|Cards' Wainwright returns as Marlins' Gallen makes debut|
St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright has been waiting to get back on the mound since straining his left hamstring on June 9.
Miami Marlins right-hander Zac Gallen has been waiting to get on a major league mound quite a while longer.
Gallen, a 23-year-old New Jersey native, will make his major league debut on Thursday night -- against Wainwright -- when the Marlins and Cardinals conclude their four-game series in St. Louis.
St. Louis leads the series 2-1 after beating Miami 2-1 in 11 innings on Wednesday.
Gallen earned his promotion by dominating this year at Triple-A New Orleans, posting a 9-1 record with a 1.77 ERA, 112 strikeouts and just 17 walks in 91 1/3 innings.
"Anytime you are pitching well, you want (the call-up) to happen," Gallen told reporters. "I'm finally here. I'm excited."
Gallen is getting his chance because starting pitcher Pablo Lopez was placed on the injured list due a strained pitching shoulder.
The irony is that Gallen was one of four prospects the Marlins received when they traded outfielder Marcell Ozuna to the Cardinals on Dec. 14, 2017.
"When you get drafted by a team, you think you are going to make it to their stadium in their uniform," Gallen said. "But I'm wearing a different uniform. ... It's kind of funny."
Meanwhile, Wainwright -- who at 37 is 14 years older than Gallen -- is 5-6 with a 4.46 ERA this year. This will be the first time he faces the 2019 Marlins, but over his career, he is 6-2 with a 2.95 ERA in 12 appearances, including 10 starts, vs. this franchise.
Wainwright has had a noteworthy career as a three-time All-Star, a two-time Gold Glove winner, a World Series champ in 2006 and even a Silver Slugger award as the best-hitting pitcher in '17.
But injuries have plagued him. He was able to make a total of just 31 starts the previous two years and was really hoping this season would be different.
"Deep down, I wasn't mentally there," Wainwright told MLB.com when asked about his injuries the past two years.
This season, Wainwright has struggled on the road (1-5, 6.56 ERA). But he has been stellar at home (4-1, 2.31).
He was hit hard in May, posting a 1-3 record and a 6.33 ERA. But he's been better in two June starts (1-1, 2.19). Then again, in two starts where he has had six or more days of rest, Wainwright is 0-1 with a 7.56 ERA.
As for the Cardinals and Marlins offenses, both of them have been feeble of late. Miami has been shut out 13 times this year and scored just one run in 11 innings on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals have scored just two runs in their past 20 innings, including a walk-off home run by Paul Goldschmidt to beat Miami on Wednesday.
Goldschmidt has just two hits in his past 24 at-bats -- both homers. He pulled his latest homer -- his 14th of the year -- to left off reliever Adam Conley. Goldschmidt also nearly won the game in the bottom of the ninth with a long drive that went just foul down the left field line.
Meanwhile, Cardinals first baseman Rangel Ravelo, a 27-year-old Cuban who played 838 minor league games, got his first major league start and first major league hit on Wednesday.
As for Miami, Marlins first baseman Garrett Cooper, who has an 11-game hit streak and was in Wednesday's original starting lineup, was scratched after batting practice due to a sore arm. He is questionable for Thursday's game.
--Field Level Media