Wed, 22 Sep 2021

Surging Cardinals aim to stay hot vs. tumbling Twins

Field Level Media
31 Jul 2021, 21:40 GMT+10

The St. Louis Cardinals will try to gain more stretch-run traction when they host the rebuilding Minnesota Twins on Saturday night.

The Cardinals opened this three-game interleague series at Busch Stadium with a 5-1 victory Friday. They have won eight of their past 12 games to climb over .500 again.

The Twins, who have lost 11 of 15 games, did some long-term retooling ahead of Friday's trade deadline. They sent starting pitcher Jose Berrios to the Toronto Blue Jays and reliever Hansel Robles to the Boston Red Sox for prospects.

They also traded starting pitcher J.A. Happ to the Cardinals for reliever John Gant and minor league pitcher Evan Sisk. The Twins promoted Charlie Barnes from Triple-A St. Paul to replace Robles.

The injury-depleted Cardinals also acquired starting pitcher Jon Lester from the Washington Nationals for outfielder Lane Thomas. Even with Miles Mikolas (forearm strain) and Jack Flaherty (oblique strain) returning soon, they needed to bolster their rotation.

"We really went into this trying to land some pitching that would give us some stability and some experience," Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said. "We also wanted to try to do it in a way that we wouldn't be giving up a lot of future talent. We felt like we took a couple of steps forward without having to sacrifice our future."

The Cardinals sit in third place in the National League Central, 9 1/2 games behind the first-place Milwaukee Brewers entering play Saturday.

"Overall we still want to compete." Mozeliak said. "Hopefully we can get on a run and make some noise in the Central Division."

The Twins are buried in the American League Central cellar, so their talent selloff was expected. But Friday was still tough on the team.

"Everyone felt as though moves were going to be made, trades would be made and they were," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. "And that is difficult in a lot of ways. There was some pain that's going to be felt. Us getting where we need to be, for that to happen, we're going to have to feel some of these emotions, we're going to have to feel some of this pain. But I do believe that looking forward, the future is very bright.

"We have the pieces already here that we're trying to supplement right now with some of the moves that we're making in order to get to the point where we are a playoff baseball team again."

The Twins, on Saturday, will turn to right-hander Bailey Ober (1-1, 5.19 ERA), who is coming off of a solid performance against the Los Angeles Angels. He allowed two runs on three hits in 5 1/3 innings of a no-decision.

Ober has yet to face the Cardinals in his career.

St. Louis will counter with right-hander Jake Woodford (2-2, 4.25), who is 1-1 with a 3.38 ERA in two starts since moving into the starting rotation.

Woodford sustained a 5-3 loss to the Cincinnati Reds in his last start. He allowed three runs on seven hits in five innings.

Woodford permitted one run on two hits in 2 1/3 innings in his lone career appearance versus Minnesota. He did not factor in the decision.

Twins third baseman Josh Donaldson is questionable for this game. He missed Friday's contest with hamstring soreness.

--Field Level Media

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