Preview: Rangers at Cardinals
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[June 17, 2016]
The St. Louis Cardinals were riding
high with a sizzling offense en route to winning seven of eight
contests before their bats were cooled considerably against one Lone
Star State representative. The host Cardinals look to get back on
track versus the other on Friday when they open a three-game
interleague series versus the red-hot Texas Rangers.
St. Louis slugged its way to 58 runs in wins over San Francisco,
Cincinnati and Pittsburgh being outscored 9-3 to drop both contests
of an abbreviated two-game interleague set versus Houston. Yadier
Molina recorded his third three-hit performance in six outings and
scored the Cardinals' lone run in a 4-1 setback to the Astros on
Wednesday. The 33-year-old Molina has struggled in five meetings
with American League West-leading Texas, going 2-for-19 in his
career, while his performance versus veteran Cole Hamels isn't much
better (6-for-25). The Rangers seized their franchise high-tying
eighth consecutive series victory by winning three of four versus
Oakland and 20 of 26 overall heading into the last leg of their
10-game road trip.
TV: 8:15 p.m. ET, MLB Network, FSN Southwest (Texas), FSN Midwest
PITCHING MATCHUP: Rangers LH Cole Hamels (6-1, 3.14 ERA) vs.
Cardinals RH Michael Wacha (2-6, 4.91)
Hamels has made himself at home on the road, posting a 4-0 mark with
a 1.94 ERA in six starts this season. The 32-year-old continued that
success on Sunday after allowing one run on four hits in seven
innings of a 6-4 triumph versus Seattle. Hamels' lone blemish was a
blast by Leonys Martin, which served as his 11th homer surrendered
in his last seven games after yielding four in his previous six
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Wacha's winless stretch extended to nine outings on Friday as the
24-year-old settled for his second straight no-decision despite
allowing two runs on three hits in seven innings versus Pittsburgh.
The strong outing hasn't been a familiar sight for the former Texas
A&M star, who has lost a career-worst six consecutive decisions
since April 28 and has permitted at least four runs on five
occasions during his winless run. Ian Desmond went deep in
Thursday's 5-1 win over the Athletics and has six hits in his last
three games, but is just 1-for-9 with four strikeouts versus Wacha.
1. Texas 3B Adrian Beltre, who had two singles and a double on
Thursday, has hit safely in four straight games and 12 of his last
2. Second-place St. Louis hasn't done itself any favors at Busch
Stadium, limping to a 15-18 mark this season.
3. The Rangers have erupted for 11 homers in their last four
PREDICTION: Rangers 3, Cardinals 2
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