The Cincinnati Reds will try to complete a four-game sweep of the host St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday.
The Reds have won five of their past six games despite missing several injured players, including Joey Votto, Mike Moustakas and Nick Senzel.
“We have a dynamite team,” Reds rookie second baseman Jonathan India told Bally Sports Cincinnati. “It’s amazing to see what we’re doing. We’re tearing it up right now at a perfect time.”
Reserve infielder Alex Blandino, one of a few players to fill in at first base for Votto, joined the injured list after suffering a broken hand Friday when he was hit by a pitch. With Votto recovering from his broken thumb, the Reds recalled pitcher Ashton Goudeau instead of a position player.
“You look at what Tyler Stephenson has done in the middle of a season for a young player, really remarkable how he’s stepped in and done a really good job at first base,” Reds manager David Bell said. “I think we can keep making it work. I don’t think we need to do anything too drastic or move someone out of position at this point with Joey being real close to being back.”
The Cardinals have lost four consecutive games and six of their past seven. Sunday’s game will be their 17th in 17 days.
“Usually get a couple of guys going and other guys are struggling, but right now it seems like collectively we’re all in a little bit of a rut,” Cardinals third baseman Nolan Arenado said.
The Cardinals have added to their injury woes in this series, losing starting pitcher Kwang Hyun Kim (back tightness) and catcher Yadier Molina (left knee bone bruise). Kim went on the 10-day injured list, while Molina is considered day-to-day.
They also put outfielder Justin Williams (stiff neck) on the 10-day IL on Saturday and replaced him with first baseman John Nogowski.
“The injuries and the travel, collectively, we knew it was going to be tough. It wasn’t going to be easy,” Arenado said. “We still believe in what we’re doing. We still believe we can come out on top.”
Left-hander Wade Miley (5-4, 3.26 ERA) will start Sunday for the Reds. He threw a no-hitter on May 7, and he allowed just two runs in 10 2/3 innings in his past two starts.
Back on April 24, he suffered a hard-luck 2-0 loss to the Cardinals while allowing those two runs on five hits over six innings.
Miley is 3-5 with a 3.91 ERA in nine career starts against the Cardinals. Arenado (7-for-19, double, four walks, three RBIs), Tommy Edman (4-for-9, two RBIs), and Paul Goldschmidt (4-for-11, double) have had success against him.
Right-hander John Gant (4-3, 1.60) will start for the Cardinals. Gant is 5-1 with a 2.54 ERA in 19 career appearances against the Reds, 18 in relief.
He has handled Reds hitters Eugenio Suarez (0-for-12), Tyler Naquin (0-for-6) and Jesse Winker (2-for-10, four strikeouts).
In his only career start against the Reds, he opposed Miley and earned the victory on April 24 while holding the Reds to three hits and two walks in six innings.
Gant has failed to last more than 5 1/3 innings in eight of his nine starts. He has allowed two runs or fewer in eight of those starts.
–Field Level Media