Into the Lion's Den: The Cardinals
Position: 1st NL West
Games Back: --
Magic Number: 130
Quick preview: Francis (1-2, 3.60) vs. Marquis (3-3, 5.50) in StL. Expect to see a good game today. The Cards are not playing their best ball recently, despite sweeping the Marlins, remember that WE swept the Marlins as well. Prior to that, the Cards were on a 4-game losing streak. In their last 10, the Cards are 5-5, while the Rockies are 7-3. However, we can't take the Cards recent struggles for granted, as they scored 23 runs in that series, they now have the taste of blood in their mouths and want more. But the Rockies have overcome the Astros, possibly the biggest thorn in the Cards' collective sides in the past 2 years.
Francis only has 1 career start again StL, in which he pitched 6 innings of shutout ball. Also, Francis is coming off of 3 strong starts, during which he has posted an ERA of 0.95 with 15 punchouts. Expect to see Francis give up in the range of 5-8 hits, 5K, 3BB, and my best guess is 2-4 ER.
Marquis, however, has the benefit of experience on his side, and has 36.0 innings in which he's posted a 4.50 ERA. However, Marquis has been struggling at home this season, with an ERA of 7.41 and opponent's batting average of .328. Helton has a history of lighting Marquis up as well, with an average of .429 and 2 HR against the righty. Expect Marquis to give up 3BB, 7-8 hits, 4K, and I'm gonna shoot for 4ER.
Holliday has hit well against StL for his whole career, to the tune of .400+, while Atkins and Hawpe have regrettably not. However, Hawpe is at roughly .430 on the road this year, and Atkins is .350 on the road. Hopefully starting Marrero at C won't bite us, but rather, bring us another run or two.
On the other end, Pujols the Mighty has a career average of .363 against the Rockies, including 13 bombs. His .352 at home isn't much encouragement, either. Not to mention Rolen, who's batting .294 at home (career .276 against the Rox). Edmonds has been slumping this season, thus far. Small favors, huh? (As an afterthought, doesn't Pujols have at least a .363 average against everybody?)
As a team, the Rox are batting .279, while the Cards are batting .264. So let's be hoping the Rox can really turn this series into a visiting mortar range.
That's all for now, Andrew signing off, Good day, Good Luck, and GO ROCKIES!!!!