Not in the Cards?
In perhaps the most intriguing NL series of the weekend, the Nationals host the Cardinals. The Nats pulled off a three-game sweep in St. Louis earlier this year, so that means revenge will be on the minds of the Cards players. But revenge wasn’t enough Thursday as the home team won by one run, 2-1. Now Washington gets to trot out Max Scherzer, Gio Gonzalez and Stephen Strasburg in successive days. Making matters even more difficult for the Redbirds is that their hottest hitter, Matt Adams, had to leave the game (back stiffness) Thursday and will be re-evaluated. I’ve said it before, but despite a strong run differential (+40), it’s just not looking like the Cardinals year as they continue to hover around .500.
The Reds Stink
The Cincinnati Reds are a very bad baseball team. Not only have they dropped 10 straight games, but they’ve been outscored by 96 runs this season. That scoring differential is 23 runs worse than Atlanta, who is second worst in that department. This weekend they draw a Milwaukee teams that is coming off a successful three-game sweep in Atlanta. But if there’s one edge that Cincy possesses, it’s that they had Thursday off. But that may not matter given an absolutely dreadful 3-17 road record. This is one series where the asking price to go against the Reds probably won’t be that high on a game by game basis.
Socked in the Mouth
All of a sudden, the White Sox aren’t playing so well. They are only 3-7 their last 10 games and just dropped three of four, at home, to division rival Cleveland (who now has a better run differential) earlier this week. Thursday’s scheduled series opener in Kansas City got rained out, but the Royals may still present a problem for the AL Central leaders as not only did they take two of three last weekend in U.S. Cellular Field, but they are 27-14 against them since the start of the 2014 season. Then again, the Royals depth is a major question mark right now, not only in the lineup with both Mike Moustakas and Alex Gordon on the DL, but in the rotation as well. For those who may be wondering, Chris Sale pitches Sunday and for the first time this season will be off a loss.
WAG of the Week
What doesn’t sock for at least one White Sox player right now is that starter Mat Latos is married to Dallas.
* In the earlier note about the Cardinals-Nationals series, I mentioned that the former could be without its hottest hitter for the next couple of games. Adams was batting .383 and slugging .700 since April 28th. What makes the potential loss of Adams even more damning for St. Louis is that the team is already without its home run and RBI leader, Matt Carpenter, who was placed on the paternity list Thursday.
* The hit streak of Boston’s Jackie Bradley, Jr finally ended at 29 games Thursday as he was 0 for 4 against the Rockies. Up next for Bradley and the Red Sox is a visit to Toronto. Ironically, Bradley’s teammate Xander Bogaerts now has the longest active hit streak in MLB at 19 straight games.
*While the Cubs are obviously having a tremendous season so far, one of their starters has to be wondering why his own personal results have been mediocre at best so far. John Lackey has a 5-4 team start record despite a super 0.95 WHIP and the fact he’s made five consecutive quality starts. He’ll be a big favorite on Sunday though against the Phillies (where he’ll go up against Vincent Velasquez).
*On the flip side, you have Detroit’s Michael Fulmer, who somehow has a 4-1 team start record in spite of a 5.13 ERA and 1.633 WHIP. But don’t let those numbers fool you too much; Fulmer comes off his best start to date with 11 strikeouts in seven innings against Tampa Bay. He starts on Friday at Oakland, who actually opened as the favorite despite having the struggling Sean Manaea toeing the rubber.
The Under has cashed in all four of Masahiro Tanaka’s road starts this year. He will be on the mound at Tampa Bay, starting opposite Chris Archer, on Friday.
Friday’s Weather Report
* There is a 51 percent chance of rain and even a chance of thunderstorms for Friday afternoon’s game between the Phillies and Cubs at Wrigley Field. There will also be an eight to 10 mile per hour wind gusting out to left field. The total is currently 9.0.
* There will be a moderate hitter’s wind at Citi Field in New York when the Mets host the Dodgers Friday night. It will be gusting at nine to 10 miles per hour out to left field during the game. The total for the game is currently 7.0.
* The forecast is looking rough in Arlington with the Rangers expected to host the Pirates. There is a 70 percent chance of rain and even a chance of thunderstorms. There will also be a strong pitchers wind gusting at 12 to 14 miles per hour in from right field. The total is currently 9.0.
* After Thursday’s White Sox-Royals game got rained out the forecast isn’t looking much better in Kansas City today. There is a 76 percent chance of rain and thunderstorms in the area. The total is currently 8.0.
* In Seattle, there is a 56 percent chance of rain for tonight’s Mariners-Twins game and a nine to 10 mile per hour pitcher’s wind gusting in from left field. The total is currently 7.5.
Tagged with: feature