Cards’ Miles Mikolas seeks bounce-back effort vs. Pirates

St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Miles Mikolas wants to prove his latest outing was just a blip on the radar.

The 35-year-old veteran will get the opportunity on Wednesday evening when he takes the mound against the host Pittsburgh Pirates in the second game of a three-game series.

Mikolas (6-7, 5.32 ERA) is coming off his worst outing of the season on Thursday against the Cincinnati Reds. He allowed 10 runs (nine earned) and 12 hits in 4 1/3 innings during an 11-4 loss.

Before that setback, Mikolas had gone 3-0 with a 2.48 ERA in his previous four starts.

“Work my tail off in between starts to make sure that doesn’t happen again,” Mikolas said of Thursday’s effort. “I’ve had a pretty good run the last seven or eight starts, so probably just try to toss this one in the bin and keep doing what I’ve been doing.”

Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said sloppy pitch location doomed Mikolas against the Reds.

“Just left a lot of pitches in the heart of the plate, and they took some really good swings off of him and made him pay,” Marmol said. “They had really good at-bats, so throw this one out and keep moving on.”

Mikolas has made 22 appearances against the Pirates in his career, including 19 starts, and is 5-6 with a 2.90 ERA.

Pirates third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes likely will be in the lineup and is 8-for-19 (.421) in his career against Mikolas.

Jared Jones (5-6, 3.66 ERA) is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Wednesday.

The 22-year-old right-hander is still looking to win back-to-back starts during his rookie season. He will get a chance against the Cardinals after earning a 4-3 victory against the Tampa Bay Rays on June 22, when he allowed two runs and three hits in seven innings.

Jones had his most recent turn in the rotation skipped as the club aims to limit his workload. He will oppose St. Louis for the first time.

The Pirates dropped the series opener 7-4 on Tuesday but had a few positives. Jack Suwinski went 3-for-3 and blasted a three-run homer to cut the Cardinals’ lead in half in the fourth inning.

Suwinski has yet to hit over .176 in a month this season. Even after his performance on Tuesday, his OPS still sits at .578 after he finished at .793 last season.

Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton said Suwinski’s success in the series opener should hoist his confidence.

“When you’re not having consistent swings, you have three really good at-bats, I think that’s a real positive moving forward,” Shelton said. “Good swings, aggressive swings, he was out front, I think that was the most important thing.”

Suwinski also collected his three hits on three different pitches: a sweeper, a fastball and a slider. He is hitting .180 for the season.

“It just shows, not in between, on the fastball and then got the other two pitches out front,” Shelton said. “Overall, positive night for Jack.”

Pittsburgh catcher Yasmani Grandal, on the other hand, continues to struggle. He rolled into two doubles plays on Tuesday and went 0-for-3, leaving him 2-for-20 in his past seven games. Grandal has yet to hit over .200 for a month this season.

“The (first) double-play ball he hit, he hit it 103 (mph), just right at people,” Shelton said. “We’ve got to get some balls to fall for him.”

–Field Level Media