The fantastic Cardinals pitching staff is facing one of its toughest tests of the early season this weekend against a powerful Rockies lineup. On Saturday, St. Louis' ace will try to keep its trend of excellence intact.
A day after rookie sensation Shelby Miller shut down the Rockies in the series opener, Adam Wainwright will take the ball at Busch Stadium.
St. Louis has, by far, the best starting rotation ERA (2.20) in baseball. Miller's shutout on Friday only strengthened those numbers.
"If you look at our offense, we knew these guys were going to hit," Wainwright said of his club. "We're going to keep pitching. What a deadly team if you keep pitching and start knocking the ball around like we know we can, a team that can win in a lot of different ways."
At 19-16, the Rockies have the offense to put up a fight and are right in the thick of things in the National League West. Colorado's 169 runs were good for fifth in baseball, and its 45 home runs on the year was tied for third. The team's .446 slugging percentage was second.
Both pitching staffs excel in keeping the ball on the ground, and the Cardinals lead the NL with opponents having grounded into 36 double plays. Rockies pitchers have induced 29 double plays this year.
Colorado will send Jhoulys Chacin to the hill on Saturday to make his first career start at Busch Stadium. Chacin has made two career starts against the Cardinals, combining for nine innings.
After missing two starts while on the 15-day disabled list with a back strain, the right-hander threw a season-high seven innings on Sunday against the Rays.
"I felt really good about my pitches I was throwing after the first," Chacin said. "I feel good throwing my changeup and slider for a strike. Maybe I could get better command with my fastball, especially the beginning of the game. Things happen, but, anyway, I'm real happy to be back with my team and happy to throw seven innings and help the bullpen also."
Rockies: Some serious relief
Despite a heavy workload, the Colorado bullpen has stacked up against baseball's best. Rockies relievers have a group ERA of 2.62 after combining for five hits, no walks and six strikeouts in seven innings over their last two games.
Cardinals: Holliday hits vs. former team
• Matt Holliday, who was drafted by the Rockies in 1998, made his Major League debut and played five seasons with the club, is a career .372 hitter when facing his former team, with eight homers and 23 RBIs in 25 games.
Last year, he hit five home runs and drove in 16 runs in seven games against Colorado. He hit .481 in that series.
• Jon Jay is riding a seven-game hitting streak, during which he's batting 11-for-23 (.478).
• Chacin is 5-10 with a 4.60 ERA in his career against the NL Central.
• Cardinals reliever Edward Mujica has converted all nine of his save opportunities since picking up his first save of the year on April 18.