Whether Cody Bellinger remains with the Chicago Cubs past the looming trade deadline remains to be seen, but he continues to help them remain competitive
Bellinger had three hits, among them a two-run homer during Chicago's four-run third inning that proved to be the difference in Friday's 4-3 victory to even this four-game set at a game apiece. The NL MVP with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2019, Bellinger is batting .442 with six homers and 15 RBIs in his last 23 games.
"He's been really consistent," Chicago manager David Ross said.
"The guy's an absolute stud of a baseball player. ... He's the total package for sure, especially when he's playing this well."
Chicago has won three of four but is 8-9 this month, five games under .500 overall and a distant third in the NL Central. Thus, it could be a seller around the Aug. 1 trade deadline, and Bellinger should draw plenty of interest, with a potentially nice return for the Cubs
"I try to keep it simple," Bellinger told the Cubs' official website. "A lot of (the trade talk) is out of my control. What I can control is just showing up and playing.
Bellinger, however, is 1-for-9 with three strikeouts against scheduled St. Louis starter Miles Mikolas (6-5, 4.14 ERA), who is 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA and no walks in his last three starts. He allowed all three of his runs during that stretch, plus seven hits -- including two solo homers -- over six innings of Monday's 6-4 home victory against Miami.
"I liked my tempo. I thought my stuff was working good," Mikolas said.
The right-hander has been very good against the Cubs, going 5-3 with a 2.15 ERA in 17 career meetings (15 starts). He overcame four hits and three walks in 4 1/3 innings to yield just one run, while striking out seven, during a 3-1 victory at Chicago on May 8
He'll try to help the Cardinals rebound after their six-game winning streak was snapped Friday. It was just the third loss in 12 games for St. Louis, which is 10 games under .500 and well back of first-place Milwaukee in the Central, but still playing with confidence
Cardinals star Nolan Arenado is certainly swinging the bat with confidence. With a two-run single Friday, Arenado is batting .356 with 26 RBIs in his last 20 games. Teammate and ex-Cub Willson Contreras is 10-for-26 (.385) in seven games against his former team this season
St. Louis will face Chicago reliever Michael Fulmer (1-5, 4.43 ERA) as an apparent opener on Saturday, after he struck out three in 1 1/3 innings Tuesday. The right-hander last started a game in 2021 with Detroit.
Chicago's Dansby Swanson, 9-for-20 with two homers, five doubles and nine RBIs against the Cardinals this season, has been bothered by a heel issue that has kept him out of action since July 5. However, he still could return this weekend
--Field Level Media