With staff ace Gil Meche (4-6, 3.00 ERA) facing ex-Royal castoff -- think about it, even the Royals gave up on him -- Todd Wellemeyer (2-0, 4.88 ERA) you'd think everything pointed to an easy KC victory tonight in St. Louis.
Somehow, especially for bad teams, it never quite works out that way. You can double the potency of that pessimistic premonition with a consideration of the borader circumstance: if the Cards win tonight, they'll vulture an I-70 Series split by sneakily winning the final two games. Ouch.
Despite a still ugly cumulative ERA of 7.03 this season, in 24 innings with the Cardinals Wellemeyer's been borderline functional, posting a 4.88 ERA, while striking out 22. While he wasn't exactly impressive in his winning starts against the Rockies and Angels , he wasn't terrible either, vaguely keeping the Cardinals close in games that saw his teammates score eight and nine runs, respectively. All in all, Wellemeyer's the owner of 202.1 Major League innings of 5.56 ERA quality; he throws hard but doesn't get as many strikeouts as you'd like, he can be wild and he surrenders the gopherball. Other than that, he's great.
The many faces of Wellemeyer.
As for Meche, while he was initially the beneficiary of a fluky number of unearned runs not appearing on his resume, that kind of random noise has evened out a bit as May has turned into June. For the record, Meche's RA (runs allowed) is at 3.73, which remains a country mile lower than anything he's managed since 2000. Last season, en route to a 5.11 RA, Meche walked 84 batters in 186 innings, leading to a pedestrian K/BB ratio of 1.86. This year, walks have been nearly eliminated (26 BBs in 99 innings), while the K-rate has remained healthy. Perhaps most impressively, he's doing this against some of the toughest competition in the American League. Amongst AL pitchers who have thrown a minimum of 50 innings, Meche has faced the 9th toughest opposition, as measured by opposition OPS (.769).
Finally however, what kind of omen do you think is being communicated by the untimely death of We, the two-headed snake of St. Louis just hours before the game?