Indians look to extend Cards’ 5-game losing streak

Field Level Media

June 07, 2021 at 10:30 pm.

The St. Louis Cardinals will try to pull out of their worst tailspin since 2019 when they host the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday night.

The injury-plagued Cardinals have lost five consecutive games and seven of their last eight heading into this two-game set at Busch Stadium.

Another loss would make this their longest losing streak since a seven-game slide in 2017. They have sunk from first place to third in the National League Central.

“I’m frustrated, but I’m not concerned,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said after his team suffered a four-game sweep to the Cincinnati Reds at home. “There would be concern if there were some other things that were taking place — lack of effort, lack of fight, lack of competitive spirit, playing sloppy. But that wasn’t necessarily the case this whole series.

“Frustration lies in not getting the reward for the effort over the last three days. It’s been pretty damn good.”

Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez (3-5, 5.83 ERA) will seek to rebound from a disastrous performance in his last outing. The right-hander retired just two batters while allowing 10 earned runs on six hits and four walks.

Martinez delivered quality starts in his two starts prior to that, allowing five runs on just seven hits and two walks in 12 innings.

Cleveland’s Eddie Rosario (4-for-9, walk, double) and Rene Rivera (1-for-3, homer, two RBIs) have succeeded in their limited exposure to Martinez, who pitched six strong innings against the Indians in winning his only previous start against them.

After enjoying a 21-14 start this season, the Indians are just 10-12 since then, falling four games behind the first-place Chicago White Sox in the American League Central.

They lost two of three games in Baltimore over the weekend, including an 18-5 shelling Sunday.

On the plus side, Bobby Bradley went 3-for-4 and drove in three runs in his first start of the season being called up from Indianapolis for the first time since 2019.

Indians designated hitter Franmil Reyes (oblique strain) could be sidelined well into July. The team moved on from Jake Bauers, designating him for assignment Saturday.

So Bradley is getting his chance after hitting 156 homers in 2,498 minor league at bats.

“We’re dying to get some production,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “To get off to a good start is important. Hopefully he feels really good about himself.”

Shane Bieber (6-3, 3.08 ERA) will start for the Indians. He has allowed no more than three runs in any of his 11 starts this season and has failed to pitch into the sixth inning just once.

Bieber has won his only career start against the Cardinals. Yadier Molina (1-for-3) and Matt Carpenter (1-for-2, double, walk) got good looks against him.

But Molina (knee contusion) is questionable for the game. He left Saturday’s game after absorbing a foul tip and sat out Sunday.

“I’ve seen a fair amount of tough guys,” Shildt said, noting that Molina could have pinch hit on Sunday. “I’ve grown up in athletics and sports and clubhouses my whole life and this guy is the Alpha of the Alphas.”

Shortstop Paul DeJong (cracked rib) could return Tuesday after playing two rehab games for Triple-A Memphis over the weekend. DeJong’s activation could bump fill-in shortstop Edmundo Sosa to second base and second baseman Tommy Edman to right field.

Right fielder Dylan Carlson has been filling in as the center fielder with Harrison Bader (cracked rib) on the 10-day injured list.