Two of the more underrated pitchers in the National League are going to be duking it out on Thursday afternoon in the MLB Network showdown on getaway day at new Busch Stadium, as the St. Louis Cardinals host the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Dodgers are really trying to do what they can to stay in the race in the NL West. Most recently, they picked up Hanley Ramirez, who should be in the lineup for this one the boys in blue to add to a lineup that is really lacking for bats. On Thursday afternoon, Chris Capuano is going to be getting the ball from Manager Don Mattingly. In a rotation that already featured some arms with some great potential this year, the addition of Capuano was perfect. The lefty has been all over the place the last couple of years, playing some time with both the Dodgers and the Mets. He hadn’t been all that special, but getting to Chavez Ravine was just what the doctor ordered for him. The southpaw is now 10-5 this year in his 20 starts, and he has a fantastic 2.81 ERA and 1.15 WHIP. Batters are only hitting .233 against him this year, and he is doing a great job of keeping the ball on the ground. The problem though, is that on the round, Capuano has numbers that aren’t anywhere near special. Sure, he is 5-3, but he has a 4.10 ERA.
Historically, the Cardinals have been able to turn teams that have been nothing better than above average and turn them into real World Series contenders. This year really isn’t all that much of an exception, knowing that the squad is just a handful of games above .500. That being said, the possibility to get into the playoffs is still there in the dreadful NL Central. Strangely enough this year though, the Cards have the best +/- in baseball, coming into play on Wednesday at +90 for the campaign. Jake Westbrook hopes to capitalize on that booming offense on Thursday. He did well in his last start, throwing seven shutout frames and allowing just three hits. Westbrook probably would have gone longer had he really had to, but the team did the rest in a 12-0 victory. That leveled the righty at 8-8 for the season, and it dropped his ERA down to 3.60. A 1.29 WHIP is courtesy of a very low walk rate, and just like Capuano, Westbrook has done a great job of keeping the ball down and throwing a lot of strikes. He is only on pace for about 55 walks this year, significantly lower than his 73 of a campaign ago.
This is a tough spot for both of these teams. We think that both pitchers are going to do their share though, and that should make this one a relatively low scoring effort. We think that asking these two squads to come up with 10 runs to beat us with Capuano and Westbrook on the mound might be a bit much. Los Angeles 4 St. Louis 3