St. Louis Cardinals' Marcell Ozuna watches the action from the dugout in the seventh inning against the Philadelphia Phillies on May 20 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo
The Philadelphia Phillies and the St. Louis Cardinals will play the rubber match of their current series and their season series Wednesday afternoon.
The teams have split the first two games of their series at Citizens Bank Park and are 3-3 against one another in 2018. Jake Arrieta and Michael Wacha will face off for the second time this season.
Arrieta (5-5, 3.33 ERA), who spent four-and-a-half seasons with the Chicago Cubs, is familiar with the Cardinals. The veteran right-hander is 8-5 with a 2.38 ERA and a 9.5 K/9 rate in 18 career starts against St. Louis. The ERA is the third-lowest for Arrieta against any opponent he's faced more than twice in his nine-year major league career.
Arrieta gave up four runs (two earned) in just three innings against the Cardinals during a rain-shortened start on May 18.
Arrieta also had a short outing the last time he was on the mound. Facing the Brewers last Friday, he surrendered eight runs (four earned) on seven hits and two walks over 3 1/3 innings. It marked the third straight start in which Arrieta gave up at least four earned runs, and his ERA has risen from 2.16 to 3.33 over that span.
Arrieta took blame after the 13-2 loss.
"It was (bad) all the way around," he told mlb.com. "I single-handedly lost us the game. I put up a five-spot in the second inning, and it wasn't because of the defense really. And again, if there's a play on defense that's not made, it's our job to get the next guy out to pick that guy up. And I didn't do that."
Wacha (8-2, 3.24 ERA) is also coming off a short start.
The right-hander was hit hard against the Cubs on Friday. He allowed nine runs (eight earned) on seven hits and four walks in four innings. Wacha picked up just his second loss of the season and his first since his season debut against the New York Mets on March 31.
Wacha gave up three homers in the loss after allowing just three long balls in his previous 12 starts.
"They were all elevated, middle of the plate," Wacha told mlb.com. "I just have to do a better job of locating and getting it where I need it to go."
Wacha tied his season-high with eight strikeouts against the Phillies on May 18. He allowed only two runs on five hits across six innings in that start, and has a 4.15 ERA in six career starts against Philadelphia.
Wacha will try to help the Cardinals win back-to-back games for the first time since June 8-9.
St. Louis was a 7-6 winner Tuesday night thanks in large part to Matt Carpenter. The infielder hit the game-winning home run in the ninth inning off Phillies reliever Seranthony Dominguez and also had a two-run double. Carpenter has homered in three straight contests and is hitting .316 in his last 13 games.
Carpenter has just four hits in 38 lifetime at-bats against Arrieta, but two of them have been home runs.