MLB: Cardinals look to shore up defense in finale vs. Rockies

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While losing six of their last nine games, the St. Louis Cardinals have suffered a variety of fielding breakdowns.

The visiting Colorado Rockies have capitalized while winning two of three games from St. Louis in their four-game weekend series.

The Cardinals will try to clean up their play Sunday afternoon in the series finale.

Throwing errors by Nolan Gorman and Ivan Herrera hurt St. Louis in its 6-5 loss to Colorado on Saturday, as did Dylan Carlson misplaying an Elehuris Montero fly ball into a double.

“The attention to detail has been super high in that clubhouse,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “The preparation leading into it, I feel good about what our guys are doing leading into the game. The quality of that is no different than when we were praising the defense earlier on this year.

“We’re just in a little bit of a rut when there are a lot of mistakes being made on the field.”

The Rockies have seven stolen bases off of Cardinals catcher Ivan Herrera in the last three games.

“I’m not going to harp on the kid,” Marmol said. “He’s deficient in being able to throw, OK? He’s working on it … it’s not something that’s coming easy to him.”

With Steven Matz recovering from his latest back injury, the Cardinals have struggled to fill their void in the rotation. Marmol said he was undecided about Sunday’s starter.

Matthew Liberatore took a shot at filling the role, but he posted an 8.10 ERA in three starts before returning to the bullpen. Andre Pallante (1-2, 6.16 ERA) has had one good start and one difficult one while filling in after coming up from Triple-A Memphis.

Pallante’s most recent start unraveled quickly. He allowed six runs on six hits and three walks while retiring just nine batters in an 8-5 loss to the Houston Astros on Tuesday.

To improve his effectiveness against right-handed batters, Pallante is trying to run more fastballs inside.

“What’s new is throwing that two-seam fastball up and in,” he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I used to just be fastball down, and making that alteration is a bit tough.”

Colorado will try to earn a series victory Sunday when left-hander Ty Blach (2-3, 4.54 ERA) gets the start. He allowed four runs on 10 hits in five innings in a 4-1 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday.

“That’s the nature of the game as a contact pitcher,” Blach said. “Sometimes the ball gets hit at guys and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes plays get made and sometimes they don’t.”

Before that loss, Blach allowed just four runs on 11 hits in 13 2/3 innings in his previous two starts as the Rockies defeated the Philadelphia Phillies and Cleveland Guardians.

Blach is 0-1 with an 11.37 ERA in three career appearances (one start) against the Cardinals.

Rockies second baseman Brendan Rodgers likely will sit out Sunday’s game after straining his left hamstring muscle Friday night, but he hopes to avoid the injured list.

“I just wanted to be cautious there and not push it — be smart,” Rodgers told MLB.com. “It’s tight, but (I’ll) get some treatment and it should be pretty good.”

–Field Level Media

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