Aquino, Reds want to slow Cardinals’ roll

Field Level Media

August 17, 2019 at 7:56 am.

The St. Louis Cardinals saw their offense fail to get untracked in the series opener against the Cincinnati Reds before erupting for 13 runs and a season-high 18 hits the following night.

Winners of six of their last seven, the visiting Cardinals aim to continue the hit parade on Saturday as they play the third contest of a four-game series against the Reds.

“We had a really good game plan,” St. Louis manager Mike Shildt said after his club moved into sole possession of first place in the National League Central with a 13-4 romp over Cincinnati on Friday.

“Guys were locked in and they were convicted about the execution of the plan.”

Kolten Wong homered to highlight his three-hit, four-RBI performance on Friday and he has 32 hits since July 18.

“I understand my game,” the 28-year-old Wong said. “I’m not trying to go up there hitting homers. I’m not trying to do that anymore. I’m just trying to really spray the field.”

Dexter Fowler and Paul Goldschmidt also went deep on Friday and aim to continue their good fortune versus Saturday starter Anthony DeSclafani (7-7, 4.51 ERA). Fowler is 7-for-23 with a homer against the right-hander while Goldschmidt is a robust 9-for-18 with four extra-base hits (three doubles, homer).

Wong hasn’t been as fortunate, however, going 0-for-19 with nine strikeouts against DeSclafani.

DeSclafani yielded six runs on as many hits — including two homers — in four innings of a 7-6 setback at Washington on Monday.

The 29-year-old, who owns a 6-3 mark with a 3.17 ERA in 14 career appearances (13 starts) versus St. Louis, has split a pair of decisions among his four starts against the Cardinals this season.

St. Louis right-hander Miles Mikolas (7-12, 4.13) will look to snap a three-game winless skid when he gets the nod on Saturday.

Mikolas answered two hard-luck losses with a no-decision on Sunday versus Pittsburgh, against which he allowed six runs (five earned) on seven hits in five innings.

The 30-year-old fell to 2-2 with a 4.25 ERA in eight career appearances (six starts) versus Cincinnati after dropping two decisions in three starts this season. Eugenio Suarez (4-for-8, homer) and Jesse Winker (5-for-13, two homers, five RBIs) have given Mikolas trouble in their careers.

Suarez’s availability is in question, however, after he exited Friday’s contest in the sixth inning with a left thumb sprain. X-rays were negative for Suarez, who leads the team in homers (33) and RBIs (76).

“He just jammed his thumb and it’s not fractured,” Reds manager David Bell said. “The top joint is sprained a little bit, so if it was the bottom joint, it will be a little more serious. We’re hoping it’s just a day or two, but we’ll have to see (on Saturday).”

Joey Votto’s availability is also unknown after the former NL MVP missed the last two games with an ailing back.

There’s likely little doubt that Aristides Aquino will be in the lineup after the rookie set an MLB record with his 10th homer in his first 17 career games on Friday.