St. Louis ace Adam Wainwright has been at his best when pitching
at home this season, but the Cardinals surely won’t be disappointed
to have him on the mound when they kick off a key six-game road
Wainwright looks to continue the Cardinals’ recent track record
of success in Miami on Friday night against the reeling Florida
Marlins, who hope to avoid their first five-game losing streak of
St. Louis (60-48) trails the first-place Reds by one-half game
in the NL Central, a situation that should provide plenty of
intrigue when the Cardinals begin a three-game series in Cincinnati
First, the Cardinals will try for their eighth consecutive
series victory at Florida, where they’re 16-6 since the start of
Wainwright (15-6, 2.19 ERA) won his only previous start in Miami
on June 10, 2009, but hasn’t been as fortunate on the road this
year. All of his losses have come away from home, and his 3.38 ERA
on the road is more than two runs higher than his Busch Stadium
In his last road start, he gave up six runs in five innings of
an 8-2 loss to the Mets on July 27, the only time in his last seven
outings overall that he allowed more than one run.
The right-hander bounced back Sunday against Pittsburgh,
pitching seven innings in a 9-1 home win.
“Just got back to doing what I do, command all my pitches,
change speeds, work in-and-out and let my defense do their work,”
He’ll have a worthy adversary in Ricky Nolasco (12-7, 4.28), who
has gone 7-1 with a 3.38 ERA in his last eight outings, striking
out 64 in 56 innings over that span.
Nolasco limited San Diego to five hits in 8 1-3 innings of a 6-3
victory on Saturday, winning his third consecutive start.
“He was getting his breaking ball over for strikes. He was
getting ahead of us,” San Diego’s Scott Hairston said. “His
fastball had a little run to it. … He didn’t make too many
The right-hander, however, has never beaten the Cardinals, going
0-2 with a 5.92 ERA in five appearances – four starts. Matt
Holliday is 7 for 11 with two homers against Nolasco, while Albert
Pujols is 6 for 12 with three doubles and a homer.
Pujols had three hits, including his 27th homer, in an 8-4 win
over Houston on Wednesday as St. Louis bounced back from an 18-4
blowout and avoided a three-game sweep.
“I’m feeling right now, the same way I’ve been feeling all year
long,” Pujols said. “Right now, it’s important because every win
counts. You don’t have that many games left.”
The Cardinals appear primed for the challenge of a close race,
having averaged 4.9 runs per game while going 13-7 since the
All-Star break. Pujols and Holliday are tied for the team lead with
14 RBIs in that stretch.
Florida (53-55) has struggled to find offense during its
four-game losing streak, totaling 11 runs while matching its
longest skid of the season.
The Marlins’ 5-4, 10-inning loss to Philadelphia on Thursday
night was marred by a controversial call. Gaby Sanchez’s hard
grounder in the bottom of the ninth would have plated the winning
run, but it was called foul despite apparently bouncing over third
Manager Edwin Rodriguez called it “the worst call I’ve ever seen
in my 30 years of professional baseball.”