The St. Louis Cardinals, with Opening Day starter Jack Flaherty on the mound, will aim for a three-game sweep of the host Miami Marlins on Wednesday afternoon.
Miami produced a 12-run explosion Saturday against the Tampa Bay Rays but has scored a total of seven runs in its other four games.
In a 4-2 loss to the Cardinals on Tuesday, the Marlins went 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position, stranding 11 on base. Of Miami’s two runs, only one was earned, and that came on a sacrifice fly.
“The positive is we are getting guys on base,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “We’re getting chances. Each hitter has to do his part and pass (the baton) to the next guy.
“Offense is momentum-based.”
If so, the Marlins will enter Wednesday with no momentum offensively against Flaherty (0-0, 12.46 ERA).
Flaherty threw 94 pitches and lasted just 4 1/3 innings on Opening Day, an 11-6 win over the Cincinnati Reds.
In his career against the Marlins, Flaherty is 0-2 with a 5.25 ERA in two starts, both in St. Louis.
Flaherty, a right-hander, is big on self-improvement, and he has lot of little things he tells himself while on the mound.
“A good friend of mine, he talked about breath,” Flaherty said. “Breath only occurs in the present. You can’t breathe in the past.
“All you can do is control that little bit right then and there. It’s something that sticks with me.”
Miami will start right-hander Pablo Lopez, who tossed five scoreless innings in a no-decision against the Rays on Friday. He allowed two hits and two walks while striking out four.
Lopez has only faced the Cardinals once, a start back in 2018. He wound up with a no-decision in that game, allowing one run on four hits and a walk and striking out five.
Miami likely will start backup catcher Chad Wallach, who is 1-0 in his only start this season. Marlins primary catcher Jorge Alfaro, who has been charged with a passed ball that allowed a run to score in both of the games in this series, is 0-4 as a starter this year.
Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, meanwhile, went 2-for-3 with a crucial RBI on Tuesday night. He has five RBIs in five games this season, including three in this series.
Dylan Carlson, the St. Louis center fielder, also had a big game on Tuesday with a solo homer and a nice running catch. He ranged into the left-center gap in the bottom of the eighth to save a run, and then he homered in the top of the ninth.
The Marlins got good news with the return of outfielder/first baseman Garrett Cooper, who missed Monday’s game but came back to go 0-for-2 with three walks and a run. Cooper had missed Monday’s game due to an adverse reaction to his COVID-19 vaccine shot.
On Wednesday, St. Louis may be without reliever Giovanny Gallegos, who has pitched three scoreless innings over the past two days and might need rest. He struck out the side in the seventh inning Tuesday.
The Marlins are also hoping to get a break from Cardinals right-hander Alex Reyes, who has earned saves in both games of the series. He got the final four outs on Tuesday after recording last three outs on Monday.
–Field Level Media