Cards aim to keep rolling in doubleheader vs. Royals

The St. Louis Cardinals will try to ride the momentum of a 5-2 road trip into their six-game homestand ahead of the All-Star break.

The homestand was delayed by a day when rain postponed Tuesday night’s game with the Kansas City Royals at Busch Stadium. The teams will play a split doubleheader on Wednesday.

The Cardinals have won six of eight games and 12 of their last 17. After sinking to 15-24 with a seven-game losing streak in May, the Cardinals have gone 33-18.

“We’re not close to being done,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said after his team blanked the Washington Nationals 6-0 on Monday to reach six games over .500 for the first time this season. “I told you they were convicted in what the goal was leaving spring. We’re taking it one game at a time, but they’re doing a nice job.”

The Cardinals got a boost Monday when outfielder Lars Nootbaar returned from his injury, a left oblique strain.

“Hopefully, I can finish this first half strong, go into the break and then have some success in the second half,” Nootbaar said. “I want to keep the guys rolling.”

The Cardinals will start Andre Pallante (4-3, 4.00 ERA) in Game 1 with the Game 2 starter to be determined. Sonny Gray (9-5, 3.30) was set to start Game 2 but has been pushed to start Friday’s series opener against the Chicago Cubs.

Pallante is 4-2 with a 3.34 ERA in his seven starts. The right-hander limited the Pirates to one run on four hits at Pittsburgh in his last start Thursday while striking out five and walking one.

In his only previous career outing against the Royals, Pallante allowed three runs (two earned) on three hits in a two-inning relief stint on Aug. 11, 2023.

The Royals are coming off a 10-1 victory at Colorado on Sunday. Prior to that win, they lost nine of their previous 15 games.

Kansas City will start right-handers Alec Marsh (6-6, 4.57) in Game 1 and Michael Wacha (5-6, 3.74) in Game 2.

Marsh will be seeking to rebound from a 10-8 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday. He allowed five runs on six hits and three walks in three innings while facing just 17 batters, his fewest since April 24.

This will be his first career appearance against the Cardinals.

Wacha, who pitched for the Cardinals from 2013-19, held opponents to three runs on 12 hits while striking out 19 batters in 16 1/3 innings in his last three starts.

He earned a 4-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in his last outing on July 3 while allowing just one run on two hits and three walks in his six innings.

“He gives up a homer in the first and you look up later and (he allowed) one run in six innings,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. “For a veteran that’s had a lot of success in the big leagues to still try to adapt to what the opposing hitters are doing is really impressive. And I think that is a good example to set for the younger guys as well.”

This will be Wacha’s third career start against his initial team. He is 2-0 with 2.19 ERA against St. Louis.

–Field Level Media