St. Louis activated ace Adam Wainwright off the disabled list, but the pitcher who took his place in the rotation will be in the spotlight as the Cardinals continue a three-game series at the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday night. Rookie Luke Weaver has been magnificent in Wainwright’s place and will be bidding to win his sixth consecutive start.
Not only has Weaver been perfect since taking Wainwright’s spot, but he appears immune to the pressure of a pennant race — each of the past five wins have followed a St. Louis loss. The Cardinals halted a three-game skid by outlasting the Reds 8-7 in 10 innings to remain six games behind first-place Chicago in the National League Central and 3 1/2 back of Colorado for the second wild card. Dexter Fowler belted a tying homer in the eighth before delivering a go-ahead RBI double in the 10th to improve to 7-for-12 with five RBIs in the past three games. Shortstop Zack Cozart has five homers and nine RBIs over the last five games for Cincinnati, which had a three-game winning streak halted.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, FSN Midwest (St. Louis), FSN Ohio (Cincinnati)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Cardinals RH Luke Weaver (6-1, 1.89 ERA) vs. Reds RH Rookie Davis (1-2, 7.71)
Weaver was masterful once again in limiting the Reds to one unearned run on two hits over six innings, although his six strikeouts marked a low since he rejoined the rotation. A first-round draft pick of St. Louis in 2014, he has yielded just four earned runs while striking out 42 and walking only four in 31 1/3 innings. Weaver is limiting left-handed hitters to a meager .171 batting average.
Despite the name that implies otherwise, it has not been a rookie season to remember for Davis, who was 1-2 with a 7.58 ERA in five starts over the first month before he was sent back to the minors. He made his first appearance since May 8 in relief at St. Louis on Tuesday and was reached for two runs on four hits over two innings. In 21 innings spanning six appearances, he has 17 strikeouts and 14 walks.
1. Cardinals 1B Jose Martinez is 7-for-16 against the Reds this month.
2. Cardinals C Yadier Molina swatted a three-run homer Tuesday and has 13 RBIs in the past nine games.
3. Reds 3B Eugenio Suarez missed Tuesday’s game to be with his wife while awaiting the birth of their first child.
PREDICTION: Cardinals 6, Reds 3