ST. LOUIS- The Cardinals will try to capture a series victory over the Phillies when the two teams square off in the second of three meetings Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia (6:05 pm CT, FS-M).
Michael Wacha will take the ball for St. Louis (32-37) in an attempt to recapture some of his form. The righty has struggled through his last 5 outings, logging just over 21 innings to the tune of an 8.86 ERA. Wacha is 3-3 on the season. Matheny and the Cardinals hope that a lessened workload between starts will allow him to have better control and feel for the baseball.
The Phillies (22-47) will hand the ball to rookie Nick Pivetta in hopes of snapping a 4-game slide. Pivetta tossed 7 shutout innings against Boston in his last start on June 15, scattering just 4 hits while walking 2 and striking out 9.
- The Cardinals are attempting to win their 5th straight game against the Phillies this season. St. Louis swept a three game series against Philadelphia at Busch Stadium June 9-11.
- Matt Carpenter and Dexter Fowler have continued to prove themselves as worthy table setters for the Cardinals. Both Fowler and Carpenter walked and scored to begin the 11th inning on Tuesday, where the Cardinals scored 7 runs en route to a series opening victory over Philadelphia. The 7 runs were the most for the Cardinals in any inning in any game so far this season.
ST. LOUIS – After dropping 3 of 4 games to the division rival Brewers at home, the Cardinals fly east to open up a 3 game set in Baltimore beginning with Friday night’s contest (6:05 pm CT, FS-M).
The Cardinals (30-35) will send ace Carlos Martinez to the hill for game one hoping to snap a 3 game skid that has pushed them further behind in the NL Central Division race. Martinez dazzled in his last appearance against the Phillies on June 10, where he went the distance for his first ever complete game shutout. He struck out 11 and allowed just 4 hits over his 9-inning masterpiece.
St. Louis opens play on Friday sitting in 3rd place, 4.5 games behind Milwaukee.
The Baltimore Orioles (32-33) will send RHP Kevin Gausman to the mound on Friday. Gausman is 3-5 this season with a 6.49 ERA. He lasted just 3.1 innings in his last start on June 11 against the New York Yankees, allowing 8 hits and 7 earned runs to go along with 6 free passes.
The Orioles enter Friday 6.5 games behind the AL East leading Yankees.
- Carlos Martinez has struck out at least 8 batters in four consecutive starts. With another 8 strikeout game on Friday, Martinez would be the first Cardinal pitcher to record at least 8 punch outs in 5 straight outings since Chris Carpenter did so in 2005.
- The Cardinals have dropped 8 of their last 10 interleague games entering Friday’s contest against Baltimore.
ST. LOUIS – As the old cliche goes, there is no time like the present.
For the Cardinals (29-32), taking advantage of their upcoming opportunity will be highly important, as they enter a 4-game bout with the division leading Brewers starting with Tuesday’s day/night doubleheader at Busch Stadium.
The Cardinals entered Friday of last week having lost 7 straight games, but enter their series with the Brewers on the heels of a sweep against the Phillies over the weekend. St. Louis outscored Philadelphia 16-7 in those three games, with ace Carlos Martinez picking up his first career complete game victory, a 4-hit, 11 K shutout in the middle tilt. The Birds will need similar pitching performances in order to contain the Brewers, who entered Sunday sporting the National League’s third best team home run total at 87.
Much of the Cardinals’ success over the weekend was due in large part to better defense (error count), stronger pitching, particularly out of the bullpen, and timely hitting, all reasons why the club has struggled through 61 games in 2017. It seems at least to some degree that the shakeup John Mozeliak provided recently has, even if only slightly, begun to move the Cardinals in a better direction…(let’s not forget about the continued baserunning issues, which the Cards showed fans plenty over the weekend).
The Cardinals will send Lance Lynn to the hill in Tuesday’s opener at 1:15 pm, where he’ll look to build off of a 5-inning, 78 pitch no decision on June 7th against the Reds. Lynn surrendered just one run on three hits before exiting for a pinch hitter in the 6th inning.
The Brewers will take a 2.5 game lead into the doubleheader matchup with the Cardinals to open up the series, and will look to end a 2-game slide against Arizona while maintaining the top position in the division.
- Yadier Molina missed all three games against the Phillies this weekend due to back soreness. The Cardinals could have their gold-glove catcher back behind the plate on Tuesday depending on how he feels.
- Marco Gonzales will be called up from Triple A Memphis on Tuesday to start game two of the Cardinals’ twin bill. Gonzales underwent Tommy John surgery in April of 2016 and will make his first start at the big league level since 2015.
- The Cardinals have won 4 of their 7 meetings against the Brewers so far this season.
ST. LOUIS – The Cardinals will kick off their 2017 spring schedule on Saturday with an exhibition against the Miami Marlins from Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, FL.
First pitch is slated for 12:05 pm local time (TV: FS-MW, Radio: KMOX 1120).
Pitching prospect Luke Weaver, who posted a 1-4, 5.70 ERA showing in 9 games for St. Louis a year ago, has been tabbed the starter.
Weaver will be one of several young pitchers trying to impress his club to open up the spring docket. John Gant and Austin Gomber are also expected to make appearances on the bump for the Cardinals in Saturday’s opener.
Gant went 1-4 with a 4.86 ERA as a member of the Atlanta Braves in 2016, his first season in the majors. Gant was one of three prospects acquired by the Cardinals in a trade with the Braves for LHP Jaime Garcia.
Gomber, a 2014 fourth round pick by St. Louis, has spent three years in the Cardinals’ farm system. He began 2016 in Springfield AA.
ST. LOUIS – It was a disappointing year for Kolten Wong last season in St. Louis, especially on offense. The organization knows it, and Wong knows it.
In 121 games played, Wong’s .240 BA, 7 SB, 23 RBI and 75 H were all the lowest totals since he broke into the league in 2013. His 313 official AB were down from 557 in 2015, and Wong was forced to spend time in Memphis for much of 2016, re-gathering his swing and suring up much of the inconsistency in his play. He never did find the traction he was looking for.
The Cardinals missed the postseason in 2016 for the first time since 2010 in part because of their defensive woes, and it was no surprise that the organization entered the offseason last October, and now spring training, with a clear focus on athleticism and defensive depth. Kolten Wong figures to add into that equation in a large capacity this year as an everyday staple in the lineup at second base. He committed 8 errors last season at the position.
Even with less at bats, Wong had a .327 OBP a season ago in St. Louis, his best in 4 years. Along with new addition Dexter Fowler, and returning members such as Randal Grichuk, Stephen Piscotty, and Matt Carpenter, the Cardinals expect to improve their on-base numbers this year. Wong will play a role in helping the team achieve that goal.
Now 26 years of age, Wong signed a 5-year contract extension worth $25.5 million last year, with a club option in 2021. There is clear indication that the organization feels Wong is a key factor to the team’s success moving forward. It will be up to Wong to make that happen, and it will start in this year’s campaign.