Even with the headlines covering Giancarlo Stanton slugging home runs like Babe Ruth and the Dodgers being 50 games over .500 in August, the most critical game today is between the surging St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Red Sox.
The Red Sox put yesterday’s game out of reach with an eight-run 5th inning. Cardinals pitcher Mike Leake (7-11) recorded the loss as his second-half ERA ballooned to 6.29, compared to a 3.12 ERA in the first half.
Reigning AL Cy Young winner Rick Porcello (7-14) picked up the win by tossing seven innings and allowing three runs. Porcello has won his last three starts but still figures to be a liability, not just a question mark, down the stretch and into postseason play.
After playing sub .500 baseball for most of the season, a timely hot stretch that included an eight-game winning streak has found the Cardinals back in the mix for the NL Central. Boston will look to put some distance between themselves and the struggling Yankees as their young core appears to be solidifying an offence that was underperforming earlier in the year.
Game 2 Starters – Lance Lynn (RHP) vs Eduardo Rodriguez (LHP)
The always dependable and underrated Lance Lynn heads to the mound for the Cardinals in Game 2 of the series. He takes his 10-6 record and 3.12 ERA into Fenway Park where he will pitch for the first time in his career. Lynn has been steady and solid for the Cardinals as he looks to establish himself not only as a legitimate #2 starter if the Cardinals play in October, but also as a marquee name in free agency after this winter.
The 24-year-old Venezuelan left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, who has shown glimpses of brilliance this year, looks to complete the ill-scheduled inter-league sweep. Rodriguez has only pitched past the sixth inning once this season as his command issues and ability to strike out hitters are a proven recipe that leads to high pitch counts.
|St. Louis||Pos.||Home Runs||Batting Average||On-Base Percentage|
|Boston||Pos.||Home Runs||Batting Average||On-Base Percentage|
Who’s hot, and who’s not
Andrew Benintendi has five home runs and 13 RBI through 11 games in August. The three spot for Boston sports teams has seen the likes of Larry Bird, Manny Ramirez, and Paul Pierce, and Boston fans are hopeful the 23-year-old will join those names in Boston sporting lore.
Eduardo Nunez has sparked the Red Sox since arriving at the trade deadline from the Giants. The Giants were 59-44 when they acquired Nunez from the Twins last year and stumbled to a 68-95 record over parts of two seasons with him on the roster. He wasn’t responsible for the Giants failures, but he’s been the ignition to the Red Sox success.
Paul DeJong is a young name that has been overlooked this season by a star-studded rookie cast. Although he hits lefties well, he has struggled away from Busch Stadium with a .241/.245/.468 slash line on the road.
Instead, look for Jedd Gyorko to be in the middle of any offense for the Cardinals today. His 3.1 WAR is second on the club and his bat matches up well against Rodriguez.
Prediction: Cardinals 4 – 3 Red Sox
Eduardo Rodriguez’s pitch count issues continue and puts stress on the Red Sox bullpen allowing the Cardinals to score late and win. Craig Kimbrel sits to watch high leverage situations in late innings that aren’t classified as a “save” situation. Looking to chase down the Cubs at the top of the NL Central, the Cardinals are playing with a purpose.
Where to watch
The game is due to start at 7.10pm ET and is available on NESN, DirecTV channel 671 (671-1 for HD), Dish Network 418, and MLB.tv
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