video thumbnail

ARI@MIL: Roenicke on Wolf's frustration in start

On Tuesday at Miller Park, 35-year-old Randy Wolf will try to forget the first half of his season and start anew.

He hasn't picked up a win since April 30 despite making 12 starts in May, June and July. He left with the lead but didn't earn a win in seven starts in the first half. His ERA has never dipped under five and currently sits at 5.80.

Altogether, it's a season that Wolf called "a nightmare" after his start on June 29, when he gave up eight runs (seven earned) in four innings against the D-backs.

"It's one of those things where it definitely takes years off your life," Wolf said after that start. "Because when you go out there, this game I love playing, but right now, it's really not fun. It seems like in every way it's gone bad for me this year. It's tough."

Things were especially rocky right before the All-Star break. In his last three starts, Wolf posted a 9.37 ERA in 16 1/3 innings. Opponents batted .329 against him.

Wolf has pitched against the Cardinals before this season, giving up three runs in five innings in the Brewers' 9-3 loss on April 8.

Rookie Joe Kelly, who has 352 fewer career starts than his counterpart, will pitch for the Cardinals, now 3 1/2 games back in the National League Central after Monday's 3-2 comeback victory. He will be making his first appearance against a division opponent.

He's thrown six innings in each of his last four starts and has a 2.63 ERA over that span. He tossed 96 and 97 pitches in his last two starts, the two highest pitch counts of his short career.

In his last start on July 8 against the Marlins, Kelly walked a season-high five batters.

"It wasn't as good as I wanted to be," Kelly said of his command. "And a small strike zone, that's where you have to deal with, that adversity right there. You can't make excuses, and you have to pitch to what the guy back there wants."

The Cardinals have lost three of four games since the All-Star break, but manager Mike Matheny said his players have been very conscious about putting the past behind them.

"We're playing the game the right way, and I think the guys on this team believe in themselves and each other that there's better baseball out there," Matheny said. "That starts with today and we'll take it one game at a time."

Brewers: Greinke bumped from start on Wednesday
General manager Doug Melvin and manager Ron Roenicke agreed that Zack Greinke needs time to "recharge his batteries" after starting three straight games around the All-Star break.

Greinke was set to pitch in Wednesday's series finale against the Cardinals, but the Brewers decided to skip his spot in the rotation. He will next pitch on July 24 in Philadelphia.

The move comes during the Brewers' three-series stretch against teams they trail in the National League Central.

"These games are important, but the more important thing is, we need to get him pitching right," Roenicke said. "The longer range is a lot more important than bringing him back [to pitch against] St. Louis."

Cardinals: Beltran, Berkman get planned rest
Outfielder Carlos Beltran and first baseman Lance Berkman weren't in the starting lineup for Monday's series opener against the Brewers but figure to be back on Tuesday.

Matheny said Beltran is "tired" after his trip to Kansas City for the All-Star Game. In Berkman's case, Matheny is trying to avoid starting the first baseman on back-to-back days after he missed nearly two months with a right knee injury.

Beltran is batting 7-for-40 (.175) in his last 10 games. Berkman made his first start on Sunday and is 0-for-5 since returning from the injury. Both batters pinch-hit in the ninth inning of Monday's victory and made outs.

Worth noting
• The Cardinals have won 11 of their last 14 regular-season meetings with the Brewers.

• Third baseman David Freese has a .353 batting average against Wolf in 17 career at-bats.

MLB.com Comments