Series Preview: St. Louis Cardinals

MLB: Spring Training-Minnesota Twins at St. Louis Cardinals

It looked for a while like it would be a devastating start to a long homestand. The Mets had lost two of their first three against Atlanta, with all of the positive momentum built up on the road being washed away with each Curtis Granderson out, but then, in the series’ final game, in the bottom of the 14th, the man they call Grandy came through. A walk-off sacrifice fly to give the Mets a much needed victory at Citi. It improved their record to 9-9 on the early season. Surely, a respectable start for a ballclub that many expect 90 losses rather than 90 wins. The Mets will look to build off their Easter Sunday win with a four-game tilt against the Red Birds.

The Cardinals

Like the Mets, the Cardinals Easter Sunday ended in dramatic fashion via the sacrifice fly, except for them, in a loss. The Nationals beating them 3-2 in the bottom of the 9th to complete a four game series in which each team took two games. The defending National League champion Cardinals come to Citi with an 11-8 record, playing mostly hot and cold through the start of the season. They have struggled to find much power, like the Mets, and haven’t done much better drawing walks, like the Mets. But they strikeout less and have hit a little bit more, with Yadier Molina leading the way with an impressive .344/.373/.547 slash line.

The St. Louis Cardinals strength has been their starting staff – second only to Atlanta in the National League in team ERA. Adam Wainwright and Michael Wacha becoming one of the deadliest 1-2 punches in baseball. Of course, that leaves out Lance Lynn who is off to a 4-0 start. Their bullpen has not been quite as strong with closer Trevor Rosenthal off to a shaky start. Overall, the Cardinals are still a tough team to beat, and will only be tougher once they get clicking on all cylinders.

2014 Lineup

  1. Matt Carpenter 3B
  2. Kolten Wong 2B
  3. Matt Holliday LF
  4. Matt Adams 1B
  5. Yadier Molina C
  6. Allen Craig RF
  7. Jhonny Peralta SS
  8. Peter Bourjos CF

Key Injuries

  • SP Jaime Garcia on 15-day DL for shoulder inflammation.
  • SP Joe Kelly on 15-day DL for strained hamstring.
  • RP Jason Motte rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.

Interesting Notes

  • Jhonny Peralta was a potential shortstop target for the Mets. He is off to a dreadful start in St. Louis, batting .183/.258/.433. The one bright spot is that he has 4 home runs.
  • With Joe Kelly batting back from injury, Tyler Lyons will take his spot in the rotation. He will start against the Mets on Monday.
  • The Mets have made a habit of scoring first, which will be helpful against St. Louis who is 7-2 when securing the first run.

Pitching Probables

Monday (7:10): RHP Jenrry Mejia (2-0, 2.81) vs. LHP Tyler Lyons (0-0, —)
Tuesday (7:10): RHP Dillon Gee (1-0, 3.71) vs. RHP Adam Wainwright (3-1, 1.80)
Wednesday (7:10): LHP Jon Niese (0-2, 2.84) vs. RHP Michael Wacha (2-1, 1.73)
Thursday (1:10): RHP Bartolo Colon (1-3, 5.40) vs. RHP Lance Lynn (4-0, 3.42)

mmo

  • I would say tonight is a must win over the other games in the series. Need to get ahead instead of always battling from behind. Keep it up Mejia!

  • Charley’s Twin

    I detest St. Louis and am incredibly jealous of their organization.

  • Nmartz

    We need to win today cuz the next three games will be really tough to get.

  • oleosmirf

    This is going to be very difficult, but I don’t think going 2-2 is unattainable. Then the Mets would have a good shot at winning the Marlins series and going back on the road over .500…

  • oleosmirf

    with a LHP on the mound, I would hope to see Brown in over Granderson.

  • WilponsNeed2Go

    We’ll be lucky to win two here. The first game is absolutely crucial. The Mets need to go after Lyons, because they’re going to have a tough time scoring against Wainwright, Wacha and Lynn.

  • Dark HelMet

    We play better against good teams it seems, so I’m gonna go out on a limb and say we surprise everyone and win 3 of these games. 🙂

  • Nmartz

    Agree, but.. who knows.. maybe after that Walk-Off sac fly, is back that confidence at the plate that apparently grandy had lost. 😛

    I’ll dare to put him in game.

  • WilponsNeed2Go

    Surprisingly, Brown has been worse than Granderson against LHP this year 083/154/083.

  • Charley’s Twin

    well, that would be nice

  • Chuck

    I’ll vote for that!

  • MetsFanSantaMonica

    as bad as we have looked some games, we have been competitive against superior competition. I think most fans would have signed up for 9-9 after 18 games, including 3-3 vs the Braves. Everyone said April would be our toughest stretch. The team hasn’t clicked yet, the pitching hasn’t lived up to it’s potential yet (I’m expecting a great stretch from them soon), and we seem to make almost every game close. There are reasons for optimism if we choose to see them.

  • Chuck

    I admire St. Louis, but I am also quite jealous of their organization. Here’s hoping the St. Louis fanbase can be jealous of us in a few more years (or at the very least, respect and fear our team).

  • mets4lyfe

    Mets sweep the Cardinals

  • Metropolitan

    I highly doubt that we may be lucky to win one against the Cardinals

  • Chuck

    In spite of … in spite of our manager … in spite of our owners … in spite of all the Mets could have been and still could be, but have not been and are not quite yet … in spite of all that, I am an optimist at heart. Maybe that’s why I still root for them, even after they have broken my heart time and again.

    I have rooted for the Mets from the start, from ’62 through ’68, and then was rewarded in ’69 (back in 9th grade). And of course I have rooted for them every year since. Even if I don’t like a particular player, I’m still rooting for them as long as they are on the Mets, and in many cases, even afterwards, just because they used to be a Met.

    I used to root for the Islanders also, even back when they were the Long Island Ducklings. My dad used to take me to the games at the Commack Ice Arena. I once got an autograph from the Ducklings enforcer, “Boom Boom” Brophy. LOL Of course those four Stanley Cup years were awesome. But when I moved to a state that didn’t have hockey, I stopped following the Islanders. Although that state didn’t have baseball then either (they now have both), I still managed to follow the Mets. That has never changed. LGM!

  • Keith’s stache

    I used to hate White Rat & the Wizard. However, learnt to respect them both. White Rat should’ve been the commissioner.

  • Chuck

    Now you are, by example, the definition of an optimist (or else you are a very sarcastic guy).

  • CJM

    Anyone catch the Boston Marathon earlier? American Meb Keflezighi won in what will surely go down as one of the greatest marathon performances by any runner ever.

  • mets4lyfe

    I think the Mets have a good shot at sweeping them. Most of the Cardinals hitters are off to a real slow start aside from Matt Adams.

  • mets4lyfe

    you’re such a negative nancy.

    I know deep down you root for this team like any other Mets fan. 🙂

  • WilponsStinkLessNow

    The Atlanta and St. Louis series are good tests for this team. Neither ATL nor STL is playing particularly well right now, but they are playoff-caliber teams. I only hope the Mets can play good clean baseball this series, do the little things (like advancing runners) and make a statement in this series that they can build upon. If they lose this series, I don’t give them much hope for anything above a .500 year, at the best.

  • schadenfreudianslip

    I’m the most optimistic guy here and I’m good with a 2-2 split.

  • oleosmirf

    sample size though. Granderson has been abysmal this season and has very hit LHP in his career.

  • HillsideAve

    Mejia needs to go deep in this game, the bullpen is toasted. If he gets knocked around they’re going to have to keep him in to take his lumps.

  • Last time I went to a Mets Cards game at Citi Field, I saw a no-hitter. Sorry guys, I can’t make this series. I’m just hoping we can split; the Cards are no joke.

  • trevordunn

    maybe old man sandy can look at the STL bullpen and how a real team puts together a bullpen..you put hard throwing kids, not 40 year old washouts

  • Don’t mess with the Easter bunny.

    http://m.mlb.com/video/?content_id=32238541

  • ThatGuyWhoLeavesComments

    Can he play SS?

  • Sunshine

    Well there ya go…way to be positive….

  • mad met

    Anyone else think peralta is going to hurt us this series

  • CJM

    Nope.

  • TPT

    very interesting i live in so .cali now and like you i been a Met fan from the get go and like you i went to almost every L.I. duck game and yep me too i got Brophys autograph but one thing the Islanders were never the Ducks they were a expansion team with Eddie Westfall being there only player of significence that first year but wow those 4 stanley cups where incredible and forever made that team one of the best in NHL history ..thanks for sharing and for the memories of old the Commack arena those were fun days

  • Alex68

    Wait, what????
    3-3 against Atlanta
    0-3 Nats
    1-2 Angels
    2-1 Reds (Not that good)

    That’s 6-9 against good teams…… I see you’re content with that…

  • Alex68

    Yup… can’t stand that organization for sh**, but i respect them for handling their baseball operations the right way…

  • TPT

    haha im afraid our own players will hurt us more than Peralta i.e. GRANDY he just has to snap out of this funk hes in but quick with a .127 avg he soon could be trying to reach .200 for the rest of 2014..and thats only gonna add more pressure and well he just might the next Jason Bay fiasco so the time is NOW for Grandy or else

  • Dark HelMet

    I didn’t mean in just 2014

  • mad met

    I dont know what signing i hated more grandy or cy

  • Chuck

    Alright, I’ll climb on that (potentially burning) wagon … sweep ’em! LGM!

  • CyYout

    I just don’t want to get swept. Cardinals are looking up at the Brewers and will want to feast on the Mets in a four game series. I hope we get good pitching and someone besides Wright steps it up offensively.

  • Chuck

    Thanks … I never did look up what I had thought was the transition from the Ducks to the Islanders. The only connection I found just now was that the Islanders had been expected to take the name “Long Island Duck,” but they didn’t. So where did you live back then? I lived about 2 miles from the arena, in the “Pines”.

  • mad met

    I was not a fan of the grandy signing but i really hope he gets it going .the owner will never spend on free agents again . They will use as an excuse free agents are not the answer. Even though we all know grandy was a second teir player.

  • Taskmaster4450

    Atlanta isnt playing well?

    They won 7 out of 10. Exactly what do you consider playing well?

  • Taskmaster4450

    White rat should have been Mets manager.

    Remember he was with the Mets before he went to KC.

  • WilponsNeed2Go

    The trend holds for last year and their career numbers. Grandy is just a better hitter than Brown, and that includes against LHP.

  • Anthony

    Why let facts get in the way of a good rant

  • Anthony

    I hope our next gm comes from st louis

  • Edward

    We match up well with their starters. Mejia could very well no-hit the Cards if he can keep his pitch count down. Wright will bat damn near .500 this series. The bullpen is what will decide how many games we win in this series. We could lose all four, but it won’t be because of our starting rotation and the play of David Wright.