Cardinals-White Sox Preview
The St. Louis Cardinals' lackluster run support for Lance Lynn didn't end after the All-Star break, but he hasn't needed too much assistance lately.
Lynn will seek his fifth win in six decisions Wednesday night while helping St. Louis sweep its two-game series against the Chicago White Sox.
Lynn headed into the break with the seventh-lowest run support average in the majors among qualifying starters (2.90) and got two runs in seven innings in his second-half opener Friday against the New York Mets. The right-hander allowed a leadoff homer and two singles while striking out nine in a 3-2 victory, improving to 4-1 with a 1.90 ERA in his seven starts since the beginning of June.
"When you're out there pitching, you don't think about offense. You try to think about making sure (the other team doesn't) score," Lynn said. "If they don't score, you can't lose. That's plain and simple. I gave up a run in the first and they picked me up later in the game. It worked out well."
Lynn (7-5, 2.79 ERA) gave up one run in six innings against the White Sox on June 30, but the Cardinals lost 2-1 in 11 innings, part of Chicago's two-game sweep in St. Louis. He's 1-0 with a 0.68 ERA in two lifetime matchups.
St. Louis (59-34) now has a chance to return the favor following an 8-5 victory Tuesday. Matt Holliday's fourth-inning grand slam - in his fourth game since returning from a strained right quad - gave the Cardinals enough cushion and top prospect Stephen Piscotty went 1 for 4 in his major league debut.
"It was great to see him hit a ball like he can," manager Mike Matheny said. "We just like having him back on our club. He's just a big piece."
Piscotty will try to add to his hit total against John Danks (5-8, 4.98), who will face St. Louis for the first time in his nine seasons.
The left-hander has pitched six or more scoreless innings in two of his last three outings and went six in a 2-0 win over Kansas City on Friday.
Tyler Saladino will try to provide Danks with some support while improving on his .355 average (11 for 31) in his first eight major league games. The third baseman homered for the second straight contest and went 3 for 5 on Tuesday.
Chicago (42-49) has dropped five of six after winning nine of 12, beginning with the two games in St. Louis.
"I thought we were playing well right before the break," manager Robin Ventura said. "It's frustrating when it starts going the other way, but these guys continue to play hard and grind. You've got to be able to turn it back around."
The White Sox will try to avoid their first four-game home losing streak since Aug. 18-26.
Cardinals third baseman Matt Carpenter was dropped to seventh in the batting order for the first time since April 2013 on Tuesday. Carpenter, who had led off or batted second this season, went 2 for 5 after entering the game hitting .158 (9 for 57) in July.
''You try to find him a spot in the lineup where he can get comfortable,'' Matheny said. ''Part of it is trying to do something a little bit different to try to get Carp rolling because we like it when he gets locked.''