At 1:15, the Cardinals will play the Marlins, a non-NL Central team, for the final time before the All Star Break at Busch.
Last night’s game was rough. It snapped the Cards’ three game winning streak and dampened morale. It also hurt the Cardinals’ chances at winning this series as, Matheney knows, they will be heavily out gunned on the mound.
This afternoon, rookie Marcos Gonzales (0-1, 9.64) will start against Henderson Alvarez (5-3 2.33). Alverez has been explosive on the mound lately and should have no trouble trouncing the sputtering offense of the Cardinals. It would take a miracle to win the pitching battle.
Batting between the two teams is fairly equal with a slight advantage going to Giancarlo Stanton and the Marlins. Stanton, who the Cardinals could have picked up earlier this year, has been dominant with 21 homers and over .300 batting average.
The Cards really cannot afford to lose this game and, with it, the series. The last two series before the ASG are at home against the Pirates (only .5 back of the Redbirds) followed by a series in Milwaukee (who is 5 games ahead). If the Redbirds lose, there should be a massive trade to follow in which that Cardinals pick up another starting pitcher as well as hitters in order to combat the overpowering NL Central.
Though it will take a miracle, crazier things have happened at Busch for the Cardinals to win.