After earning a split on the road against their intrastate rival, the St. Louis Cardinals return home to host the reigning World Series champion Kansas City Royals on Wednesday night in the back end of the home-and-home four-game series. It’s the opener of a nine-game homestand for St. Louis, which has dropped five in a row at Busch Stadium.
Matt Carpenter homered, doubled and drove in a pair of runs in Tuesday’s 8-4 victory for St. Louis, which is 15-21 on the season at home. Kansas City has lost five of seven overall and may have suffered a costly injury when center fielder Lorenzo Cain was forced to leave Tuesday’s game with a left hamstring strain. “We don’t know what’s wrong with Cain yet. We’re hoping the best,” Royals left fielder Alex Gordon said. “If he goes down, we got a guy that can step in with (Jarrod) Dyson.” Kansas City sends right-hander Edinson Volquez, who was ejected from Tuesday’s contest, to the mound to oppose red-hot Carlos Martinez.
TV: 8:15 p.m. ET, FSN Kansas City, FSN Midwest (St. Louis)
Royals – CF L. Cain (Questionable Wednesday, hamstring).
Cardinals – SS A. Diaz (Out Wednesday, face), RP J. Walden (15-Day DL, shoulder).
WEATHER REPORT: It should be beautiful baseball weather for phase two of the I-70 series. Partly cloudy skies, low humidity, and temperatures in the mid-80’s will welcome the two teams to St. Louis. There will be a slight breeze (5 mph) blowing in from center field, but it certainly won’t impact the play on the field at all.
HOT FAN BATTLE:
PITCHING MATCHUP: Royals RH Edinson Vólquez (7-7, 5.15 ERA) vs. Cardinals RH Carlos Martínez (7-5, 3.02)
Volquez has nowhere to go but up after a wretched performance versus Houston on Saturday, when he was hammered for 12 runs (11 earned) and failed to retire a batter in the second inning. Volquez managed to come away with a win despite giving up five runs to Detroit in his previous turn following seven scoreless innings of two-hit ball against Cleveland on June 13. Matt Holliday is 11-for-34 with two homers off Volquez, who is 5-6 lifetime against St. Louis.
Martinez has had a season of streaks, posting a 4-0 record with a 1.93 ERA in his first four starts before losing his next five outings and giving up at least four runs in four of them. He has reclaimed his early-season form during a five-start unbeaten streak in which he has yielded a total of five runs and pitched at least seven innings four times. The 24-year-old Martinez has struggled at Busch Stadium, posting a 3-4 record and 4.21 ERA in eight starts.
* Royals are 1-10 in their last 11 road games vs. a team with a winning record.
* Royals are 1-7 in Volquez’ last 8 road starts vs. a team with a winning record.
* Cardinals are 2-8 in their last 10 interleague games.
* Cardinals are 1-5 in Martinez’ last 6 home starts.
* Over is 8-1 in Royals last 9 games vs. a starter with a WHIP less than 1.15.
* Under is 5-1-4 in the last 10 meetings.
* Road team is 4-0 in Blakney’s last 4 games behind home plate.
COVERS CONSENSUS: As the I-70 series shifts to St. Louis, so does the public opinion – 70 percent of Covers users are on the Cards tonight. The Over is picking up 58 percent of the totals wagers. View full consensus data here.