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May 30, 2024 2:08 pm

Red-hot Cardinals brace for stern test vs. Phillies

St. Louis Cardinals

The St. Louis Cardinals bottomed out earlier this season with a seven-game losing streak that lowered their record to 15-24 on May 11.

Since that low point, the Cardinals have won 12 of their past 15 games to climb back to .500. They will ride that momentum into Friday’s opener of a challenging three-game series against the host Philadelphia Phillies.

“The feel is good, it really is,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “The guys are getting after it. And they’re convicted about every game and committed to what we set out to do out of spring training. These guys are playing hard, the attention to detail is there, they’re taking good at bats, the starters are doing a good job and the bullpen has been good about taking the ball whenever needed.

“So, it feels really good in that clubhouse right now.”

Rookie shortstop Masyn Winn has been an offensive catalyst for St. Louis, riding an 18-game hitting streak. He hit .368 (25-for-68) with two homers and 11 RBIs during that span.

“He’s certainly been a fire that’s been lit in this lineup,” Cardinals designated hitter Matt Carpenter said. “We certainly wouldn’t be on this run without him.”

Right-hander Miles Mikolas (3-5, 5.64 ERA) will take the mound on Friday for St. Louis, which has won Mikolas’ past three starts.

He allowed seven runs on 12 hits in 17 innings during that span while striking out 13 batters and walking six.

Mikolas is 2-3 with a 4.26 ERA in eight career appearances against the Phillies, including seven starts. Last season he was 0-2 with a 7.50 ERA against them.

The Phillies will counter with right-hander Aaron Nola (6-2, 3.04), who has allowed earned two runs or fewer in eight of his past 10 starts. He allowed six runs (four earned) on 11 hits in 22 innings over his past three starts.

Nola struck out 18 batters and walked five as Philadelphia won each of those outings.

In his career, he is 7-3 with a 2.54 ERA in 12 starts against the Cardinals.

The Phillies are coming off a 6-1 victory at San Francisco Wednesday. They snapped a season-worst three-game losing streak by defeating the Giants.

Kyle Schwarber’s led off that game with a homer, snapping Philadelphia’s 15-inning scoring drought. The Phillies went on to mount a 14-hit attack.

“Just a really good spot to be in going home,” outfielder Bryce Harper said. “I know we’re all excited to get home and play in front of our fans and get the homestand going. Should be a good one.”

Philadelphia outfielder Nick Castellanos belted a two-run homer to highlight his three-hit performance on Wednesday after getting just three hits in the previous five games of road trip. That should improve his mindset heading into this series.

“Sure, anytime you get results in this game it kind of puts your mind at ease a little bit,” Castellanos said. “But just as a collective group, it feels good to go into the off-day with a W.”

St. Louis outfielder Lars Nootbaar is questionable for Friday’s game after exiting his team’s 5-3 victory at Cincinnati on Wednesday with side discomfort.

–Field Level Media

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