Fresh off an impressive winning homestand, the St. Louis Cardinals will look to continue the success they’ve enjoyed on the road of late.
The Cardinals also will try to carry over last season’s strong road play vs. the Chicago Cubs when they aim for a fourth consecutive victory away from home — and overall – in Thursday night’s opener of a five-game series against their archrival.
St. Louis won 5-2 on Wednesday to complete a three-game sweep of the San Diego Padres and conclude a 6-3 homestand — which also featured visits from the Toronto Blue Jays and National League Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers. The Cardinals have won nine of 12, a stretch that began with their three-game sweep at Pittsburgh from May 20-22.
“We’re really focused on what we’ve got to do in our dugout,” Cardinals outfielder Harrison Bader told Bally Sports Midwest. “We’re just playing our game, and we know what we can do on all sides of the ball.”
St. Louis has played relatively well on the road this season, going 13-10, and enters this first 2022 series with the Cubs riding a five-game winning streak at Wrigley Field. The Cardinals last won six straight at Chicago during the 1962 season.
Cardinals star Paul Goldschmidt, batting .440 with nine homers and 32 RBIs during a 23-game hitting streak and also amid a 37-game on-base stretch, is a .310 career hitter at Wrigley. He’s 10-for-23 with three home runs and seven RBIs in his last six there.
Both of Goldschmidt’s hits in five career official at-bats against scheduled Chicago starter Keegan Thompson (5-0, 1.58 ERA) left the park. The right-hander will make his fourth start after going 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA in his first three this season — all in May.
Thompson allowed only a home run and four other hits in five innings of the Cubs’ 5-1 victory over the White Sox on Saturday. He faced St. Louis six times in 2021, but once as a starter. That came at home on Sept. 26, when he gave up a Goldschmidt homer and struck out seven in three innings.
Thompson, trying to help the Cubs to a third consecutive victory, will be opposed by Matthew Liberatore (1-0, 3.72), who will make his third career start for the Cardinals.
After giving up four runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings at Pittsburgh in his big-league debut on May 21, the left-hander yielded just two hits with three walks and fanned six over five scoreless innings against the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday for his first career victory.
Liberatore will try to contain Chicago’s own promising rookie, Christopher Morel, who delivered a walk-off sacrifice fly in the 10th inning of Wednesday’s 4-3 home win over the Brewers.
Though Morel’s 11-game hitting streak ended Wednesday, he owns a Cubs’ record for reaching base in each of his first 15 career games.
“Morel brings the energy,” teammate Willson Contreras told the Cubs’ official website. “He brings a lot of things to the table.
“He’s never concerned about anything. I think that’s one thing that lets him play the way he’s playing right now.”
Contreras, meanwhile, is batting .370 (10-for-27) with three homers and five RBIs during a seven-game hitting streak.
St. Louis’ Tommy Edman is 8-for-20 with three RBIs in his past four road games. He’s also 2-for-6 vs. Thompson.
–Field Level Media