|5:15 PM PT6:15 PM MT7:15 PM CT8:15 PM ET20:15 ET0:15 GMT8:15 5:15 PM MST7:15 PM EST7:45 PM VEN4:15 UAE (+1)7:15 PM CT, June 25, 2018
Busch Stadium, St. Louis, Missouri Attendance: 42,007
Cardinals open tough homestand against Indians
Cleveland Indians at St. Louis Cardinals
- The Indians swept the Tigers over the weekend to run their winning streak to seven -- their longest of the season -- and their division lead to 8.0 games. Cleveland starting pitchers haven't allowed a home run in eight straight games.
- The Cardinals won the last two games in Milwaukee to split the series, but they are just 5-9 in their last 14 games. St. Louis starting pitchers have a 5.35 ERA over that stretch.
- Mike Clevinger has pitched through the sixth inning in 11 of his last 12 starts, dating back to April 21. His 82.1 innings pitched over that stretch is tied for second most over that stretch.
- John Gant will make his sixth start for the Cardinals, dating back to 2017. He has a 5.87 ERA and the Cardinals are 0-5 in his five previous starts.
- Edwin Encarnacion is hitting .381 with 12 RBI over his last five games. He hit the 11th grand slam of his career against the Tigers on Sunday, tying him for second most among active players.
- Yadier Molina had his second multi-homer game of the season against the Brewers on Saturday. He is third among active players whose primary position is catcher with 137 career home runs.
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- Indians RHP Bauer to return Friday
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After Yadier Molina's two homers led the St. Louis Cardinals to a 3-2 win at Milwaukee Saturday, manager Mike Matheny spoke hopefully of a bounce the win would create.
His instinct proved correct Sunday when St. Louis capped a rough road trip with an 8-2 rout that allowed it to salvage a split of a four-game series with the National League Central leaders and pushed it within 4 1/2 games of the Brewers.
The Cardinals open a six-game homestand Monday night in Busch Stadium with the second of four straight series against first-place teams, facing the Cleveland Indians.
St. Louis (40-36) scored just seven runs in its first three games in Milwaukee, whiffing 34 times, with 15 occurring in a 2-1 loss Friday night. It fanned another 11 times on Sunday but mixed in 10 hits, including a three-run homer by Jose Martinez to cap a five-run fourth inning that turned momentum for good.
While the Cardinals enter the series with hope that they are turning things around, Cleveland (43-33) did so during the last week. Its 12-2 rout Sunday of Detroit was its seventh straight win, moving it eight games ahead of the Tigers and Minnesota Twins in the American League Central.
The Indians also appear to have the mound advantage for the series opener with Mike Clevinger (6-2, 3.00 ERA) against spot starter John Gant (1-2, 4.39).
Clevinger's last start was one of his best this year. He notched 10 strikeouts Tuesday night in 7 2/3 innings of a 6-3 win over the Chicago White Sox at Progressive Field. Clevinger has lasted at least six innings in five straight starts, solidifying his place in a deep rotation.
"His fastball had really good life," Chicago manager Rick Renteria told mlb.com. "He was keeping the ball down below the zone. You saw him get a lot of checked swings on some of his breaking pitches ... he's got a pretty good repertoire and was able to command consistently in the zone consistently throughout the whole ballgame."
Gant is starting in place of Michael Wacha, who took his 8-2 record to the disabled list last week after suffering an oblique strain Wednesday in Philadelphia. The former Atlanta Braves prospect is 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA in three starts this year, leading some to wonder why Dakota Hudson (10-2 at Triple-A Memphis) or Daniel Poncedeleon was not picked to replace Wacha.
In his last start, Gant lasted 5 1/3 innings on May 25 in Pittsburgh, losing 8-1 despite fanning seven and walking none. He was charged with four hits and three runs.
Gant has made one career start against Cleveland, lasting two innings in a 2016 game for the Braves and permitting one run and three hits with two strikeouts.
Carlos Martinez (3-4, 3.24) starts Tuesday night for St. Louis opposite Corey Kluber (11-3, 2.10). Jack Flaherty (3-2, 2.50) faces the Indians' Shane Bieber (2-0, 2.45) in a battle of rookie right-handers on Wednesday night.
Updated June 25, 2018