Series Preview: St. Louis (June 8-10)

ST. LOUIS, MO - MARCH 31: Members of the St. Louis Cardinals and San Diego Padres line up for the National Anthem on opening day at Busch Stadium on March 31, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)


The Indians had a taste of Interleague play in May when the Marlins came to town, but they're going to get the main course, with five straight series against the National League. First up is the defending World Series Champions.

Team in a Box (Click to Enlarge)

St

The Cardinals' offense is one of the NL's best in their first season without Albert Pujols. They signed Carlos Beltran in the off-season and moved Lance Berkman to first base and the offense didn't miss a beat, at least initially; both Berkman and Beltran got off to torrid starts, as did practically every one of the Opening Day starters. Injuries have taken several of their key players out of action, and the run production has fallen off as of late, though.

The pitching staff has been a problem, with several starters having down years. Adam Wainwright is back in the rotation after elbow surgery cost him the 2011 season, but he hasn't yet regained his pre-2011 form. Kyle Lohse ( who the Indians will see this series) and Lance Lynn (who they won't) have been the best starters in the rotation by far.

Typical Lineup

Pos. Player BA OBP SLG PA
SS Rafael Furcal .313 .368 .438 249
RF Carlos Beltran .275 .367 .549 221
LF Matt Holliday .271 .355 .459 248
1B Allen Craig .366 .420 .746 81
3B David Freese .267 .320 .487 203
C Yadier Molina .326 .371 .521 207
2B Daniel Descalso .227 .325 .382 127
CF Adron Chambers .273 .333 .364 25
P Pitcher

The Cardinals are missing several of their key players, including Lance Berkman, Jon Jay, and Matt Carpenter, all of whom were hitting well before their injuries. Chambers and Craig are recent call-ups, subbing for Jay and Carpenter.

Projected Starters

Date Pitcher ERA Innings SO/9 BB/9 H/9
June 8 Jake Westbrook 4.23 66.0 6.3 2.9 10.1
June 9 Kyle Lohse 3.21 73.0 8.3 2.7 9.0
June 10 TBD

The Indians will face LGFT Jake Westbrook on Friday; Westbrook has struggled in his second full season with the Cardinals, especially of late; he's give up at least five earned runs in each of his previous three starts. Lohse, who is Saturday's starter should be familiar from his Minnesota and Cincinnati days. Because the Cardinals recently placed Jairo Garcia on the DL, they haven't announced Sunday's starter yet.

On the Shelf

  • 1B Lance Berkman (knee) - 15-day DL
  • RHP Chris Carpenter (shoulder) - 15-day DL
  • 1B/3B Matt Carpenter (oblique) - 15-day DL
  • LHP Jairo Garcia (shoulder) - 15-day DL
  • CF Jon Jay (shoulder) - 15-day DL
  • RHP Scott Linebrink (shoulder) - 15-day DL
  • 2B/CF Skip Schumaker (hamstring) - 15-day DL

Berkman's injury is serious. He tore his ACL in May, and won't be back until at least late July while he recovers from surgery. The rest of the position player injuries seem more the 2-3 week variety, but I don't anyone will be off the DL until the series is over with.

talonk's Almanac

All-Time Record 12-5, (.706)
Runs Scored/Allowed 101 51
Pythagorean Win % .770
Best Season 2-1 Multiple

In the early years of Interleague play, the Indians and Cardinals played every season. They haven't played much recently, though, and this will be Cleveland's first trip to St. Louis since 2006.

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