The St. Louis Cardinals will be looking to stay atop the NL Central after being swept out of the NLCS.
St. Louis 2019 record: 91-71
Washington’s record vs. St. Louis: 2-5
The Cardinals pulled off an upset in the 2019 NLDS as they knocked off the Atlanta Braves before running into a wall that is the Washington Nationals. The Nats pitching staff exposed the Cardinals offense which went silent. To make matters worse, the Nationals scored more runs in game four (7) then the Cardinals did in the entire series (6). Now the Cardinals lost their top two bats from the NLCS in Marcell Ozuna and Jose Martinez, and will need a way to replace their production. For starters, they will need Paul Goldschmidt and Matt Carpenter to bounce back after both struggled in 2019.
On the bright side, the Cardinals have a bon-a-fide ace in Jack Flaherty. Last year Flaherty broke out as he went 11-8, with a 2.75 ERA, and 231 strikeouts. Flaherty was nearly untouchable in the second half. After the All Star break, the 24 year old went 7-2, with a .91 ERA, and 124 strikeouts in 15 starts. The Cardinals will need Flaherty to build on his breakout as they try to wake up the offense.
Nationals to Watch
This one is easy as all eyes will be on Anibal Sanchez. The last time he faced the Cardinals was game one of the NLCS and the veteran had a no hit bid going into the eighth inning. Sanchez went 7 2/3 innings, as he gave up only one hit, walked one, and struck out five. Now the Cardinals have hit Sanchez well in the past and they will want to get back at the 35 year old whose gutsy performance set the tone for the series. The current Cardinals offense is hitting .293 with an OPS of .845 in 82 at bats against Sanchez. A key match-up to keep an eye on will be Sanchez vs. Goldschmidt. In 13 at bats against Sanchez, GoldSchmidt is hitting .308. The 32 year old Goldschmidt will need to get to Sanchez early in order to work his pitch count. Tiring out the veteran early will allow for the rest of the Cardinals to have a chance to beat him.
2020 Series Prediction
June 29- July 2 @ St. Louis
July 7-9 in D.C.
The Cardinals offense regressed even more this off-season and the Nationals pitching staff will be to much to overcome.
Prediction: Nats win series 4-3