The Texas Rangers (38-20) and the St. Louis Cardinals (25-35) were on the opposite end of a broom this past weekend. The Rangers swept their division rival, the Seattle Mariners, outscoring them 30 to 9. The Cardinals, on the other hand, were swept on the road, against the upstart Pittsburgh Pirates. All three games were close, as the Cardinals were outscored 13 to 9.
Texas Rangers' schedule vs the St. Louis Cardinals
Dates and Times
Probable Rangers Pitcher
Probable Cardinals Pitcher
Mon 5th - 7:05 CT
Martin Perez LHP 6-1, 4.43 ERA, 44 SO
Adam Wainwright RHP 2-1, 6.15 ERA, 16 SO
Tues 6th - 7:05 CT
Dane Dunning RHP 4-1, 2.06 ERA, 32 SO
Matthew Liberatore LHP 1-1, 4.91 ERA, 9 SO
Wed 7th - 7:05 CT
Jon Gray RHP 6-1, 2.51 ERA, 51 SO
Jack Flaherty RHP 3-4, 4.55 ERA, 64 SO
Both the Rangers and the Cardinals find themselves in uncharted territory. Texas is off to their best start in franchise history and St. Louis is currently below .500 and in last place in the NL Central. The Cardinals have finished a season with a sub-.500 winning percentage only one time since 2000 (2007 - .481). And the last time that a Cardinals team finished last place in their division was over a hundred years ago, back in 1918. In 142 seasons, the organization is 11,156-10,267, for a remarkable .521 winning percentage. Needless to say, St. Louis is accustomed to winning baseball.
St. Louis was picked by many to win the NL Central yet again in 2023. This season has been a struggle for them so far, but they are a better team than their record indicates. Because of their weak division, nobody is counting out the Cardinals at this point of the season. Despite being 10-games below .500, they hold a +3 run differential. Their expected record is actually 30-30. The Rangers hold the highest run differential in MLB at +152 and have an expected record of 42-16.
The Cardinals boast one of the best corner infield combinations in recent history, in Paul Goldschmidt at first base and Nolan Arenado at third base. Goldy is the reigning NL MVP and is also a Texas native. He grew up in The Woodlands and attended college at Texas State in San Marcus and is off to another torrid start. Arenado is not hitting at the clip that he is used to, but he is still playing well. He can not only mash the ball, but he is an absolute vacuum at the hot corner. Arenado has won a Gold Glove in each of his 10 years in MLB to go along with 6 Platinum Gloves in his career thus far.
Lars Nootbaar, who is not only a fantastic player, but also owns one of baseball's best names, is currently on the IL with a lower back contusion. Taking his place on the active roster is rookie, Jordan Walker. The 21-year-old Walker is a giant of a man, checking in at 6'6" and 245 pounds. Walker made the club out of spring training but was sent back down to the minors toward the end of April. This is a name that baseball fans will be seeing a lot of over his career. Walker can hit and can hit well. As the youngster continues to finetune his craft and mature, there is little doubt that he will be feared by many a pitcher.
On Wednesday night, Jon Gray will take on Jack Flaherty. Overall, Flaherty's statistics are a bit lackluster this season. While he did start the season out slow, he has been pitching much better over his last five outings. In those five starts the team is 4-1, he has pitched 29 innings, has 28 strikeouts, and a 2.48 ERA.
Stacking up winning series, after winning series, is the key to ending up in contention and ultimately, in the playoffs. That is exactly what the Rangers have been doing all season, and they will look to keep their winning ways going against the St. Louis Cardinals. The Rangers will be off on Thursday, before returning to the road for a short one city road trip, as they will take on the number one team in MLB, the Tampa Bay Rays. But first, another series victory sure would be sweet.