|10:15 AM PT11:15 AM MT12:15 PM CT1:15 PM ET13:15 ET17:15 GMT1:15 10:15 AM MST12:15 PM EST12:45 PM VEN21:15 UAE12:15 PM CT, September 12, 2018
Busch Stadium, St. Louis, Missouri Attendance: 39,606
Cardinals continue postseason push versus Pirates
Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis Cardinals
- The Pirates have gone 35-25 (.583) against division opponents this season and 36-46 (.439) against the rest of MLB. That winning percentage differential is the second largest of any NL team (Braves), and fourth largest in baseball.
- The Cardinals need to win one game of this series to clinch a winning record against the Pirates; it would be their fifth consecutive year winning the season series with Pittsburgh. St. Louis only has a longer active streak of season series victories against the Reds (7) among NL Central teams.
- Marcell Ozuna's slash line in his last 27 games is .324/.364/.586 with eight home runs. In the 27 games prior, he posted a .204/.243/.306 slash line with just three home runs.
- Trevor Williams has thrown at least six shutout innings in each of his past two starts, and has done so eight times this season. His active streak of 17.2 scoreless innings is the third-longest active streak in MLB (Chris Sale, 28.0; Wade LeBlanc, 18.0).
- Adam Wainwright's home ERA since 2016 is 3.27, while his road ERA is 6.43 over that span. Among pitchers with at least 300 innings over that span, his ERA differential (+3.16) ranks as the largest.
- Adam Frazier's career slash line against the Cardinals is .328/.383/.557. He has doubled against the Cardinals ten times in his career. He has no more than five doubles against any other opponent.
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Looking to buy their starting pitchers some rest during the final three weeks of the season, the St. Louis Cardinals have opted for a six-man rotation on this turn through it.
The sixth man goes Wednesday against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Busch Stadium, where St. Louis tries for a series sweep and to solidify its postseason position.
Rookie Daniel Poncedeleon (0-1, 2.67 ERA) gets the call for the Cardinals, who moved three games ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers for the National League's second wild card spot Tuesday night. They routed Pittsburgh 11-5 while Los Angeles continued its season-long pratfall against Cincinnati, losing 3-1 to fall to 0-6 against the Reds.
Poncedeleon will make his first big league appearance against the Pirates and his fourth start in 10 big league games. His last start was Sept. 1, when he retired the first 10 Cincinnati batters he faced and then didn't get another out in a 4-0 loss, allowing five hits and three runs.
Manager Mike Shildt has sought to juggle the zero-sum mentality of a pennant race with not overworking young starters such as Jack Flaherty, Austin Gomber and John Gant. Hence the insertion of Poncedeleon, who in his first major league game fired seven no-hit innings at Cincinnati on July 23.
"It's a balancing act of rest, who we're playing and looking at the total schedule and making sure we're putting our best foot forward," Shildt said to mlb.com.
With an 81-64 record, including a 34-18 mark under Shildt, St. Louis has certainly done that. Its latest win allowed the Cardinals to pull within 1 1/2 games of Milwaukee, a 3-0 loser at the Chicago Cubs, for the first NL wild card spot.
The Cardinals remain 3 1/2 games behind Chicago for first place in the NL Central.
St. Louis used an offensive explosion over the last three innings to break open a 2-1 game. Its six-run eighth eliminated suspense from the equation, a welcome change from a spate of back-and-forth games that had marked its last eight games.
Tyler O'Neill highlighted the eighth with a three-run, 457-foot homer to left-center, the team's third-longest blast of the year.
"We've been on such an incredible run since Shildt took over," O'Neill said. "We've got the playoffs in our sights."
All Pittsburgh (71-73) has in its sights is the opportunity to play spoiler over its last 18 games. It will turn to Jameson Taillon (12-9, 3.40) in an attempt to avoid being swept.
Taillon hasn't allowed more than three earned runs in 10 straight starts, going 6-2 in that span and registering eight quality starts.
He notched a 3-2 victory Sept. 5 against Cincinnati, scattering eight hits over five innings and allowing one run with no walks and six strikeouts. Taillon has pitched well in seven career starts against the Cardinals, going 2-1 with a 3.57 ERA and fanning 42 hitters over 40 1/3 innings.
"He's got a determination and focus that's real," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said to mlb.com of Taillon. "He's got a great recall of what he wants to do. He's got some history in the league now."
Updated September 12, 2018