May 25, 2015

If you’re heading to the Cardinals-Royals series this weekend, MoDOT suggests avoiding I-70 West

Expect delays just west of the Hwy 65 exit on westbound I-70 this weekend (photo/MoDOT)

Expect delays just west of the Hwy 65 exit on westbound I-70 this weekend (photo/MoDOT)

The Missouri Department of Transportation warns motorists heading westbound on Interstate 70 in western Missouri over the Memorial Day weekend to be prepared for long delays.

Due to a bridge deck replacement on I-70 at the Blackwater River bridge in Saline County, (just west of the Sedalia/Marshall exit, 78), westbound traffic is reduced to one lane. In recent weekends, motorists have been experiencing an hour delay in this work zone near mile marker 77.

MoDOT suggests either using Route 50 or Route 36 as alternate routes to westbound I-70 if you are heading to Kansas City for the weekend for the Cardinals, Royals series or returning home from the Lake of the Ozarks.

Motorists can check real-time travel delays online at MoDOT’s Traveler Information map or call 1-888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636).

Garcia makes his debut for the Cardinals and takes loss as deGrom pitches Mets to victory

Jaime Garcia made his debut after an 11-month layoff.

Jaime Garcia made his debut after an 11-month layoff.

Mets starter Jacob deGrom retired 23 Cardinal hitters in a row, he also struck out 11 in eight innings. The Cardinals lost to the Mets 5-0 Thursday afternoon, splitting the four-game series. After scoring 19 runs in the last two games, the Cards managed just two hits and struck out a total of 13 times.

Mets first baseman Lucas Duda hit two homers and drove in four runs. It was also the debut of Jaime Garcia who pitched for the first time in 11 months. He went seven innings, throwing 102 pitches. He gave up two runs on five hits and five walks.

Matt Carpenter had the only hit against deGrom.  That came with one out in the first inning.  The only other Cardinals was Kolten Wong’s two-out single off Jeurys Familia in the ninth.

Another heartbreaking defeat for Mizzou athletics leaves baseball team on the brink of having it’s bubble burst (VIDEO)

Matt Hall, nation’s strikeout leader, helps Bears open MVC championships with a win (VIDEO)

Matt Hall delivers a pitch during the Bears opening game of the MVC Championships (photo/MSU Athletics)

Matt Hall delivers a pitch during the Bears opening game of the MVC Championships (photo/MSU Athletics)

Top-seeded Missouri State beat No. 8 Southern Illinois, 7-0, behind another solid pitching performance by Matt Hall. The junior from Lee’s Summit gave up just five hits while striking out 11 in 8.0 innings of work. Hall picked up his 11th win of the season and upped his NCAA-leading strikeout total to 147. Zach Merciez came on in the ninth inning to close out the victory for the Bears, striking out two more Saluki batters.

The Bears scored four runs in the first inning, roughing up Saluki starter Chad Whitmer, then added two runs in the second inning and an additional run in the bottom of the eighth inning for their ninth shutout of the season. Missouri State got hits from seven of its nine batters, with senior Dylan Becker leading the way after a 2-for-3 performance and one RBI, while junior Tate Matheny was 1-for-3 with two RBI.

Missouri State improved to 42-10 with the victory, and will face the winner Wichita State tonight.

Watch Missouri State’s postgame with video courtesy of the Missouri Valley Conference.

Cardinals own the best record in the majors and the Royals are off to their best 40 game start. Both teams face each other this weekend

This weekend, the Royals host the Cardinals.  The two teams play back at Busch Stadium in mid-June (UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

This weekend, the Royals host the Cardinals. The two teams play back at Busch Stadium in mid-June (UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Look, I know the Cardinals still have a game against the Mets today and it’s a big one because Jaime Garcia will be making his first start in just over 11 months, but we’re on the eve of the biggest I-70 showdown since 1985.  A rare moment in Missouri baseball when the Royals and Cardinals will be playing each other and both are in first place.  Not just first place, but doing so in dominating fashion.

Even last year, the Royals were near the bottom of the division when they faced the Cardinals for four games, two in STL and two in KC.  The Royals took three out of four.  Ever since we missed out on another I-7o World Series, the hype for this upcoming weekend series has been building.  This will be the 81st, 82nd and 83rd interleague meeting between our two clubs and the first time both teams have been in first place.

The Cardinals own the best record in the majors at 27-13 and lead by 4.5 games over Chicago.  The Royals are off to their best start in franchise history after 40 games, with a 26-14 record.  They are up 2.5 games on Detroit.

The series starts on Friday with the Cardinals workhorse Lance Lynn going up against Chris Young who has revitalized his career with the Royals.  Lynn threw a season high 119 pitches in his win last Sunday.  He’s only 3-3, but his ERA is 2.96 and he is now the veteran on this staff who must lead the rest of the rotation by example.

Mike Moustakas has had the most success against Lynn. Moose is batting .400 with three homers and six RBIs against him.  Moose has homered in two of his last three at-bats vs. Lynn.  Alex Gordon is batting .500 in ten at-bats against Lynn.  Moose had three hits in the 7-1 win over the Reds on Wednesday night, bumping his average up to .342.  Keep in mind, when George Brett flirted with .400 in 1980, he was only hitting .301 at this point in the season…just saying.

Young is 3-0 for the Royals with a 0.96 ERA and he kept the Yankees bats quiet in his last start.   Young spent a lot of time with San Diego and never did well against the Cardinals with an 0-3 lifetime record.  However, the current Cardinals batting order has only faced him a total of 12 times.