PHILIES (19-14) AT CARDINALS (20-14)
8:05 p.m. ET; FS-M, ESPN, NBCSP, MLB.TV
The St. Louis Cardinals are mired in misery immediately after an impressive hot streak.
The Cardinals will attempt to halt a season-worst four-game slide on Monday when they open a three-game homestand against the Philadelphia Phillies.
St. Louis rolled off 10 wins in an 11-game stretch, including three straight to start a seven-game road trip. But the last four games didn’t go so well, including three straight setbacks in Chicago.
Sunday’s 13-5 whipping at the hands of the Cubs led to the teams trading places in the National League Central, with the Cardinals now a half-game behind. St. Louis was outscored 23-10 in the series.
Right-hander Adam Wainwright — the losing pitcher on Sunday night — said he isn’t disheartened by the skid.
“It’s an unfortunate series for us,” Wainwright told reporters. “But I really, really, really like where this team’s headed.”
Philadelphia is in first place in the NL East by 1 1/2 games over the Atlanta Braves.
The Phillies completed a 6-3 homestand with a 7-1 win over the Washington Nationals on Sunday.
Philadelphia’s offense can score runs in a hurry, and that was again on display Sunday when it struck for five runs in the sixth inning to turn a one-run game into a comfortable lead.
“We’ve just got to hang around and hang around,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler told reporters afterward. “Ultimately, we always have the ability to have a big inning. We have guys that can string hits together. We have guys that can walk.”
Philadelphia has been playing well despite the fact that prized free agent signee Bryce Harper has yet to go on a tear.
Harper is batting just .233 and has six homers and 21 RBIs. He ranks third on the team in homers behind Rhys Hoskins (10) and Maikel Franco (seven).
St. Louis right-hander Miles Mikolas will look to keep Harper in check on Monday. However, Harper is 4-for-7 with a homer and a double against Mikolas in his career.
The 30-year-old Mikolas also will be looking to win for the third time in his last four starts.
Mikolas (3-2, 4.73 ERA) has appeared more like the hurler who went 18-4 for the Cardinals last season with strong efforts in two of his past three starts. He beat the Washington Nationals last Wednesday when he gave up a season-low one run and seven hits over six innings.
Two starts earlier, Mikolas gave up two runs and four hits in a season-long eight innings while beating the New York Mets.
Mikolas received a no-decision against Philadelphia last season when he gave up four runs and six hits over five innings on June 18. Odubel Herrera hit a three-run homer off him.
Right-hander Vince Velasquez takes the ball for the Phillies, striving to bounce back from his first loss of the season.
Velasquez (1-1, 2.73) threw 99 pitches in just 3 2/3 innings while falling to the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday. He struck out seven while giving up three runs, six hits and three walks.
Velasquez has pitched less than six innings in four of his five starts.
The 26-year-old is 1-1 with a 4.34 ERA in three career starts against the Cardinals. Marcell Ozuna is just 3-for-18 against Velasquez, but one of the hits was a homer.
–Field Level Media