Tonight’s starter, Jake Westbrook, has been enjoying a career year so far, posting bests in FIP (2.79) and xFIP (3.20). He has been getting the job done by inducing groundballs (a career-high 62.8% rate) and getting a bit lucky (better than normal strand rate and home-run rate per flyball rate). In the second of the two-game set, Kyle Lohse takes the ball, hoping to recover from a pair of so-so outings in which he struck out only three each time and fell prey to the vagaries of line-drives hit into play. Even with those starts, Lohse has been a reliable back-end starter, with a 3.33 FIP and 4.10 xFIP.
On the batting side, Lance Berkman has returned from the DL just in time to face Ryan Dempster, off whom he feasts (a .423 OBP and .581 SLG in 78 PAs). He may get a rest against Paul Maholm, with the recently activated right-hander Allen Craig, who has five home runs in 46 plate appearance, a team-high 10.9% home-run rate. Speaking of home runs, Carlos Beltran leads the league in circuit clouts with 13, hitting eight over his last 11 games … The Cardinals released lefty JC Romero and recalled righty Eduardo Sanchez. That leaves the staff with only one LOOGy, Marc Rzepczynski, who is less a one-out guy than a multiple-batter reliever. The Cubs have five lefthanded hitters on their roster, so Mike Matheny will need to be judicious. He might deploy against lefties Sanchez, who has a career 2.94 FIP against them … Neither the Giants nor the Cardinals have retired Frankie Frisch’s #3. The Hall-of-Fame Frisch ranks 50th on the career WAR list among batters, higher than all hitter retirees except Stan Musial. The Fordham Flash won a title and an MVP award with the team. Here’s hoping he’s next … Speaking of retired numbers, the Cardinals’ web site does not yet list their latest, Tony La Russa.