To break out of their offensive funk, the St. Louis Cardinals must reestablish Tommy Edman and Brendan Donovan as their catalysts atop the batting order.
Edman hit a double and lifted the decisive sacrifice fly as the Cardinals rallied past the Philadelphia Phillies 4-3 on Sunday. The Phillies blanked the Cardinals 2-0 and 1-0 in the first two games of this four-game series at Busch Stadium.
The series finale is set for Monday evening.
Donovan missed the last two games with an illness and he is questionable for Monday’s game.
“When you look at how we were winning games earlier on, it was (Edman’s) ability to get on, Donovan’s ability to get on,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “Those were the two guys that were Player of the Months, back-to-back months. We scored a lot of runs that way.”
But Edman came into Sunday’s game in a 4-for-33 slump.
“It’s going to be important for him moving forward to continue to make strides,” Marmol said. “He’s working hard. This is a kid who’s not going to be satisfied with what he’s doing.”
As for Donovan, Marmol said: “He’s still ill, and there’s not much I can say. As of right now, I’ve been told there are different symptoms than COVID.”
Cardinals starting pitcher Miles Mikolas (5-7, 2.72 ERA) has suffered from poor run support all season. The team has been shut out in four of his starts and it scored just once in two others.
Mikolas lost his last start 3-0 to the Atlanta Braves. He allowed those three runs on five hits, including two homers, in six innings.
“You know those are going to be tight games that are going to be decided on just a handful of pitches,” Mikolas said. “Do your best to not make any mistakes, but sometimes just one mistake and it’ll cost you.”
Mikolas suffered a 5-3 loss to the Phillies on July 1. He allowed four runs, two earned, on six hits and two walks.
He is 1-1 with a 3.93 ERA in four career appearances against the Phillies, including three starts. Nick Castellanos (4-for-12, two homers, three RBIs) and Odubel Herrera (2-for-5, homer, three RBIs) have been problematic for him.
The Phillies, who have won seven of their last 10 games, will start Aaron Nola after using five relievers Sunday in a bullpen game.
Nola (5-6, 3.15 ERA) has worked at least seven innings in six straight starts. That is why the Phillies believe Nola, along with Zack Wheeler, should be National League All-Stars — along with Kyle Schwarber, who was named to the team Sunday.
“I think there’s lots more All-Stars in this room that are very deserving of it and it’s kind of shame, but hopefully these guys can get in some way,” Schwarber said. “(Wheeler), Nola, even Rhys (Hoskins) is having a real good year too.”
Nola suffered a 3-2 loss to the Washington Nationals in his last start. He allowed those three runs on seven hits in 7 2/3 innings, with homers by Luis Garcia and Yadiel Hernandez doing the damage.
“There were some soft hits,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said. “I saw two balls that were hit hard, basically.”
Nola is 5-2 with a 2.19 ERA in eight career starts against the Cardinals. He has been especially effective against Edman (0-for-7) and Dylan Carlson (0-for-6).
–Field Level Media