Preview: Cardinals go for sweep of Marlins
The St. Louis Cardinals are unsure whether Yadier Molina will be available Sunday as they try for their first three-game home sweep of the Miami Marlins in 13 years.
They could like their chances either way since starter Lance Lynn has won nine straight regular-season decisions at Busch Stadium although he pitched poorly earlier this year against Miami.
Lynn (10-3, 3.75 ERA) may not have Molina as a batterymate Sunday.
Molina sat out Saturday’s 5-4 victory and was sent for medical tests for a knee injury that developed Friday. He told teammates he didn’t believe it was anything serious, and Tony Cruz started in his place.
The catcher leads the NL with a .346 average and has six homers and 45 RBIs. Manager Mike Matheny said that Molina could play Sunday if he checks out OK.
“We saw some things during the game (Friday) that gave us an indication,” Matheny said. “So we’re going to have to wait and see what the medical staff says.”
The Cardinals (52-34), who last swept a three-game set at home against the Marlins from May 23-25, 2000, will see if Lynn can continue his impressive streak. He’s 9-0 with a 2.51 ERA in his last 11 regular-season home appearances – 10 starts.
The right-hander, however, has dropped back-to-back starts for the first time in his career. He gave up five runs over six innings in Tuesday’s 5-1 defeat to the Angels.
His lone career start against Miami (32-54) was a 13-7 victory June 15 when he got credit for the win despite yielding a career-high seven runs over five innings.
St. Louis has taken two close games in this series, winning the opener 4-1 on Friday. One day later, the Cardinals rallied from two runs down in the seventh inning and won when Jon Jay scored the winning run from first on a single after right fielder Giancarlo Stanton’s throwing error with two outs in the ninth.
“We’ve had a lot of close games like this that we couldn’t quite pull off at the end,” Matheny said. “So, it doesn’t matter to me. Just that we did.”
The Marlins entered this series winners of 10 of 13 games, but will suffer their first series loss in five. Manager Mike Redmond was ejected in the fourth inning Saturday.
“You can only take so much, right?” Redmond said. “I think of those guys in the dugout and they’re busting their butts. You’ve got to stick up for those guys, too.”
Stanton has played all 24 games since returning June 10 after missing 36 due to a right hamstring injury. Redmond indicated he may rest the slugger Sunday.
“You can kind of tell when a guy starts to drag a little bit out there, and give him some days,” Redmond told the Marlins’ official website. “They have ways of letting you know they need a break.”
Miami starter Jose Fernandez (5-4, 2.72) won his only start versus St. Louis, allowing three runs over seven innings in a 5-4 victory June 14.
That’s part of an impressive six-start stretch for the rookie right-hander during which he’s 3-1 with a 1.34 ERA, including eight stellar innings in Monday’s 4-0 home win over San Diego. However, he’s 2-4 with a 4.12 ERA on the road compared to 3-0 with a 1.47 mark in Miami.