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St. Louis Cardinals - PlayerWatch
April 21, 2017 / 4:07 AM / 8 months ago

St. Louis Cardinals - PlayerWatch

1B Matt Carpenter (finger) returned to the lineup after a two-game absence caused by swelling and bleeding after he absorbed a bad-hop grounder Sunday night at the New York Yankees. Carpenter batted in his customary third spot and went 1-for-3. He gets the next four games in Milwaukee, where he traditionally enjoys big series in one of baseball’s best hitters’ parks.

RHP Michael Wacha collected his second win Wednesday by pitching 6 2/3 good innings, allowing only four hits and a run with two walks and three strikeouts. Wacha didn’t have his usual strikeout pitch, but he was efficient, throwing just 88 pitches before being hooked for Matt Bowman. Wacha gets his next two starts at home, opening up a 10-game homestand Tuesday night against Toronto.

RHP Carlos Martinez tries to get back on the beam Thursday night when St. Louis opens a four-game series in Milwaukee. Martinez is coming off a weird 3-2 loss Saturday at the New York Yankees in which he fanned 11 in 5 1/3 innings but also issued eight walks and gave up three runs. He has dominated the Brewers in 19 outings, eight as a starter, going 4-1 with a 1.36 ERA, the lowest ERA against them among active pitchers.

SS Aledmys Diaz didn’t start for the first time this year on Wednesday, stuck in an 0-for-18 slump that has dropped his average to .214. Manager Mike Matheny strongly hinted that Diaz would get a game to collect himself and followed through on that pledge, inserting Greg Garcia at shortstop. Diaz hasn’t let it affect his defense or his effort, and was able to break his skid when he pinch-hit and legged out an infield hit in the seventh.

CF Dexter Fowler’s season-opening slump can officially be considered over. Fowler belted a pair of solo shots off Gerrit Cole that supplied the only runs in St. Louis’ win that clinched its first series sweep of the year. Fowler legged out an infield hit in the seventh to finish the game 3-for-4, and appears ready to revert back to the form that’s made him one of MLB’s top leadoff men the last couple of years.

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