The Cardinals look to rebound from a frustrating weekend as they head to Chicago to take on the young White Sox. The Cardinals find themselves in a situation where they need to come out and create their own momentum heading into their first matchup with the Chicago Cubs at home. They have the perfect team to help them forget about their trouble in Pittsburgh.
St. Louis will have the difficult task not looking ahead. Talk in St. Louis will be about the anticipation of the second round of the Cards/Cubs showdown. The Cardinals have to stay focused on the task at hand, taking care of business against a team they should beat. The Chicago White Sox enter this two game series with a record of 8-18. Five of those eight victories were against the the lowly Kansas City Royals. The Cardinals need to take advantage of a White Sox team that is currently having a season long tryout camp to find out who they will be building their organization around for the coming years.
The White Sox are currently in tank mode, cutting bait with essentially all veteran personal. The salary cuts and trading of assets has paid off for the White Sox. MLB Pipeline and Baseball America each released their latest organizational rankings anointing the White Sox as the top system among baseball’s 30 teams. The White Sox also received the No. 2 farm system ranking from Baseball America behind the Atlanta Braves. While the White Sox wait for super prospects Eloys Jimenez, Luis Robert and Dylan Case, they currently sport some of previous years top prospects on their roster. Yoan Moncada, Nicky Delmonico, Yolmer Sanchez and Matt Davidson have been put into the starting lineup on a day to day basis in order to find out what the team has for the future.
The White Sox will send one of their last veterans to the mound, James Shields will take the hill in game one of the series. Shields has been a punching bag for opposing lineups in all for most of the year up until his most recent start. Shields will look to build on a solid outing on Wednesday against the Mariners. He worked six innings and allowed six hits and four runs, but he wound up taking a 4-3 loss. The loss dropped Shields record to 1-3 with an ERA of 6.14. Opposing Shields in game one of the series will be Micheal Wacha. Wacha conquered some lingering command issues in his last start vs. the Mets, when he struck out eight against one walk. He’s won four straight starts. The victory for Wacha brought his record to 4-1 3.62 ERA.
In game two of the series the White Sox will send one time Nationals prospect Lucas Giolito to the mound against Cardinal ace Carlos Martinez. Giolito, the prize of the Adam Eaton deal last winter, has yet to establish himself as a major league starter holds a 1-3 record with a 7.71 ERA. Giolito has limited opponents to a .240 batting average, but he leads the team with 21 walks. The 26-year-old Martinez got tagged on Opening Day but has been sensational since, yielding two earned runs over 33 1/3 innings while striking out 35. After walking 17 in his first five starts, Martinez didn’t give up a free pass in his last outing.
The White Sox enter this series with a team ERA of 5.08 which sits third in the American League and fourth overall. The southersiders have had an issue holding down their home field advantage during the 2018 season holding a record of 2-10 at Guaranteed Rate Field. The Cardinals need to walk in angry after suffering a sweep at the hands of division rival Pittsburgh over the weekend. They will have a chance to feast on two pitchers that have continually struggled the first month of the season. Having the advantage at pitcher in both games of the series should set them up to be successful. Allowing for the DH to come into play should also help the Cardinals as double switch machine Mike Matheny’s questionable decisions should be taken out of his hands going into this series.
No team can ever be overlooked in the Major Leagues but heading into this matchup I would like to see the Cardinals come out and continue to dominate lesser competition. I expect the Cardinals to win game one 7-4 and the second game 3-1 after a strong performance from Carlos Martinez. The Cardinals need momentum heading into the Cubs series, they also need to have a rested bullpen. If they can get a strong performance from Martinez in the second game of the series, accompanied by an extra day of rest the Cardinals could be set up for a great weekend against the Cubbies.