.17 ERA) and during night games (5.08 ERA).
For the Nats, Strasburg (6-4, 2.99 ERA) has been superb as of lately. He went toe-to-toe with the Giants, who have the best record in baseball, in his previous start by firing six innings and allowing just one run on four hits. Even more frightening for the Cards is the fact that Strasburg has a 1.42 ERA in winning his last three starts. For the season as a whole, Strasburg has recorded 108 strikeouts in 87 innings and has issued only 19 walks in 14 starts. There are some numbers that work in the Cards’ favor, though. Strasburg has never beaten the Cardinals in three starts, even though he’s had a 2.37 ERA and a 0.79 WHIP, and he is worse on the road (4.25 ERA).
The Skinny: Do not underestimate the return of Matt Adams from the DL, as he is 2 for 3 with a pair of doubles in his career against Strasburg. Although this is only a small amount of success, Adams could be the one most likely to deliver a key hit against Strasburg. Expect another low-scoring game with only a couple runs scored by each team, with the bullpens ultimately deciding it. Overall, I give the Nationals a slight edge in this one, but it should be another close game for the Cards.