April 25: Pirates (9-14) @ Cardinals (12-11)
The road-weary Cardinals open a six-game homestand tonight with the first of three games against the Pirates. Shelby Miller, 0-5 with a 5.93 ERA in his career against Pittsburgh, gets the start tonight opposite righty Gerrit Cole.
You can read the full game preview here.
One additional series note: The Pirates placed closer Jason Grilli on the disabled list (oblique strain) today, so he will be a non-factor this weekend. Jared Hughes takes the open spot in the bullpen.
The Cardinals have played just six home games so far, the fewest of any team in the Majors. The Pirates, in comparison, have already played 14. St. Louis just had a disappointing 5-6 road swing through Milwaukee, Washington and New York that was marred by absent hitting and shoddy defense. The offense has been suspect all season. Through 23 games, the Cardinals are hitting .243/.308/.348 with 12 home runs — and none in the team’s last 291 at-bats. Situational hitting has been suspect, and clutch hitting sporadic. The organization certainly did not expect to repeat its .330 average with runners in scoring position, but it also anticipated hitting better than the .234 average the Cardinals had entering Friday.
The offensive troubles are obvious, but the Cardinals have no immediate plans of trying to jumpstart the unit by making a move to promote someone from Triple-A. More on that in tonight’s cardinals.com notebook, along with updates on Joe Kelly and Jason Motte.
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