|Cards' Flaherty, Reds' DeSclafani look to snap droughts|
Jack Flaherty of the St. Louis Cardinals and Anthony DeSclafani of the Cincinnati Reds will be hungry for a win when the right-handed pitchers face off in the finale of a four-game series on Sunday afternoon in Cincinnati.
Flaherty (4-6, 4.41 ERA) is 0-3 in his past 10 starts, but his 4.47 ERA in that span isn't much higher than it was (4.34) when he went 4-3 in his first nine appearances this season.
DeSclafani (5-4, 4.29) is looking for his first win in July after going 3-1 with a 3.08 ERA last month.
The Reds can even the series with a win, having blown leads in the first two games before rallying for a 3-2 victory on Saturday night.
Flaherty has pitched much better this month, allowing one earned run over seven innings in each of his past two outings.
Cardinals manager Mike Shildt showed confidence in Flaherty in his last start, leaving him in against the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates after their leadoff batter reached base in the seventh inning of a 1-1 game. Shildt had pitchers ready in the bullpen, but let Flaherty work his way out of the potential jam.
"He's competing really well, so it was an opportunity for him to continue," Shildt told reporters afterward.
Flaherty faced the Reds on April 28 and blanked them on four hits over seven innings in the 5-2 win, improving his record to 3-1. He's 1-2 overall in his career against Cincinnati with a 3.09 ERA across five starts.
DeSclafani has pitched very well against St. Louis in his career. The 29-year-old is 6-2 against the Cardinals with a 3.32 ERA in 13 games (12 starts).
In his two starts this month, DeSclafani has drawn no-decisions in solid outings. He allowed two runs and seven hits in six innings on July 6 against the visiting Cleveland Indians, but the bullpen gave up five runs over the final two innings in the 7-2 loss.
In his latest outing on Tuesday, he gave up three runs and four hits in 5 2/3 innings of a 10-inning loss at the Chicago Cubs. DeSclafani gave up a two-run homer in the second and a solo shot in the sixth to spoil an early 3-0 lead.
"Essentially, got beat with two pitches," DeSclafani said afterward.
DeSclafani's only no-decision last month came June 6 in St. Louis, when he allowed a run and six hits over five innings of a 3-1 loss.
He also faced the Cardinals twice in April. He struggled in the first outing on April 14 in Cincinnati, giving up four runs and five hits in four innings. He did not receive the decision in the 9-5 loss. He came back 12 days later and tossed six shutout innings in a 12-1 win.
Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt is 9-for-18 in his career off DeSclafani, but second baseman Kolten Wong is 0-for-19 with nine strikeouts.
Two other Cardinals with past success against DeSclafani are out with injury. Matt Carpenter is 12-for-27 with three home runs off DeSclafani, but he remains sidelined with a foot injury. Marcell Ozuna is 7-for-20, but he's out with a finger injury. Both are expected to begin rehab assignments next week.
Reds center fielder Nick Senzel pinch-ran in the eighth inning on Saturday night after missing the previous two games with a tight hamstring.
--Field Level Media