MLB: Cards’ Adam Wainwright looks for ‘explosiveness’ vs. Dodgers


Adam Wainwright will try to regain his early-season form on Sunday when the St. Louis Cardinals visit the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Cardinals (89-64) and Dodgers (105-47) split the first two contests of the three-game series in Los Angeles. St. Louis posted an 11-0 win on Friday before dropping a 6-2 decision the following night.

Wainwright (11-10, 3.38 ERA) has been tagged for four runs in three of his four starts in September. He has been trying to work his way out of a “dead arm” phase late in the season.

“My arm — just no explosiveness to it,” Wainwright said after a 5-0 loss in San Diego on Tuesday. “Everything was just kind of rolling in there right now. Doesn’t have that late bite on the heater. Doesn’t have that late bite on the cutter. Doesn’t have that late finish on the curveball. Only pitch I threw for a swing-and-miss today was the changeup.”

The Cardinals discussed having Wainwright skip this start to recharge this arm. But, manager Oliver Marmol said, “Waino felt better about pitching through instead of resting through it, and we were in agreement about it.”

Wainwright tossed 5 1/3 scoreless innings against the Dodgers on July 13 in a game the Cardinals lost 7-6. He allowed four hits and four walks in that July 13 game while striking out five.

He is 7-5 with a 2.53 ERA in 18 career appearances (15 starts) against the Dodgers.

The Cardinals have lost four of their last six games. They lead the second-place Milwaukee Brewers by 6 1/2 games in the National League Central.

The Dodgers will counter Wainwright on Sunday with rookie right-hander Michael Grove (0-0, 4.66) to give Tyler Anderson an extra day of rest.

“In talking to (Anderson), he feels strong, he feels good,” Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts said. “We decided to push him back not because of workload; it’s just kind of the way it lined up. He’s got a couple more starts, so we expect him to be good the rest of the way.”

Grove has lasted five innings in each of his last two starts. He allowed four homers and seven runs (five earned) overall in his 10 innings.

He will make his first career appearance against the Cardinals.

The Dodgers hope to get first baseman Freddie Freeman back Sunday. He was out of the starting lineup Friday and Saturday due to the illness.

Roberts said Freeman “got a little bug” and hasn’t felt “right” for a few days.

Los Angeles also called up pitcher Andre Jackson from Triple-A Oklahoma City Saturday to replace Dustin May, who went on the 15-day injured list with back tightness.

The Dodgers’ bullpen is in flux after Roberts removed Craig Kimbrel from the closer’s role. Roberts plans to use multiple relievers to fill that role during the days ahead.

“I don’t think there has to be an ultimate decision on closer,” Roberts said Saturday. “I wouldn’t be surprised if five different guys finish out a game.”

He joked about putting infielder Hanser Alberto in play, considering his nine relief outings this season.

“Anyone on our team can close,” Roberts said. “You’ve seen Hanser. Hell, I could do it if I have to.”

–Field Level Media

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