The St. Louis Cardinals' pitching staff is among the best in baseball. It's unquestionably been the best over the past two and half weeks.
Shelby Miller will try to turn in the Cardinals' latest dominant effort and send the Colorado Rockies to their second eight-game slide of the season Tuesday night.St. Louis' rotation leads the majors with a 3.03 ERA and .227 batting average allowed. The staff has a 3.14 ERA, trailing Oakland (3.02) and Washington (3.00) for lowest in the majors.However, no team has a better ERA than the Cardinals (42-35) since June 7, as they've compiled a 1.88 ERA during an 11-4 stretch -- 0.83 in the victories.Lance Lynn provided the latest gem Monday, allowing three hits in eight innings of an 8-0 victory over Colorado (34-42) in the opener of this three-game series.Miller (7-6, 3.56 ERA) will try to match that effort as he takes the mound at Coors Field for the first time. He was masterful in his only meeting with the Rockies on May 10, 2013, allowing a leadoff single before retiring 27 in a row with 13 strikeouts in a 3-0 victory.The right-hander, though, has been inconsistent while going 1-4 with a 4.58 ERA over his last six starts. He owns a 7.23 ERA in those defeats compared to allowing one run in 15 2/3 innings in the two games that ended in Cardinals wins.Miller followed those two strong outings by giving up four runs in 6 2/3 innings of a 4-1 loss to Philadelphia on Thursday. He didn't get any run support for the second time in four games.Matt Adams has five hits in two games and is looking to build on a big offensive performance. The first baseman went 3 for 5 with two homers and a career-high six RBIs on Monday, giving him a .435 average in seven career meetings with the Rockies."It's just a continuation of how I've felt recently," the left-handed hitting Adams said. "The big thing that I'm happy about is I'm laying off the sliders and the curveballs from the lefties. I'm trying to make them come over the plate a little bit more instead of chasing what they want me to chase."Colorado's 7.20 ERA -- 8.83 from the starters -- is a big reason why it's on the brink of matching an eight-game slide from May 28-June 6."If I had an answer, if any of us did, it would've already happened," center fielder Drew Stubbs said. "At some point, it's got to turn around. Hopefully, it's sooner rather than later."Giving the ball to Jorge De La Rosa (6-6, 4.75) may not help as he's gone 0-3 with an 8.20 ERA in his past four starts.The left-hander's struggles were pronounced opposite Clayton Kershaw's no-hitter Wednesday. He allowed season highs of eight runs and five walks in 3 1/3 innings of the 8-0 defeat to the Los Angeles Dodgers.De La Rosa yielded two hits with seven strikeouts in seven scoreless innings of an 8-2 win at St. Louis on May 12, 2013, his first meeting with the Cardinals in almost three years.Troy Tulowitzki, 0 for 4 on Monday, has gone 5 for 29 (.172) with two homers and eight RBIs in his past eight meetings with St. Louis. The All-Star shortstop has struck out in all three at-bats against Miller.
Shelby Miller (STL): 2 2/3 IP, 6 H, 5 BB; 1st Cardinals starter since Sidney Ponson on July 1, 2006 to issue 5+ walks and allow 6+ hits in fewer than 3 IP. Bud Smith in 2002 is the only other Cardinals starter to put up this stat line in the last 100 seasons.