Monday, October 1, 2012

10 facts about the Cardinals series


After taking two out of three in Pittsburgh, the Redlegs (96-63) wrap up the 2012 regular season with a 3-game clash in St. Louis beginning Monday night. Although both squads appear to be heading toward the postseason, there still remains plenty to play for during this weekday series.

Mike Matheny's bunch is honing in on securing the final Wild Card spot, and enter Monday with a two-game lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers with just three games to go. Barring a monumental collapse coupled with a miracle by the Dodgers, the reigning champs will have an opportunity to defend their title.

The Reds, on the other hand, punched their ticket to the playoffs by clinching the division over a week ago, and are now attempting to earn homefield advantage throughout the entire postseason. One guy who may be able to help is manager Dusty Baker, who is expected to return to the dugout after missing over a week due to experiencing a mini-stroke.

Here's 10 facts to get you geared up for the season finale:

1) The series will take place Monday thru Wednesday with all three games beginning at approximately 8:15pm ET.

2) The pitching probables:

Mon - CIN Bronson Arroyo (12-9, 3.70) vs STL Jaime Garcia (6-7, 3.99)
Tue - CIN Mat Latos (13-4, 3.52) vs STL Chris Carpenter (0-1, 3.27)
Wed - CIN Homer Bailey (13-10, 3.75) vs STL TBA

3) The two teams have split the season series thus far (6-6), but Cincy has won five of the last seven.

4) St. Louis' magic number to clinch the last Wild Card spot stands at just two.

5) The Reds secured homefield advantage for the NLDS with their 4-3 victory on Sunday. They're currently tied with Washington for the best record in the league. The Nats play host to the Phillies for a 3-game series this week. The Reds will need to finish with a better record than the Nats if they want the No. 1 seed since Washington holds the tiebreaker.

6) St. Louis leads the league in OBP (.338) and ranks second in both runs scored (749) and average (.271).

7) Cincy boasts a league-best 2.69 bullpen ERA while the Cardinals rank 10th with an ERA of 4.00.

8) Arroyo needs to pitch only three more innings to reach the 200 IP mark for the seventh time in the last eight seasons. The only season with which he didn't hit the mark was in 2011 when he fell one inning shy (199).

9) Cards catcher Yadier Molina is drawing serious consideration for NL MVP honors. The backstop is hitting .317/.377/.506 with 22 HR and 75 RBI in 2012. He is tied for second in the NL in WAR (6.9)

10) The Redbirds lead the all-time series by a tally of 957-1,084. The Reds are just 19-33 all-time at New Busch Stadium.

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