Divisional rivals fight for the first place

St. Louis lost three consecutive games and this string of disappointing results caused them to slip to the second place, one victory behind the leading Pittsburgh. Their otherwise strong home record recommends them as favorites in a match against their divisional rivals, despite losing the opening game. Cincinnati got away with a narrow margin victory and two runs were enough for them to secure victory in the opener. It is quite unlikely for them to score significantly more runs tonight when they will be facing one of the best starting pitchers in the National League.


The Cardinals are right to start with Jamie Garcia in the second game of the series, as he is not only in superb form but also quite effective against Cincinnati. He started for 7 times against them at home and emerged victorious in six of those starts, with a seventh game ending without a decision for Jamie. This season he has an earned run average of 2.89, so it is refreshing to know that his ERA in the head to head games is even better, standing at 2.40.

On the bright side, St. Louis can rest assured that the first innings will not cause them any headaches, because it is hard to believe that the reeling Reds will find a way to pitch around Garcia. Before Cardinals fans get overly optimistic about their chances to win this match, they should take a look at the tables and notice that their favorite team is mired in a three-game losing streak. It is the lack of offensive prowess that brought them to this unfortunate situation, but once again the Reds are a dream opponent.

It looks like they are poised to make the hosts mission easier by sending in Bronson Arroyo, a starting pitcher who has good reasons to fear the Cardinals. He’s at the opposite end of the spectrum if compared with Jamie Garcia, as his head to head record translates to one victory in seven games. Add to this the fact that his earned run average against St. Louis is a subpar 5.58 and becomes fairly obvious that the visitors will need a small miracle to win the second game in a row. The last time he took the mound, the Nationals pounded him for eight runs while his own team couldn’t provide more than one run of support.