The St. Louis Cardinals are fading just as the most important month in baseball arrives as they open a four-game road series against the San Francisco Giants. St. Louis has dropped seven of its last 10 games to fall six games behind the first-place Chicago Cubs in the National League Central and 5 1/2 contests behind the Colorado Rockies for the second wild-card spot.
Giants ace Madison Bumgarner will look to continue the Cardinals’ problems but San Francisco is just 3-10 in the left-hander’s starts this season. San Francisco dropped a 5-0 decision to the San Diego Padres on Wednesday for its eighth loss in the past 11 games to clinch a losing season (53-82) but hopes to get All-Star catcher Buster Posey (left thumb) back after a three-game absence. Tommy Pham belted two homers for the sixth time in his career on Wednesday but the Cardinals suffered a 6-5 loss against the Milwaukee Brewers. Randal Grichuk went deep against the Brewers but is just 3-for-26 over the last eight games.
TV: 10:15 p.m. ET, FSN Midwest (St. Louis), NBCSN Bay Area (San Francisco)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Cardinals RH Michael Wacha (9-7, 4.33 ERA) vs. Giants LH Madison Bumgarner (3-6, 2.85)
Wacha has been pounded while losing three straight starts and has a dreadful 10.22 ERA during the stretch. The 26-year-old has been largely ineffective on the road by going 2-4 with a 5.57 ERA in 10 starts. Wacha received a no-decision against the Giants on May 19 when he allowed four hits over six scoreless innings and 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA in five regular-season starts against San Francisco.
Bumgarner lost to the Arizona Diamondbacks in his last turn when he gave up two runs (both on homers) and five hits over seven innings. The 28-year-old has allowed two or fewer runs in six of his past seven outings but only has three wins to show for it. Bumgarner will be facing the Cardinals for the first time since the 2014 postseason and possesses a 3-4 record and 3.97 ERA in seven regular-season outings against St. Louis.
1. The Cardinals traded RHP Mike Leake to the Seattle Mariners for minor-league SS Rayder Ascanio.
2. San Francisco SS Brandon Crawford, who is a torrid 18-for-47 with three homers over the past 11 games, is 6-for-8 with three doubles and one triple versus Wacha.
3. St. Louis 2B Kolten Wong is 0-for-9 in two games since his 10-game hitting streak ended.
PREDICTION: Cardinals 4, Giants 1