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Cardinals’ Miles Mikolas hopes for offensive help vs. Cubs

Jun 20, 2022; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA;  St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Miles Mikolas (39) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at American Family Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Miles Mikolas would welcome more run support when he faces the visiting Chicago Cubs on Saturday.

The Cardinals have scored a total of two runs for Mikolas (5-5, 2.64 ERA) in his five losses this season. That lack of backing offense has frequently left him working with little margin for error.

The right-hander lost a 2-0 pitchers’ duel against Milwaukee Brewers ace Corbin Burnes in his start on Monday. Mikolas’ only mistake was a misplaced pitch to Tyrone Taylor, who hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning.

“It was kind of whoever blinks first,” Mikolas said. “Kind of know going out that it might be a one-swing ballgame. And they put a good swing on a ball, and that was it.”

The Cardinals failed to give starting pitcher Andre Pallante offensive support on Friday while falling 3-0 to Chicago in the opener of a three-game series.

The Cubs won for just the fourth time in 18 games while the Cardinals took their sixth loss in the past nine games.

Mikolas is 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA in 12 career appearances against the Cubs, including 10 starts.

He wasn’t sharp in his last start against them, when he allowed four runs on eight hits and three walks in five innings on June 3. In that game, however, the Cardinals’ offense rallied behind Mikolas for a 14-5 victory.

In his next three outings, Mikolas allowed just five runs (four earned) on eight hits in 23 innings. He struck out 18 and walked only three during that three-start span.

The Cubs will counter Mikolas with right-hander Adrian Sampson (0-0, 0.00 ERA). He just returned to the roster with his recall from Triple-A Iowa.

In his two outings for the Cubs this season, he has thrown 5 2/3 scoreless innings. Sampson is 1-0 with a 2.35 ERA in three career appearances vs. the Cardinals, including two starts.

The Cardinals made a change in their bullpen ahead of the series opener, putting Drew VerHagen (shoulder impingement) on the 10-day injured list and promoting Packy Naughton from Triple-A Memphis.

The Cubs also adjusted their roster, activating infielder David Bote from the 60-day injured list following his recovery from left-shoulder surgery. He hit .284 with six doubles, one triple, 12 RBIs and three stolen bases in 18 games during his rehabilitation from Iowa.

Bote started at third base on Friday and went hitless in four at-bats during his first game back.

“He’s been through a lot, a long rehab process,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “It’s nice to have him back. It’s good to see his face.

“He’s done a nice job of putting in the work coming back, and he’s been swinging the bat really well down there of late. It’s nice to get him back. He has a lot of experience. He will help us out for sure.”

To make room for Bote, the Cubs designated infielder Jonathan Villar for assignment. He hit .222 with six doubles, two triples, two homers and 15 RBIs in 46 games.

–Field Level Media