St. Louis Cardinals are playin’ the stinkin’ Yankees – A series preview


Me to my dogs on our walk: Hurry up, I gotta get home to write about the [redacted] Yankees.

The Yankees are not a team I am extremely familiar with. There are a few things I do know:

  1. Harrison Bader is now a member
  2. So is a mustached Matt Carpenter

There is a meme the youth use. It goes something like this I think:

Yes, this is the proper use of the meme format, I am cool, I know about things.

First of all, I don’t think the mustache is bad. I know that is a scorching hot take, but I like it. It is very retro-baseball-player-ish and it fits with the timelessness of the Yankees uniform. Mustached Matt Carpenter could be a player in 2022, or 1972, or even 1922.

Second of all, if you are a baseball Mustached Matt Carpenter can hurt you, at least he has so far. He is on pace for his best season in years slashing .322/.435/.791 for a 239 wRC+ and 2.5 fWAR in 139 plate appearances. His strikeout rate is down to just under 24% and his ISO is a whopping .470. That mustache has served him well, as well as, perhaps, a little bit friendlier-to-lefties home stadium.

The Yankees have a few other good hitters. I won’t discuss them too much because you already know they are good. Aaron Judge leads the team with 6.7 fWAR and is behind Carpenter with a 195 wRC+. DJ LeMahieu and Jose Trevino have been solid. Anthony Rizzo and Giancarlos Stanton have had somewhat down years and are still batting with a 142 and 126 wRC+, respectively. It’s a very solid offense all around for the Yankees.

The pitching for the Yankees has been pretty solid too. First up against the Cardinals is left hander Nestor Cortes. Cortes has a 2.53 ERA and a 3.35 FIP. He mostly throws a 4-seam fastball and a cutter and mixes in a slider. His 4-seam, despite only clocking in around 91 mph, is a great pitch for him. It gets a ton of vertical movement up in the zone and runs off the plate to righties, which makes it a great pitch to work in with his cutter and slider. He is able to spot it perfectly around the middle of the plate. Cortes is a control artist that knows how to get swings and misses. He is probably the best pitcher the Cardinals will see this series since they are missing Garrit Cole.

On Saturday is Domingo German making just his fourth start of the season (likely replacing Jordan Montgomery, the former Yankee who is starting that game for the Cardinals). In 2021 German threw a curveball most, then a 4-seamer, changeup, then a sinker. His changeup looks like it could be pretty good — it gets about 29 inches of drop so far this season per Baseball Savant.

Closing out the series is Frankie Montas making his first start for the Yankees after spending most of his career in Oakland. He is another solid pitcher with a 3.18 ERA and 3.35 FIP. He throws a 4-seamer, a splitfinger, a sinker, a slider, and a cutter. None of his pitches seem extraordinary, but he does average around 96 mph on his 4-seamer and 95 mph on his sinker.

The Yankees are 70-36 and in first place in their division for a reason: they are good team. This series will be a good test for the now-first place Cardinals to see how they match up against the league’s best.

Matchups:

Friday, August 5 at 7:15 pm CDT: Nestor Cortes vs. Dakota Hudson
Saturday, August 6 at 6:15 pm CDT: Domingo German vs. Jordan Montgomery
Sunday, August 7 at 1:15 pm CDT: Frankie Montas vs. Adam Wainwright

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