The Philadelphia Phillies hope Vince Velasquez’s fifth and final start in April – where he allowed three runs on 99 pitches in less than four full innings -isn’t a precursor of things to come. But as Velasquez looks to turn the page in May, he’ll meet one of the top five offenses in the National League.
Monday, the Phillies will open up a three-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. After a 13-5 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Sunday Night Baseball last night, the 20-14 Cardinals no longer lead the National League Central. That perhaps underscores the impact that this series could have on the National League Wild Card race, even as the 19-14 Phillies currently lead a crowded National League East.
Mike Schildt, in his first full season as Cardinals skipper, will send Miles Mikolas to the mound. After a breakout season in 2018, the Cardinals rewarded Mikolas, 30, with a four-year/$68 million contract extension. However, Mikolas hasn’t been able to follow up a strong 2018 campaign thus far, as he has a 4.73 ERA, 5.50 FIP and -0.1 fWAR.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Monday evening’s Phillies-Cardinals matchup:
- Andrew McCutchen, left field
- Jean Segura, shortstop
- Bryce Harper, right field
- Rhys Hoskins, first base
- J.T. Realmuto, catcher
- Odubel Herrera, center field
- Cesar Hernandez, second base
- Maikel Franco, third base
- Vince Velasquez, pitcher
Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Matchup
- Vince Velasquez (1-1, 2.73 ERA and 4.17 FIP) vs. Miles Mikolas (3-2, 4.73 ERA and 5.50 FIP)
- Velasquez’s one career start at Busch Stadium came last May, where he pitched 6.1 scoreless innings, while allowing just five hits. Amazingly – or perhaps, predictably – he made a strong start in St. Louis despite only striking out five Cardinals.
- Mikolas pitched against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park last June. It was one of the few blips in an otherwise strong season for Mikolas, as he lasted just five innings and allowed four earned runs on six hits.
Pregame Phillies Nuggets
- In 169 career at-bats against the Phillies, new Cardinal Paul Goldschmidt has seven home runs and 30 RBIs.
- In his first four games in May, Rhys Hoskins has five hits in 13 at-bats, including two home runs and seven RBIs.
- While Yadier Molina is considered by some to be the best catcher of this era, his advanced numbers fall well short of two contemporaries; Joe Mauer and Buster Posey. Molina has a 39.0 career bWAR, while the average bWAR for a Hall of Fame catcher is 54.3. Molina’s JAWS (33.8) and WAR7 (28.6), also fall short of the average JAWS (44.7) and WAR7 (35.1) of a Hall of Fame catcher. Molina is a nine-time Gold Glove Award winner, but his eventual Hall of Fame case may be more complicated than some think.
- Molina is tied with Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto for the most three RBI games (three) among catchers in 2019.
- 8:05 p.m. at Busch Stadium
- NBC Sports Philadelphia, ESPN
- SportsRadio 94 WIP
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