Brendan Donovan is proving to be a jack-of-all-trades for the St. Louis Cardinals, who will conclude a five-game series against the host Chicago Cubs on Sunday.
St. Louis lost 6-1 in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader before winning 7-4 in the nightcap. Donovan delivered a go-ahead, two-run double in the 10th inning of the second game and finished with three hits and four RBIs.
Donovan, 25, has hit safely in 10 of his last 13 games, batting .333 (16-for-48) with four doubles and nine RBIs during that stretch. The rookie also has shown the ability to play multiple positions, including left field, right field, shortstop and second base.
“You can tell Donovan to play anywhere and he’s completely fine with it,” St. Louis manager Oliver Marmol said. “He’s not fazed by it. He actually enjoys it.”
The Cardinals and Cubs have split the first four games of the series. St. Louis reliever Ryan Helsley and Chicago closer David Robertson likely will be unavailable for the finale after pitching multiple innings on Saturday.
St. Louis first baseman Paul Goldschmidt had his hitting streak snapped at 25 games in the first game of the doubleheader, but he extended his on-base streak to 41 games with a single in the nightcap.
Cubs rookie Christopher Morel finished the doubleheader with five hits, two RBIs and two runs. He has reached base in all of his first 19 major league games.
Chicago will send Justin Steele (1-5, 5.40 ERA) to the mound for the series finale. The left-hander owns a 2.50 ERA in his last four starts covering 18 innings.
Steele, 26, received a no-decision after giving up three runs over five innings against the Milwaukee Brewers last Tuesday.
“His stuff’s good,” Cubs pitcher Wade Miley said. “He throws hard, he has all the nasty stuff, and now he’s learning how to use it. And I’m excited for that kid’s future because I think he’s got a really bright outlook ahead of him.”
Steele, who has lost his last five decisions, made his only previous start against St. Louis on Sept. 24, 2021. He allowed six runs over five innings in an 8-5 loss.
St. Louis will counter with veteran starter Adam Wainwright (5-4, 2.75) in the series finale. The right-hander struck out 10 over seven shutout innings against the San Diego Padres last Tuesday.
“That was an absolute tutorial,” Marmol said. “What he did was unbelievable. That was fun to watch.”
Wainwright, 40, leads all active pitchers against the Cubs in career wins (17), losses (13), starts (44), innings pitched (271 1/3) and strikeouts (242).
Ian Happ is 8-for-20 (.400) with four home runs against Wainwright, who allowed one run in two starts across 15 innings vs. Chicago last season.
Cardinals outfielder Corey Dickerson is listed as day-to-day after exiting the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader with left-calf discomfort.
The Cardinals have received a boost from center fielder Harrison Bader, who has hit safely in 15 of his last 16 games, batting .350 (21-for-60) with two homers and eight RBIs.
St. Louis outfielders Tyler O’Neill (shoulder impingement) and Dylan Carlson (left-hamstring strain) began minor league rehab assignments this weekend and could rejoin the team within the next two weeks.
–Field Level Media