Philadelphia Phillies Weekend Preview: St. Louis Cardinals

Aug 16, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Brandon Moss (37) hits an RBI single during the first inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 16, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Brandon Moss (37) hits an RBI single during the first inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /

A preview of the series between the Philadelphia Phillies and St. Louis Cardinals.

Now that the Chase Utley homecoming event is over, the Philadelphia Phillies can get back to the business of trying to win baseball games. They’ll be facing a team that is thick in the playoff hunt, while the Phillies will just be trying to scrounge up enough starting pitching to make it through the rest of the season.

St. Louis Cardinals

Record: 64-56 (Second in National League Central)

Manager: Mike Matheny

The last time they met

When the Phillies visited St. Louis in May, the series started off well when Aaron Nola pitched seven shutout innings in a win. Unfortunately, Jeanmar Gomez blew his first save of the season the following night, and Jaime Garcia shut down the Phillies offense in the series finale.

What’s the deal with the Cardinals

More from Philadelphia Phillies

The Cardinals currently hold the second Wild Card spot in the National League. They hold that spot mostly due to their offense which has hit the most home runs in the league. That power is well-distributed throughout the lineup, as five players have more than 15 home runs, but no player has more than 21.

On the other hand, the pitching staff is mostly pedestrian. Only one starter has an ERA under 4.00, and former closer Trevor Rosenthal is on the disabled list.

Reason to hate the Cardinals

How could you possibly hate on a team that has the best fans in baseball? I mean, aside from the taunts directed at Jason Heyward and their bizarre worship of Yadier Molina? (Seriously, guys; he’s not THAT good.)

If you don’t believe me, just check out this Twitter account!

Cardinals player who isn’t entirely horrible

In hindsight, it was probably a mistake for the Philadelphia Phillies to not promote Brandon Moss to the big league roster in 2011. Feeling slighted, he left as a free agent and has gone on to become an excellent player. His 21 home runs are the most on the Cardinals, and his .915 OPS is the team’s second-best mark.

Cardinals player who is horrible

Jhonny Peralta used to be one of the better hitting shortstops in baseball. These days, he plays third base more often, and he’s no longer an especially good hitter. His .274 on-base percentage is weak, and with only six home runs, he’s not supplying as much power as usual.

Phillies player who has been awesome lately

What’s the cause behind Ryan Howard‘s recent resurgence? Is it because his part-time status has left him better rested? Is it because he’s been getting more advantageous matchups? Regardless of the reason, Howard is batting .370 with six home runs over the past month.

Howard often saves some of his best performances for when he faces his hometown Cardinals, so it wouldn’t be shocking to see his hot hitting continue this weekend.

Reasons for optimism

  • The Cardinals will be missing one of their better hitters as Matt Holliday is out with an injury.
  • The Philadelphia Phillies will be facing rookie Luke Weaver as he makes his second career start. He only lasted four innings in his debut, so he might not be ready for prime time.

  • Jerome Williams is on the Cardinals’ roster. How good could the Cards possibly be if they have Williams on the roster?
  • Reasons for pessimism

    1. Two of the three games will be started by Adam Morgan and Vincent Velasquez. Neither man has shown much ability to pitch deep into games, so the Phillies’ bullpen may get a lot of work.
    2. Jeremy Hellickson will start the other game, and the team isn’t sure if he’s completely healthy.
    3. The Philadelphia Phillies will have to face Adam Wainwright, who is 6-2 with a 2.72 ERA against them for his career.

    Next: Ryan Howard, Waiver Target?

    Tweet of importance

    It’s been a while since a Philadelphia Phillies starter pitched deep into a game.


    The Philadelphia Phillies will drop the first two, but Velasquez, realizing that his 2016 is likely coming to an end soon, will pitch well in the finale, allowing the Phillies to salvage a win.