The St. Louis Cardinals are no longer playing like the best team in baseball.
The slumping Cardinals look to get back on track as they open a three-game series against the woeful Arizona Diamondbacks at Busch Stadium.
St. Louis committed a season-high four errors in an 8-3 loss to the Houston Astros on Thursday. The Cardinals lost two of three against the Astros, keeping their magic number for clinching the NL Central at four.
St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said he wouldn’t use this game as a motivational tool.
“This is not TV or the movies,” La Russa said. “Our club, they’re very realistic, very honest with themselves. They know we’re not playing as good as we can play, so let’s do something about it.”
The Cardinals have lost six of nine, and have lost three straight series after winning 11 of the previous 14.
“We just haven’t been playing ball like we’re capable of, but at least it’s happening now,” Reggie Sanders said.
Woody Williams will try to get St. Louis off to a good start against the Diamondbacks in the opener. The veteran right-hander is 9-3 with a 3.39 ERA in 16 career games against Arizona. Williams has won seven of his last eight decisions.
The Diamondbacks, assured of finishing with the worst record in the NL, have won three straight—their longest winning streak in more than three months.
Danny Bautista had two doubles and an RBI to help lift the Diamondbacks to an 8-5 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Thursday. Arizona won three straight for the first time since sweeping San Francisco from June 1-3.
“We need to finish strong so we build some kind of momentum going to spring training next year,” Arizona manager Al Pedrique said.