Michael Wacha overcame his recent funk with some minor adjustments but he's still looking to solve his troubles on the road.
Wacha attempts to build on his latest effort with another strong performance against the Cincinnati Reds as the St. Louis Cardinals aim to cap this three-game series with back-to-back wins Thursday.
Wacha (12-4, 3.09 ERA) leads St. Louis (68-39) in wins after yielding four hits with seven strikeouts in seven innings of Friday's 7-0 win over Colorado. That was a welcome change after he posted a 6.88 ERA in his three previous starts.
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"I worked on it in the bullpen, tweaked a few things, and was able to keep the ball down," Wacha said. "It felt really good. I was able to keep the ball down in the zone. I was pretty happy with the movement."
Now, the right-hander will try to carry that success onto the road, where he is 1-2 with a 7.54 ERA in his last four starts.
"You hear us sometimes saying 'out of sync,' and that's what it is," manager Mike Matheny told MLB's official website. "It looked like he almost had less effort (Friday), even though the velocity was as good, which just means he was very efficient using all of his body."
Wacha has allowed two runs in 13 1-3 innings while winning both of his starts against the Reds (48-57) this year, including a 4-1 victory in Cincinnati on April 11.
Randal Grichuk continued his strong hitting against the Reds with an RBI double and a 13th-inning homer in Wednesday's 4-3 win.
"You know the ball flies here," Grichuk said of Great American Ball Park. "It's in the back of your mind."
The rookie has a .382 average in 13 career games against Cincinnati, with nine of his 13 hits going for extra bases, including four homers.
He's batting .365 in his last 23 games, connecting for 15 extra-base hits among his 31 total. Grichuk, however, has also struck out 27 times during that stretch, giving him 83 to rank third on the team behind Mark Reynolds (92) and Matt Carpenter (85).
"He's got the potential," Matheny said. "You might see some swings-and-misses sometimes, but you also see what he does (Wednesday)."
The Reds are trying to conclude a seven-game homestand above .500 before opening a 10-game road trip.
That could be difficult with struggling Michael Lorenzen (3-6, 4.80) on the mound. The right-hander went 0-4 with an 8.61 ERA in five starts last month, completing six innings only once.
He was tagged for 13 runs and three homers with five walks in eight innings while losing his last two starts.
"It's just I need to throw pitches that I want to throw with conviction ...," said Lorenzen, who is 0-2 with a 7.36 ERA in his past three home starts.
Joey Votto is 1 for his last 11 but is batting .353 with four homers and eight RBIs in 11 games this season against the Cardinals. He's 6 for 15 with a homer and two doubles off Wacha, while Todd Frazier has one of each and is 3 for 6 in this matchup this season.
Frazier, though, has a .186 average against St. Louis this year after going 1 for 10 in this series.