Thursday, July 18, 2024
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MLB Preview: St. Louis Cardinals (55-71) at Pittsburgh Pirates (56-69)


THE KEYSTONE STATE TOUR: The Cardinals continue their road swing thru the Keystone State of Pennsylvania this week with the middle game of their three-game series in Pittsburgh tonight. After an open date on Thursday, the Cardinals will visit the Philadelphia Phillies for a three game weekend set. The Cardinals are seeking to snap a 5-game losing skid at PNC Park (0-4 this season) tonight, and will be facing the Phillies for the 1st time since dropping last season’s Wild Card Series (0-2). It will be the Redbirds first visit to Citizens Bank Park since July 1-3, 2022 – a series that featured a cycle by Nolan Arenado on July 1 and a record four consecutive homers by the Cardinals (Arenado, Gorman, Yepez & Carlson) on July 2.

FLIGHT PATTERN: The Cardinals lost for the 5th time in their last six games in last night’s 11-1 defeat at PNC Park…St. Louis enters the day in 5th place in the NL Central, a season-low 13.5 games out of first and 10.5 games back in the NL Wild Card chase … St. Louis has spent 106 of 141 days in last place on the MLB schedule (April 26-May 19, May 29-July 7 & July 28-present) … This season is the Cardinals slowest start since 1995 when they were 54-72 (.429) after 126 games … St. Louis needs to finish 26-10 (.722) over their remaining 36 games to end with .500 record.

LIBBY TO 15-DAY I.L./JACOB BARNES GETS CALL: The Cardinals today placed LHP Matthew Liberatore (lower back tighness) on the 15-Day Injured List, retroactive to Aug. 19, and selected the contract of veteran RHP Jacob Barnes (#61) from Memphis (AAA).

THE BOOK ON BARNES: RHP Jacob Barnes, 33, is a veteran 5+ seasons in the majors, used almost exclusively in relief in his 252 career games…the St. Petersburgh, Fla. native was a Brewers draft selection (14th round) in 2011 out of Florida Gulf Coast University and has seen time with MIL (2016-19), KC (2019), LAA (2020), NYM (2021), TOR (2021), DET (2022) & NYY (2022). Contract was selected today from Memphis (AAA) where he was 0-1, 1.53 ERA in 11 games (17.2 IP) all in relief. Barnes signed MiLB free-agent contract with Memphis on July 19 after stints in the TEX & PHI farm systems earlier this year. He was unscored upon in his last 7 games (12.1 IP) at Memphis and allowed just 1 HR in 51.0 IP this year at AAA with Round Rock, Lehigh Valley and Memphis. The 6-2, 230-pound righty owns a career mark of 8-16, 4.70 ERA in 249.0 IP and made single-season high 73 relief appearance in 2017 with Milwaukee.

THE MEMPHIS MOB: With the addition of pitcher Jacob Barnes to the active roster today, the Cardinals currently have 10 players on the team with as many, if not more, games played at Memphis (AAA) then they do with St. Louis this season: 1B Luken Baker (84 Memphis games/13 St. Louis games); INF José Fermín (12/12); INF Taylor Motter (56/24); OF Richie Palacios (40/5); INF Masyn Winn (105/4); RHP Jacob Barnes (11/0); RHP Daktoa Hudson (11/11); RHP Casey Lawrence (3/2); LHP Drew Rom (2/1); LHP Andrew Suárez (28/5).

BOTTOM’S UP: This week’s series represents the first time since 1995 (Oct. 1) that the Cardinals (62-80, 4th place) & Pirates (57-86, 5th place) met each other while also sharing company as being either next-to-last or in last place in the Division after August 1. (Elias)

OH BROTHER: Cardinals outfielder Richie Palacios is meeting up this series against his older brother Joshua of the Pirates. Earlier this year, the Cardinals Willson Contreras matched up against his younger bother William with Milwaukee. Other Cardinals who have faced their brother in the opposite dugout include Yadier Molina, who played against his brother Jose in 2014. Yadi also had meetings against his brother Bengie as recently as 2010. Cardinals Asst. GM & Director of Scouting Randy Flores and his brother, Ron, played against each other in 2007 while Randy was pitching for St. Louis. (Elias)

PIRATES BEWARE: Adam Wanwright, who yesterday reached his 18.000 years/days of Major League service anniversary, makes his 1st start of the season against the Pirates tonight. Adam’s 23 career wins against the Pirates are his most against any team during his illustrist career, and his .742 win pct (23-8) vs. the Pirates ranks 3rd in MLB history behind only Sal Maglie (.806, 25-6), and Jeff Tesreau (.767, 23-7). Waino has won his last 5 starts and 6 decisions at PNC Park (Sept. 5, 2016-present) with his last loss here coming on April 3, 2016.

CATCHING COMBO: With his career-high 10th HR last night, Andrew Knizner has paired with Willson Contreras (13) to give the Cardinals their 1st pair of 10+ HR primary catchers since 2019 when Yadier Molina (10) and Matt Wieters (11) turned the trick. Cardinals catchers rank 2nd in MLB with a .272 batting average (Texas Rangers, .286), 3rd in OPS (.810) and 5th in HR’s (21). Knizner, who has reached base safely in a career-best 14-straight games, is leading the Cardinals with his .345 (19-55) batting mark since the All-Star break, inlcuding 5 HR’s. Contreras, at .329 (26-79), is 3rd on the team in batting since the break and has hit safely in 11 of his last 12 games (.368, 14-38).


  • Makes his 17th start of the season & 474th career appearance (407th career start).
  • Lifetime 86-56 in his career against NL Central opponents, ranking 2nd all-time in career wins against the division behind only Greg Maddux (92-40).
  • Adam’s 23 career wins vs. Pittsburgh lead all active pitchers and rank 4th in Cardinals franchise history, trailing Jesse Haines (30), Bob Gibson (27) & Bill Doak (25).
  • Waino’s .742 win pct (23-8) vs. the Pirates ranks 3rd in MLB history behind Sal Maglie (.806, 25-6), and Jeff Tesreau (.767, 23-7).
  • Celebrated 18.000 years/days of Major League service yesterday, the same day Joey Votto hit the 16.000 MLS milestone. Miguel Cabrera (20.074) and Zack Grenike (19.030) are only other active players to have hit that mark.
  • Adam, who turns age 42 on August 30, is one of three active players age 40+ with Rich Hill (43) and Miguel Cabrera (40). Has made 54 starts since turning age 40.
  • Is seeking an end to his career-high seven-game losing skid (June 24-present).
  • Wainwright is one of 13 pitchers (two Cardinals) in MLB history to make 400 or more career starts exclusively with one organization. Clayton Kershaw (416) joins Wainwright as the two active. Bob Gibson ranks 6th, while Walter Johnson of the Washington Senators leads at 666.
  • Is two wins shy of 200 for his career.
  • Has pitched 5.0+ innings in 11 of 16 starts (two quality starts, both against NYM).
  • Has missed a total of 48 games this season. Missed the first 33 games of the season (March 30-May 5) due to a groin injury suffered while working out during the WBC Finals and another 15 games (July 5-23) due to a right shoulder strain.

BUSCH STADIUM III (2006-present)

  • Made his 212th career start at Busch Stadium III on Aug. 17, 2023 surpassing Félix Hernandez (211 at T-Mobile Park) for 17th-most at a single stadium in MLB history.
  • Has 1,200 regular season strikeouts at Busch Stadium III, 13th-most all-time at a single stadium. Dazzy Vance (1,201 at Ebbets Field) ranks 12th.
  • Has thrown 1,424.1 innings at Busch, 35th all-time at a single stadium. Tommy Bridges (1,430.1 at Tiger Stadium) ranks 34th.
  • Earned 107 career regular season wins at Busch Stadium III, tied with Wilbur Cooper (107 at Forbes Field) for 22nd-most wins at a single stadium.
  • Needs one Home win to pass Jesse Haines (107) for 2nd all-time among Cardinals.
  • Is one of 22 pitchers in MLB history to hold a stadium’s record for both appearances (243) and starts (212). Joins Bob Forsch (233 app/207 GS at Busch II) as Cardinals on that list.


  • Rebounded from the shortest start (1.0 IP) of his career, allowing three runs over 6.0 frames in a 4-2 loss to the Mets on Thursday at Busch Stadium. Both of his quality starts this season have been against the Mets.

8/17 NYM L 4-2 L-8 6.0 4 3 3 3 2 1 93-54


THE PIRATES:..opened their seven-game homestand with an 11-1 win last night against the Cardinals…Have gone 15-15 in their last 30 games since losing each of their first five games following the All-Star break…Have lost three straight series after going 2-0-3 in their previous five.

FOUR YOUR INFORMATION: The Pirates have won four straight games against the Cardinals for the first time since 2020, outscoring the RedBirds 24-10 in those games…A win tonight would give Pittsburgh its longest winning streak against the Cardinals in the same season since taking six straight games in 2013.

ABOUT TONIGHT’S STARTER: Johan Oviedo gets the start tonight against his former team in the middle game of this series against the Cardinals…Oviedo recorded the first double digit strikeout game of his career in his last start against the Cardinals on April 14 at Busch Stadium…Oviedo’s other 10-strikeout game came this year against the Giants on July 15.

OUTBURST: Pittsburgh’s 11 runs scored last night were the most by the team since plating 14 against the Mets on June 9…It was also Pittsburgh’s largest margin of victory against the Cardinals since a 12-2 win on April 4, 2014, at PNC Park.

BIG BROTHER: Last night was the third in the modern era (since 1900) that the Pirates had a player hit a home run in a game that his brother also played in for the opposing team…In addition to last night when Joshua Palacios went deep in the same game that has brother Richie also saw action, it also happened on May 12, 1967, vs. the Atlanta Braves (Matty Alou vs. Felipe Alou) and on May 25, 1966, against the San Francisco Giants (Matty Alou vs. Felipe Alou)…Special thanks to the Elias Sports Bureau.

GO JOE: Connor Joe has reached base safely in each of his last eight games, going 8-for-27 with five doubles, seven walks and a .441 OBP…Monday night Joe reached base safely in each of his last four plate appearances with a walk and three doubles…Joe is the only player in the National League to double three times in a game twice this season…He is also the first Pirate since Gregory Polanco in 2016 to double three times in a game twice in the same season.

KEEPING UP WITH THE JONES’: Last night Bailey Falter earned his first win as a Pirate while striking out eight batters in 6.0 innings of work…Prior to Falter, the last Pirates relief pitcher to strike out eight batters in a game was Barry Jones on April 20, 1986, against the Cubs, doing so in 4.0 innings.

THE MAN BEHIND THE MASK: Endy Rodríguez had three hits on Monday for the second time in three games to raise his batting average to .300 this month…Rodríguez ranks third among National League rookies this month in batting (.300), fifth in OBP (.375) and OPS (.815) and sixth in slugging (.440).

LOVE FOR LIOVER: Liover Peguero has recorded a team-leading 16 RBI since July 23…That’s tied for the most RBI in that time among National League rookies along with Colorado’s Nolan Jones…The only three rookies in MLB with more in that time are Houston’s Yainer Diaz (21), Baltimore’s Gunnar Henderson (20) and Minnesota’s Matt Wallner (18).

PLAY RENEGADE: Since the beginning of last season, David Bednar is tied for third among all National League pitchers with 45 saves…The only two National Leaguers with more saves in that time are Josh Hader (63) and Camilo Doval (60)…Bednar comes into today ranked fifth in the National League in saves (26), fifth among NL relievers in ERA (2.12) and first in home runs allowed per 9.0 innings (0.18).

KEEPING UP WITH CUTCH’S MILESTONES: Saturday night Andrew McCutchen hit the 298th home run of his career (11 active players have hit at least 300 home runs)…McCutchen also knocked in five runs on Saturday, moving him past Dave Parker into ninth place in Pirates history in career RBI (761).

JOHAN OVIEDO: The 25-year-old righthander is making his 26th start tonight…He lost an 8-3 decision (4.0ip+/4r) in his last start Wednesday at Citi Field against the Mets.

vs. ST. LOUIS: 0-2 with a 2.65 ERA (17.0ip/5er) in three starts…Had 10 strikeouts but lost a 3-0 decision (7.0ip/1r) on 4/14 at Busch this season…He also allowed two runs in 6.0 innings, losing a 2-1 decision in his start on 9/30/22 at Busch Stadium…He also allowed three runs (two earned) across 4.0 innings of work and had a no-decision at PNC Park on 10/5/22.

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