The St. Louis Cardinals will try to carry momentum from their weekend series victory over the Milwaukee Brewers into their three-game home series against the Colorado Rockies.
The National League Central-leading Cardinals won two of three games from the Brewers to retain their division lead. TheCardinals have gone 12-4 since July 26.
"There is no way a team, with these kinds of caliber of players and athletes that we have here, there was no way we were going to go 162 games playing up and down like we were," Cardinals designated hitter Albert Pujols said. "Somehow, we were going to find a stretch where we're going to figure it out. And that's what we've been doing since the break.
"Now we have more consistent baseball. This is what we were expecting. This is the ball club that we have and I believe with the pieces we added, it makes us even better."
Meanwhile, the Rockies have won just one series since the All-Star break -- and that came against the Cardinals last week, when they won two of three games at home.
In response, the Cardinals condensed their rotation ahead of this series at Busch Stadium, using Monday's day off to skip Dakota Hudson. Jose Quintana (4-5, 3.37 ERA) will open the series, followed by Jordan Montgomery and Adam Wainwright.
Quintana is 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA in two starts for the Cardinals after arriving from the Pittsburgh Pirates in a trade. He will try to duplicate the success he enjoyed last week in a 9-5 victory over the Rockies.
The left-hander allowed two runs on seven hits in six innings. He struck out six batters and walked two while throwing 103 pitches. Jose Iglesias (sacrifice fly) and C.J. Cron (RBI triple) did the only damage against him.
"My curve ball was better tonight," Quintana said after that game. "I saw the video and made an adjustment on what I want to do, because they know me. I just tried to execute my pitches."
Quintana is 1-1 with a 6.55 ERA against the Rockies this season. With the Pirates, he suffered a 13-2 loss to Colorado on July 15 while allowing six runs on seven hits and two walks.
In his career Quintana is 3-3 with a 5.27 ERA in eight appearances against the Rockies, including seven starts. Charlie Blackmon (9-for-16, double, homer, two RBIs) and Brendan Rogers (3-for-10, double, homer, four RBIs) have hit him hard.
Rockies starting pitcher Kyle Freeland (7-8, 4.84 ERA) will try to rebound from being on the wrong end of that 9-5 decision. He allowed six runs on 10 hits in 4 1/3 innings.
The Cardinals scored five of those runs in the first inning while batting around against him. Run-scoring doubles by Nolan Arenado and Tyler O'Neill were the big blows in that frame.
"When I'm not locating well glove-side, when things really come back over the middle, it's usually an indication for me that I'm not sharp that day," Freeland said.
Freeland is 0-3 with a 4.98 ERA in four career starts against the Cardinals. Paul DeJong (3-for-8, double, two RBIs), Yadier Molina (4-for-10, two RBIs) and Arenado (3-for-5, two doubles, RBI) have been problematic for him.
--Field Level Media