In games where the St. Louis Cardinals hit homers and pitch well [url=http://www.buffalobillsteamonline.com/russell-bodine-jersey]Authentic Russell Bodine Jersey[/url] , they generally walk off the field with a win.
But on nights where they can’t connect with the long ball, they don’t consistently make up for it with situational hitting or defense. Friday night’s 5-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves was another example of that trend rearing its ugly head.
After failing to cash in leadoff walks in the bottom of the first against Braves starter Julio Teheran, St. Louis simply couldn’t crack the code. It eventually caught up with the Cardinals as they were held to one run for their second straight game.
For St. Louis (42-38) to even the series Saturday night at Busch Stadium, the Cardinals will have to do a better job of converting runners in scoring position into runs while not giving up extra outs defensively. The Cardinals’ three errors Friday night marked their 17th multi-error game in 80 games.
St. Louis is on a pace to commit more than 130 miscues this year, continuing a three-season trend of below-average defense. Permitting good teams like Atlanta (46-34) four or five outs in an inning is a recipe for disaster.
The Braves started a 10-game road trip with a positive result. Third baseman Johan Camargo was the offensive star, going 3-for-5 with two runs and a two-run double off Jordan Hicks in the eighth that broke open a 1-0 game.
“Baseball is all about its ups and downs,” Camargo said. “For me, it’s all about maintaining the focus and just staying the path.”
Atlanta essentially heeded Camargo’s credo, bouncing back from consecutive series losses against last-place teams Baltimore and Cincinnati. It will turn to left-hander Max Fried (0-2, 4.09 ERA) on Saturday to secure a series win.
Fried is replacing veteran right-hander Brandon McCarthy [url=http://www.buffalobillsteamonline.com/phillip-gaines-jersey]Authentic Phillip Gaines Jersey[/url] , who was put on the 10-day disabled list Thursday with a knee injury. A former first-round pick of San Diego, Fried will make his first start since going five innings and giving up one earned run on May 28 in a no-decision against the New York Mets.
It will be the second career appearance against the Cardinals for Fried, who last year tossed a scoreless inning in relief against them.
Right-hander Luke Weaver (4-6, 4.59) will look for his second straight win for St. Louis. Weaver shrugged off a rough first inning Sunday in Milwaukee to grab an 8-2 win, fanning a season-high nine over 5 2/3 innings while yielding two runs off five hits and two walks.
Weaver needed 32 pitches to make it through a two-run first inning, but started finding the range with his off-speed pitches. That made his fastball play bigger, and he rolled through the middle innings while the Cardinals bombed Jhoulys Chacin out of the box with five runs in the fourth and two more in the fifth.
“The first inning, it was like, ‘Here we go again.’ It means a lot for him to right the ship,” St. Louis manager Mike Matheny told mlb.com.
Weaver [url=http://www.buffalobillsteamonline.com/marshall-newhouse-jersey]Authentic Marshall Newhouse Jersey[/url] , who snapped a seven-start winless streak in Milwaukee, will make his first career appearance against the Braves.
Maybe Philadelphia Phillies right-hander Jake Arrieta will go longer into the Saturday afternoon game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park than he did in his last start.
The former Cy Young Award winner with the Chicago Cubs has double-digit wins in each of the past four seasons, and a career 3.57 ERA and 1.18 WHIP. But he learned in his first season with the Phillies that it is all about the wins.
Philadelphia moved well above .500 by making careful decisions, and that included pulling Arrieta after five strong innings and 70 pitches Sunday against Washington simply because the club was trailing 3-0 with one hit.
“You have to find a way to score runs. You’re running out of outs. You’re down,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said of his decision to pinch-hit Carlos Santana for Arrieta after he had given up two earned runs and four hits.
Philadelphia ended up scoring three runs that inning for a tie and winning 4-3 in 13 innings.
“There was quite a bit of debate, and mostly because of how good Jake was,” Kapler said. “I was confident we could have gotten two, maybe three more innings out of him. However, we didn’t know if we were going to have an opportunity to score.
“So there was definitely internal debate, mostly because of how good Jake is and because I knew he could give us length there — and because I knew he wanted to give us length. He’s earned the opportunity to do so. But for the strategy of the Phillies [url=http://www.carolinapanthersteamonline.com/marquis-haynes-jersey]Authentic Marquis Haynes Jersey[/url] , I didn’t think that was the right move.”
Arrieta (5-6, 3.54 ERA) hasn’t been winning at his customary clip, the no-decision notwithstanding. On Saturday, he’ll face right-hander Jameson Taillon (5-6, 4.05 ERA) and the struggling Pirates (40-47).
Arrieta is 11-6 with a 3.01 ERA in 21 career starts against Pittsburgh. The only time he faced them this season, he struck out 10 while pitching seven one-hit scoreless innings in a 7-0 victory on April 19.
The Phillies opened this series with a 17-5 smackdown Friday and have won five straight and six of seven to gain a share of the National League East lead.
The Pirates have lost four in a row — by a combined 48-13, with 59 hits and 12 homers allowed — and five of six. They continue to shuffle their lineup.
“There’s no sense in keeping it the same, is usually a point I get to, because we’re not getting the results we want to get,” Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said.
In his most recent start [url=http://www.cincinnatibengalsteamonline.com/cordy-glenn-jersey]Authentic Cordy Glenn Jersey[/url] , Taillon lasted just 4 2/3 innings Sunday in San Diego. He left with a lead in a game the Pirates won 7-5 but gave up a homer and two singles with two outs in the fourth to prompt the pitching change.
“I’m hunting a lot of good work, and I just need to keep going,” Taillon, who is is 3-6 with a 4.93 ERA in his past 14 starts, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Against the Phillies, Taillon is 1-1 with a 5.68 ERA in three career starts. This is a rematch of the April 19 game that Arrieta won. In that game, Taillon was rocked for five runs in 1 2/3 innings.
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