Lance Lynn (11-4, 4.00 ERA), who hasn't dropped a home start in nearly a full year is 10-0 with a 2.51 ERA in his last 11 regular-season outings at Busch. His most recent regular-season loss at Busch came Sept. 7 in a relief appearance, and he last lost a start there Aug. 7th. However, the right-hander has been shaky in going 1-3 with a 6.12 ERA in his last four outings, yielding six runs over 4 1-3 innings in last Saturday's 6-4 defeat to the Cubs. The good news is however, in most of his starts he has received ample run support from the St. Louis offense. So while Lynn may not be at his best, his teammates give him a chance to win the ball game so long as he can last 5 innings ahead.
Lynn takes the mound this evening facing the San Diego Padres (42-55 who are losers of 13 of their last 15 since squaring their overall mark to 40-40 with a win over Miami back on June 28th. While the Pods have been a pleasant surprise averaging around 4 runs per game, they clearly feel more in their comfort zone hitting away from Petco Park, which despite moving the fences in over the offseason has been deemed one of the league's 'baseball cathedrals'. Everth Cabrera (.292 4 27) has been solid in the leadoff spot leading the team in hitting while notching 34 steals and caught just 8 times (81%). While San Diego is hitting just .244 with 85 HRs, their lineup designating their production is relatively balanced. Carlos Quentin (.275 12 36) may not be having an ideal season, but hit .333 in June upping his average nearly 40 points. Will Venable (.227 11 32) had a poor first half but is capable of turning things around. The Padres despite being 13 games under .500 are just 8.5 games back in a weakly featured NL West. More good news came last week when San Diego activated rookie Jedd Gyorko (.270 8 25) from the DL after missing a month of action due to a groin injury. Also as a boost to their offense they should receive back Kyle Blanks (.256 8 34) soon from tendinitis in his left achilles. However, San Diego will not be able to make a run if Chase Headley (.232 7 32) doesn't fall back on his over-aggressiveness evident by his 83 K's in 310 ABs.
The Padres counter with Edinson Voloquez (6-8 5.74) who after a promising start to the season has been hit relatively hard in his past few outings yielding 12 runs covering just over 10 IP. While his control hasn't exactly been stellar, things don't get any easier facing a Cardinals lineup leading the NL in hitting (.278) and second in all of baseball to Detroit. St. Louis is averaging just over 5 runs per contest and have not relied nearly as much on the long ball belting only 82 HR. Nonetheless it would be an understatement to say that this lineup is beyond scary. Yadier Molina (.340 7 51) leads the NL in batting and has driven in clutch after clutch RBI and base hit in numerous situations responsible for the Cards hanging atop the Central Division. Carlos Beltran (.309) leads the club with 19 HR and has driven in 55 RBI seemingly right in the middle of his prime at 36. Beltran, who said recently in an interview with MLB.com that he'd likely would want to finish his career in St. Louis playing 3 more seasons, is aproaching his 2006 career highs back with the NY Mets (.275 41 116), Matt Carpenter (.326 9 48) and Allen Craig (.334 10 74) each have 118 hits, good for second in the NL. Craig leads the club in RBI and is 3rd in the NL. Molina, Craig and Carpenter are 1,2,4 respectively representing the NL in batting, with Michael Cuddyer (.329) 3rd. All this with Matt Holiday (.268 13 47) hitting behind and otherwise having by his own standards an otherwise average season. Let's not also forget Matt Adams (.316 7 26) whom in a utility role has made the Cardinals one of the most dangerous hitting teams in the majors.
We get a bit of a higher price this evening in the City overlooking The Arch, however we feel quite confident that the ball will be flying out in the searing heat right in the heart of the summer. While Lynn has been dominant at home, he always has the Cardinals explosive offense behind him whether sharp or shaky. We could be seeing a lot of the Padres bullpen much like last night in a 9-6 loss, unless Voloquez can sharpen the velocity of his pitches and fool the core of the early hitters. Best of luck however you play!