Found July 29, 2013 on
Fox Sports Midwest:
St. Louis Cardinals
Come on, admit it. The Cardinals get swept in Atlanta and you're already starting to doubt.
Maybe Carlos Beltran is heading for another second-half slowdown after going 4 for 26 since the break and without a homer all month.
Maybe all the games are catching up to Yadier Molina as he has fallen out of the lead in the NL batting race.
Maybe Pete Kozma isn't the defensive whiz that Mike Matheny keeps saying he is after making errors in consecutive games.
Maybe their offense isn't so dangerous after scoring three runs and collecting 14 hits all weekend.
And, egads, maybe the Cardinals' major league-best record is an illusion and they aren't as good as you think.
Well, relax. A little bit. You know making assumptions based on small sample sizes is not advisable. Leave it at this: The Braves' pitching was fabulous and the Cardinals' offense was flat.
Now, move on. Because it doesn't get any easier for the Cardinals this week.
Up next is their biggest -- and longest -- series so far this season with five games in the next four days at second-place Pittsburgh, which will be followed by a weekend series at Cincinnati. PNC Park is expected to be packed for the Pirates' first home series since the All-Star break.
If you thought the Braves had dominant pitching, the Pirates are even better based on the numbers. Pittsburgh leads the majors in ERA, with the Braves second. Pirates rookie Gerrit Cole pitched Sunday and Wandy Rodriguez is on the disabled list, but the Cardinals still will see plenty of strong arms in the series.
The Pirates will send out their hottest starter, Francisco Liriano, in Monday's opener. A power lefty with a nasty slider and little history against the Cardinals, Liriano is the type of starter who gives St. Louis a hard time. (The Cardinals are hitting .284 against right-handers, .245 against lefties.)
Matt Holliday, who is 1 for 2, is the only Cardinals regular who has faced Liriano, 10-4 with a 2.23 ERA this season. Liriano was roughed up by the Reds two starts ago, but that was the only outing since June 12 in which he allowed more than two runs.
Right-hander A.J. Burnett will start the second game of Tuesday's double-header (the Pirates haven't announced a Game 1 starter). The Cardinals pummeled him for 12 runs in 2 23 innings last May 2, but Burnett has shut them down twice this season, allowing two runs in 13 innings.
Another lefty, All-Star Jeff Locke, starts Wednesday and he also has handled the Cardinals. In the only start in his young career against St. Louis, he pitched seven shutout innings in a 9-0 victory at Busch Stadium April 28.
Right-hander Charlie Morton represents something of a break in Thursday's finale. The Cardinals have beaten Morton seven times in 11 starts, including twice early last season. Morton, however, has pitched well since returning in June from Tommy John surgery. In eight starts, he has allowed as many as four runs only once.
Pittsburgh's bats haven't fared much better than the Cardinals' since the break. In their 5-5 trip to Cincinnati, Washington and Miami, the Pirates hit 11 homers (the Cardinals have one since the break) but averaged only 4.1 runs while striking out an average of 11 times a game. After their shutdown in Atlanta, the Cardinals are averaging 4 runs since the break.
You can follow Stan McNeal on Twitter at @stanmcneal or email him at email@example.com.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
Every year at the start of the year I get the same questions: When do you think (Insert Player) will be promoted to (Insert level that is one higher than his current level)?
Of course then I get the same question over and over until that player is promoted. At which point I get the same question, only for the next level. I understand it. The only purpose of the minor leagues is developing...
Travis Snider has been placed on the DL. (Photo Credit: David Hague)
The Pittsburgh Pirates have placed Travis Snider on the 15-day disabled list due to discomfort in his left big toe. Tony Sanchez has been recalled to take Snider’s spot.
The expectation was that Sanchez could have replaced McKenry or Martin, who both experienced left knee injuries this weekend. The announcement...
Michael McKenry had a big night at the plate, but also tweaked his knee. (Photo by: David Hague)
The Pirates had some unlikely heroes step up in tonight’s 7-4 win over the Miami Marlins.
The offense was led by Michael McKenry. That’s the same Michael McKenry who Pirates fans have wanted demoted in favor of Tony Sanchez for most of the last two months. It’s the same McKenry...
TOP OF THE SYSTEM
A look at how the current top 20 prospects did today. Note that this list doesn’t include players currently in the majors. If a player is in the majors, he will be removed, everyone below him will be shifted up a spot, and a new player will be added to the bottom of the list. Rankings are from the mid-season rankings, and links on each name go to their Pirates...
The story of the Pirates’ win Monday night may really just come down to the opinion of who you ask; some may say Francisco Liriano’s dominant seven innings were the key while others may dissent in favor of the four-run first inning and five-run seventh inning.
Liriano was dominant Monday night, pitching seven innings and allowing a run on four hits. Photo Credit: David Hague...
For a season preview of the Pittsburgh Pirates two Dominican Summer League teams, check out our article here. For a recap of the DSL All-Star game, check out our article here. Throughout the year, we will provide the recaps of both teams, as well as highlight one player each day.
Result: Phillies 2, Pirates 1
Starting Pitcher: Jose Regalado, RHP (5-4, 2.92...
Francisco Liriano allowed one run over seven dominant innings, Pedro Alvarez hit his NL-leading 27th home run and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the St. Louis Cardinals 9-2 Monday night.
Liriano (11-4) struck out eight and walked just two to win his fifth straight start. The Pirates kicked off the key series at PNC Park by sending the Cardinals to their fourth straight loss to pull...
Gerrit Cole was good today, but Jose Fernandez was better. (Photo Credit: David Hague)
Gerrit Cole vs Jose Fernandez. That was the matchup today. One was a first overall pick in the 2011 draft. The other was taken 13 picks later. Both have progressed to the point where they look like they could be future number one starters. Unfortunately for the Pirates, Fernandez looks like he...
When the Pittsburgh Pirates signed Francisco Liriano to a one year contract with just a one million dollar guarantee and a vesting options for 2014, many thought it was a typical move by the Pirates to catch lightning in a bottle on the cheap. Liriano clearly had the talent, but has never been able to stay healthy and when on the mound, had been terribly inconsistent over the past...
The first half of double-headers are always a little strange. When AJ Burnett got into a bases-loaded/no out jam in the third inning, my first concern was about the bullpen and now about Burnett blowing the 1-0 lead he'd been handed by Pedro Alvarez's first inning double. Burnett escaped the jam with only one run scored, though, and he cruised through the next five innings...
Cardinals (62-41) at Pirates (62-42)
4:05–PNC Park, Pittsburgh
MLB.com Gameday: Game 1 // Game 2
TV: ROOT (both), MLBN (Game 1)
After a great start to the series, the Pirates are back at it today against the Cardinals in a doubleheader – making up a rainout in April. The Pirates are within a half game of first place, but they’ll need to sweep the DH to hold the top spot at...
Bob Nightengale of USA Today has an update on Brian Wilson.
Former #SFGiants closer Brian Wilson has 5 offers-from 4 NL teams and 1 AL team with #Pirates and #Dbacks considered strong front runners.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) July 29, 2013
Brian Wilson would provide bullpen depth and an 80 grade playoff beard.
We heard about Wilson last Thursday. Nate Barnes wrote about...
Free agent right-hander Brian Wilson recently threw in front
of several teams. He reportedly looked good, garnering interest from roughly a
half-dozen suitors. At this point, Scott Miller of CBS Sports reports that
Wilson has narrowed the list and is close to signing his next contract, and Jim
Bowden of ESPN says the San Francisco Giants, Pittsburgh Pirates and Los
Gerrit Cole and Jose Fernandez will face off this afternoon in Miami, in what has to be one of the more exciting matchups between young pitchers in 2013. Fernandez is just 20 years old and was the 14th pick in 2011 draft that Cole went #1 overall in. He's been excellent for the Marlins this year, striking out 111 batters in 111 2/3 innings. He's also unintentionally walked...
Born: April 5, 1993
Height: 5′ 9″
How Acquired: Int’l Free Agent
Country: Domincian Republic
WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES
Rosario is an outfielder with a good arm, good speed and some power potential, despite his size. He didn’t hit a great deal in his first one and a half...