After gaining 0.5 games in the National League Wildcard chase, the St. Louis Cardinals will look to pick up more ground tonight as they continue their series in Cincinnati against the Reds.
Rookie Luke Weaver will take the mound for his 16th career start and second against the Reds. The stakes of pitching in a playoff chase are not lost on the 24-year old.
“I know it’s a big deal, but I try to downplay it in my mind,” said Weaver after his last start. “I just try to think it’s another game. It doesn’t change the fact of my mentality when I go out there. I want to stay aggressive and be strong and just put up a great performance. Anything less than trying to be perfect is not good in my head, so I want to go out there and do the best that I can.”
That last start was against the Reds at Busch Stadium where Weaver allowed a pair of hits for one unearned run with 6 strikeouts in 6.0 IP in a 5-2 victory. It marked his sixth consecutive winning start, which is the longest active streak in the Majors.
More impressive is the win streak is the manner in which Weaver has put it together. In his five starts since August 23rd, Weaver is 5-0 with a 1.15 ERA and has 42 strikeouts with just 4 walks in that stretch.
For proper context, the last pitcher to go 5-0 with at least 40 K, 4-or-fewer BB, and have an ERA that low over a five-start span was Clayton Kershaw last May when he posted a line of 0.64 ERA, 55 K, 2 BB. According to Elias, since 1913, the only other rookie to record a comparable five-start span was Roy Oswalt in August of 2001 (0.66 ERA, 48 K, 2 BB).
“It’s awesome,” said Weaver of taking the ball with so much on the line. “I expect it, but it’s just one of those things where you just try to ride it and try not to do too much. Just build a little bit off of each start and try not to overthink or overdo anything and just go with what’s working.”
photo credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Carpenter, 1B
Tommy Pham, LF
Dexter Fowler, CF
Paul DeJong, SS
Yadier Molina, C
Kolten Wong, 2B
Jedd Gyorko, 3B
Stephen Piscotty, 1B
Luke Weaver, P