What should St. Louis Cardinals fans expect when Toronto is in town?

After winning 6 of their last 7, the Cardinals look to continue their hot streak as they host the MLB last place Blue Jays. After starting the season 3-9, the Cardinals now sit one game below .500, and just two games behind the division-leading Cubs. This will be a great series for the Cardinals to improve their record, so let’s check out the matchups for the next three games:

Game 1: Michael Wacha vs. Marco Estrada

Michael Wacha looks to build on his strong April performance against the 33-year-old veteran Marco Estrada. Wacha has started the season 2-1 with a 2.41 ERA and 8.2 K’s/9. His one loss came at Yankee Stadium, and while playing at home, Wacha has held his opponents to only a 1.42 ERA.

Meanwhile, Marco Estrada has had a strong start to the season as well. In 4 starts, he is just 0-1,  but has a 2.63 ERA. In his last two starts, against Baltimore and Boston, Estrada has pitched 13 shutout innings with 15 strike outs.

Game 2: Carlos Martinez vs. Mat Latos

Martinez hasn’t had quite the start to his 2017 campaign as we would have liked. After an excellent opening-night start where he shut-out the Cubs over 7+ innings, he has failed to make it through 6 innings during his next 3 starts.

Over that span, his ERA has been above 7.00. Although there has been some strong strike-out numbers thus far, with 12.31 K/9, Martinez is 0-3 with a 4.76 ERA on the year.

Meanwhile, Mat Latos has had just 1 start so far during the 2017 season against the LA Angels. In 5 innings, Latos allowed 4 runs, 6 hits, and 3 walks while striking out 1.

In his first year with the Blue Jays, Latos is trying to find a permanent home after bouncing around between the Padres, Reds, Marlins, Dodgers, Angels, White Sox, and Nationals since 2011. But if his first start is any indication, it may not be long until Latos is sent elsewhere.

Game 3: Adam Wainwright vs. J.A. Happ

As you can read about here , Adam Wainwright has been struggling to rebound after a poor 2016. With a 1-3 record and a 6.27 ERA in 4 starts, Waino seems to have lost his former All-Star stuff. In now his 12th year in the MLB, Wainwright has faced the Blue Jays just once, when he got pummeled to the tune of 5 runs in 4 innings at Toronto.

Happ, who has yet to allow a walk in 16 innings on the year, is off to an average start. Although he is 0-3, his ERA is just 4.50 and his WHIP is a 1.13. He has also struck out 20 batters in those 16 innings. After placing 6th in the 2016 AL Cy Young voting, in a season where Happ went 20-4 with a 3.18 ERA, expectations were set high for the 34-year-old.

Conclusion

I expect the Cardinals to take 2 of 3 from the Blue Jays to reach .500 for the first time this season. Game 1 is shaping up to be a bit of a pitcher’s duel, but I think Wacha will edge out Estrada at home.

Game 2 will see Martinez turn around to his 2016 self, as Latos continues to struggle. And in Game 3, Wainwright improves on his earlier performances, but Happ figures himself out and looks more like the 20-win starter from a year ago. What are your predictions?

Photo Credit: © Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports