A spot in the team record books is on the line Sunday Cal Ripken Jersey
, as well as an opportunity to solidify their playoff positioning.But if the St. Louis Cardinals are to beat the Cincinnati Reds at Busch Stadium and capture their 11th consecutive series, they will probably need a strong start from a guy that recently lost his spot in the rotation.Manager Mike Shildt has opted to give an extra day of rest to the likes of Jack Flaherty, y through Wednesday in Washington. Shildt is going with righthander Luke Weaver (7-11, 4.59 ERA), who will make his first start since an Aug. 16 loss to the Nationals, which occurred four days after he was scratched with a cut on his right index finger from trying to open a food tray.Article continues below ...After starting the season as perhaps the team’s second-best starter behind Carlos Martinez, Weaver hasn’t been able to consistently command his pitches. Good starts became less frequent, replaced by outings in which the Cardinals had to dip into their bullpen before the fifth inning was over.Since moving to the bullpen, Weaver has yielded one run and five hits in four innings over three appearances, picking up the win in a 5-2 victory Aug. 21 at the Los Angeles Dodgers with 2 1/3 innings.Weaver is 3-0 with a 5.16 ERA in five career games against Cincinnati, but will probably be on a short leash. With St. Louis (76-60) occupying one of the two wild-card spots in the National League and sporting a fresh bullpen after Tyson Ross soaked up 4 2/3 innings of long relief in Saturday night’s 4-0 defeat, Weaver won’t have much room for error.The Cardinals had little chance Saturday night. Reds starter Luis Castillo dominated for 6 2/3 innings, whiffing 11 and allowing only two hits in earning the win.“The reality is not a lot of people are going to do anything to him with what he had,” Shildt said of Castillo. “He had really nasty stuff and was able to repeat it and, locate it. Nice outing by that young man.”Cincinnati righthander Anthony DeSclafani (7-4, 4.34) will try to replicate what Castillo did. In his last outing Tuesday night http://www.oriolesfanproshop.com/authentic-j.j.-hardy-jersey
, DeSclafani picked up a 9-7 victory over Milwaukee on Tuesday, allowing seven hits and four runs in 6 2/3 innings while walking one and fanning six. He went 3-1 with a 2.62 ERA in five August starts.“I think we see Anthony DeSclafani as handling the workload,” Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said to mlb.com before Tuesday night’s game. “He’s a good Major League pitcher.”DeSclafani has pitched well against the Cardinals in his four-year career, going 5-2 in nine outings (eight starts) with a 3.30 ERA. But they got to him July 15, ripping him for six runs on five hits and a walk in 3 1/3 innings of a 6-4 loss. And St. Louis might beef up its lineup for the series finale. It activated left fielder Marcell Ozuna (shoulder) off the 10-day disabled list Saturday. Shildt said before Saturday night’s game that he anticipates Ozuna will return to the lineup Sunday.The Cardinals enter Sunday 4 1/2 games behind the first-place Chicago Cubs in the NL Central. The Tampa Bay Rays are miles away from any kind of postseason contention as the season runs down, but that doesn’t mean Kevin Cash’s young team can’t continue to have some fun.The Rays have won six straight games to get to a season-high seven games above .500. The streak started with Jalen Beeks coming out of the bullpen to beat his former team last Sunday — and win No. 6 turned out to be the same thing.There were four wins over the lowly Kansas City Royals during the week — but Nos. 1 and 6 came over the sizzling Boston Red Sox. The Rays and Red Sox meet again Saturday.Article continues below ...Rookie Willy Adames, hitting .395 in his last 13 games, belted a 420-foot home run to dead center, went 2-for-3, stole a base and had two RBIs and three runs scored in the 10-3 rout of the first-place Red Sox. He is hitting .362 with five homers and 13 RBIs in August.Asked on television what he would say to people who don’t like the future of this young group, Adames smiled and said, “They better start changing their minds because we coming in hot.”“It’s nice sometimes to repay the favor — they’ve done it to us quite a bit,” Cash said of the Red Sox.The only negative on the night for the Rays was Mallex Smith, who has been outstanding, landed in the hospital with a viral infection that sends him to the disabled list. Cash didn’t think it was serious, but it’s serious enough for the hospital and the DL.Rookie Ryan Yarbrough Jim Palmer Jersey
, who leads the major leagues with 10 relief wins (and is 12-5), will start Saturday night as he faces 15-game winner Rick Porcello in Game 2 of the series — with ace Rick Snell set to face former Ray Nate Eovaldi in Sunday’s finale.Hector Velazquez, a hard-luck loser to the Rays last Sunday, couldn’t get out of the third inning Friday night as the Rays stroked six straight two-out singles.Porcello, 15-6 with a 4.14 ERA, has had two poor starts in his last three outings, yielding 12 earned runs and 12 hits in 11 innings around a good start in Philadelphia.The Red Sox fell to 90-40 and saw their lead atop the American League East shrink back to 8 1/2 games over the New York Yankees, losing to the young pitcher they dealt for Eovaldi.“We hit him hard today,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said of Beeks. “There were like six at-bats that we hit lasers everywhere. But he spotted his fastball. That’s what we know about the kid, but, hey to get Nate Eovaldi you’re going to give up good players and he’s a good pitcher.“He made some pitches when he had to but we hit him hard today.”Boston had 13 hits Friday night, but all were singles. They are 19-23 in games they don’t hit a homer, 71-17 in games they do.“It was a good night for them, a bad one for us,” Cora said.The Rays roster is hitting a cumulative .259 (37-for-143) against Porcello. Matt Duffy is 7-for-18 (.389), Carlos Gomez 3-for-9 (.333) and Joey Wendle 3-for-10 (.300) Mark Trumbo Jersey
, but Mallex Smith is just 4-for-22 (.182), Kevin Kiermaier 10-for-45 (.222) and C.J. Cron 3-for-13 (.231).Yarbrough has faced the Red Sox three times in relief this season, going 1-0 with nine strikeouts while allowing three earned runs in eight innings.Mitch Moreland, out for the Red Sox after suffering a left knee bruise in the first inning Thursday, missed the game, Cora reporting his first baseman was “feeling a lot better,” Friday. With the Rays starting a lefty Saturday night, Moreland would likely sit.Red Sox knuckleballer Steven Wright, still trying to come back from knee surgery and then a setback, threw a positive 35-pitch batting practice Friday.Also Friday, the Red Sox promoted their top position prospect, Michael Chavis, who served a PED suspension earlier this season, to Triple-A. He responded with a home run and two doubles in his first three Triple-A at-bats.