Cardinals’ Mikolas looks to bounce back vs. Marlins

Field Level Media

June 17, 2019 at 6:12 am.

St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Miles Mikolas doesn’t lack for self-awareness.

Mikolas, who will face the Miami Marlins and their right-hander Elieser Hernandez on Monday night in St. Louis, is coming off a 2018 season in which he went a stellar 18-4 with a 2.83 ERA in 32 starts, including one shutout. He also went 10-0 in 16 road starts.

Mikolas (4-7, 4.83 ERA) has dealt with adversity in his previous two starts. He first was hit by a comebacker on his right forearm against the Chicago Cubs, and Wednesday he started in a game the Cardinals lost 9-0 to the Marlins.

“I’m not getting away with mistakes as I did last year,” Mikolas said after giving up five runs in five innings at Miami. “I got a little lucky last year. I don’t think I’m lucky at all this year.”

Mikolas is 2-1 with a 3.91 ERA in six career appearances (four starts) against the Marlins.

The good news for Mikolas on Monday is that he will be at home, where he has posted a 3-3 record with a 2.87 ERA this season. He is 1-4 with a 7.76 ERA on the road.

Overall, he had a 5.29 ERA until the end of April, 3.57 ERA in May and 8.00 ERA in two June starts.

Hernandez (0-1, 5.87) will be making his third appearance and his second start of the season. His loss happened at home against the Cardinals on Tuesday, when he allowed three runs in 5 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts.

Hernandez, who has replaced the injured Caleb Smith (left-hip inflammation) in the rotation, went 2-7 with a 5.21 ERA in 32 appearances (six starts) last year. This year, Hernandez started nine times at Triple-A New Orleans, sporting a 3-1 record and a 1.12 ERA.

In his major-league career, Hernandez is 2-8 with a 5.28 ERA. This will be just his eighth major-league start and his second against the Cardinals.

The Marlins, who have the worst record in the National League, will face a Cardinals team that just took three of four road games from the New York Mets. That includes a 4-3 victory on Sunday during when the Cardinals got just three hits.

Miami, which lost 5-4 to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday, is led offensively by Garrett Cooper, who is hitting .306 overall and .386 (27-for-70) since May 27. He also has four homers, 13 RBIs and 18 runs scored since May 27.

The 28-year-old made his major-league debut in 2016 with the New York Yankees, but his 33 games played this year is the most playing time he has received in the big leagues.

“We’ve always liked Cooper’s hit tool,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “He uses the whole field. He’s kind of an inside-out guy.”

Cooper, a right-handed hitter who has been used at first base and in right field this year, said he has learned how to attack the defensive shifts he has been facing.

“If they’re trying to shift me on the pull side, I’m going to do everything I can to hit it the other way,” said Cooper, a 6-foot-6, 230-pounder. “As a big guy, I’m just trying to get my hands extended.”