The Cardinals try to avoid a season-high fifth straight loss Friday night when they start a three-game home series against a Giants team that has dropped nine of 15.
St. Louis (65-53) has fallen 3 1/2 games behind NL Central leader Cincinnati, while San Francisco (68-54) trails West leader San Diego by six games. The Giants, though, are one game behind Philadelphia for the wild card, with the Cardinals two back.
“Everybody’s destiny is in front of them,” San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. “It’s how you play and you have to win ballgames. It’s not about looking for help. You have to take care of business if you’re going to get there.”
Despite Albert Pujols’(notes) eight homers in his last 15 games, the Cardinals have had problems scoring lately. Cleanup hitter Matt Holliday(notes) is 2 for 15 and Yadier Molina(notes), who has started 21 consecutive games at catcher, is 1 for 13.
“We’re capable, and we’ve shown it,” manager Tony La Russa said. “We just have to show it more often. Whatever the guy’s doing to us, make the adjustment and make something happen.”
St. Louis made a move Thursday that was more about defense, acquiring third baseman Pedro Feliz(notes) from Houston. Feliz batted .221 with four homers and 31 RBIs for the Astros, but his .967 fielding percentage is better than slumping Felipe Lopez’s(notes) .925 mark at third base and was a major factor in the trade.
“He ranks up there with almost any third baseman in the game today,” general manager John Mozeliak said of Feliz. “I understand this is not the biggest deal in the world, but I do think it addresses a very big need.”
The Cardinals will get their first look at Madison Bumgarner(notes) (4-4, 3.27 ERA), who has recorded all of his victories on the road. He gave up two runs over seven innings of a 3-2, 11-inning win over San Diego on Saturday.
The left-hander has gone 0-2 with a 4.76 ERA in his last four outings after going 4-0 with a 1.35 ERA in his previous four.
The Giants ended a three-game slide with a 5-2 victory over the Phillies on Thursday. Rookie Buster Posey(notes) had two hits and two RBIs and Jonathan Sanchez(notes) took a shutout into the ninth inning.
Posey has gone 10 for 21 over his last five games.
Westbrook earned his first win with the Cardinals in his third start with the club Friday against Chicago. The right-hander yielded two runs in six innings of a 6-3 victory - the most recent one for St. Louis.
Pitching dominated when these teams totaled nine runs April 23-25, with the Giants taking two of three at home.