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2021 Series #19 | Indians @ Cardinals | June 8-9, 2021

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Wham with the Right Hand

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The Cardinals are 31-29 but have lost 7 of their last 8, getting swept in four games by the Reds at home over the weekend. Three of their starters are injured and they're not hitting, having scored only 27 runs in the last eight games. All-Star catcher Yadier Molina is day-to-day with a knee problem.

The Cardinals are an average team offensively, ranking 9th in the N.L. in scoring at 4.23 runs per game. FanGraphs ranks them 8th in wRC+. They are 12th in batting average and on-base percentage and 13th in walks, so they're not too selective at the dish. In terms of ISO and home run rate they're average.

Their pitching is also on the average, ranking 8th in ERA. They're last in baseball by a significant margin in walks per 9 innings at 4.60, so the Tribe hitters should be patient and work some free passes. They're 3rd lowest in the N.L. in home runs allowed, possibly because their park is very favorable to pitching. Out of 30 ballparks Busch Stadium ranks 24th in both runs and home runs allowed.

So the key for the Tribe is to be patient, work some walks, and don't depend on home runs to win the game. They might have to play some small ball and steal some bags, although it might depend on whether Molina plays. He has gunned down nearly 44% of stolen base attempts while his backup is 1-for-8.

Nolan Arenado is their biggest bat with a line of .287/.855 and 40 RBI's. He's hitting .322 with RISP. However, he's been feasting on lefties at .359 but hitting .272 against righties. Obviously he won't see a lefty the next couple of nights.

Tyler O'Neill, a 25-year-old left fielder, is hitting .278/.920 with 13 HR's on the season but is raking .341/1.151 over the last 15 days. He has 52 K's in only 144 AB's, however, so there's a lot of swing-and-miss there. He's hitting .224 at home and only 4 of his 13 HR's are at home so I assume he's a fly ball hitter that is being disadvantaged by the ballpark.

Molina is hitting .277/.808. I wonder if the Indians will ever again have a catcher who hits over .240. Dylan Carlson, another outfielder, is hitting .277/.792. He's a switch hitter who's batting .372 against lefties and .252 against righties. The Indians seem to match up well against this offense since Arenado and Carlson absolutely kill lefties but are just OK against righties.

On to the matchups. Tonight Bieber goes against RHP Carlos Martinez, 3-5, 5.83. Martinez had a 4.22 ERA after his first nine starts but got lit up by the Dodgers in his last start, giving up 10 runs in two-thirds of an inning. The 29-year-old was very good from 2015-19, going 54-35 with ERA's in the low 3's all but one year. But he's struggled the last two years.

This season he has only 31 K's in 54 innings, so he definitely pitches to contact. Before this season he was averaging a strikeout per inning so something has definitely changed. His home ERA is 4.24 versus 7.01 on the road. Opponents are hitting .325 with runners on base against .176 with nobody on so the key is absolutely to get on base and make him pitch from the stretch.

Bieber hasn't pitched since last Tuesday so he's had a full week of rest. He's pitching in a pitcher's ballpark against a team that is averaging under 3.5 runs per game lately, plus their most dangerous bats hit right-handed. The numbers say he should have a good game.

Tomorrow it's Mejia making his second major league start against RHP Adam Wainwright. The 39-year-old Wainwright is 3-5, 4.19, as he continues to stave off Father Time. Wainwright is in his 16th season, all with the Cardinals. He might be the last pitcher to do that. He's 170-103 for his career, with two 20-win seasons and two 19-win seasons. He's started 337 games and I don't think I've seen any of them. By the end of this season the Cardinals will have paid him over $157 million. I'd like to see his house.

This year Wainwright has a 2.63 ERA at home in seven starts and 8.20 on the road. If anybody knows how to take advantage of Busch Stadium it's him. Opponents are hitting .210 against him at Busch. I wish we could have missed him this series and gotten him when these teams meet in Cleveland.

Wainwright has not been able to beat Father Time in one area, however, and that's hitting. He has a .193 career batting average, which means if he was in his prime he could have been our starting first baseman this year. He has 10 career home runs, but the last one came in 2017 so I don't think Mejia has to worry about Wainwright taking him deep. Wainwright is 0-for-19 at the dish this year so it appears he has lost some bat speed. He probably doesn't get down the line as quickly as he used to, either.

So I love the Tribe's chances tonight with a rested Bieber and a rested bullpen against Martinez. Tomorrow it could be a toss-up because Wainwright is very tough at home but Mejia has only allowed 1 hit in 14 at-bats to right-handed hitters so he seems to match up well against the Cardinals, whose top six hitters are either right-handed or switch hitters who hit lefties better.
 
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Must win series.

After the stink of that Os series, team needs to make a statement here, even if it's just 'at least we don't hold a racist pageant/parade every year like St Louis'.
I think Owen deserves a few more ABs at the time, it's not like there is a huge pool of guys at AAA tearing the cover off the ball, waiting to replace him. Rotate him and Chang, give them a chance while there is space available.
 
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This is hilarious...according to the service provided by the Athletic, the absolutely BEST prop bet on the entire major league baseball slate today is wagering the UNDER 0.5 runs @ -110 on Amed Rosario. Apparently, according their number crunchers, this has a 63% win probability with an expected value of $22.21.

I don't know about you, but I hope Amed scores somewhere along the line and ruins this so-called "easy money"!
 
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I get that his defense in center field has been atrocious, but Harold Ramirez needs to be in the lineup. He's been the second best hitter on the team since Franmil was injured.
 
It's not the worst idea to start with your best possible defense behind your ace and then use Harold in a critical PH spot with runners on, if needed.

As good as Harold's bat is, I don't want to ever see him again in CF. He's terrible.

They need to decide between Gimenez and Zimmer, I prefer Gimenez, move Amed to CF. Harold full time DH until Franmil comes back, Naylor/Luplow RF and spell Eddie in LF vs LHP with Harold. Play Bradley at 1B, decide between Chang/Miller who stays up in a bench role. Done.
 
The defense has been inexcusable.

Unplayable in CF. You lose the DH, it’s not a surprise to see him be the odd man out.
Then play him in LF and give the underwhelming Eddie Rosario the night off. Harold has been blistering hot for a decent stretch now. He needs to be in the lineup.
 
I've taken to calling the two Bradleys the "K Bros". Hope they prove me wrong...
 
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO WE, BOBBY BRADGOAT HITTING 5TH

HATERS, KEEP OUT
 
I think Zimmer has a bounce back game tonight, I’m calling a 2 hit night......He knows he on a short leases,
 
Then play him in LF and give the underwhelming Eddie Rosario the night off. Harold has been blistering hot for a decent stretch now. He needs to be in the lineup.
Or give the recently underwhelming Naylor the night off because Eddie has been hitting the ball well.

Has HRam's defense in CF been any worse than Naylor's in RF?
 
Or give the recently underwhelming Naylor the night off because Eddie has been hitting the ball well.

Has HRam's defense in CF been any worse than Naylor's in RF?
I think Naylor overall is better he still makes the occasional WTF play but hes not terrible. Harold does not get a good jump off the bat and does not belong in CF. I think the big issue is you don't want Eddie, Harold, & Naylor all playing at the same time that is a terrible OF.
 
To pile on, Harold has a classic noodle arm. If he has to make a meaningful throw, he loses.
 

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