Round three of interleague plague sees the White Sox taking a trip just across the Mississippi to hang out in St. Louis. Two teams with brand new managers this season will square off. So far, the results for each have been interesting. Here is what you might want to know heading into these three games.
2012 Record: White Sox 33-27, 1st in AL Central. Cardinals 31-30, 3rd in NL Central
2012 Interleague play record: White Sox 4-2, Cardinals 1-2
2011 Interleague Record: White Sox 11-7, Cardinals 8-7
2006 Season Series Record: 3-0
All-Time Series Record: 8-10 (The Sox are 2-7 in St. Louis)
The following pitchers are expected to start in the three games:
Jose Quintana: 1-1, 2.05 ERA, 10K v. Adam Wainwright: 5-6, 4.97 ERA, 65K
Jake Peavy: 6-1, 3.05 ERA, 72K v. Lance Lynn: 9-2, 2.66 ERA, 74K
Gavin Floyd: 4-6, 5.38 ERA, 67K v. Jake Westbrook: 4-6, 4.25 ERA, 53K
All three games begin at 7:15 pm CDT.
What can you say? The White Sox have just been laying an egg of late. Hitting has been ok at times. The pitching has just been blah. Actually more times than not, it has been bad.
The team is still “down” a starter with John Danks being on the disabled list. He is supposed to have at least one rehab start, beginning tomorrow at Toledo. His side sessions have gone pretty well, but you never really know until he is back in real action.
Jose Quintana, his replacement has been quite serviceable. So good in fact, many are saying he should take the place of one Gavin Floyd or Philip Humber. Both of whom have been awful.
Both Floyd and Humber have been disastrous lately. Both giving up so many runs of late, it is really difficult for the hitters to get the team back in the game. The hitters are trying, but when you have to make up at least fifty runs even before your team has had a chance to bat (ok, a *slight* exaggeration but only slightly) it is hard to make that up.
Elsewhere on the injury front, Brent Morel has suffered a setback with his back. He will be seeing a specialist here in Chicago for further diagnosis. This means that for the meantime, Orlando Hudson will be your third baseman. Sure, he has had some questionable moments at the hot corner, but he has also had some amazing stops there as well. It does make you wonder what might have been if the Sox had pursued Brandon Inge when he was released from the Tigers now that he seems to have found a bit of new life with the Athletics.
However, despite all of that, it is interleague play season. This usually means that the White Sox tear it up against the National League. Unfortunately they are not doing it the way they typically do. After dropping tow of three against the Astros, hopefully the Sox can get back to doing what they do best against the National League: beating the crap out of the those teams.
Meanwhile, for what you need to know about the Cardinals, I talked to Christine of Aaron Miles’ Fastball and here is what she had to say:
If the last thing you remember about the St. Louis Cardinals is the 2011 World Series, you’ll be in for a surprise tonight — the team you’ll see at Busch Stadium these next three games looks quite a bit different. Sure, Tony La Russa retired and That Guy Who Used to Play First Base (as we like to call him) is now with the Angels. Of course you heard all about both of those moves. But maybe you don’t know that Chris Carpenter hasn’t even thrown from a pitcher’s mound since spring training due to a nerve irritation in his shoulder or that Lance Berkman is recovering from surgery to repair a torn meniscus. Plus there are plenty others joining them on the DL: Matt Carpenter, Jaime Garcia, Jon Jay, Kyle McClellan and Skip Schumaker. That’ a pretty good team not on the field.
OK, onto those who are there.
Our new manager is similar to yours, in that this too is Mike Matheny’s first-ever managing job. Under his leadership, the Cards got out to a quick start in April and built up a lead in the NL Central. For the past month, though, they’ve been struggling — their record since May 11 is 11-19 and they’re now in second place only because the Pirates have tied the Reds for first. (The Cardinals were in third.)
A big reason for the struggles is the pitching. Tonight’s starter, Adam Wainwright, has been up and down (which is probably to be expected for someone coming back from Tommy John surgery, even someone with the talent of Wainwright). Jake Westbrook, Thursday’s starter, has been pretty bad since he ended April with a 1.30 ERA and hasn’t had a scoreless outing since early May. Wednesday’s starter Lance Lynn, who was in the bullpen last season, has been the shining star of the rotation. He currently leads the NL in wins with 9 with a 2.66 ERA.
Struggling starters mean more use for the bullpen, and they’ve been up and down. Closer Jason Motte gave up a three-run homer in the ninth inning of Sunday’s game that gave the Indians the win. (Sorry.) Lefty Marc Rzepczynski has been in a rough stretch, although he did pitch a scoreless inning Sunday. One difference you’ll notice: Matheny does not change relievers as often as La Russa did.
On offense, the big star has been the newest Cardinal: Carlos Beltran. He’s currently leading the NL in homers with 18 and has heated up again. The team overall is once again leading the NL in hitting — they’ve been in and out of that top spot lately — and also in runs scored and RBI. Three guys are hitting above .300: Allen Craig, Yadier Molina and Rafael Furcal, and Beltran’s at .290. So the potential is there for them to get on base and score … although they only managed to get five runs in the series against the Indians.
So, truthfully, it’s hard to know what you’ll see from the Cardinals. They could go crazy like they did last Thursday in Houston and score 14 runs again. Or the bats could continue in their cold streak from the weekend. I will give the Sox the series finale with Westbrook pitching, and I’m confident in our Wolf Pup Lance Lynn to win again on Wednesday. Tonight and Wainwright? I’ll think positively and hope he does well and the bats do too. But, with the way things have gone these last four weeks, I won’t be at all surprised with a repeat of the last time these two teams met back in 2006. Although the time before that, when the Cardinals swept in 2001, would really be just fine.
Who’s Hot: Gordon Beckham was 12-for-32 on the recent homestand. Carlos Beltran has eight hits in his last 18 at-bats. Who’s Not: Alexei Ramirez hit only .200 on the recent homestand. David Freese had just two hits in 11 at-bats on the homestand.