Adam Wainwright has gotten back to form after a shaky outing earlier this month, and the St. Louis Cardinals’ starting rotation as a whole has been solid over the last week.
Bronson Arroyo’s turnaround has been even more impressive, and he’ll look to help the Arizona Diamondbacks earn a season high-tying third straight victory as they visit St. Louis on Tuesday night.
After giving up a season-worst six runs in a loss to the Chicago Cubs on May 2, Wainwright (6-2, 2.11 ERA) allowed one over eight innings in a 7-1 win over Atlanta on May 7 and held the Cubs to two runs over six in the Cardinals’ 4-3, 12-inning victory last Tuesday.
The right-hander will be looking to extend the streak of Cardinals starters pitching seven innings, which reached four after Jaime Garcia went seven in Sunday’s 6-5 loss to Atlanta.
"It’s healthy competition," manager Mike Matheny told the team’s official website. "You see one starter trying to up the next one. That’s what makes a staff good and what separates them from everybody else and makes them great, in my opinion."
Wainwright is 5-3 with a 2.54 ERA in eight starts against the Diamondbacks, giving up two earned runs or fewer in the first seven before allowing four runs – three earned – and 11 hits over six innings in a 6-2 loss the last time he faced them April 1, 2013.
He’ll oppose Arroyo, who has been stellar over the last three weeks.
Arroyo (4-2, 4.15) had a 9.50 ERA through his first four starts, but he’s gone 3-0 with a 0.91 ERA in four starts since after pitching a seven-hitter in last Tuesday’s 3-1 victory over Washington.
The right-hander has allowed three earned runs in that stretch while pitching at least into the seventh inning of each outing.
"It’s a lot of fun to watch," fellow Arizona starter Josh Collmenter said after Arroyo’s last start. "When he’s healthy and he’s right, he pitches around the zone and just misses barrels. So you see a lot of bad swings or guys not getting a whole lot of bat on the ball."
Arroyo has had his struggles against the Cardinals, though, going 1-8 with a 5.40 ERA over his last 14 starts.
He’ll face a St. Louis team that had its four-game winning streak snapped Sunday after Trevor Rosenthal allowed the tying run on a bases-loaded walk and Carlos Martinez the go-ahead score on a wild pitch in the top of the ninth.
That was the fourth straight day and fifth straight game Rosenthal pitched.
The Cardinals (23-21) are expected to add another bullpen arm Tuesday by activating Jason Motte from the disabled list. Motte, who was recovering from Tommy John surgery, last pitched in the majors in the 2012 NL championship series after recording 42 saves that season.
"He’s worked really hard and the training staff put together a good plan," Matheny said. "That’s the only way you can come back from something like this. There’s no guarantee you’re going to come back."
Motte could see his first action of the season against the Diamondbacks (18-28), who set a franchise record for runs in Saturday’s 18-5 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers before winning 5-3 on Sunday.
Eric Chavez homered in both contests, and Cody Ross went 2 for 3 with a solo shot in the finale. Ross entered the series hitting .174 and said he’s feeling better after having major hip surgery in the offseason.
”I felt something in (batting practice) the other day where I was, `All right, I can start driving the ball,”’ Ross said.
Paul Goldschmidt, hitting .200 over his last nine, is 5 for 13 with two doubles, a homer and seven RBIs in his last three against St. Louis.