Luke Weaver’s best start of the season came last month against the Philadelphia Phillies. Weaver will try to emulate that success Tuesday night as the Phillies face the St. Louis Cardinals in the middle of a three-game series at Citizens Bank Park.
The 24-year-old Weaver (4-6, 4.52 ERA) allowed just one run and four hits and notched six strikeouts in seven innings against the Phillies on May 17. Weaver has gone seven innings in just one of his 13 other starts this season.
Weaver, who has a 3.00 ERA and 1.167 WHIP in two career starts against Philadelphia, struggled in both of his last two appearances. He allowed eight runs, 16 hits and six walks in the two outings (10 1/3 innings), including four runs and nine hits in 5 1/3 innings of his last game against the San Diego Padres.
“He used everything. Thought he had a real nice changeup, he was smart with the breaking ball,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of Weaver after his last start. “But that last inning, there were a lot of hard hit balls.”
Weaver has lost four straight decisions, a streak that dates to his previous start against the Phillies.
Vince Velasquez, who will oppose Weaver again on Tuesday, picked up the win in that game last month.
Velasquez (5-7, 4.74) held the Cardinals scoreless for 6 1/3 innings and struck out five in a 6-2 Phillies win. He had a 6.30 ERA in four starts after that game, but the hard-throwing right-hander was dominant the last time he was on the mound.
Facing the Colorado Rockies last Thursday, Velasquez carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning. He gave up just one hit and two runs before exiting after 6 2/3 innings and 105 pitches.
“I thought that was as confident as I’ve ever seen him,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler told MLB.com about Velasquez. “But most notably for me was how comfortable he looked in his own skin today. It was a breath of fresh air, and I think when things aren’t going that smoothly for him, if he can maintain that composure, maintain that easiness and maintain that confidence, that’s when he’s going to reach his true potential.”
Velasquez is 1-1 with a 3.65 ERA and 1.297 WHIP in two career starts against St. Louis.
The Phillies are going for their fourth straight win after getting an unlikely walk-off victory in the 10th inning Monday night. Aaron Altherr hit a game-winning, two-run double that bounced past a diving Marcell Ozuna in left field.
Philadelphia’s 6-5 win came after its bullpen gave up two runs with two outs in the ninth inning and the go-ahead run on a Tommy Pham homer in the 10th.
“They came back in the ninth against us, but we still thought we could win this game,” Altherr told NBC Sports Philadelphia after his heroics. “It shows how resilient this team is. We never give up and always fight.”
The Cardinals, meanwhile, have dropped six of their last eight games.