The brooms will be out in full force tonight at Busch when the Cards look to earn a four-game sweep of their NL Central rivals, the Pirates. With the Brewers losing again earlier today, the Cards could pull within just one game with a victory tonight.
Yadi out 8-12 weeks: With a torn ligament in his right thumb, Yadier Molina will be sidelined for 8-12 weeks. Needless to say, this is a huge loss for a Cards team that was just beginning to turn the corner. Backup catcher Tony Cruz, barring any trades, will have to step up in place of Molina.
Pitching Matchup: Shelby Miller (7-7, 4.15 ERA) will be pitching for the Cards tonight in pursuit of a better performance than his last four starts (0-2 record with a 7.32 ERA). Against the Pirates, Miller has had an up and down history. He was not up to par in his two starts at Pittsburgh this year, but he was fantastic in has last start at Busch against the Buccos, tossing 5.2 shutout innings on April 25th. Expect the Pirates to hit a few home runs tonight, as Pedro Alvarez has hit three homers in just 18 at-bats against Miller while Russell Martin has belted two in just 11 plate appearances.
On the other side, Edinson Volquez (7-6, 3.88 ERA) comes in on a hot streak. In his last three starts, Volquez has allowed just two runs in 21 innings pitched. Nonetheless, Volquez has not fared well in St. Louis, where he has posted a 6.91 ERA in six starts. Most recently at Busch, Volquez conceded two home runs to Jhonny Peralta and took the loss by allowing six runs in 5.2 innings of work.
The Skinny: Although Volquez has been pitching well lately, he has always struggled historically against the Cards and tonight should be no different. The Cards are brimming with confidence after three straight wins, but losing Molina has dealt the team a huge blow. I expect Miller to get back on track and lead the Cards to a four-game sweep of the Pirates in a tight contest.