Phillies brace for encore performance from Cardinals’ Nolan Arenado
The Philadelphia Phillies will try to cool off Cardinals third baseman Nolan Arenado when they host St. Louis on Sunday night.
Arenado hit for the cycle and drove in three runs as the Cardinals fell to the Phillies 5-3 Friday in the opener of the three-game series at Citizens Bank Park. Then Arenado hit two homers and drove in three runs as the Cardinals responded with a 7-6 victory Saturday.
“It’s real special, a day like today,” Arenado said. “It’s hard to sit back and really think about it when you are in the moment, got to get ready for a game (Sunday).”
After hitting just .196 in May, Arenado heated up in June to bat .290 with 17 RBIs. He is 6-for-8 with six RBIs in his first two games in July.
“He’s been taking really good at bats,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “The guy’s on a mission. You can tell. He’s been coming up real big for us.
“He doesn’t want to give anything away. He’s ultra-competitive in every aspect of the game … he wants to win every inch of the game.”
The Cardinals will start Adam Wainwright (6-5, 3.07 ERA) in the rubber game of the series. Wainwright threw seven shutout innings in his most recent start, a 9-0 victory over the Miami Marlins on Monday.
Wainwright allowed seven hits while striking out nine batters and walking one. He worked for the first time with rookie Ivan Herrera, who has stepped in to share catching duties with Andrew Knizner with Yadier Molina shelved by a sore knee.
“I’ve been playing catch to one guy for 17 years,” Wainwright said of Molina. “So he knows me pretty good.”
But Molina is at least weeks away from returning, so Wainwright must adapt to pitch to his replacements. Given baseball’s abbreviated spring training this season, Wainwright never worked with Herrera before the victory over Miami.
“We went over stuff, how I like to approach things, what the ball’s going to do,” Wainwright said. “I got a little, back-door cutter for strike three one time and he goes, ‘Hey, I didn’t know you had that pitch.'”
Wainwright is 7-4 with a 3.00 ERA in 17 career outings against the Phillies, including 15 starts. Rhys Hoskins (4-for-7, two homers), Odubel Herrera (5-for-12, homer, two RBIs) and JT Realmuto (7-for-16) have hit well against him.
The Phillies will counter Wainwright with Zack Wheeler (6-4, 2.89). They will try to carry some offensive momentum from their comebacks Saturday that erased 5-0 and 6-5 deficits.
“These guys kept battling,” Phillies interim manager Rob Thomson said. “Came back to tie twice. Just couldn’t seem to get the lead, but I’m awfully proud of the way they battled.”
In his most recent start on Tuesday against the Atlanta Braves, Wheeler allowed three runs on five hits — including two first-inning homers — in 6 1/3 innings in a game the Phillies eventually lost 5-3. He struck out eight batters and walked one.
Prior to that game, Wheeler had allowed just three homers in 74 2/3 innings this season. This was the first time Wheeler allowed two homers in one inning since April 20, 2021.
Wheeler is 1-2 with a 4.24 ERA in four career starts against the Cardinals. Arenado is 2-for-8 with two walks and a RBI against him, and Paul Goldschmidt is 4-for-17 with a double and two walks.
–Field Level Media