The San Francisco Giants will try to regain their hitting groove when they host the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night.
The Giants fell to the Cardinals 5-3 Monday the opener of the three-game series at Oracle Park. Prior to that, they won three straight road games against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
“I thought we did a nice job in the Diamondback series of continuing to work pitchers,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said. “See pitches, identify pitches that we can drive and be aggressive on those.”
But Cardinals starting pitcher Kwang Hyun Kim kept the Giants off-balance through seven scoreless innings on Monday.
“He was able to stay just off the corners of the plate and down below the zone and we were just putting balls in play that normally we foul off or sometimes we take,” Kapler said. “To get a finesse pitcher out of the game you are going to lay off balls that are on the edges and down below.”
While the Giants are trying to keep pace with the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West race, the Cardinals are just trying to get over .500. They have won five of their last eight games to get within two of break even at 42-44.
“Today was just what we have always expected what kind of club we have,” Cardinals infielder Matt Carpenter said. “Really, really good complete win for us and one that I hope and I feel like is going to get us going.”
The Giants will start Johnny Cueto (6-4, 4.00 ERA), who battled illness while allowing five runs on six hits (including two homers) and two walks over five innings in his previous start. He has allowed two homers in four of this last five starts.
Cueto is 7-9 with a 3.92 ERA in 24 career starts against the Cardinals. Yadier Molina (.827 on-base plus slugging percentage in 48 at-bats), Paul Goldschmidt (.808 OPS in 29 at-bats) and Carpenter (.807 OPS in 25 at-bats) have held up well against Cueto over the years.
The Cardinals will counter with Adam Wainwright (6-5, 3.49 ERA), who allowed just four runs over 21 innings in his last three starts.
“It doesn’t surprise me when I do well,” Wainwright said. “It seemingly surprises everyone else, but that’s fine. It does not surprise me, because that’s what I expect to do.”
Wainwright, 39, has worked six or more innings in six consecutive starts.
“Waino came up in an era that trained — and he’s probably one of the last parts of that era of the game — that trained or expected pitchers to go deep in games,” manager Mike Shildt said.
Wainwright is 7-7 with a 3.09 ERA in 17 career appearances against the Giants, including 15 starts.
Cardinals outfielder Tyler O’Neill (finger contusion) was limited to pinch-hitting duty Monday while Posey (thumb contusion) sat out.
The Giants recalled catcher Chadwick Trump on Monday with Posey sidelined and placed pitcher Sammy Long on the 10-day injured list with a lower back strain.
Giants outfielder Jaylin Davis suffered a hamstring strain running to first base during the game and will undergo an MRI Tuesday.
–Field Level Media