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May 2, 2024 4:42 pm

Cardinals look to ignite struggling offense vs. White Sox

St. Louis Cardinals

The St. Louis Cardinals will try to locate their power when they open a six-game homestand on Friday.

The Cardinals ranked last in the majors with 21 homers heading into the opener of their three-game series with the Chicago White Sox.

St. Louis also ranked near the bottom in runs (109), slugging percentage (.338) and on-base plus slugging percentage (.637) heading into play on Thursday.

“I really like our club,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol told reporters after his team fell to the Tigers 4-1 in Detroit on Wednesday. “They’re a tough team. They’re not going to give in at all.

“Look at the games we’ve been dropping. We’re in every game. Just not enough runs across the board. We just have to score. It’s simple. If you look at our game, it’s a good game. We’re creating opportunities. We’re not getting the next big hit. It’s happened often. So we have to figure out a way to get on the other side of it.”

Catcher Willson Contreras leads the Cardinals with five homers and an .878 OPS. Nolan Arenado, Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Gorman, Brendan Donovan, Lars Nootbaar and Ivan Herrera each have an OPS below .700.

Young outfielders Victor Scott II and Jordan Walker ended up back at Triple-A Memphis after hitting .067 and .167, respectively, in April. Outfielder Dylan Carlson (sprained shoulder) and infielder Matt Carpenter (oblique strain) are on minor league rehabilitation assignments.

St. Louis right-hander Sonny Gray (3-1, 1.16 ERA) will start against Chicago on Friday. He has struck out 32 batters and walked four during his 23 1/3 innings while allowing two earned runs or fewer in each of his four starts.

Gray is 6-2 with a 3.58 ERA in 13 career appearances against the White Sox, including 12 starts. He was 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA in three starts against them last season.

The White Sox, who were swept in a three-game series by the Minnesota Twins, will turn to right-hander Brad Keller (0-0, 0.00 ERA).

Keller signed a minor league contract with the White Sox during spring training. He went 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA in three starts for Triple-A Charlotte before joining the White Sox.

In his one big league appearance this season, Keller retired five batters without allowing a hit or a run. He is 2-4 with a 4.14 ERA in eight career appearances against the Cardinals, including six starts.

The White Sox started the season 3-22. They won their next three games after promoting former Cardinals outfielder Tommy Pham from Charlotte before dropping their last three.

During that six-game span, Pham went 9-for-24 with two doubles, a homer, two RBIs and six runs.

“Tommy is a gamer,” White Sox shortstop Paul DeJong, another former Cardinal, said, according to MLB.com. “We’re happy to have him. I think he’s a spark plug for our offense. He wants to play every day. He wants to run, he wants to hit.

“He plays the game the right way, and he’s a great competitor. So, we’re really lucky to have him.”

–Field Level Media

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