The St. Louis Cardinals will try to build on their dramatic comeback victory against the visiting Cincinnati Reds when the teams meet again Friday.
The Cardinals trailed the Reds 4-2 in the ninth inning Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series at Busch Stadium. However, St. Louis rallied for three runs to earn its first home win since July 26.
Dakota Hudson (0-2, 5.40 ERA) will take the mound Friday for the Cardinals. He allowed one run in four innings during his previous start on Sunday — his first appearance since that July 26 game.
While quarantined in their Milwaukee hotel due to the team’s COVID-19 outbreak, Hudson and the rest of the Cardinals’ staff had to improvise their workouts. They are still building their arm strength.
“It took me a second to get the breaking stuff going, but other than that, I felt pretty strong while I was out there,” Hudson said. “I would say right now it’s about mentally being locked in, and the physical part will come. As much as it stinks to say, it’s really about getting our grasp on throwing to a catcher rather than throwing to a pillow or a mattress.”
Hudson was 3-0 with a 4.01 ERA in four starts against the Reds last season, and he made one other appearance against Cincinnati in 2018 when he pitched two scoreless innings.
Eugenio Suarez (5-for-11, double, two homers, five RBIs), Mike Moustakas (3-for-7, two homers, four RBIs) and Jesse Winker (4-for-8, double) have all hit Hudson well.
Reds starter Anthony DeSclafani (1-1, 6.23 ERA) is looking to rebound after struggling in his last outing, a 9-6 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. He allowed all nine of those runs in just two innings.
Prior to that, he allowed just five hits in 11 scoreless innings in his first two starts of the season.
“I think his (velocity) was fine. Just kind of sprayed the ball around a little bit, wasn’t as sharp as I’ve seen before, clearly,” Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart said after that game.
“We’re used to seeing him so good. You’re waiting for him to turn it around,” Reds manager David Bell said. “They seemed like they were on everything. You hate to keep him out there when that’s happening, but he’s such a good pitcher.”
In this case, perhaps the Pirates picked up something in his mechanics that gave away what pitch was coming.
“We caught a little bit of a tip that he was tipping,” Barnhart said. “I’d rather not say exactly what it was, but we caught a tip that he was tipping, so we feel like, for the most part, that we caught it. Obviously, a little bit too late.”
DeSclafani was 2-1 with a 2.42 ERA in five starts against the Cardinals last season. He is 7-3 with a 3.08 ERA in 15 career outings against them, including 14 starts.
Several Cardinals have had success against him, including Matt Carpenter (13-for-28, two doubles, triple, four homers, six RBIs), Paul Goldschmidt (10-for-21, four doubles, three RBIs), Dexter Fowler (8-for-25, double, homer) and Harrison Bader (5-for-9, double).
On the other hand, Kolten Wong is hitless in 21 at-bats against him.
The Cardinals got catcher Yadier Molina back from the injured list Thursday, but shortstop Paul DeJong will need additional at-bats at the team’s Springfield, Mo., camp before returning.
–Field Level Media