Cardinals turn to Wade LeBlanc in opener vs. Diamondbacks

MLB Baseball

The St. Louis Cardinals and visiting Arizona Diamondbacks will continue their search for starting pitching when they open their three-game series Monday.

Wade LeBlanc (0-1, 6.75 ERA) will come out of the bullpen to make his first start for the Cardinals to begin this set at Busch Stadium. LeBlanc is stepping in for John Gant, who was shuffled from the rotation to the bullpen.

Jake Faria (0-0, 4.50) is expected to provide the opposition for the Diamondbacks, who are looking for two starters to fill the spots behind Zac Gallen, Merrill Kelly and Caleb Smith.

The Diamondbacks snapped a 24-game road losing streak with a 10-1 victory over the San Diego Padres on Saturday. Their good fortune was short-lived, however, as they dropped a 5-4 decision on Sunday for their 21st loss in the past 23 games. Demoted starter Brad Peacock look the loss.

“We have confidence in our guys in the bullpen,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “They just need to go out there, be under control and be confident and believe that they are going to have great results.”

The Cardinals enter Monday’s contest having lost eight of their past 10 games. They have just one starting pitcher, Adam Wainwright, who has earned a victory since May 26.

“You’re down early in games consistently, that’s pretty deflating,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said after Sunday’s 7-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. “We have to quit getting down early. It’s pretty clear.”

LeBlanc made one start and five relief appearances for the Baltimore Orioles earlier this season. After being released by the Orioles, LeBlanc pitched well at the Triple-A level for Nashville (1-1, 3.78 ERA) and Round Rock (2-0, 2.50).

Since joining the Cardinals, LeBlanc allowed three runs on eight hits and a walk in 6 2/3 innings spread over four outings. Shildt turned to LeBlanc after Gant posted an 0-3 record with an 8.10 ERA in five June starts.

“(LeBlanc is) built up and he’s thrown well in longer relief outings for us,” Shildt said. “We’ll give Wade a shot at it (on Monday) and let him pitch.”

LeBlanc is 3-3 with a 4.18 ERA in 14 career appearances (10 starts) against the Diamondbacks.

Josh Reddick has enjoyed success versus LeBlanc, going 8-for-18 with three doubles, a homer and two RBIs.

Faria owned a 3-2 record with a 5.65 ERA in seven starts for Triple-A Salt Lake earlier this season. He signed with the Diamondbacks on June 19 and has made three relief appearances with the team.

That came after the Diamondbacks sent right-hander Corbin Martin back to the minors for more seasoning. Martin posted an 0-3 record with a 10.69 ERA in five appearances (three starts) this season.

“We made the decision that there needed to be a little more consistency,” Lovullo said. “He needs to be able to follow the attack plan and go down and get that necessary work to continue learning and growing and finding a way to get back to the big leagues a little bit more finished and polished.”

Faria will be making his second career appearance against the Cardinals. He received a no-decision in his first encounter despite allowing four runs on two hits in 1 1/3 innings on Sept. 13, 2019.

–Field Level Media

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