St. Louis Cardinals: Joe Kelly (1-3; 2.78 ERA)
The Cardinals are just 3-5 when Kelly starts, but don’t let that statistic fool you — the Cards haven’t scored more than three runs in any of those losses. They aren’t backing up the new guy, who has allowed more than 2 ER in a start just once this year, and in that case he allowed 3 over 6 IP. His weakness has been in the first few innings he throws: opposing batters are hitting .304 on Kelly’s first 15 pitches of the game. In order to be successful, Kelly needs to come out and immediately display his great stuff.
Chicago Cubs: Jeff Samardjiza (7-8; 4.25 ERA)
After a dismal start to the season, Samardjiza has allowed just 5 ER in his past four starts across 27 IP. Further, he has thrown 29 SO’s in those four games, by far his highest count across a four game stretch this season. He has faced the Redbirds twice this year, and on those occasions experienced vastly different results. A Win, 0 ER, and 9 SO, and a Loss with 5 ER allowed over 5 IP. The difference: the win was at home, and the loss away. Samardzija has been much better at home than he has been away, and in order to get the W tonight, will have to continue that trend.
THE SKINNY: An interesting matchup. Two pitchers that on paper don’t seem as good as they are currently throwing. It would seem that Kelly has the edge just based on consistency, but Samardzija is coming off a a hot streak and is strong at home. This should be a fun one.
For questions/comments please email Jake Siwak at [email protected]