Saturday is the third game of a four-game set between the St Louis Cardinals and the New York Mets. Both these teams are in third place in their respective divisions, hovering around .500 and around four games back of a wild-card spot. Games like these in the dog days of summer, against average to mediocre teams, are the way you get into the postseason. Another parallel for these teams, coming into Friday’s game, they were both 5-5 in the month of June.
For the St Louis Cardinals, Michael Wacha is going to take the hill for his 11th start after a brief bullpen stint. His last start was very efficient against the Miami Marlins, going six innings with four strikeouts and not giving up a run while recording the victory. It has been a season of mixed bags for Wacha. In three games, he has given up six runs or more. And in five games, he has given up one run or less.
One key for Wacha to find that consistency is going to be keeping runners off the basepaths. His BB/9 is an astronomical 5.46, and his WHIP is somewhere north of 1.70. Also, his 1.93 HR/9 could use some work as well.
For the New York Mets, Noah Syndergaard gets the ball for his 15th start this season. So far in 2019, Syndergaard is 4-4 with a 4.45 ERA. It has been quite the fall from dominance that Thor was once known for. In 2018, he went 13-4 with a 3.03 ERA and in 2016 went 14-9 with a 2.60 ERA. One reason for that is his strikeout numbers are lower than his career averages, while his walk numbers are higher than his career averages.
His O-Swing%, as well as his SwStr%, are both the lowest they have ever been in his career. A possible culprit of this is the lack of use of his slider. Whereas in past years he would throw it roughly 20% of the time, he has thrown it only 11% of the time this season. He has been more reliant on his changeup as his second pitch in 2019.
Batter To Watch
One key for the Cardinals to make a postseason push is going to be getting Paul Goldschmidt going. His first season in St Louis hasn’t been going according to plan. He has his lowest batting average thus far since his rookie year back in 2011 at .267. A pretty safe bet for 30 home runs a year, Goldy only has 12 total this season but has cooled off considerably the last three weeks or so.
Since May 22, he has only hit two balls out of the park. More surprising are his RBI numbers. Normally hovering around 90-100 in his career, he has only 27 this season. Since May 22, he has only one RBI that didn’t come from a home run.
Syndergaard has been pretty average this year on a Mets team that has wildly underperformed. However, he is much better at Citi Field both this season and in his career. In Queens, he boasts a career 2.84 ERA in over 325 innings pitched. Take the Mets.