The St. Louis Cardinals’ pitching staff tends to thrive against NL East teams at Busch Stadium.
Giving the ball to Michael Wacha could keep that success going.
Unbeaten at home, Wacha looks to lead the Cardinals to a fifth straight win Tuesday night against the scuffling New York Mets.
St. Louis (38-32) is 21-3 at home against NL East teams over the past two seasons, thanks mostly to a 2.13 ERA. The staff has been even better while winning six of seven meetings this year, compiling a 1.71 ERA.
Winners in seven of eight, the Cardinals have won four straight with a series sweep of Washington at home before beating New York 6-2 on Monday.
Wacha (4-5, 2.88 ERA) is 7-0 with a 1.61 ERA over his last 10 home starts, including last fall’s NL championship series. He’s made seven starts in St. Louis this season and has compiled a 1.42 ERA while winning his only decision over his past three games.
Wacha is 0-5 with a 3.40 ERA in seven road starts, and he’s given up seven runs in 11 innings while losing his last two. He allowed four runs and four walks in five innings of a 6-3 loss at Tampa Bay on Wednesday.
"It’s not going to happen very often – Michael has been very consistent, regardless of what his record shows. He’s done a nice job keeping us in games," manager Mike Matheny told the team’s official website.
Wacha has split both of his starts against the Mets (31-39) with a 3.60 ERA, but this will be the first time he faces them at Busch Stadium.
Allen Craig is hitting .384 in his last 21 meetings against East foes, and he’s 8 for 15 with two doubles and four RBIs over the past four. That includes doubling on one of his three hits while driving in two runs Monday.
Matt Adams is 6 for 15 with three homers and six RBIs in four games since returning from a calf injury that landed him on the disabled list May 31. The first baseman had two hits and two RBIs Monday, scoring Craig on a triple.
The Cardinals have won 13 of 17 home meetings with the Mets, who are batting .210 while averaging 2.9 runs during a 3-10 stretch.
They mustered five hits Monday after manager Terry Collins batted starting pitcher Jacob deGrom eighth. He said he has "no idea" if he’ll try that Tuesday.
Jonathon Niese (3-3, 2.54) – a career .156 hitter – is all too familiar with the Mets’ offensive shortcomings. The left-hander has compiled a 2.22 ERA over his last four starts, but he doesn’t have a record since he’s been backed by seven total runs.
He had another strong effort wasted Thursday, allowing one run with a season-high eight strikeouts in 7 2-3 innings of a 5-1, 13-inning loss to Milwaukee.
"It is frustrating. You want to win all of them," Niese told the team’s official website. "But I guess that’s just the way it goes. That’s part of the game, and as starters we just try to keep the team in the game, give them a chance to win, give them a chance to get that big hit. It’s frustrating that we can’t pull it off."
Niese has a 1.35 ERA while winning three straight starts against the Cardinals. He allowed a run in 6 2-3 innings in a 3-2 victory April 23, and permitted two runs in 7 1-3 innings in his only career appearance at Busch Stadium on May 16, 2013.