The St. Louis Cardinals and New York Yankees will conclude their three game series this evening from Yankee Stadium, and don’t look now, but very quietly the Yankees are starting to heat up. Someone break-up the Bronx Bombers! The Yankees are looking to extend their winning streak to seven games, sweep the Cardinals, and stay undefeated at home. Not bad for such a horrible opening series against the Tampa Bay Rays just a little over a week ago.
CBS Sports reports that heading into the series finale with the Baltimore Orioles last Sunday, the New York Yankees were a dismal 1-4 and had an overall pitching ERA of 4.61. Since then, the Yankees are unbeaten and their pitching staff has compiled an incredible 1.96 ERA, the best in the big leagues over that period.
A big reason for the turnaround has been the great performances by veteran CC Sabathia. If the Yankees are going to compete for the AL East title, they will need Sabathia to keep up his great start.
“CC pretty much had everything going,” Yankees third baseman Chase Headley said. “He was attacking the strike zone, but getting strikeouts when he needed them and getting early outs.” “It was the most composed that I’ve seen him on the mound in a long time,” New York catcher Austin Romine said. “He was very smooth.”
Today the Yankees will send Michael Pineda to the mound hoping that the Pineda fans saw in his latest performance is the Pineda that will show up once again tonight.
Michael Pineda was lights out last Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Rays. He took a perfect game into the seventh inning of action before giving up his first base runner when Evan Longoria doubled. Overall Pineda tossed 7.2 innings of one-run ball, allowing just two hits and striking out 11 Rays – and more impressively, he didn’t walk anyone.
The St. Louis Cardinals will counter with their former ace Adam Wainwright. Wainwright is still considered to be a great pitcher, however, he has fallen off a bit from his All-Star self.
Already 0-2 on the season, Wainwright is hoping to bounce back from a bad outing vs. the Washington Nationals in which he allowed six runs on four hits in just four-plus innings. Numbers like that aren’t going to help St. Louis compete this season in the tough NL Central division.
While Adam Wainwright is struggling, he is not alone.
The St. Louis Cardinals as a team have not been playing well since their Opening Day win against the Chicago Cubs. St. Louis is off to a 3-8 start for the first time since 1997, when they won just 73 games. A loss tonight against the red hot New York Yankees would put them on their worst 12-game start since 1988. Right now it is fair to say that the Cardinals are doing everything at a low level. The good news for the Cardinals is that the talent is definitely there to turn things around.
St. Louis is hitting.210 as a team and their team ERA is near 5 (4.55) on the season. They also have been making mistakes in the field at an alarming rate. Through 11 games, the Cardinals have made 10 errors. Those kind of numbers will make a manager go grey before his time.
Skipper Mike Matheny knows things tend to go in spurts, however, he is left wondering when his team will finally break out of this funk.
“A lot of things we have to clean up, that’s all there is to it. We made it very clear about wanting to play cleaner defense,” St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. “Making a couple errors when you’re not scoring a lot of runs, they stand out. Yeah, it hasn’t been quite what we were hoping to see yet. That doesn’t mean that’s the team we’re destined to be.”
Las Vegas odds makers have the New York Yankees listed as the favorite tonight at -145, with the over/under number set at eight.
MLB fans can catch every pitch of tonight’s Cardinals vs. Yankees game nationally on ESPN. The game will also be streaming live online through Watch ESPN. So if you happen to be on the go this Easter Sunday but still want to watch all of the action, you are in luck. Just download the Watch ESPN app so you can watch tonight’s St. Louis Cardinals vs. New York Yankees game on your tablet, smart phone or any other hand held device.
First pitch for tonight’s game is scheduled for just after 8 p.m. ET.
[Featured Image by Adam Hunger/Getty Images]