Although they’ve reduced their deficit, the St. Louis Cardinals still face a sizable gap in the NL Central with not much time to make it up.
After a pair of lackluster efforts, the right-hander will try to bounce back in Monday’s rescheduled road game with the Florida Marlins.
Winning three of four at home over San Diego helped the Cardinals (77-71) trim two games off Cincinnati’s lead in the division. Adam Wainwright(notes) notched his 19th win and Colby Rasmus(notes) homered in Sunday’s 4-1 victory, but that still left St. Louis trailing the Reds by six games with 14 to go.
“Right now we’re still battling for this division,” Wainwright said. “Until we’re eliminated we’re going to be battling.”
Getting Carpenter (15-7, 3.21 ERA) back on track could aid an improbable playoff push and facing the Marlins (73-75) might help him.
Carpenter has an 8.74 ERA in consecutive defeats, and gave up five runs over 6 1-3 innings before leaving with a cramping right hamstring in Wednesday’s 7-3 loss to Chicago.
Carpenter, who is trying to surpass 15 wins in a season for the third time in his career, is 3-0 with a 1.67 ERA in his last five starts against Florida.
“You move on to the next one,” he told the team’s official website. “I’ll be ready to pitch my next one. That’s the way it is.”
Carpenter will face a Marlins team that’s lost a season-worst six straight on its nine-game homestand. Florida was routed 13-3 by Chicago on Sunday.
The Cubs scored eight runs off relievers Brett Sinkbeil(notes), Jorge Sosa(notes) and Burke Badenhop(notes), who gave up four in the ninth. Florida’s pitchers also tied a team record for a nine-inning game with 12 walks.
“You can’t defend a walk. That was the frustrating part,” manager Edwin Rodriguez said.
Florida hasn’t dropped seven straight at home since Aug. 15-27, 2007, and seven in a row overall since April 20-27, 2009.
Volstad (9-9, 5.11) has a 9.82 ERA in three starts this month, but a chance for a career-high fourth consecutive victory. He gave up five runs in 4 2-3 innings of the Marlins’ 6-5 win over the Nationals on Sept. 12.
Volstad is 1-1 with a 7.59 ERA in two career starts against the Cardinals. He gave up six runs and 10 hits over 5 2-3 innings in his most recent matchup, a 13-4 home loss on June 10, 2009.
St. Louis and Florida had split four meetings before their final scheduled game was rained out Aug. 8.
The Cardinals have won 16 of 22 at Sun Life Stadium.