Despite a long list of names on the disabled list, the Cardinals have stayed in contention - largely due to Wellemeyer’s consistency.
Wellemeyer will look for his 10th victory on Thursday as St. Louis tries to make it three of four against the Florida Marlins in the series finale in Miami.
With Mark Mulder, Chris Carpenter and Joel Pineiro recovering from injuries at the start of the season, Wellemeyer (9-4, 4.01 ERA) was pressed into duty in the Cardinals’ rotation. The journeyman, who had spent time with the Chicago Cubs and Kansas City Royals in addition to Florida (63-58), had only started 11 games in his career prior to this season, winning three of those.
But he’s helped stabilize the pitching staff for St. Louis (67-56), and manager Tony La Russa’s team has been a surprise contender in the NL Central. Wellemeyer turned in one of his more significant performances of the season in his latest start, limiting the Cubs to three runs over 6 2-3 innings on Saturday in a 12-3 win over one of the teams standing between the Cardinals and the postseason.
Wellemeyer is 1-0 with a 3.04 ERA in his last four starts after going 1-2 with a 7.15 ERA in his first four starts in July.
“I’ve added some stuff,” Wellemeyer told the Cardinals’ official Web site.” My changeup, it’s the best I’ve felt with that pitch in the last three starts all year.”
After beating one of his former teams in his last start, he’ll get a chance to do the same at Dolphin Stadium on Thursday. Wellemeyer has never started a game against Florida, where he pitched 18 games in relief in 2006.
Aside from a 12-run outburst in Wellemeyer’s last start, the Cardinals had scored 12 total runs in their last six games. After 12 singles in the first 6 2-3 innings on Wednesday, catcher Jason LaRue’s double broke a 2-2 tie and St. Louis went on to beat the Marlins 6-4.
“You can’t exaggerate how big a hit that was,” La Russa told the Cardinals’ official Web site.
St. Louis will try to keep its offense going against Scott Olsen (6-7, 4.04), who’s 1-3 with a 5.20 ERA in his last five starts. Olsen’s latest start came on the road on Saturday, when he gave up nine hits and five runs in five innings of an 8-6 loss to the New York Mets.
He rolled his ankle covering first base in that game, leaving after pitching to one batter in the sixth. But Olsen hasn’t missed a start in his first two full season in the majors, and doesn’t intend to against the Cardinals.
“I never expected to miss a start,” Olsen told the Marlins’ official Web site. “I’ll be out there. I’m not one to miss starts.”
Olsen has been dismal on the road, going 2-3 with a 5.67 ERA, but he’s been stellar at Dolphin Stadium, where he’s 4-4 with a 2.91 ERA.
He was hit hard in his lone start against the Cardinals, but that was more than two years ago. Olsen gave up seven runs in 3 2-3 innings in a 9-1 loss in May 2006.
Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla, who led baseball with 23 home runs on June 20, is still looking for his first in August. He’s hitting .205 (9-for-44) with three RBIs this month.