After passing the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League wild card race, the visiting Philadelphia Phillies will look to build some distance on them Sunday.
The Phillies won 2-0 Friday and 1-0 Saturday in the first two contests of the four-game series at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. They have won four of five games against the Cardinals this season and they have won seven of their last nine games overall.
“I think people feel like we’re settled in a little bit now,” Phillies interim manager Rob Thomson said. “I think they have confidence they’re going to finish. They’re going to finish what they start, and that’s the way we’ve been playing lately.”
The Phillies have moved two games ahead of the Cardinals for the third wild-card slot in the NL.
“We’re right with these guys in the wild card,” Phillies third baseman Alec Bohm told NBC Sports Philadelphia. “If we can put together a good series and just keep slowly gaining ground, we’ll look up toward the end and be right where we want to be.”
The Cardinals have lost eight of their last 10 games. They’ve scored just four runs in their past six losses combined.
“Pretty frustrating,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “We’ve talked enough about it. Our ability to score runs right now is not very good.”
Rookie Phillies left-hander Cristopher Sanchez (1-1, 3.48 ERA) will get another fill-in start with the rotation missing Ranger Suarez (low back spasm) and Zach Eflin (bruised right knee).
In his first start after moving from the bullpen, Sanchez threw five strong innings against the Washington Nationals in an 11-0 victory on Tuesday. He allowed just two hits and two walks.
Cardinals rookie Andre Pallante (2-4, 3.03) will be looking for a bounce-back performance after enduring the roughest outing in his young career. Pallante wants to be more efficient so he can work deeper into games.
“That’s something that I’ve been trying to work on and improve,” Pallante told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “That comes with throwing strikes and being able to get early outs, making good pitches early in the count . . . if you don’t go deep into a game and you may put up scoreless innings there’s a chance that maybe you’re lucky vs. good.”
The Atlanta Braves defeated him 7-1 on Tuesday in his last start. Pallante allowed those seven runs on 10 hits while lasting just 3 2/3 innings.
The Cardinals adjusted their roster midway through the series, bringing outfielder Corey Dickerson (calf muscle strain) off the 10-day injured list and sending outfielder Conner Capel back to Triple-A Memphis.
Also, rookie infielder/outfielder Brendan Donovan landed on the shelf with an illness. He had fallen into a 5-for-34 rut offensively.
“This could serve him well to get a reset or a recharge and go,” Marmol said. “Obviously, that’s hard to do when you are sick. I was looking for ways to back off of him a little bit, but it’s hard when you’re not scoring to take out the guy who has been taking really good at-bats.”
–Field Level Media