The St. Louis Cardinals will make a rare visit to Fenway Park when they begin a three-game series against the Boston Red Sox on Friday night.
The teams haven’t met for a three-game series since 2014, a three-game series in Boston since 2008 or a series of any kind since 2017. The regular-season series is tied at eight games apiece after Boston swept a pair of two-game series in 2017.
The Cardinals are slated to give the ball to Adam Wainwright (5-4, 2.84 ERA), who has experience against Boston, though he will be making his first regular-season start at Fenway.
“I’m excited to go there, although I’ve been there,” Wainwright said. “I’m excited to pitch against a great team in a really cool venue but … I’ve seen it, so it’s not going to be totally different.”
Two longtime Cardinals, Wainwright and scheduled Boston starter Michael Wacha, both pitched in two games against the Red Sox during the 2013 World Series. Wainwright lost both of his outings while Wacha went 1-1.
Wainwright will be looking to get St. Louis back on the winning track after the team was unable to complete a four-game sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday, losing 6-4. Prior to that game, the Cardinals were a season-high 10 games above .500.
Wainwright hasn’t recorded a decision in three consecutive seven-inning starts. He struck out seven while allowing eight hits and three runs against the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday. The 40-year-old righty hasn’t won since May 20 in Pittsburgh.
Wainwright’s only regular-season start against the Red Sox came on Aug. 7, 2014, in St. Louis, when he got a win after firing seven innings of two-run ball.
Despite the loss Wednesday, which came a day after Cardinals right-hander Miles Mikolas was one strike away from a no-hitter, St. Louis’ Brendan Donovan recorded his 12th multi-hit game of the year — a mark that leads all NL rookies. Paul Goldschmidt had three home runs in a Tuesday doubleheader.
“It seems like whatever the pitchers throw right now, (Goldschmidt is) going to crush it,” Cardinals infielder Tommy Edman said, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “It doesn’t matter who’s throwing or what pitches they’re throwing, he’s on everything. …
“For a guy as good as he is, it’s saying a lot that this is the best I’ve ever seen him.”
Wacha (4-1, 2.33 ERA) is no stranger to the team he will be facing, having come up in the St. Louis organization and pitched parts of seven seasons for the Cardinals. He will be starting against them for the first time.
“Whenever we weren’t watching each other pitch, we were sitting in the dugout talking ball and trying to get my game up,” Wacha said of Wainwright in a recent interview with The Athletic. “A lot of fun times and a lot of helpful moments. … He was the guy I always looked up to.”
Wacha’s 2.33 ERA and .195 opponent batting average are tops among Boston starters. The 30-year-old Iowa native has allowed two runs or fewer in eight of his 10 starts, in which the Red Sox are 6-2.
Wacha pitched a complete-game shutout against the Angels on June 6, but he was lifted after 4 1/3 innings in a no-decision five days later in Seattle.
Boston looks for improvement after leaving 13 runners on base despite collecting 11 hits on Thursday in a 4-3 loss to the Oakland A’s. The Red Sox went 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position as they fell for just the third time in 14 games.
“We had a lot of traffic (on the bases) today. Offensively we had our chances,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “We didn’t hit the ball hard with men on and chased a few pitches in certain situations.”
–Field Level Media