The visiting St. Louis Cardinals will go for a series sweep Sunday against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Cardinals, who are 26-5 in Pittsburgh dating to May 26, 2018, won the first two games of the set 5-3 and 5-4.
One of St. Louis’ best weapons against the Pirates in recent years is Paul Goldschmidt, who in 52 games against Pittsburgh as a Cardinal has hit .349 with 39 RBIs and 26 extra-base hits.
Goldschmidt was 4-for-5 with a two-run double Saturday. That gave him a 14-game hitting streak dating to May 7 and a stretch of 28 straight games in which he has reached base safely.
“Just see the ball, hit the ball,” Goldschmidt told Bally Sports Midwest. “I try to keep it simple and just enjoy it when things are going good because you know it’s a long season, a lot of ups and downs. Hopefully, keep it going as long as I can.”
St. Louis could be without outfielder Dylan Carlson, who left Saturday’s game because of left hamstring tightness.
“I tried to tough it out,” Carlson said. “Taking it day by day right now.”
Pittsburgh took a step forward in the Saturday loss. The four runs were the team’s most since May 11. The Pirates had totaled 12 runs over their previous eight games.
The bat of cornerstone player Bryan Reynolds is perhaps awakening.
He was 2-for-4 with an inside-the-park home run Saturday. Even though his average is still an anemic-looking .231, the Pirates are hopeful he will round into his All-Star form.
“Really encouraging,” Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton said. “We started talking about it four or five days ago when he got a couple walks and started to move back into better counts.
“I think all along we’ve thought that Bryan was going to hit.”
In the series finale, St. Louis left-hander Steven Matz (3-3, 6.03 ERA) is scheduled to oppose Pittsburgh right-hander Bryse Wilson (0-2, 5.67 ERA).
Matz is coming off a no-decision Tuesday, when he gave up two runs on solo homers and three hits overall through five innings, with seven strikeouts and no walks, against the New York Mets. He left with a 3-2 lead.
Matz is 2-3 with a 5.61 ERA in six career starts against Pittsburgh.
That includes a rough outing in his St. Louis debut, when he gave up seven runs — including Michael Chavis’ grand slam — and nine hits in three-plus innings on April 10, a 9-4 Pirates win.
Wilson has been used to start and out of the bullpen. Most recently, he pitched 5 1/3 innings of relief Monday against the Chicago Cubs, allowing four runs, three earned, and eight hits.
Wilson was supposed to follow opener Dillon Peters, but Peters struggled and Wilson entered in the first — and the first is Wilson’s Achilles’ heel.
Wilson allowed three runs that inning, making it 10 he has allowed in the opening inning this season.
“We’ve been working on (the mechanics), and we finally got the mechanics cleaned up a little bit,” Wilson said.
Against St. Louis, Wilson is 0-1 with a 10.00 ERA in three career games, two of them starts. One of those starts was April 10, when he gave up three runs and five hits in four innings.
–Field Level Media