After big night in Chicago, Cards go for short-series sweep against White Sox

CHICAGO — Dexter Fowler understands what it’s like to find success while playing within Chicago’s city limits.

But in a season in which the St. Louis Cardinals’ outfielder has struggled two years after winning a World Series title with the Chicago Cubs, Fowler has done his best to remain focused. Who knew a trip back to Chicago would spark Fowler’s bat?

After slugging a grand slam in St. Louis’ 14-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday, Fowler hopes to help the Cardinals finish off a sweep of the brief, two-game interleague series against the White Sox on Wednesday at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Fowler helped to fuel the Cardinals’ offense on Tuesday when he went 2-for-5 and drove in four runs as St. Louis won its fifth game in its last eight. Fowler found himself targeted in comments by Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak, who questioned Fowler’s effort and energy level.

Fowler, who entered Tuesday’s game hitting just .167, said he has mastered shaking negativity off.

“I’m good, I’m good,” Fowler said Tuesday, according to the Chicago Tribune. “I’m in positive spirits, so that’s all that matters.”

Luke Weaver takes the mound for the Cardinals on Wednesday. Weaver (5-7, 4.92 ERA) has only two wins over his last 10 starts, but is coming off a solid outing in which he allowed just two hits and two runs over eight innings to get a win against the San Francisco Giants. He will face the White Sox for the first time in his career.

The White Sox dropped their sixth straight game with Tuesday’s blowout setback in which four Chicago pitchers allowed at least two runs each. Before starter Dylan Covey allowed five runs (four earned) over five innings, White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said he has been contacted about several players on Chicago’s roster.

In the midst of a multiyear rebuilding effort, the White Sox are again expected to be sellers as the trade deadline approaches later this month. Pitching appears to be the focus on what playoff contenders may be attempting to land.

“I don’t think there’s any club anywhere throughout the league, regardless of the position they’re in, that doesn’t feel like they could improve themselves from a pitching standpoint,” Hahn told reporters Tuesday, according to the team’s official website. “So that’s certainly an area of conversation. We’re going to continue to be aggressive out there and have the same tenor of conversations we’ve had for the last 18 months, doing everything we can to put ourselves in a strong long-term position.”

Carlos Rodon (1-3, 4.29) has been a mixed bag since coming off a shoulder injury that forced him to miss the first two months of the season. Rodon produced one of his best outings in his last start when he surrendered two runs on five hits over six innings in a no-decision against the Houston Astros. Rodon is 0-1 with a 15.75 ERA in his only career start against the Cardinals.

The White Sox will be without outfielder Avisail Garcia, who was placed on the 10-day disabled list (retroactive to Monday) with a strained right hamstring. Garcia is hitting .282 in 35 games this season and had homered nine times and driven in 17 runs.

“He looked fantastic for the stretch of time we had him active,” Hahn said. “Hopefully the layoff this time will be brief enough that he’s able to pick up where he left off.”