Starting pitchers look for distance as Reds visit Cards

MLB Baseball

The St. Louis Cardinals and visiting Cincinnati Reds hope to stretch out their starting pitchers when their four-game series continues Saturday.

The teams split the first two games, with the Cardinals rallying for a 5-4 victory Thursday and the Reds winning 4-2 Friday.

The Cardinals will start left-hander Kwang Hyun Kim (0-0, 3.86 ERA), who began the season in the closer’s role, getting a save in his first appearance on July 24.

After the Cardinals returned from their 15-day shutdown due to their COVID-19 outbreak, Kim was moved to the rotation, and he worked 3 2/3 innings Monday against the Chicago Cubs. He walked three batters and allowed three hits but worked out of trouble while allowing just one run.

“As a starter, I think the role is to throw as many things, to become an innings-eater,” Kim told reporters after that game, which the Cardinals won 3-1. “Even the bases were loaded, that was my thought process. I tried to (be) really comfortable, even though it was not easy.”

Kim, a veteran of the Korea Baseball Organization, will face the Reds for the first time.

The Reds will counter with veteran left-hander Wade Miley (0-2, 16.20 ERA), who has retired just five batters in each of his two starts. Between those outings, he missed time with a left groin muscle strain, so he, too, is still trying to build arm strength.

Miley was disappointed to leave his last start — a 5-4 loss to the Kansas City Royals on Aug. 12 — in the second inning. He threw 44 pitches, just 22 of them for strikes.

That was still a big improvement over his first start of the season, an 8-7 loss to the Chicago Cubs. He allowed six runs (five earned) in that game.

“Hopefully I’m heading in the right direction with this whole delivery thing and try to get my pitch count where I want it,” Miley said. “Just like the rhythm part of it, not necessarily a mechanical issue.

“A couple of weeks ago, it felt like I was in week two of spring training. I just didn’t quite feel like where I wanted it to be, and then the groin injury. I felt really good in summer camp, and then the little groin thing came and messed me up a little bit. But I think I’ve kind of gotten over that, so I’m feeling more normal.”

Miley won his only start against the Cardinals last season, shutting them out for five innings while pitching for the Houston Astros.

He is 3-3 with a 3.86 ERA in seven career starts against them. Matt Carpenter (6-for-16, two doubles), Paul Goldschmidt (3-for-7, double) and Tyler O’Neill (2-for-5) have hit well against him.

After playing eight games in five days in Chicago after returning to action, the Cardinals are hoping to stabilize their pitching during a 12-game homestand at Busch Stadium.

The team had been running pitchers back and forth from their Springfield, Mo., camp to keep fresh arms available.

“I hope we can get settled into where we feel like we have some protection, from a pitching standpoint,” Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said.

“We’ll just see how the next few days play out, but I’m hopeful that the transactions we did today are not something that we’re going to have to continue to try to do every day, like we’ve had to do this past week.”

–Field Level Media

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