It’s been almost 24 years since St. Louis swept a four-game series from the Philadelphia Phillies. With Adam Wainwright(notes) on the mound at Busch Stadium, the Cardinals have a good chance to do it again.
The All-Star looks to remain perfect at home as the Cardinals seek a ninth straight victory and sweep of the struggling Phillies on Thursday.
With a 1 1/2-game lead atop the NL Central, St. Louis (54-41) tries to win nine in a row for the first time since Aug. 27-Sept. 5, 2004. The Cardinals have outscored Philadelphia 20-6 in their three victories, and have a chance for their first four-game sweep of the Phillies since Aug. 4-7, 1986.
The two-time defending NL champion Phillies (48-46) hope to avoid matching their season-high fifth consecutive defeat.
“What can I say?” said manager Charlie Manuel, whose team has scored one or fewer runs 23 times. “About every day we do the same thing. We don’t hit and we don’t score enough runs.
“I’ve been giving everyone in that locker room a chance. If you can hit, please do. That’s not taking a shot at one guy, it’s covering a lot of territory.”
Trying to break out at the plate will not get any easier against one of the game’s top pitchers.
Wainwright (14-5, 2.02 ERA) allowed five hits in six innings of a 2-0 win over Los Angeles on Friday to become the first Cardinals pitcher to go 10-0 in his first 10 games at home. He has a 1.31 ERA at Busch Stadium.
“There is nothing different about where he pitches, he is just really good,” manager Tony La Russa told the Cardinals’ official website.
Overall, Wainwright has not allowed a run in 19 innings, and one over 29 1-3 innings while winning his last four starts.
The right-hander is 2-1 with a 2.83 ERA in five starts against the Phillies. He allowed one run and four hits in eight innings of a 2-1, 10-inning loss at Philadelphia on May 4.
The left-hander is 1-0 with an 0.61 ERA in his last two starts. The only run he’s allowed during that span came in seven innings as Philadelphia rallied for four runs in the ninth for a 4-1 win over the Cubs on Saturday.
Hamels is 2-2 with a 3.60 ERA in seven starts against the Cardinals.
St. Louis native Ryan Howard(notes) homered for the fifth time in seven games Wednesday for the Phillies. Though his team has lost six of those contests, Howard is 10 for 27 with 10 RBIs during that span.