Two notable hitting streaks and a winning streak will be on the line Tuesday night when the St. Louis Cardinals and the visiting Toronto Blue Jays complete a two-game series.
Paul Goldschmidt extended his hitting streak to 15 games the hard way Monday night. He was 0-for-4 until the 10th inning, when he hit a grand slam to give the Cardinals a walk-off 7-3 victory.
The result in the opener of a nine-game homestand stretched the Cardinals’ winning streak to four games. The Blue Jays, who started a six-game road trip on Monday, have lost two in a row.
Blue Jays second baseman Santiago Espinal, who was moved up to the No. 2 spot in the batting order on Monday, extended his career-best hitting streak to 16 games with a first-inning single.
Right-hander Jordan Hicks (1-3, 4.21 ERA) will start for St. Louis on Tuesday against Toronto right-hander Kevin Gausman (3-3, 2.52).
It will be the first time that Hicks has faced the Blue Jays.
Gausman faced St. Louis once last season when he was with the San Francisco Giants, allowing two runs, three hits and two walks while striking out eight over seven innings as he took a loss. In seven career outings (three starts) against the Cardinals, he is 0-3 with a 3.97 ERA.
The rotation has been a success story for the Blue Jays while the hitters continue to flail and fail.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., the runner-up for American League MVP last season, is hitless in four consecutive games after going 0-for-3 with two walks (one intentional) on Monday. He is in an 0-for-14 drought.
Toronto starter Jose Berrios allowed three runs in 6 1/3 innings on Monday.
“We have a lot of different looks coming at a team,” Gausman said. “If we’re playing a four-game series, they’re getting a different look every single day. From the left side, (Yusei) Kikuchi throws 97 with a split, then you have (Hyun Jin) Ryu from the left side who’s a completely different pitcher. Then there’s Berrios and, obviously, (Alek) Manoah. All of those guys are completely different.”
Toronto plays a four-game series against the Los Angeles Angels starting Thursday in Anaheim, Calif.
The Cardinals put left-hander Steven Matz (left shoulder impingement) and outfielder Dylan Carlson (left hamstring strain) on the injured list on Monday, placed catcher Yadier Molina on the bereavement list and recalled right-hander Junior Fernandez, left-hander Matthew Liberatore, outfielder Lars Nootbaar and catcher Ivan Herrera from Triple-A Memphis.
St. Louis optioned right-hander Angel Rondon to Memphis following the game on Sunday.
More moves are likely for the pitching staff. The Cardinals feel they are in a better position than last year with available fresh arms.
“There was a little bit of a gap last year,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “We’re back to having some guys who can contribute. Feel good about it. It’s a challenge, but not in any way close to devastating.”
Herrera could become the eighth Cardinal to make his major league debut this season.
“I do feel like we have some depth that allows us not to skip a beat,” Marmol said. “There are several options (who) I feel like allow us to buy time, that we feel good about putting out there.”
Toronto recalled right-hander Julian Merryweather from Triple-A Buffalo on Monday and optioned catcher Zack Collins to Buffalo. Merryweather overcame a long double to toss a scoreless ninth inning on Monday.
–Field Level Media