The St. Louis Cardinals will try to complete a three-game home sweep of the reeling Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday and finally gain some traction.
The Cardinals prevailed 7-1 and 3-2 in the first two games at Busch Stadium. They have won three of their past four games overall after losing 17 of the previous 23.
They got a big lift Tuesday from starting pitcher Carlos Martinez, who delivered a strong six-inning performance.
“We definitely needed that,” third baseman Nolan Arenado told Bally Sports Midwest. “We need our starters to go a little deeper into games. Not only did he work deep in the game, he worked fast. That helps us as an offense.
“We haven’t been really scoring a lot of runs. We didn’t score a lot today either. It gives us confidence that we know our pitchers are going to keep us in games and give us a chance to score runs.”
The Diamondbacks have lost 23 of their last 25 games, and they are 7-46 since May 4.
“This group is extremely frustrated right now,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “I hear the frustration in the dugout. It’s because they care. Everybody wants to get the job done and be the man that steps up.”
He hoped that Caleb Smith’s strong starting pitching performance Tuesday can set a better tone for the injury-depleted staff. Smith fanned eight while tossing five innings of two-run ball.
“That’s contagious,” Lovullo said. “We need more of that. I think guys are getting ready to jump on, make some good things happen as we start to get some things in place in our bullpen. Hopefully today’s outing and some little things that are going right day by day will get the worm to turn for us.”
The Cardinals will start Kwang Hyun Kim (1-5, 3.98 ERA) in the series finale. The left-hander took a 9-2 loss to the Diamondbacks on May 30 in his only career start against them, allowing four runs on nine hits and one walk in five innings. Nick Ahmed (2-for-4, triple, RBI) and Josh Reddick (3-for-5, double, RBI) did damage against Kim.
In his four starts since then, Kim is 0-2 with a 4.67 ERA. He has completed six innings in just one of his 12 starts this season, which has put extra stress on the bullpen.
Riley Smith (1-3, 5.71 ERA) will start for the Diamondbacks. He moved between the bullpen and the rotation earlier this season, but he worked exclusively in relief over his past 11 outings.
He pitched two scoreless innings against the Cardinals on May 28 and three scoreless innings against them two days later. Those are his only two career appearances against St. Louis.
The Diamondbacks made a roster move before Tuesday’s game. They recalled infielder Andrew Young from Triple-A Reno to replace reliever Alex Young, who was demoted after Monday’s loss.
“It’s competitive. It’s going to continue to get more and more competitive,” Lovullo said. “If you’re not doing your job and we have others that are, I think we are ready to make those types of adjustments.”
Andrew Young struck out as a pinch hitter Tuesday night.
–Field Level Media