Cardinals, Nolan Arenado look to split series with Diamondbacks
The host St. Louis Cardinals will welcome third baseman Nolan Arenado back into the lineup Sunday after he served a one-game suspension Saturday against the Arizona Diamondbacks because of his role in a benches-clearing brawl last week.
Arenado incited the brawl with the New York Mets on Wednesday after motioning to pitcher Yoan Lopez when a pitch by Lopez was high and inside.
Following an appeal to Major League Baseball, Arenado had his suspension reduced from two games to one game. He missed Saturday’s contest, won by Arizona 2-0, on what happened to be a bobblehead promotion day in his honor.
Rookie Brendan Donovan started in his place at third base, and Edmundo Sosa played shortstop.
The Cardinals produced only two singles against Arizona starter Merrill Kelly and two relievers in Saturday’s loss.
They had only five hits, including a double by Arenado and a homer by Paul Goldschmidt, in Friday’s 6-2 loss.
In Thursday’s 8-3 win to start the series, the Cardinals produced 15 hits, all of them singles.
“It’s a matter of when you look at the teams that are successful in the playoffs, there’s a lot of doubles and home runs being hit,” St. Louis manager Oliver Marmol said. “When that’s not happening, you have to find other ways to win.
“At the end of the day, we’re going to have to drive the baseball. Do I think we will? Absolutely. That’s something we have to get going.”
The Cardinals will try to salvage a split of their four-game series with the Diamondbacks with Arenado — a .375 batter — back in the lineup.
Arizona will start right-hander Zach Davies (1-1, 5.40 ERA) against right-hander Jordan Hicks (1-2, 3.00).
Davies is 3-5 with a 4.54 ERA in 14 career starts against St. Louis, mostly when he was with the Milwaukee Brewers from 2015 to 2019.
Arizona hopes Davies can continue the effective pitching against St. Louis that Madison Bumgarner and Kelly displayed in the wins Friday and Saturday.
“I’m really proud of the guys for their resiliency after losing the first game here Thursday after it seemed like St. Louis was getting hit after hit,” said Arizona manager Torey Lovullo, whose team has won four of its last five games. “The pitching has really been the difference with us getting our confidence level up.
“They’re hitting their spots and giving everybody a lift because of the way they are performing.”
Hicks will make his first start against Arizona in his four-year career. He has pitched in three games against the Diamondbacks, totaling four innings without an earned run allowed.
Marmol is confident the Cardinals can always manufacture runs with their baserunning. They lead the majors with 22 stolen bases in 23 attempts after stealing two Saturday.
The 95.65 percent success rate is their best over the first 20 games since caught stealing was made an official stat in 1951.
Harrison Bader stole second in the second inning Saturday, giving him a National League-leading six steals.
He had only nine stolen bases in 2021.
–Field Level Media