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04 Jul 2018

St. Louis Cardinals Vs. Arizona Diamondbacks: Lineups, preview, & prediction (July 4, 2018)

St. Louis Cardinals Vs. Arizona Diamondbacks: Lineups,
preview, & prediction (July 4, 2018)

The Diamondbacks leveled the series last night, who will claim the final game?

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Miles Mikolas (RHP) Vs. Patrick Corbin (LHP)

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Projected lineups

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 Who's hot and who's not

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 Prediction

(Photo credit: Keith Allison)

In game two of the three game series, the Arizona Diamondbacks leveled things up with a 4-2 win. Paul Goldschmidt was the big hero as he hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the fifth off starter Jack Flaherty to put the D-backs ahead for good. St. Louis had taken the lead in the second inning on a Yairo Munoz single that scored Yadier Molina and then a Kolten Wong sac fly to bring in Jedd Gyorko. With the series level at 1-1, who will take the decider tonight? Let's start by looking at the pitching matchup.

Miles Mikolas (RHP) Vs. Patrick Corbin (LHP)

If Miles Mikolas is not a familiar name to you, you aren't alone. The righty may be nearly 30, but 2018 is the first time he has pitched in the Majors since 2014 when he was with the Texas Rangers. That year he posted a 6.44 ERA in 10 starts, I think it is safe to say things have changed. Through developing his slider and cutter in his three years with the Yomiuri Giants in Japan, Mikolas has become an effective weapon in the rotation for the Cardinals in 2018. He is keeping hitters on their toes and mixing his stuff well, which is resulting in soft contact and more than a few errant swings. He comes into today off the back of a strong June in which he started six games, posted a 2.68 ERA, averaged six innings per start and had a WHIP of 1.00.

Corbin, however, is coming off a shaky June. Rough outings against the Pirates and Mets gave him a 3.52 ERA for the month, and really undid strong starts. That has been something of a trend for Corbin this year, he has four starts of four or more earned runs against, spoiling the eight games where he allowed one or none.

His last two games were excellent though. He threw a combined 13 innings against the Pirates and Giants, allowing just one run and striking out 17. It is the K's that have fueled Corbin this year, his current 11.4 K/9 is a full 3.0 better than any previous season.

Projected lineups

Cardinals Lineup Home Runs Batting Average On-Base Percentage
Carpenter, 1B15.256.363
Pham, CF13.245.329
Martinez, RF13.298.364
Ozuna, LF10.277.321
Molina, C12.271.313
Gyorko, 3B6.246.302
Munoz, SS3.281.324
Wong, 2B6.191.294
Mikolas, P1.032.091
Diamondbacks Lineup Home Runs Batting Average On-Base Percentage
Jay, RF1.223.324
Goldschmidt, 1B19.277.385
Lamb, 3B6.250.337
Pollock, CF11.282.345
Peralta, LF15.282.347
Marte, 2B6.244.296
Ahmed, SS10.223.282
Murphy, C9.250.298
Corbin, P0.233.281

Who's hot and who's not

Matt Carpenter is really driving the Cardinals offense of late. In the last two weeks the utility infielder has a .362 average and four homers. He is joined over .300 by Yairo Munoz who is hitting .355 in the same time span. The Cards are also getting a lot of power from behind the plate, where Yadier Molina has blasted five homers in the last two weeks.

It isn't all sunshine and roses though. Tommy Pham is struggling mightily right now, with just five hits, albeit two homers, in the last two weeks, while Marcell Ozuna is barely over the Mendoza line in the same time frame.

As for Arizona, well they are getting MVP-level play from first base one again thanks to Paul Goldschmidt. He has a .340 average and four homers in his last two weeks, the rest of the lineup only has six bombs in that time. Jake Lamb is starting to find his groove, with a .348 average in the last two weeks, and David Peralta is playing well too, but the likes of Jon Jay, Daniel Descalso, and Chris Owings are struggling at the plate right now.

Prediction

This could go either way really. Corbin could shut down the Cardinals lineup, or this could be one of those days where he gets crushed. Arizona are really depending on strong pitching right now with their lineup turning into a one man show, and that is a worry. I think the Cardinals will edge it, 4-3.