Phillies look for better clutch hitting against Cardinals

MLB

The Philadelphia Phillies will look to generate more offense when they visit the St. Louis Cardinals Wednesday.

The teams split the first two games of this four-game series at Busch Stadium. The Phillies lost 5-2 Tuesday after winning 2-1 Monday.

They have scored two runs or fewer in seven of their last 13 games. They have not won back-to-back games since starting 4-0.

“It’s been for a myriad of reasons,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said. “We’ve had chances to. We haven’t come through a lot of times in the clutch.

The Phillies will give Vince Velasquez (0-0, 6.75 ERA) his second start of the season. Once again he is filling in for Matt Moore, who is recovering after being in COVID-19 protocol.

After appearing in relief in his first three outings, Velasquez lasted four innings in a 5-4 loss at Colorado on Friday. He allowed two solo homers among the five hits he yielded.

While working in relief this season, Velasquez walked eight batters in four innings. He has been working to correct his mechanics.

“My job is just to go out there and pitch and get outs,” Velasquez said. “You’re going to mature through situations like that. You’re going to walk guys, you’re going to learn how to make those adjustments. You better find a way and learn how to make pitches.”

Velasquez is 1-2 with a 5.04 ERA in five career appearances against the Cardinals, including four starts.

Nolan Arenado (3-for-15, six strikeouts) has struggled against Velasquez in his career while Paul DeJong (2-for-6, homer, two RBIs) and Paul Goldschmidt (3-for-10) have had some success against him.

With the Cardinals scheduled to play games on 17 consecutive days, manager Mike Shildt opted to plug Johan Oviedo (0-0. 0.00 ERA) into the rotation as the sixth starter for this game.

Oviedo has spent the bulk of the season at the team’s alternate site.

“He had a good really good spring and he wanted to make the team,” Shildt said Tuesday. “We encouraged him to do what’s done, which is to stay engaged.”

In his only appearance this season, Oviedo threw 4 2/3 scoreless innings of relief against the Milwaukee Brewers on April 11. He allowed just two hits and two walks in that outing.

This will be the 23-year-old Cuban’s first appearance against the Phillies.

While veteran Cardinals hurler Adam Wainwright isn’t a big fan of the six-man rotation, he is a fan of Oviedo’s upside.

“I’m excited to see Oviedo pitch,” Wainwright said. “I think he’s super-talented and needs an opportunity up here. He’s ready.”

With catcher Yadier Molina on the 10-day injured list with a strained foot tendon, Andrew Knizner replaced him. He is hitting .304 (7-for-23) in limited duty this season.

“It’s an opportunity for (Knizner),” Shildt said. “He’s waited in the wings and he’s earned it, played well. Now there’s a more consistent opportunity for him.”

Meanwhile the Phillies expect to have outfielder Andrew McCutchen back in the lineup after Girardi had him step back for two games. McCutchen, 34, is batting just .154 this season.

“I just hope it gets him going,” Girardi said Tuesday. “He wants to be out there. He still believes he can play at a high level and so do we.”

–Field Level Media

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories

Don't Miss

More Don't Miss

Community Calendar