After a disappointing loss in the series finale to the Mets in yesterday’s afternoon game, the Cards look to rebound against the Philadelphia Phillies tonight at 7:15 CST. The Phillies sit at 32-38 coming into this four-game series and are in fourth place in the National League East. Overall, the Phillies are an aging team with an enormous payroll that gets miniscule amounts of production. Former sluggers such as Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, while still valuable, are no longer worth anywhere close what they are being paid. This series should provide a catalyst to keep the Cards recent hot streak going.
The Pitching Matchup
Shelby Miller (7-5, 3.42 ERA) will be taking the mound for the Cards against David Buchanan (2-3, 5.97 ERA) for the Phils. Miller has been stellar as of late only giving up 1 run in nearly 16 innings of work over his last two starts. After an impressive start to the season, Miller had his struggles in the month of May only to bounce back in June to pitch some of the best ball in his career. Probably most telling of this turnaround is that opponent’s are only hitting a paltry .173 against him in June.
From the other dugout is Philadelphia rookie David Buchanan. Over the course of the 2014 season, Buchanan has pitched at both the Major League and Triple A level, not truly excelling in either place. The heart of the struggles this season for Buchanan stem from his inability to get anyone out, and it’s not just bad luck. Opponent’s are hitting .291 against Buchanan and his BABIP sits at .297 meaning that Buchanan has actually been slightly lucky against hitters this year. Buchanan has been roughed up in each of his last three starts, so I don’t foresee him staying in the Majors past the All-Star break.
The Skinny: The Cardinals should win this game no doubt about it. They have the obvious upperhand in the pitching matchup, and with the bats heating up, there should be no problems knocking Buchanan out of the game early. Nothing about this game suggests that it should be close, but baseball is a funny sport so I won’t deal in absolutes. Don’t be surprised by a Cardinals’ win, but I wouldn’t bet the farm on it.