St. Louis Cardinals (34-33) at Detroit Tigers (32-34)
Time/Place: 7:00 p.m., Comerica Park
SB Nation Blog: Viva El Birdos
Pitching Matchup: Lance Lynn (10-2, 2.42 ERA) vs. Justin Verlander (6-4, 2.66 ERA)
In case the numbers above didn't tell you, Lynn has been very good this season. Of his 13 appearances, nine of them are quality starts. He has yet to give up more than 4 runs in any contest. His strikeout rate is higher than what it was during the past two seasons at AAA Memphis, but none of his peripheral numbers scream "regression imminent." With the Cardinals' offense putting up tons of runs (they are 2nd in the National League in runs scored) and plenty of games left against the Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros, Lynn has a legitimate chance to win 20 games in his first full big league season.
Speaking of 20-game winners, Verlander looked the part in his last outing against the Chicago Cubs. Many fans (myself included) thought that Verlander deserved to go out for the 9th inning after tossing 8 strong frames. He had only thrown 103 pitches to that point and had only allowed one baserunner after the 2nd inning. Today, Verlander will look to continue where he left off. As good as he was against the Cubs, he might need to be even better tonight; 3 runs will probably win this game.
Carlos Beltran is really good
Before the season, I said that the Cardinals overpaid for Beltran when they gave him a 2 year, $26 million contract. Not only was I dead wrong, but Beltran is outperforming some guy named Albert Pujols for a fraction of the cost. Even more impressive than all the home runs and RBIs is that the 35 year old Beltran has 7 stolen bases, or one more than Austin Jackson.
While Lance Lynn isn't a huge name (yet), this is the kind of pitching matchup that fans want to see. It's not exactly a bold prediction to say that runs will be hard to come by for both offenses this season. The Tigers offense has struggled in recent games after an off day, and I don't expect anything different against a guy pitching as well as Lynn is right now. Win or lose, this should be a fun one to watch.
The Cardinals get to Verlander for a couple early runs while Lynn goes unscathed for 7+ innings.
What's gotten into Lance Lynn? - Viva El Birdos
The comparisons for Lynn's crazy-good first half of 2012 are pretty interesting.
Albert Pujols, Carlos Beltran, And The Lessons Learned - Baseball Nation, Marc Normandin
As I noted above, Beltran is having a monster season in the middle of the Cardinals' order.
Cards' gamble with Beltran looking good - St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Bernie Miklasz
More on Beltran. I'm beginning to think that the Cardinals' front office knew what they were doing last offseason.