Cardinals Series Preview


The Royals head to St. Louis this weekend to kick off their 1st interleague series of the 2009 season.The St. Louis Cardinals are 24-17 on the year and 2 games behind the 1st place Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central.  They are 5-5 in their last 10, 15-8 at home, and 9-9 on the road.  They have scored 194 runs and allowed 177 runs on the year.

The Kansas City Royals are 21-20 and 3 games back of the AL Central leading Detroit Tigers.  They are 3-7 in their last 10, 14-10 at home, and 7-10 on the road.  They have scored 187 runs and allowed 174 on the season.

Team Rankings:

Cardinals

Pitching

Royals

3.97

6th

ERA

3.79

2nd

140

9th

BB

135

6th

266

T-21st

SO

296

T-7th

1.35

T-7th

WHIP

1.34

T-4th

Cardinals

Hitting

Royals

.257

19th

BA

.260

17th

.331

19th

OBP

.338

15th

.422

T-14th

SLG

.420

16th

45

14th

HR

37

21st

137

22nd

BB

148

T-16th

236

4th

SO

266

14th

The Pitching Matchups:
5/22 Kyle Davies (2-2, 5.01) vs. Todd Wellemeyer (3-4, 5.87)
5/23 Luke Hochevar (0-1, 16.88) vs. Kyle Lohse (3-3, 4.66)
5/24 Brian Bannister (3-1, 2.75) vs. Joel Pinero (5-3, 3.48)

The Royals come into the series limping and deflated.  Their last nine games have been against 3 last place teams but they managed to win only 3 of those games.  Competitive teams are supposed to beat the inferior teams, so their recent performance calls into question whether or not they are a good team.

The Cardinals are 7 games above .500, but as you can see from the statistical rankings, they are inferior to the Royals in most of the team rankings.  Despite that, the Cardinals have something the Royals don’t have, the best hitter in baseball.  Albert Pujols is hitting .326/.432/.674 with 14 HR, 38 RBI, 36 R, and 6 SB.  On the flip side, the Royals have 2 pitchers atop their rotation that the Cardinals cannot match.  Unfortunately in this series, all Greinke and Meche can do is cheer their team on from the dugout.  The Cardinals also have a better defensive team, and while I haven’t watched them much this season, I feel pretty confident in saying they haven’t shot themselves in the foot as many times as the Royals have.

Davies and Bannister need to show up in a big way in games 1 and 3 of the series if the Royals are to have any chance to win the series.  Even if they don’t win both games, both pitchers need to go deep in their starts to take the pressure off the bullpen which is still unsettled due to the injury to Joakim Soria.  My guess is that the Royals and Cardinals will split games 1 and 3 which means that Luke Hochevar’s start will be the deciding factor in determining the series winner.  Despite their recent performance, I still believe in Hochevar and the Royals and think when the dust settles on Sunday, the Royals will be traveling back to Kansas City with a 2-1 record in the series.

As I post this, the Royals are already down 2-0 in the 2nd inning.

Tags: AL Central Baseball Cardinals Kansas City Royals KC MLB