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Cardinals look to power past Cubs again

Sportsnaut
Sep 2, 2022; St. Louis, Missouri, USA;  St. Louis Cardinals pinch hitter Ben DeLuzio (26) bats during his major league debut in the eighth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Cardinals will try to extend their lengthy power surge when they host the Chicago Cubs on Saturday.

Tommy Edman hit a three-run homer and Lars Nootbaar hit a two-run blast as the Cardinals won 8-0 Friday night to open the three-game series at Busch Stadium.

Corner infielders Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado have combined for 61 homers and 194 RBIs this season to drive the Cardinals offense. Albert Pujols (eight homers, 17 RBIs in August), Nootbaar (six homers and 17 RBIs since the start of August) and Tyler O’Neill (seven homers, 22 RBIs since the start of August) also heated up as the Cardinals have rolled to a 26-8 mark since July 26.

“We have a really deep lineup,” Edman told Bally Sports Midwest after Friday’s victory. “Not just our lineup, but our bench too, our entire offensive side of the ball. We all can string together good at bats. The performance today is what we’re capable of.”

Saturday’s starting pitcher for St. Louis, Adam Wainwright (9-9, 3.09 ERA), allowed two runs on eight hits in 6 2/3 innings against the Atlanta Braves in his most recent start on Sunday. St. Louis eventually rallied to win that game 6-3, but Wainwright didn’t figure into the decision.

“For a little while, we had this thing where we fell behind (and) it felt like, ‘Oh, shoot, we’re going to lose,'” Wainwright said. “And we needed to kick that in the butt. I think we all had to look at ourselves in the mirror and realize we’re a good team.”

Wainwright is 1-1 with a 1.80 ERA in three starts against the Cubs this season. In his career he is 18-14 with a 3.78 ERA in 56 outings, including 47 starts.

Ian Happ (9-for-29, four homers, six RBIs), Yan Gomes (5-for-13), Christopher Morel (3-for-7) and Rafael Ortega (4-for-11) have hit well against Wainwright in their careers.

Drew Smyly (5-7, 3.24) will try to build on the success he and the rest of the Cubs rotation enjoyed last month. He was 2-1 with a 0.90 ERA in five August starts.

“Everything’s kind of connecting right now,” Smyly said. “My mechanics really feel in sync.”

His one loss last month came in a 1-0 game against the Cardinals on Aug. 22. He held the Cardinals to four hits and two walks while striking out six batters in seven innings.

The only run he allowed came on Pujols’ homer on a neck-high pitch.

“He’s ‘The Machine’ for a reason,” Smyly observed afterward.

Overall Cubs starters finished August with a 3.15 ERA, which was fifth-best in the majors.

Smyly is 1-1 with a 2.61 ERA in four career starts against the Cardinals. He has fared well against Edman (0-for-9), Yadier Molina (0-for-6) and Paul DeJong (1-for-9).

The Cubs added pitcher Jeremiah Estrada and infielder David Bote for this series as MLB rosters expanded from 26 to 28. The Cardinals added reliever James Naile and outfielder Ben DeLuzio.

St. Louis leads the season series between the clubs 11-6.

–Field Level Media