Pitcher Adam Wainwright and catcher Yadier Molina will set the major league record for career starts as battery mates when they take the field together next for the St. Louis Cardinals.
The record is expected to come Wednesday night when the Cardinals (83-59) host the Milwaukee Brewers (76-66).
The game would mark their 325th start together, breaking the record set by Mickey Lolich and Bill Freehan of the Detroit Tigers in 1975.
“It’s amazing how fast that’s gone,” said Wainwright, a right-hander who is 10-9 with a 3.33 ERA this season. “There are certain times when I’m pitching when I think, ‘This has been a long and wonderful career.'”
Wainwright is in his 17th major league season and Molina his 19th.
The National League Central-leading Cardinals will try to bounce back in the second half of this two-game series at Busch Stadium. The second-place Brewers won 8-4 Tuesday to cut their deficit to seven games.
Wainwright is trying to get back on track after two subpar starts. He has allowed eight runs on 18 hits and two walks in 10 innings during that stretch.
“Good thing is I know what I need to work on,” Wainwright said.
“Everybody knows he’s our horse,” Molina said. “The last few games haven’t went the way he wants them to. He knows everybody knows he’s our horse, our ace, and we trust in him.”
Wainwright is 0-2 with a 4.70 ERA in four starts against the Brewers this season. He is 20-14 in his career against them, with a 2.76 ERA in 54 career appearances, including 46 starts.
Andrew McCutchen (25-for-77, seven doubles, three homers, 13 RBIs), Luis Urias (6-for-17, three homers, four RBIs) and Omar Narvaez (8-for-22, three doubles, four RBIs) have hit Wainwright well.
The Brewers will counter Wainwright on Wednesday with staff ace Corbin Burnes (10-6. 2.93), a right-hander who is coming off a dominant 2-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Thursday. He allowed just the one run, three hits, struck out 14 and issued no walks in eight innings.
“I just did a better job of commanding it early and forcing them to swing, making some pitches out of the zone and getting them to swing and miss,” Burnes said. “As far as the last couple outings to this one goes, just a better job of getting ahead and finding the strike zone a little better. But as far as stuff, it was the same.”
Burnes is 2-0 with an 0.43 ERA in three starts against the Cardinals this season. He is 4-3 with a 2.73 ERA in 14 career appearances against them, including 11 starts.
He has been especially effective against Molina (1-for-12), Tyler O’Neill (1-for-11) and Brendan Donovan (1-for-9).
Burnes has never faced Albert Pujols, who is sitting on 697 career homers. Pujols was not in the starting lineup for the Cardinals’ previous games against Burnes.
After winning the division last year, the Brewers are trying to reach the playoffs despite a second-half slump.
“For the most part, it’s the same team, so you know it’s in us to go out and play our best baseball and make this last 21-game push to get into the postseason,” Burnes told MLB.com before the start of this series. “It’s in there.”
–Field Level Media