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Royals series preview: The St. Louis Cardinals

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Get a brain! Morans

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MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Cincinnati Reds
Gleaming the Rubik’s cube
David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

The cross-state semi-rival St. Louis Cardinals are next up on the docket for the Kansas City Royals. The Cardinals have limped into this split series with a 55-56 record and run the risk of posting their first sub-.500 record since 2007. Of course their Pythagorean record implies a certain degree of bad luck has come their way. It couldn’t happen to a less deserving team.

The game times and pitching matchups are as follows:

  • Monday, August 7, 7:15 PM CDT at KC - Carlos Martinez versus Ian Kennedy
  • Tuesday, August 8, 7:15 PM CDT at KC - Michael Wacha versus Jason Vargas (L)
  • Wednesday, August 9, 7:15 PM CDT at StL - Trevor Cahill versus Mike Leake
  • Thursday, August 10, 6:15 PM CDT at StL - Jason Hammel versus Lance Lynn

I-70 Series pitching matchups

Pitcher G IP K K% BB BB% ERA FIP xFIP SIERA fWAR rWAR
Pitcher G IP K K% BB BB% ERA FIP xFIP SIERA fWAR rWAR
Carlos Martinez 22 140.1 151 26.0 54 9.3 3.59 3.80 3.63 3.89 2.5 2.2
Ian Kennedy 20 107.2 92 20.7 42 9.4 4.60 4.98 5.06 4.74 0.6 1.2
Michael Wacha 20 110.2 110 23.9 36 7.8 3.66 3.47 3.66 3.95 2.3 1.5
Jason Vargas (L) 21 125.0 92 17.9 34 6.6 3.10 4.09 4.81 4.72 1.9 4.0
Trevor Cahill 13 69.2 77 25.3 28 9.2 4.13 4.13 3.62 3.85 1.0 0.8
Mike Leake 11 134.2 90 16.1 32 5.7 3.34 3.98 3.96 4.22 2.0 2.0
Jason Hammel 22 125.2 96 17.4 37 6.7 4.73 4.21 5.05 4.79 1.6 1.4
Lance Lynn 23 132.2 114 21.1 49 9.1 3.12 4.84 4.59 4.56 0.9 2.8

It’s hard to look at the pitchers the Royals drew this series without worrying a bit. Each one has been solid if not spectacular this year. Martinez and Wacha have been there strongest starters this year with Wacha turning things around after a brutally unlucky 2016. Wacha is posting the best strikeout rates of his career. Lynn looks to have put everything back together after missing all of 2016 with a butt injury recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Cardinals position players

Player Pos PA HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ fWAR rWAR
Player Pos PA HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ fWAR rWAR
Tommy Pham CF 331 14 57 47 15 .316 .402 .512 .390 141 3.7 4.0
Jedd Gyorko 3B 388 14 40 52 6 .273 .338 .459 .337 107 1.7 3.1
Yadier Molina C 377 12 39 47 7 .275 .311 .424 .309 88 1.5 1.4
Paul DeJong SS 222 15 25 34 0 .277 .302 .549 .352 116 1.3 0.8
Matt Carpenter (L) 1B/2B 444 14 59 48 2 .246 .379 .439 .354 117 1.3 1.9
Kolten Wong (L) 2B 253 1 31 23 3 .289 .381 .404 .331 103 0.7 0.9
Jose Martinez 1B/OF 162 7 26 21 1 .280 .348 .483 .350 115 0.3 0.4
Greg Garcia (L) IF 187 2 12 10 2 .232 .346 .316 .302 84 0.3 0.3
Luke Voit 1B 78 3 12 10 0 .257 .333 .471 .344 111 0.3 0.3
Randal Grichuk LF 293 13 34 37 5 .228 .280 .438 .301 83 0.2 0.1
Stephen Piscotty RF 290 6 29 31 3 .228 .338 .355 .309 88 0.0 0.3
Carson Kelly C 15 0 1 3 0 .143 .200 .214 .187 9 -0.1 -0.1

The Cardinals have the 13th-best offensive unit in terms of fWAR with 13.7 wins (the Royals are 19th with 10.8). They’ve slashed .256/.330/.418 with a .321 wOBA and 95 wRC+. Tommy Pham has done nothing but rake this season. Of course, he has a .391 BABIP to thank for much of his success. Paul DeJong has also come out of nowhere to be very good in 58 games, though BABIP (.353) has been a generous mistress to him as well.

Poll

How will the Royals fare against the Cardinals?

This poll is closed

  • 10%
    Royals sweep
    (46 votes)
  • 31%
    Royals take three of four
    (134 votes)
  • 40%
    Split
    (175 votes)
  • 12%
    Cardinals take three of four
    (53 votes)
  • 5%
    Cardinals sweep
    (24 votes)
432 votes total Vote Now

All stats courtesy of FanGraphs and Baseball Reference through action on Saturday, August 5.

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