The St. Louis Cardinals have an opportunity to match their longest winning streak of the season, and they've planned accordingly by moving their ace up a day in the rotation.
Adam Wainwright will try for a major league-best 16th win Friday night as the Cardinals open a three-game road series with the Philadelphia Phillies.
St. Louis (69-57), winner of four straight, used Thursday's off day to bump Wainwright (15-7, 2.40 ERA) ahead of Shelby Miller and better align its top starter with future NL Central matchups.
"We like seeing him out there," manager Mike Matheny told MLB's official website. "We've adjusted his workouts accordingly, and the same thing with Shelby."
It also lines the right-hander up to face the Phillies (56-71), against whom he has won his last three outings and is 5-1 with a 2.32 ERA in nine starts. At Citizens Bank Park, he's 2-0 with a 1.64 ERA, though he also dominated at home June 21, limiting the Phillies to a run and six hits in eight innings while earning the decision in a 4-1 win.
More recently, he's seen his ERA climbing through four August starts. Wainwright is 2-2 with a 5.13 ERA this month. He got seven runs of support in Sunday's 7-6 victory over San Diego while allowing four runs - three earned - with seven hits in seven innings.
That level of support has been common recently. Winners of seven of eight, the Cardinals have scored at least four runs in each of those games while managing at least five with 10 hits and a .338 average in their last four.
Wednesday's 7-3 home win over Cincinnati completed a three-game sweep. Jon Jay remained hot at the plate, going 3 for 4 to extend his hitting streak to 12 games (.514). He's also been hit by seven pitches in eight games to contribute to a .710 on-base percentage in that stretch.
"Jon had a very good day for us again," Matheny said. "He continues to put together tough at-bats."
Jay and the rest of the lineup will put their recent success up against Kyle Kendrick.
Kendrick (5-11, 4.90) is 2-3 with a 6.80 ERA over his last eight starts. He's struggled in the first inning with a 9.00 ERA, and that didn't change in Saturday's 6-5 loss in San Francisco. The right-hander allowed another first-inning run and totaled four - three earned - with five hits in five innings.
His frustration with the current struggles was evident when he was already on his way off the mound by the time manager Ryne Sandberg arrived.
"He's a competitor," teammate Chase Utley said. "I don't blame him for being frustrated for coming out of the game."
Kendrick wasn't any better on June 22 in St. Louis, surrendering five runs and eight hits in six innings of a 5-3 defeat. Over his career, he's gone 5-3 with a 3.36 ERA in nine starts against the Cardinals.
Jay is 6 for 15 against him and Matt Adams has also had success, going 5 for 11. Matt Holliday, however, is 2 for 21.
Philadelphia began a nine-game homestand by taking two of three from Seattle to begin the week. Wednesday's 4-3 win was just its fourth in 12 games.
The teams split four games in St. Louis from June 19-22.