Anyone notice Manny called the Nationals "they" once last night? Oh well, April's finally over. Maybe things will start to turn our way a bit.
Here's my look at the Cardinals' game two starter and prediction. You can check out my preview of the series here for breakdowns on their hitters and bullpen.
On the Mound
Todd Wellemeyer: A fastball-slider guy who also mixes in a change mainly against opposite-handed hitters, Wellemeyer throws in the low-90s but doesn't strikeout or walk many. Last year he finished with a 3.71 ERA in 191.2 innings, but benefited from an unsustainable .273 BABIP (not Dave Duncan).
This year he's seeing the regression, as his BABIP is way way up at .430 in 22 innings, leaving him with an extremely skewed 6.14 ERA. Meanwhile, his tRA* (the stat that tells you a pitcher's deserved run average based on repeatable skill) is actually down to 4.61 from 4.97 last year.
What's allowed him to survive as a starter is that his walks are way down. Before he came to St. Louis, his best year saw him issue 4.5 walks per 9 (which is actually ok for a reliever, but that was his best). As a Cardinal, he's gotten that rate under 3. Quite a difference that maybe you can credit partially to Dave Duncan.
Season record: 15-7
If the Nationals are going to win one this weekend, this is probably their best shot. Flash Jordan wins #3, 6-2.