Consecutive series losses to two of the worst teams in baseball isn’t going to help the St. Louis Cardinals in their quest for a playoff spot.
Perhaps getting their All-Star catcher and starting center fielder back in the lineup will provide a much-needed boost for the struggling club.
After losing two of three to major league-worst Pittsburgh, the Cardinals (69-58) have dropped two of three to last-place Washington (55-75). They ended a three-game skid with a 4-2 victory Friday but squandered a three-run lead en route to a 14-5 loss Saturday night.
Yadier Molina(notes) and Colby Rasmus(notes) are both likely to return to the Cardinals for the series finale. Molina was held out of the starting lineup for the second straight night Saturday as he deals with right knee soreness.
“I think Molina will play tomorrow,” manager Tony La Russa told the team’s official website. “He made an argument for today, and the training staff said, ‘The swelling is just going down, don’t do it.’”
Rasmus - third on the team with 19 homers - has not started a game since Aug. 15 as he works his way back from a right calf injury. He worked out on the bases Saturday, with the hope that he would be giving the muscle a final serious test before returning to the field.
“I got on it pretty good, and it felt good,” Rasmus said. “Today, my leg is a little sore, but a good sore. I feel strong.”
Although he still leads the majors in ERA, Wainwright has been average by his standards in his last two starts. He took a 2-0 lead into the sixth Tuesday at Pittsburgh but ended up allowing four runs and seven hits over seven innings in a 4-3 loss.
The four runs matched the total the right-hander gave up over 30 innings in his previous four starts.
Wainwright has won three straight starts against the Nationals, limiting them to four runs in 20 innings.
Dunn had a homer and five RBIs in Saturday’s win as manager Jim Riggleman shuffled his batting order. The 14 runs were the most scored at home by the Nationals since relocating to Washington from Montreal before the 2005 season.
“We were just trying to get some people a little different feel when they went up to the plate,” Riggleman said.
John Lannan(notes) (5-6, 5.23) wouldn’t mind that type of offensive support as he tries to rebound from his worst start this month. The left-hander was reached for five runs and seven hits over five innings in a 5-4 loss to the Cubs on Tuesday after going 3-0 with a 3.09 ERA in his first three August outings.
Lannan, who has one win in his last 13 home starts, has pitched well in four career starts against the Cardinals despite an 0-2 record, compiling a 2.70 ERA.