I'm wondering when we get to play Houston.
Here's my look at the Cardinals' game three starter and prediction. You can check out my preview of the series here for breakdowns on their hitters and bullpen.
On the Mound
Joel Piniero: Pineiro was the suck in Seattle, posting a 6.14 tRA* in his last year there. His K-rates in Cabrera-like free fall (7.10 K/9 in 2004, 5.10 in '05, 4.73 in '06), he bounced through Boston, got DFA-ed, and was picked up off the scrap heap by the Cards. Then, for 63.2 innings he managed a 3.96 ERA, the result of an unlikely hot streak of truly outstanding command (4.2%, compared to 7.3% career and 9.8% league average). Months after he was picked up off the scrap-heap, Walt Jocketty handed him a Bowden-eque two-year deal worth $13 million. It seemed pretty much doomed from the start.
Well, except last year he almost did maintain that stellar command, walking just 5.4% over 148.2 IP. But it wasn't enough to keep him from returning to his barely above replacement level standards because of his total inability to miss bats (4.9 K/9). He finished 2008 with a 5.24 tRA*.
So this year, after it was made clear that Pineiro is what we thought he was, he's started off with another little hot streak. He's got that 4-0 record drawing a lot of attention, but he's earned a 4.64 tRA*, and is as stingy with walks as he's ever been.
Pineiro's strengths, in addition to the command, is that he gets lots of groundballs and keeps the ball in the yard most of the time. He throws a bunch of different pitches, all with command but none with particularly good velocity or movement. This is the kind of pitcher who would have looked like Cy Young against the singly joes of 2008, but the '09 Scats should be able to drive some balls and score some runs.
Season record: 15-8
Martis is no match for the Cardinals. St. Louis wins 7-5.