St. Louis Cardinals (Jake Westbrook 7-7;  3.75 ERA)


Cincinnati Reds (Homer Bailey 7-6;  4.14 ERA)

JAKE WESTBROOK: After a rough patch in May, the Cardinals have won four of Westbrook’s last five starts, and in the only loss in that streak he allowed just one earned run.  Further, in his one start against Cincinnati this year, he went 7IP, allowed 3H, and 0ER.  Westbrook has been very streaky so far this year, and it can be attributed to whether or not he is getting ahead in his counts early.  Westbrook not only statistically performs better after a first pitch strike (.242 average after 0-1, .222 after 0-2), but he visibly gets into a groove once he starts throwing early strikes.  It builds his confidence and sets a tone for the game.

HOMER BAILEY: Bailey, like Westbrook, has been streaky.  1-3 in April, 5-1 in May, 1-4 in June, and 2-0 so far in July.  It’s kind of a crazy trend how one pitcher can go from one of the NL’s most winning to most losing and back and forth between months.  Further, at home he’s 1-4 with a 5.86 ERA, and away he is 6-2 with a 2.93 ERA.  In short, Homer Bailey’s trends make no sense.  In reality, we can only look at Bailey’s previous start this year against the Cardinals: he went 5.2 IP, allowing 4ER on 6H.  Not great.  In order to be successful tonight, Homer is simply going to have to show up as the solid pitcher, the one that is undefeated this month.

THE SKINNY: This should be a really interesting matchup, and honestly anything could happen.  I wouldn’t be surprised if this were a shutout for either pitcher, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the final was 10-9.  Both pitchers are going to have to be sharp to get the W; this is a very even matchup.