St Louis suffered through a tough road trip, dropping 4 of 6 to Baltimore and Miami. They come home to face the Padres 4 times, a team they’ve traditionally toyed with and then beaten along the shores of the Mississippi River. Despite boasting the only lineup worse at scoring runs than the Cardinals, San Diego is currently hot, having just swept hapless Colorado and set a franchise record for strikeouts by pitchers (37) in a 3-game series.
If you don’t have a sense for how the rest of the season will go, it may be crystal clear following tonight’s game. Newly acquired John Lackey faces Eric Stults. Per Fangraphs, Stults is the worst starting pitcher in the Majors this season (-0.6 WAR). He has an outside chance to be the first Padre to lose 20 games in 40 years. But, he’s a junkballing lefty – the type of pitcher that has tormented St Louis for as far back as I can remember.
Stults is not very good, and even this depleted Cardinal lineup should pound him into early submission. However, as I am still scarred by memories of Barry Zito mesmerizing St Louis in the 2012 playoffs, anything is possible tonight. Not being able to beat the worst starter in Baseball will not bode well for St Louis to make the playoffs this season. Yeah, that’s a helluva extrapolation, but if I can’t make sensational claims on a blog where can I do it?
Beating Stults means there’s hope. I’m rooting for Hope tonight.