The St. Louis Cardinals will ride starting pitching momentum into their game against the visiting Philadelphia Phillies Monday.
The Cardinals’ rotation brings a 1.43 ERA over the previous six games into a four-game series at Busch Stadium.
Jack Flaherty typified the group’s success Sunday while holding the Cincinnati Reds to one run in seven innings in their 5-2 victory.
“It’s representative of all our guys,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said Sunday. “You’re seeing a guy that’s trusting his fastball, using his fastball, got good life to his fastball.
“He’s throwing to both sides of the plate, he’s in control completely [of] what’s doing. And if he has a small miss, he gets right back to making a pitch wants to make.”
Meanwhile, the Phillies will come into the series looking for more rotation depth.
“For our No. 4 and 5 starters, when they get in those long innings, it’s really tough,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said after his team lost to the Rockies 12-2 Sunday. “We need more out of them. And I think they’re more than capable of giving us more.”
The Cardinals will open the series with Adam Wainwright (0-2, 5.03 ERA), who held the Washington Nationals to one run in seven innings while striking out 10 in his last start.
“It’s a quest for nine every time I take the mound,” Wainwright said. “If I go less than that, it better be over seven. That’s my mentality. We knew, rightfully so, we had been taking a lot of heat for not going deeper into the games. If you’re pitching five innings every time, that’s not a starting pitcher’s job.”
Wainwright is 7-3 with a 3.10 ERA in 16 career appearances against the Phillies, including 14 starts.
Phillies outfielders Bryce Harper (11-for-23, four doubles, three walks, homer, four RBIs) and Andrew McCutchen (19-for-64, six doubles, triple, two homers, nine RBIs) have hurt him in their careers.
The Phillies won two of three games against the Cardinals April 16-18 in Philadelphia, but they lost two of three games against the San Francisco Giants and Colorado Rockies in each of their last two series.
Phillies starting pitcher Zack Wheeler (1-2, 3.80) will be looking to settle back into his groove Monday.
After throwing seven scoreless innings and striking out 10 batters in his first start of the season, Wheeler has allowed 10 runs on 22 hits and eight walks in 16 2/3 innings during his last three starts.
“Tonight’s on me,” Wheeler told reporters after a 10-7 loss to the San Francisco Giants on April 20. “We had them down early and it’s my job to go out there and limit the damage. That’s what’s frustrating.”
Wheeler is 0-2 with a 5.87 ERA in three career starts against the Cardinals. Paul DeJong (3-for-6, double, two homers, three RBIs), Yadier Molina (3-for-8, RBI) and Nolan Arenado (2-for-6, walk, RBI) have given him trouble in their careers.
The Phillies expect to get reliever Jose Alvarado back from COVID-19 protocol. Their bullpen has been depleted with Alvarado shelved and Archie Bradley (oblique strain) on the injured list.
The Cardinals expect Molina back after missing the previous 2 1/2 games with a right foot injury. He passed additional testing on his strained tendon Sunday.
“We’ll have him back in their tomorrow,” Shildt said Sunday.
–Field Level Media