The St. Louis Cardinals, fresh off a sweep of the best team in the American League, now head west to take on the worst team in the National League West.
St. Louis took three straight from the New York Yankees over the weekend, extending its winning streak to seven games. The Cardinals prevailed 1-0 in a pitchers' duel on Saturday, and captured a slugfest 12-9 on Sunday. The bats are heating up in time to play the Colorado Rockies for a three-game series starting Tuesday in Denver.
Colorado will send Ryan Feltner (1-3, 5.75 ERA) to the mound against the Cardinals' Miles Mikolas (8-8, 2.92) in the series opener.
St. Louis has won nine of its past 10 games to move into first place in the NL Central, two games ahead of the slumping Milwaukee Brewers. The Cardinals have swept two consecutive series and allowed a total of eight runs in six games prior to the shootout Sunday.
"We've got to continue to play like we're playing the Yankees," said shortstop Paul DeJong, who homered and drove in four runs against New York on Sunday.
Three of the wins in the Cardinals' streak were shutouts, but the Sunday game was taxing, even if it ended up in a victory.
"I'm just happy we have a day off," said third baseman Nolan Arenado, who is set to return to the city where he spent the first eight years of his major league career. "If we needed a day off, (Monday) would be the day. That was a rough one."
Mikolas will try to keep the winning streak alive. In six career appearances (four starts) against the Rockies, he is 1-0 with a 5.92 ERA.
He is 1-0 with an 8.44 ERA in three games (two starts) at Denver.
The Rockies also had Monday off, but it likely wasn't as enjoyable as the Cardinals' breather. Colorado has gone 5-13 since the All-Star break and lost six of eight on its just-completed road trip through San Diego and Arizona.
The Rockies, despite being far out of playoff contention, stood pat at last week's trade deadline -- the only team not to make a deal. They signed closer Daniel Bard to a two-year extension but held on to shortstop Jose Iglesias and pitchers Alex Colome, Carlos Estevez and Chad Kuhl, all of whom will be unrestricted free agents after the season.
"I still say that our pitching is our strength," Colorado general manager Bill Schmidt said. "And it's too hard for us to acquire pitching. So we still have the core that we are going to build around, going forward. That hasn't changed."
Colorado has given Feltner a chance to show he can be part of the future. He made his major league debut last September and has shuttled between the Rockies and Triple-A Albuquerque this year. He has never faced St. Louis and is 1-2 with a 7.31 ERA at home in his career.
Feltner started the first game of a doubleheader at San Diego on Aug. 2, when he gave up three runs on eight hits in 3 2/3 innings. He is now filling in for Kuhl, who went on the 15-day injured list on Friday due to a right hip flexor strain.
--Field Level Media