September 21, 2010

Series Preview: St. Louis Cardinals

Fresh off a three game sweep of Arizona, Pittsburgh entertains the Cardinals starting tonight in the penultimate series of the season.

An interesting fact about the word 'penultimate': I am in law school, and I had to instruct a classmate - who incidentally is about to be a quite highly paid lawyer - that 'penultimate' cannot be used for the second-last of a list of four or fewer items. Lunch is not your penultimate meal of the day. Moving forward...

St. Louis (77-72) has ceded control of the NL Central to the Reds and is basically just waiting to be eliminated, trailing now by seven games with only 13 to play. It's a disappointing record considering that the triumverate of Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia and Adam Wainwright won 47 of those games.The Cardinal offense, of course, features Albert Pujols (.306/.403/.586) and Matt Holliday (.314/.387/.541), both superstars performing at top level. Colby Rasmus (.280/.365/.519) has turned in a great sophomore season, but that trio has been backed by precious little else - downgrading the Cardinals lineup to just an average attack. They are backed by the league's fourth best pitching staff, though, and should be 83-66 based on runs scored and allowed. At a minimum, this is a team that should sweep the 2010 Pirates.

St. Louis Cardinals - Tuesday 7:05, Wednesday 7:05, Thursday 12:35
Jake Westbrook (8-10, 4.22) gets the ball tonight for Tony La Russa's club against Paul Maholm (7-15, 5.36). Westbrook is from Athens, Georgia, just like my favorite band R.E.M. Not only is R.E.M. punctuated the same whether it ends a sentence or not, but they just finished recording their 15th studio album which is sure to be great. It's bittersweet to me though, because they won't be touring to support it. Anyway, I think Westbrook may throw one or two balls that find the river off the Pirates' bats. My pick is the Pirates.

Tomorrow it's Kyle Lohse (4-7, 6.75) for the Cardinals against Charlie Morton (1-11, 8.61). I really hate typing Morton's stats every time out - not only is this a bad year, but he has a career 6.13 ERA and has no business getting a 48th start in the majors. Lohse is in the worst season of what hasn't been that great of a career - although his ERAs would be a lot better every year if his managers realized that he's a six inning pitcher, nothing more. My pick is the Pirates.

Thursday, Jeff Suppan (1-7, 5.61) faces Brian Burres (3-3, 4.93). What great luck for the Pirates to face zero of the Cardinals strong starting pitchers. If I were assessing why the Cardinals are out of contention, I would look squarely at whoever decidied Suppan should be in the rotation after he was released by the Brewers of all teams. Burres is coming off three quality starts in a row, posting a 1.80 ERA in that span, and unfortunately is making a strong bid for the 2011 rotation. My pick is the Pirates.

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