Our buddy Dan from C70 at the Bat gave us a little series preview from the Cardinals stand-point. And note the closing sentence, I'll be on the United Cardinals Bloggers Radio Hour tomorrow night around 9:45pm, trying not to swear.
Hello, Astros fans! Appreciate James giving me a chance to talk with you again, giving up prime blog estate, if you will, to a lowly Cardinal fan. (Hey, just trying to make sure you don't throw rotten vegetables or sharp objects at me!)
Thought I'd tell you a little about the Cardinal team that you'll be facing this week and what's going on in Cardinal Nation. The biggest discussion point revolves around the offense. I'm pretty sure I hear some of you saying, "Hey, we'd take your problems!" I'm guessing that when you've scored fewer runs than any team in baseball, griping about someone else's offense goes in one ear and out the other.
Still, that's what the Cards are talking about right now. After a series in Philadelphia that they only scored three runs in the last three games, followed by two in Pittsburgh where they only scored four and were shut out--by the Pirates, are you kiddin' me?--there was a lot of discussion about whether things were working or not under the new hitting coach.
Of course, these are the same people that complained earlier in the year that the Cardinals were relying too much on the home run, scoring around 50% or so of their runs via the long ball. Maybe there's something to that, because the Redbirds haven't gone deep since the seventh inning of last Monday's game, 57 innings ago. Then again, they didn't need the homer to beat the Pirates 11-4 in the finale of that Pittsburgh series on Sunday.
Looking at the matchups, this could be a very interesting series. Brett Myers had some bad career numbers against St. Louis before he threw against them last time, but he only gave up two runs in seven when he saw them earlier in the year. Brad Penny has a 1.99 ERA on the season, though his last couple of outings have been more pedestrian (though still good). Might give the slight edge to Penny here, but if Myers pitches the way he did last time, it could easily go either way.
Wednesday, it's Wandy Rodriguez vs. Kyle Lohse. Lohse has been the weak link in an otherwise stellar rotation. While he's shown flashes of his '08 form, for the most part he's struggled, as he did in Philadelphia giving up five runs in four innings. He pitched a good game against Houston earlier in the year, which gives Cardinal fans a little hope. Rodriguez has always been a Cardinal killer, save the game earlier this year when the Cards finally figured him out a bit and Albert Pujols finally tagged him. I see that Rodriguez has been having a rough season so far, but I'd still probably lean toward Houston in this one.
The finale should be a heck of a duel, with Bud Norris going against Chris Carpenter. Y'all all (yes, that's legal Southern, I believe) know Carpenter, though he's probably slipped from co-ace status in the eyes of many St. Louis fans due to the emergence of Adam Wainwright. That's no knock on Carpenter, though. He's still almost as dominant as he always has been. Earlier in the season he wasn't feeling comfortable with his fastball, but seems to have regained it in his last couple of starts. As for Norris, he turns into some combination of Superman and Cy Young when he faces the Cardinals. Still haven't figured that one out, but it should make for a great pitching duel.
It's always good to see the Astros and Cardinals hook up, if for no other reason than I get to work with James again. In fact, you can hear him talk about the series tomorrow night on the UCB Radio Hour, which should just be a blast. I appreciate you hearing me out without incident (we'll ignore those two rotten eggs that were thrown since they missed) and good luck the next few days!