The St. Louis Cardinals will try to overcome key injuries again Sunday when they host the Chicago Cubs in the finale of their three-game series.
The Cubs beat the Cardinals 12-3 Friday at Busch Stadium, then the Cardinals bounced back to win 2-1 Saturday despite missing shortstop Paul DeJong (broken rib), outfielder Tyler O’Neill (broken finger) and outfielder Dylan Carlson (back tightness) from their regular starting lineup.
“Listen, nobody is going to feel sorry for you in this game,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. “You are going to play short occasionally. You are going to have pieces missing occasionally. You have a piece missing in Dylan, you already have some pieces missing with DeJong and O’Neill.”
The Cardinals also lost starting pitcher Miles Mikolas (forearm tightness) after four innings, which put extra stress on the bullpen.
But their fill-ins produced a key run when substitute shortstop Edmundo Sosa hit a triple and scored on a single by Lane Thomas, who was a late replacement for Carlson in right field. That fifth-inning hit evened the score at 1-1, and a Yadier Molina home run in the seventh was the difference.
“Really the word is grit,” Shildt said. “This is a real gritty group that likes to compete. Winners find solutions. You can complain about that we don’t have X, Y and Z and that would be real, but the fact of the matter is nobody cares. You have to go play game. We have players who can step up.”
Right-hander Adam Wainwright (2-4, 4.63 ERA) will start the rubber game of the series for the Cardinals.
He is coming off one of his worst start of the season: six runs allowed on eight hits — including three homers — and three walks in four innings of a 13-3 loss to the San Diego Padres on May 15. That was the third time in eight starts this season that he allowed five or more runs.
“Command with everything — fastball command was horrible, my cutter was up in the zone, changeup was up in the zone and my curveball was hangers, just absolute hangers,” Wainwright said. “Just really nothing you can say other than it was just a terrible performance.”
Wainwright is 17-13 with a 4.12 ERA in 51 career appearances against the Cubs, including 42 starts. Last season he won his only start against them while allowing two runs in 6 1/3 innings. His 51 outings are the most against any team.
He has had success against Javier Baez (5-for-29, nine strikeouts) and David Bote (2-for-10). Willson Contreras is just 3-for-19 against Wainwright, but with two homers and four RBIs.
Right-hander Zach Davies (2-2, 5.58 ERA) will start for the Cubs. He has a 2.11 ERA in his past four starts after posting a 9.47 mark in his first five outings of 2021
“The first month is tough at times,” Davies said. “Where some things don’t go your way and you’re frustrated, and things kind of snowball. But it’s a long season, especially this year with going back to a full season.”
Davies is 2-3 with a 4.55 ERA in 10 career starts against the Cardinals. Matt Carpenter (12-for-25, four doubles, three homers, four RBIs), Nolan Arenado (5-for-16, two doubles, homer, two RBIs), Molina (7-for-21, double, RBI), Paul Goldschmidt (4-for-10, two RBIs) and Harrison Bader (3-for-3, homer) have all hit well against him.
–Field Level Media