The Chicago White Sox will welcome the visiting St. Louis Cardinals back to active duty Saturday with a doubleheader.
The Cardinals have played just five games this season — and none since July 29 — due to a COVID-19 outbreak on their roster.
“When you see 29 other teams play, you say, ‘Gosh, I’m ready to play, too.’ It’s like the scrawny kid on the sandlot who hasn’t been picked yet,” Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
“I’m raising my hand in the back and saying, ‘Me, me, me.’ I definitely feel like that. I think everyone feels like that.”
Wainwright (1-0, 1.50 ERA) will pitch one of the Saturday games at Guaranteed Rate Field. He is 0-1 with a 2.25 ERA in two career appearances against the White Sox.
“I’ve got to get the job done, no matter what,” Wainwright said. “These hitters aren’t going to take it easy on us. They’re not going to take the first two strikes and play from there. They’re going to be out for blood.”
The Cardinals may use a parade of relievers to pitch the second game. They summoned Rob Kaminsky, Seth Elledge and Ricardo Sanchez from their Springfield, Mo., camp to have game-ready arms available.
The White Sox will start Lucas Giolito (1-1, 4.37 ERA) in one of the games at Guaranteed Rate Field. He sports a 1.89 ERA in his last three starts.
Giolito struck out nine batters in his previous outing against the Cleveland Indians, and he finished well after mixing in more sliders.
“Looking back, I would’ve liked to mix in the slider earlier, maybe just from the beginning of the game because I had a good feel for it, but you live and you learn,” he said. “They were definitely making adjustments to try to sit on the changeup a good amount there.”
Giolito lost his only previous career start against the Cardinals while allowing three runs in 6 1/3 innings.
Ross Detwiler (1-0, 0.00 ERA) is possible to start the other game Saturday if Dallas Keuchel (2-2, 3.04 ERA) gets the call for Sunday.
After losing five times in during a six-game downturn, the White Sox beat the Detroit Tigers 8-4 and 7-5 in their last two games.
Their lineup was bolstered by the return of shortstop Tim Anderson (strained right groin) and designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion (sore shoulder) from the injured list.
Anderson went 5-for-9 in those two games with a triple, homer and five runs scored from the leadoff spot.
“The energizer bunny, baby,” Anderson said. “Just my presence, being in that lineup definitely made the guys go.”
The Cardinals will play without 10 players sidelined by COVID-19, including catcher Yadier Molina, shortstop Paul DeJong and starting pitcher Carlos Martinez. To boost their depleted offense, they summoned top outfield prospect Dylan Carlson.
They would have to play 55 games in 44 days to complete a 60-game schedule. They expect to play doubleheaders Monday and Wednesday in Chicago as well.
“Everybody would agree it’s not going to be easy,” Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said. “But if this team clicks, it’s going to be very good. And that’s what we believe. Deciding today that just because it’s daunting we’re going to wave the white flag, I think that wouldn’t be the right answer.”
–Field Level Media