The St. Louis Cardinals and Oakland Athletics finish up a quick two-game Interleague series on Sunday. Oakland took the opener 8-3 on Saturday, their third win in as many games with St. Louis this season.
After taking a loss in the series opener, the Cardinals are now 58-51, just a half-game back from the Cubs in the tight NL Central. The Cardinals won a series over the Cubs in St Louis last week and now will need to keep momentum going moving forward.
St. Louis gave up four runs in the first two innings last night, while they weren’t able to get their first of their three runs until the sixth inning. With the Cubs and Brewers facing off in Chicago, this is a perfect chance for the Cardinals to gain back first place if they can string together some wins. The Cardinals are on the road for this series, where they are 27-28 this season.
Veteran pitcher Adam Wainwright will be getting the start for the Cardinals in this one. Wainwright seems to be an all-or-nothing pitcher this year, as we have seen him put together games where he is seemingly unstoppable and others where he has been rather shaky. All of this ends up balancing out on the stat sheet, as he is 7-7 this season with a 4.47 ERA over 108 2/3 innings pitched. He was very solid in his last game against the Cubs, and I would expect another good game here.
While the Cardinals are missing some of their offensive firepower with Yadier Molina and Matt Carpenter still on the IL, other guys in the lineup have gotten hot and produced well for the ballclub. Paul Goldschmidt has finally turned it up for the team and currently leads them with 25 home runs, with a .262 batting average and 58 runs batted in. Kolton Wong, who has been hitting absolutely everything lately, now leads St Louis with a .266 batting average.
After claiming the win against the Cardinals to kick off this series, the Oakland A’s are now 63-48 this season, sitting in second place in the AL West, 8.5 games behind the Houston Astros. They are 6-4 in their last 10 games after winning their last two. Not only can they possibly get closer to the Astros with a sweep in this series, but they are currently just a half-game back from holding a Wild Card spot in the American League. The Athletics are in Oakland for this series, where they are a solid 36-23 this season.
Tanner Roark will be making his debut for the Oakland A’s in this game, and although this is a new team for Roark, the Cardinals will be familiar to him as he was acquired from the Cincinnati Reds, who are also in the NL Central with the Cardinals. The 32-year-old currently has a 6-7 record with a 4.24 ERA and 108 strikeouts. He had a rough start in his last outing, giving up five earned runs over 3 1/3 innings to the Pirates in a losing effort.
On offense, the biggest bright spot for Oakland has been their third baseman, Matt Chapman. The 26-year-old is leading the team with 24 home runs and 64 runs batted in. Meanwhile, centerfielder Ramon Laureano leads the team with his .284 batting average, and he also has 21 home runs and 58 runs batted in.
What To Expect
While Oakland took game one of the series, I expect a solid effort from Wainwright in this one, giving the Cardinals a much better chance to get the bats going. I like the Cardinals to take this one on the shoulders of a solid pitching performance.