After a brilliant outing last night from the Cardinals’ bullpen, the starting rotation returns tonight at 7:10 CST in the form of Michael Wacha (4-5, 2.88 ERA). For his short career so far, Wacha has been a model of consistency, only giving up more than three runs in a start three times. However, the bad news is that one of those three starts came last Wednesday against the Rays. After that game, manager Mike Matheny said of Wacha, “Tonight was one of the blips on the screen that you just have to get past.” Let’s hope that Wacha rebounds tonight against the lowly Mets.

Michael Wacha
Michael Wacha

On the other side of the bump is Jonathon Niese (3-3, 2.54 ERA) who is having not only an incredible month of June, but a very solid season overall. In June, Niese has a 1.99 ERA in 22 2/3 innings pitched with 17 strikeouts. Even more impressive is Niese’s June WHIP which sits just a touch under 1.oo at 0.97. For his career, Niese is a stellar 4-1 with a 1.87 ERA against the Cards. One Cards’ hitter who has had some success against Niese however is Matt Carpenter. In seven career at-bats against the towering lefty, Carpenter has four hits including two doubles.

The Skinny: This game looks to be a pitcher’s duel with two very consistent arms on the mound. Therefore, it is up to both teams’ offenses to get the job done tonight, a situation which greatly favors the red-hot Redbirds. Combine the Cards’ hitting streak with the lackluster Mets’ bullpen, this game should swing decidedly in the Cards’ favor if they can work the count and chase Niese early.