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Series Preview: Diamondbacks vs Cardinals

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The D-Backs continue their 10 game homestand with a 4 game series against the Cardinals.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona Diamondbacks (10-10) vs St. Louis Cardinals (10-8)

Although the D-Backs lost 2 of 3 against the Pirates over the weekend, it was one of the more entertaining series to watch. A total of 35 runs was scored in the series, including 22 in a 12-10 extra innings loss on Sunday. Hopefully the team isn't too exhausted after a game which saw Shelby Miller forced to play left field after the D-Backs ran out of position players.

State of the Cardinals

So far this season, offense has not been a problem at all for St. Louis. They have scored an average of 6.06 runs per game, second in the majors. Pitching has not been as good as it was in 2015, with the team ERA going up from 2.97 to 3.59 this year. Still respectable, just not quite as dominant as the staff which led them to 100 wins last season. The lineup looks pretty much unchanged from last year, with Yadier Molina, Matt Carpenter, and Stephen Piscotty being the main contributors this year. The Cardinals have been better than their record would indicate, with a +40 run differential that is second in the majors, and a Pythagorean record of 13-5.

Good News
  • After a breakout 2015, Cardinals' second baseman Kolten Wong has done nothing this season. He is yet to have an extra base hit this year, and has an OPS+ of 35.
  • The D-Backs have been raking the last week, with a team OPS (not including pitchers) of .893 in the last 7 days.
Bad News
  • I don't have much bad news for you. Sure, it'll be a tough series against the Cardianls, but the D-Backs are playing well. Offense is rolling, bullpen has been great. This should be a fun 4 games.

Injury Report

Collmenter is expected to start pitching minor league games this week, but isn't expected to return to the majors until May.

Nothing new for the Cardinals.

Bullpen Status

Everyone pitched in Sunday's game other than Enrique Burgos, so expect a couple roster moves to get some fresh arms in the pen to be made.

Jonathon Broxton and Trevor Rosenthal both threw over 20 pitchers on Sunday, so Mike Matheny would probably like to avoid using them on Monday

Pitching Matchups

Game 1: Zack Greinke RHP (1-2, 5.25 ERA, 1.42 WHIP) vs Jaime Garcia LHP (1-1, 2.70 ERA, 0.90 WHIP)

After an awful start to the year, Greinke has been a lot more like the guy the D-Backs signed in his past two starts. His last one was a gem against Bumgarner, where he went 6.2 innings and gave up just one run in a 2-1 victory. Greinke has seemed to solve whatever problems he had to start the year, and the D-Backs will need him to pitch well against one of the best pitching staffs in the game.

After an excellent 2015, where Garcia had a career best 2.43 ERA, Garcia has, for the most part, built on that success this season. His second start of 2016 was a 1-hit shutout of the Braves, in which he struck out 13 batters. Last season, Garcia made two starts against Arizona, both of them quality starts. His sub-3 ERA has been helped a lot by the fact that he has not allowed a homer this season, a stat which he surely won't be able to sustain much longer. Advantage D-Backs.

Game 2: Shelby Miller RHP (0-1, 8.59 ERA, 1.98 WHIP) vs Carlos Martinez RHP (3-0, 2.70 ERA, 1.00 WHIP)

Shelby has been really bad thus far, although has not been helped by injury. On April 16 against the Padres, Miller scraped his hand on the dirt during his follow through, walked 3 straight batters, and was pulled from the game. Last Thursday against the Giants, Shelby walked four consecutive batters in the 3rd inning, earning another early exit. I wouldn't worry too much, he should get everything worked out. It is highly unlikely that he completely forgot how to pitch this offseason.

Carlos Martinez is one of the harder throwing starters in the majors, with an average fastball velocity of 95 MPH. He's a pretty fun guy to watch pitch, unless of course it's against your team. He looked very good against the D-Backs last season, with a 2.08 ERA in 2 starts against them. Advantage Cardinals.

Game 3: Patrick Corbin LHP (1-2, 3.51 ERA, 1.25 WHIP) vs Adam Wainwright RHP (0-3, 7.25 ERA, 1.75 WHIP)

I said this about Corbin a couple weeks ago:

Corbin had allowed 3 homers once in his entire career. It won't happen again.

Well he did it again, allowing 5 runs (1 unearned) on 3 homers against the Pirates. I still attribute it to bad luck more than anything, and it surely won't happen again now, right?

After the freakiest of freak injuries took Wainwright out for basically all of last season, he has not exactly come back strong. He has allowed 5+ runs in 2 of his starts this year both against 2 of the worst teams in the NL. Due to his history of success, I wouldn't expect him to keep struggling. This matchup should be pretty even.

Game 4: Rubby de la Rosa RHP (2-3, 5.94 ERA, 1.32 WHIP) vs Michael Wacha RHP (2-0, 2.82 ERA, 1.43 WHIP)

Maybe Rubby will be really good, maybe he'll be really bad. Who knows.

Wacha has been one of the most consistent young pitchers the last couple seasons, and seems to be continuing that trend this year. In his last three starts, Wacha went 6 innings in each, and allowed a total of 3 runs. Interesting little note on Wacha: Despite being a right handed pitcher, he has completely dominated lefties throughout his career. Lefties have a career triple slash of .211/.282/.300 against him, while righties are .250/.311/.403.

Predictions

Goldy builds on his 2 homer game from Sunday, and finally hits his stride.

Welington Castillo and Yasmany Tomas both cool off a bit, after lighting it up this past week.

D-Backs win the first and third games, while losing the second and fourth for a series split.