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Realmuto > Molina: Phillies vs. Cardinals series preview

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The Phillies head to St. Louis to face the slumping Cardinals

Cincinnati Reds v St Louis Cardinals
Cardinals fans love themselves some Yadier Molina
Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images

After putting a little more distance between themselves and the Nationals, the Phillies head to St. Louis to face the Cardinals. The Cardinals fancy themselves playoff contenders, but this past weekend put a slight crimp in those hopes.

St. Louis Cardinals

Record: 20-14, Second place in National League Central

The last time they met

The Cardinals visited Philadelphia last July, and because the Phillies had yet to go into collapse mode, the Phils took two out of three. This will be the Phillies’ first trip to St. Louis since last May, a series in which they also won two of three.

Not coming in hot

The Cardinals were swept by the Cubs this past weekend, and enter the series on a four-game losing streak.

Goldy slowing down?

By most players’ standards, a slash line of .244/.327/.473 would be solid. But when you’re Paul Goldschmidt, six-time All-Star with four top-ten MVP voting finishes to your name, its a little disappointing.

The Cardinals traded for the former Diamondbacks star in the offseason, and signed him to a hefty extension. Teams have never gone wrong signing power hitting first basemen to lengthy contracts, but its worth wondering if the Cardinals might have made a slight miscalculation. Goldschmidt is 31, and the Cardinals owe him $26 million per season for the next five years.

It’s very possible that Goldschmidt proceeds to go on a tear, and his numbers will look like they usually do by season’s end, and this will seem like foolish speculation. But there’s also a chance that the Cardinals committed a lot of money to a declining player.

St Louis Cardinals v Washington Nationals
Is Paul Goldschmidt slowing down?
Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images

The great Yadi

I wish I loved anything as much as Cardinals fans love Yadier Molina. Every year, when it comes time to vote for the All-Star Game starters, Cardinals fans get irate if Molina is somehow not the leading vote-getter at catcher.

Phillies fans have an obligation to cast a many votes for J.T. Realmuto this year, just to see the anguish coming from St. Louis. After all...

Where have you gone, Ryan Howard?

Ryan Howard was born and raised in the St. Louis area, and he loved visiting his hometown. Even in his weakest seasons, when the Phillies traveled to Busch Stadium, Howard could be counted upon to have a big series. His career OPS in St. Louis was 1.102, and he hit 13 home runs there.

As far as current Phillies, J.T. Realmuto has a career .831 OPS at Busch, and Odubel Herrera has a .859 mark. However, the best numbers at Busch Stadium come from Bryce Harper. In 19 games there, he has an OPS of 1.047 with five home runs. That’s the most home runs he has hit in any non-NL East stadium.

Take that, Dexter Fowler

Until 2018, Dexter Fowler had experienced a lot of success facing Phillies pitching. But for some reason, last season, the Phillies finally figured out a way to get him out. He was limited to a .105 batting average against Phillies pitching in 2018. Let’s hope that slump continues into this season.

Milwaukee Brewers v St Louis Cardinals
Hopefully the Phillies keep Dexter Fowler off the bases again this year
Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Another stellar former Marlin

It seems that no matter where you look in baseball, you’ll find a team with an ex-Marlin playing really well. The Cardinals boast the talents of outfielder Marcell Ozuna, who has a slash line of .261/.351/.583 this season. It’s a good thing the Marlins’ ownership is such a disaster or else they might have been the best team in the East.

Scheduled starters

The Cardinals’ scheduled starters for the series are Miles Mikolas, Dakota Hudson, and Jack Flaherty,

One season after coming out of nowhere to lead the National League in wins, Mikolas is having some trouble replicating that success. He’s only made two appearances against the Phillies, and neither went especially well, as evidenced by his career 9.00 ERA against them.

Hudson spent his rookie year as a reliever, but has been moved to the starting rotation for 2019. The transition hasn’t gone smoothly, as he’s been roughed up in a few starts, and hasn’t lasted beyond six innings in any of them.

Flaherty finished fifth in Rookie of the Year voting in 2018, but he has fallen off of that standard a bit in 2019.

Prediction

The losing streak will extend to five games before the Cardinals rebound to win the second game. But the Phillies will start the Cards on another losing streak when they win the finale.