The St. Louis Cardinals figure to be active shoppers ahead of next week’s trade deadline, but they also hope for more consistency from several regulars on their current roster.
Nolan Gorman, Tyler O’Neill and Tommy Edman are being counted on to play key roles for the Cardinals, who will continue their three-game road series against the Washington Nationals on Saturday night.
Gorman homered for the second straight game in the Cardinals’ 6-2 win over the Nationals on Friday, while Edman singled and recorded his 21st stolen base. Both players are heating up after struggling for most of the month.
O’Neill, who had 34 homers last season, is batting .225 with five homers this year. He has been limited to 55 games due to injury. He is hitting .147 in July after batting .354 in June.
“He’s going to be a big part of us moving forward,” St. Louis manager Oliver Marmol said. “The reality is, if he hits, we’re going to be in good shape.”
The trade deadline Tuesday also is a hot topic with the Nationals, who have lost 19 of their past 24 games.
Star right fielder Juan Soto, first baseman Josh Bell and reliever Kyle Finnegan are just three players who could be dealt in the next few days. Bell is 14-for-38 (.368) with seven RBIs over his past 11 games.
“Me personally, I feel like I’m at my best when I focus on the here and now,” Bell said. “Just keep my focus on what’s going on between the lines. Once that game starts, I try to block out the noise. That’s what’s helped me during this time.”
Washington will send right-hander Erick Fedde (5-7, 4.95 ERA) to the mound on Saturday. He received a no-decision after allowing three runs in 4 2/3 innings against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday.
Nolan Arenado is 3-for-7 with a home run against the 29-year-old Fedde, who owns a 4.66 ERA and no decisions in two career starts against the Cardinals.
Fedde is looking to close the month on a high note after going 0-2 with a 7.11 ERA in his past four starts covering 19 innings.
St. Louis will counter with Dakota Hudson (6-6, 4.10. The right-hander will make his first start since landing on the injured list due to a neck strain on July 15.
Hudson, 27, gave up one run over five innings in a rehab start for Triple-A Memphis last Sunday. He walked three and struck out six while throwing 79 pitches.
The Tennessee native is 2-1 with a 2.93 ERA in six career games (two starts) vs. the Nationals.
Washington’s lineup has had a different look this week with veteran Ehire Adrianza starting three of the past six games at third base in place of Maikel Franco.
Nationals manager Dave Martinez is eager to give Adrianza more playing time after the utility man missed the first two months of the season due to a left-quad injury.
“I’ve just honestly been playing matchups with him,” Martinez said. “I’m trying to keep him going. When you get hurt and miss that much time during the season, it takes you a little bit to get going. I think over the last few days, he’s been hitting the ball a lot better.”
–Field Level Media