St. Louis Cardinals (89-71) at Arizona Diamondbacks (63-97)
Saturday, September 27 - 8:10 PM EST
Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona
The St. Louis Cardinals tempted fate in their last time out, almost letting the majors’ worst team put their hopes of winning a second straight National League Central title in peril. Following a dramatic win in the opener, they hope to do their part to clinch the division on Saturday when they continue their three-game set at the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Cardinals remained one game ahead of Pittsburgh with two to play, but needed extra innings on Friday after blowing a late three-run lead.
St. Louis lowered its magic number to wrap up the Central to two with Friday’s 7-6, 10-inning victory and controls its own destiny if it simply keeps beating an Arizona team that it has yet to lose to in four tries this season. The Diamondbacks (63-97) continued their personnel overhaul on Thursday, firing manager Kirk Gibson and bench coach Alan Trammell one day after naming former major-league pitcher Dave Stewart the senior vice president and general manager. Trammell will remain with the team throughout the weekend as the Diamondbacks try to avoid the second-worst mark in team history (65-97 in 1998 and 2010).
TV: 8:10 p.m. ET, FSN Midwest (St. Louis), FSN Arizona
PITCHING MATCHUP: Cardinals RH Lance Lynn (15-10, 2.73 ERA) vs. Diamondbacks LH Wade Miley (8-12, 4.35)
Despite yielding three runs or fewer for the 28th time in 32 outings and collecting nine strikeouts, Lynn suffered his second straight loss in Sunday’s 7-2 defeat against Cincinnati. The 2012 All-Star, who is 5-4 with a 2.17 ERA since the All-Star break and 2 1/3 innings shy of reaching 200 for the second consecutive year, allowed three runs in six frames versus the Reds. Lynn settled for a no-decision in his only start against the Diamondbacks this season on May 22, but is 2-0 with a 2.52 ERA all-time versus Arizona.
Miley lost for the fifth time in six decisions following Sunday’s 8-3 setback in Colorado, giving up six hits on eight hits and four walks over 4 1/3 innings six days after holding San Francisco to one run in seven frames. The outing marked the first time in eight tries the 27-year-old Louisiana native surrendered more than three runs. Miley also took the loss in his only start versus the Cardinals on May 22 – permitting three runs in 6 2/3 innings – to fall to 1-2 with a 4.26 ERA all-time against them.
1. St. Louis SS Jhonny Peralta is 13-for-25 with seven extra-base hits in his last seven contests against Arizona.
2. Arizona secured the No. 1 overall pick in next year’s draft with its ninth loss in 10 games on Friday.
3. Cardinals RHP Pat Neshek, who was tagged for all three runs during the Diamondbacks’ eighth-inning rally in the opener, has surrendered nine runs over his last 12 outings after yielding five in his first 59.
PREDICTION: Cardinals 6, Diamondbacks 4