Cardinals try to get bats back on track vs. Phillies

MLB

The St. Louis Cardinals will try to restart their offense when they host the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday.

Zack Wheeler held them to one hit in eight-plus innings Monday night as Phillies won 2-1 in the opener of the four-game series at Busch Stadium.

“I think we have already shown this year that we can get those elite pitchers,” Cardinals second baseman Tommy Edman said after the game. “We’ve had a couple of good games against some really good pitchers this year, so we won’t get too down about this game and just know what our offense is capable of.

“This just wasn’t one of those days.”

Bouncing back won’t easy against Phillies starter Zach Eflin (1-0, 2.77 ERA). He has worked at least six innings in all four starts this season and has limited opponents to two or fewer runs in three of them.

His only decision of this season came against the Cardinals in a 9-2 victory on April 16. He allowed those two runs on six hits in seven innings. Eflin struck out six batters in the game and walked none.

Eflin is 1-0 with a 3.09 ERA in his two career starts against the Cardinals. Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt are a combined 4-for-23 against Eflin in their career.

Cardinals starting pitcher Carlos Martinez (0-4, 6.00 ERA) allowed 13 runs in 15 innings during his first three starts before limiting the Washington Nationals to one run in six innings in his last start.

The Phillies tagged him for six runs in that April 16 victory, with all the damage coming in the second inning. Martinez hit two batters and allowed Bryce Harper’s two-run double as the key hit.

“It wasn’t like he was all over the place,” manager Mike Shildt said. “He just didn’t make an ideal pitch to the pitcher and a couple of balls fell. It’s not so much as what Carlos didn’t do tonight, as much as it just didn’t go his way. What can you do? He makes pitches and gets ground balls, weak contact. One got away from him and there was one good swing by Harper, but other than that, he was pretty good.”

Martinez is 3-2 with a 3.86 ERA in nine career appearances against the Phillies, including five starts.

Harper (3-for-10, two homers, six RBIs) and Odubel Herrera (4-for-9, double, RBI) have fared well against him, and Andrew McCutchen (8-for-44, 11 strikeouts) has not.

Herrera started in center field Monday while making his first big league appearance in 23 months. He served an 85-game MLB suspension for domestic abuse in 2019 and he did not play in 2020.

“We just felt it was time,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said Monday. “I think he’s really excited to have this opportunity to prove himself to his teammates, the organization and to the fan base. He’s worked really hard to get this opportunity, and now he has to make the most of it. Some people aren’t necessarily going to like this decision, and those are feelings I respect.”

–Field Level Media

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