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Series Preview #26: Diamondbacks @ Cardinals

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After they finally won a road game, we’re left to wonder... now what?

An exterior view of a Busch Stadium entrance, with two brick towers on each side of the picture, steel girders forming an arch over the entryway, and St. Louis Cardinals lit up in a cursive script at the top of the arch. There is a statue of an unknown Cardinals player in front of the stadium. Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Diamondbacks are coming off their least disappointing road series in over two months, picking up one (1) single win against the Padres on the road at Petco. Exciting stuff. It really begs the question, now that we now they are capable of a solitary win on the road, where do they go from here? Maybe a whole TWO wins?? Who knows! Tune in to find out!

The Cardinals themselves aren’t doing great either, though, like every team in baseball, they’ve been doing better than the Diamondbacks. In their last two games, they’ve gone 2-8 and have an overall record of 37-41. That’s good for fourth in the NL Central, eight games back.

Game 1: Jake Faria (0-0, 1.00 WHIP, ERA+ 40, 4 IP) vs Wade LeBlanc (0-1, 1.57 WHIP, 97 ERA+, 13.1 IP)

Faria signed with the team about ten days ago. This will be his fourth appearance with the team, but his first start. He gave up two earned runs to the Dodgers in his first game, but has had scoreless innings against the Brewers and Padres since. This will be his first start since September 25, 2018.

Wade Le Blanc has also been primarily coming out of the bullpen this season. He had one other start for Baltimore towards the end of April, that went so poorly they outrighted him afterwards, and he signed with the Cardinals in June. He’s done fairly well in a limited sample size for St. Louis, however, his last time out he did give up three runs in 2.1 innings to the Pirates.

Game 2: Caleb Smith (2-3, 1.26 WHIP, 135 ERA+) vs. Carlos Martinez (3-9, 1.43 WHIP, 55 ERA+)

Caleb Smith has done well for Arizona since returning to the rotation at the beginning of the month. He had one rough start against the Angels, where he was tagged for four runs, but other than that he has held the Mets, Dodgers, and Brewers (twice) to two runs or less. Arguably, he’s been the co-ace of the staff along side Merrill Kelly.

2021 has not been kind to Martinez. This month alone, he has given up less than five runs only one time, a solid two run seven inning performance against the Cubs. Other than that, he’s been rocked all month long, and realistically, most of the year. There’s possibly some bad luck involved, as his FIP is a 1.62 runs lower than his ERA, but at the same time, his walks are up, and his K’s are down significantly from his career norms. Never a good combination for a pitcher.

Game 3: Riley Smith (1-3, 1.49 WHIP, 72 ERA+) vs. Kwang Hyun Kim (1-5, 1.36 WHIP, 94 ERA+)

Riley Smith will be returning to the rotation for the first time since May 14th. He hasn’t been that great in the bullpen, with a 4.60 ERA over 29.1 innings pitched. Opponents have been hitting .290/.328/.538 against him over that time. His last start was an absolute smack down at the hands of the Nationals, where he gave up eight runs in three innings.

Kwang Hyun Kim has been doing decently for the Cardinals this year. He’s been limiting runs allowed in most of his starts, with the occasional three or four runs given up. However, like much of the league, he hasn’t been able to go very deep in games, only averaging about 4.2 innings per game.

Conclusion

The Cards aren’t a great team this year, but the Diamondbacks are terrible. They should be able to get at least one win against St. Louis, but they’ve only managed one road win since, what? May? I’m not holding my breath. Anyway, here’s a picture of my dog.

A small chihuahua, with a mostly white body and a black head with a thin white stripe running down her face between her eyes. She has what appears to be a mournful look on her face, which is appropriate since she has been dragged into an article about the Diamondbacks without her consent.