Monday is the beginning of a new week, as well as a new series in baseball. The St Louis Cardinals are traveling to Los Angeles to take on the Dodgers for a three-game series beginning Monday. The Cardinals are coming off a tough weekend that saw them lose both games to the Oakland Athletics and fall out of first place in the National League Central. The Cardinals are still on top of the Wild Card in the NL, albeit only ahead by two games in a heavily contested field.
The Dodgers, on the other end, could literally lose every game for two weeks and still be in first place in the National League West. With a 17-game lead, they’re basically just gearing up for the playoffs. All-time, the Cardinals hold the advantage with a 1,099-1,064 record vs. Los Angeles.
For the Cardinals, former first-round pick Michael Wacha will make his 15th start of the season. Wacha is 6-4 with a bloated 5.15 earned run average so far this year. This will be Wacha’s first start back after being briefly in the bullpen for the second time this season. He was actually very effective in his bullpen role, which makes this move a little puzzling. In his last three appearances, all out of the pen, he pitched a total of 8 2/3 innings and gave up only two runs.
All in all, this has been a tough year for the right-handed pitcher. His K/9 is at the lowest of his career, and his BB/9 is at the highest. Hardly a recipe for success. Another major problem for Wacha in 2019 is home runs. In his career, he has never had a HR/9 over 1.00. However, this season he has a 2.00 HR/9. If the Cards have any hope to stick around in the playoff picture, they need the Wacha they have been getting the last three bullpen appearances.
For the Dodgers, Tony Gonsolin will take the mound for his third game and second start. In a very brief stint in his rookie year so far, he is 0-1 with a 5.63 earned run average. Gonsolin was recalled from the minors to take the spot of Cy Young frontrunner Hyun-Jin Ryu in the rotation after Ryu was placed on the IL this weekend.
Gonsolin’s only start in the majors this season came in June against the Diamondbacks. He pitched four innings and gave up six runs, four being earned. He came back up last month and pitched a brilliant four-inning save at Coors Field where he only gave up one run. Gonsolin started this season as the Dodgers No. 6 prospect. He features a good fastball in the mid-90s and a devastating splitter.
Batters To Watch
In his first season in St Louis, Paul Goldschmidt is batting .260 with 25 home runs and 58 runs batted in. On Sunday, he went 0-4, however before that he was riding an 11-game hitting streak.
Max Muncy hit the walk-off winner on Sunday against the Padres and in total went 4-5 in the game. He is hitting .265 with 27 homers and 74 RBIs in 2019.
Wacha is going to shut down the Dodgers? Yeah, no. Take LA.