The St. Louis Cardinals are undertaking a youth movement during their road series this weekend against the Pittsburgh Pirates, but they aren't only looking toward the future -- they're aiming to address current needs.
With outfielder Tyler O'Neill (shoulder) going on the injured list, St. Louis called up Nolan Gorman. In his major league debut during the Cardinals' 5-3 win on Friday, Gorman started at second base and went 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored.
"He's such a great teammate. Great hitter, too," said Cardinals outfielder Juan Yepez, who played at Triple-A Memphis with Gorman, the 19th overall pick by St. Louis in the 2018 MLB Draft.
In the middle game of the series on Saturday, St. Louis left-hander Matthew Liberatore is slated to make his major league debut when he starts against Pirates left-hander Jose Quintana (1-1, 2.19 ERA). Liberatore posted a 3-3 record with a 3.83 ERA in seven starts with Memphis.
Liberatore, a childhood friend of Gorman, should be able to give the Cardinals good innings after he went at least five innings six times and seven innings twice in his seven starts at Triple-A.
"He's coming to throw Saturday, and we'll get a good look at it and just see where we want to go from there," St. Louis manager Oliver Marmol said.
Although Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright gave up only one run in seven innings on Friday, Marmol has hinted at further changes if there continues to be pressure on the bullpen and the response is less than ideal.
"We've got to get deeper in games," Marmol said of his starters. "And honestly there will be some reshuffling of that bullpen to see who can get outs."
Pittsburgh also has had problems with short outings by starters, but again that wasn't an issue Friday as Zach Thompson pitched five innings, giving up only one run.
The Pirates are 4-6 in their past 10 games.
Quintana, 33, was brought in at least in part to add a veteran presence to the Pittsburgh rotation, but he has done a lot more than that.
He has not allowed a run over his past two starts, and has given up two or fewer runs in six of his seven starts.
That includes a season-best seven shutout innings Sunday, when he yielded three hits and struck out five in a 1-0 win over Cincinnati -- despite the Reds executing a combined no-hitter.
That day came on Quintana's 10th anniversary in the major leagues and left quite an impression on him.
"It's a special day for me," Quintana said. "It means (I've come) a long way after being here in the United States for the first time and coming with huge dreams. My family is proud of that.
"The people I've been around, I really say thank you to everybody who helped me a lot during this time. ... I'm never going to forget this day."
But Quintana does have to move on to the next start.
Pittsburgh has wins in Quintana's past three starts and in five of his past six. Against St. Louis, Quintana is 5-3 with a 4.39 ERA in 11 career starts but has not faced the Cardinals as a member of the Pirates.
--Field Level Media