Cardinals-Giants: Weekend Preview

Eric HobbsCorrespondent IApril 22, 2010

After taking two of three games from the Arizona Diamondbacks, the St. Louis Cardinals will continue their road trip with a three-game series against the San Francisco Giants.

The Giants enter the series with a record of 8-7, having lost four straight and five of their last six.

Cardinals fans are well aware of the success of the pitching in St. Louis, but the Giants are the only team in the National League to give up fewer runs, giving up just 50 runs all season compared to the Cardinals' 53.

Both teams have excellent rotations, however, as the six starting pitchers scheduled to make starts in this series have a combined record of 11-0. Combining the success of each pitching staff with the spacious AT&T Park leads one to expect runs to be at a premium throughout the weekend.

The series will open with a matchup between pitchers whose ERAs added together is less than two. Jaime Garcia of the Cardinals is scheduled to make his third start of the season against two-time defending Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum.

Adam Wainwright will pitch Saturday against former Cy Young winner Barry Zito in a matchup of pitchers both known for their wicked curveballs.

In the final game, Brad Penny will look to continue his newfound success against the Giants' Matt Cain. Cain is the only starter during the entire series with an ERA over two, entering the series with a mark of 3.86. That said, he's gone at least six innings in each of his three starts and has yet to give up more than three earned runs in a single start.

One potential problem for the Cardinals could be scoring runs. It seems like a simple idea knowing how good the Giants' pitching staff is, but the Cardinals may have problems elsewhere.

The Cardinals score well over half their runs via the home run, and those could easily be tough to come by against good pitching in a big ballpark with the swirling winds of the Bay Area. It will be key for the Cardinals to be able to generate runs and get base hits with runners in scoring position.

The Cardinals have won the first five series of the season for the first time in franchise history, but it will be a tall task to make it six straight against the Giants. If the Cardinals can put up a lot of crooked numbers against some of the league's best, this Cardinal offense may not be stopped for quite a while.