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Monday night’s 4-0 blanking of the Cleveland Indians marked the 10 [url=http://www.coltscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-le_raven-clark-jersey]Le'Raven Clark Jersey[/url] ,000th win in St. Louis Cardinals history.
Number 10,001 might come a bit tougher on Tuesday night.
That’s because St. Louis (41-36) will have to deal with Cleveland ace Corey Kluber in the middle game of the teams’ three-game interleague series at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
Kluber (11-3, 2.10), who at this point might be a favorite to win his third American League Cy Young Award, is coming off one of his standard dominating outings. In a 12-0 win Wednesday against the Chicago White Sox, Kluber permitted just one hit and one walk in seven innings, fanning seven.
Following a rare hiccup in a June 15 loss to Minnesota, which touched him for four hits and four runs in five innings, Kluber was back in form.
“It seems like every five days, you try to come up with something different to say,” Indians manager Terry Francona said to mlb.com. “But his level of consistency is so high that, man, it’s just fun to watch.”
The Cardinals got a taste of Kluber’s level of consistency three years ago on a cold May night in Cleveland, and it went down about as well as a bottle of pesticide. Kluber fanned 18 and walked none over eight innings, ceding just one hit in a 2-0 victory that was the highlight of a 9-16 season hampered by a lack of run support.
That St. Louis lineup bore little resemblance to the one that Kluber will face Tuesday night, just like the Cardinals’ starter bears little resemblance to the one that opened this season pitching at a Cy Young level.
Carlos Martinez (3-4, 3.24) has seen his earned run average double since coming off the disabled list on June 5, failing to make it past the fifth inning in four straight starts. Martinez was pummeled for eight hits and seven runs, five earned [url=http://www.coltscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-t.y.-hilton-jersey]T.Y. Hilton Jersey[/url] , over four innings of an 11-3 defeat Thursday night in Milwaukee.
But St. Louis manager Mike Matheny says Martinez is getting closer to the pitcher that pitched to a 1.62 ERA in his first eight starts.
“I thought his stuff was better last game than his line suggested,” Matheny said of Martinez. “He knows how close he is to getting locked in, so I’m excited to see him pitch tomorrow.”
Martinez, who will face the Indians (43-34) for the first time in his MLB career, has usually delivered shutdown efforts in interleague outings. In 16 career games, 12 of them starts, against American League competition, Martinez is 4-4 with a 1.97 ERA.
The Cardinals became the seventh MLB franchise to reach five figures in victories with a good all-around outing. They held an explosive offense to four hits, scored all their runs with two outs and played a clean game defensively.
“I’d take that every night,” Matheny said. “Give them a zero, give us a few runs and I’ll trust our bullpen. Guys came through with big hits. We did a lot of things right … it was a big day.”
To say Kole Calhoun was struggling would be an understatement.
When the Los Angeles Angels‘ right fielder was placed on the disabled list June 2 with a strained right oblique, he was in a 12-for-122 slump (.098), dropping his season average to .145.
“Every day is a new day,” Calhoun told the Orange County Register last week. “You’ve still got to go out and perform. I’m not thinking about it much honestly. I just want to go out and have a good game. Just going out and trying to help the team win.”
He did that Wednesday, going 3 for 5 with a home run and three RBIs as the Angels snapped the host Seattle Mariners‘ eight-game winning streak with a 7-4 victory. The teams wrap up their three-game series Thursday night at Safeco Field.
Calhoun has hit two home runs in his past three games after hitting just three in his previous 62. Since returning from the DL on June 18, he’s batting .306 (15-for-49) with three doubles, four home runs, seven RBIs and 10 runs scored.
That’s helped Calhoun raise his batting average to .180.
He even returned to the leadoff spot in the batting order last week in Baltimore, a spot he held in previous seasons.
“Kole has made some adjustments and hopefully it will pay off [url=http://www.coltscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-denzelle-good-jersey]Denzelle Good Jersey[/url] ,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia told The Register.
Scioscia said one key for Calhoun is he’s been more selective at the plate as of late.
“He’s had a good eye in previous years,” Scioscia said. “It’s been a part of his game, but it’s been elusive this year.”
The Angels will send rookie right-hander Jaime Barria (5-4, 3.40 ERA) to the mound Thursday in place of left-hander Tyler Skaggs, who was placed on the disabled list Wednesday with a right adductor strain. Barria suffered a 6-3 loss on June 12 at Seattle, allowing three runs (two earned) on eight hits in five innings.
The Mariners are scheduled to start left-hander Marco Gonzales (8-5, 3.77 ERA). Gonzales is 0-0 with a 4.66 ERA in four career starts against the Angels, including two earlier this season.
Gonzales is coming off his first career complete game in a 4-1 victory against Kansas City. Gonzales lost the shutout bid on Mike Moustakas’ two-strike, two-out single in the ninth inning.
“It’s a culmination of a lot of hard work this year and having the right guys behind me,” Gonzales said after his last start. “Those guys played incredible defense behind me and when your team gives you a lead in the first half of the game, you inch closer to eyeing the end. From the first inning I just had the mentality that this is my game and I’m going to go as deep as I can.”
Gonzales has been a big part of Seattle’s success this season after earning the No. 5 spot in the rotation this spring.
“He’s matured, there’s no question,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said of Gonzales. “It always works better when guys earn it. He has a lot of confidence right now because everything that’s happened this year, he’s earned. From coming into spring training, winning a spot in our rotation, he continues to build throughout the season.”
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