Jordan Montgomery will try to finish his regular season on a positive note when the St. Louis Cardinals host the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday.
The Cardinals (91-66) posted a 2-1 win over the Pirates (59-98) in the opener of the three-game series on Friday.
Montgomery (8-5, 3.50 ERA) has allowed 15 runs (13 earned) on 21 hits and four walks in 14 1/3 innings in his last three starts. The left-hander will look for better results on Saturday and make his case for a starting postseason assignment.
Overall, Montgomery is 5-3 with a 3.12 ERA in 10 starts since coming to the Cardinals from the New York Yankees in a trade for outfielder Harrison Bader.
Montgomery is coming off a tough performance in a 6-2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers last Saturday. He allowed those six runs on seven hits -- including three homers -- in just four innings.
"Trying to finish the season strong," Montgomery said after that game. "It's easy to be like, oh, I've got two more starts, thinking toward the playoffs, and then you get your butt kicked like you did today. So, I'm trying to just really put the blinders on for this last start and go from there."
Montgomery said he felt fine against the Dodgers.
"Sadly, I thought (it) was probably some of the best stuff I've had all year," he said. "Just got barreled up every time. Good lineup, and they got me."
Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol is feeling good about his starting pitching with the playoffs on the horizon.
"Six off of (Montgomery) -- is that ideal? No," Marmol said. "Do I like what we're seeing out of (Jose) Quintana, what (Dakota Hudson) just did, what Monty has done? Yeah. I like all of it. It's lining up in a way that we have the ability to make a run and a fun one."
Montgomery lost his only career start against the Pirates despite allowing two runs on seven hits and two walks.
Hard-throwing Luis Ortiz (0-1, 1.17) will make his fourth big league start for the Pirates and his first career appearance against the Cardinals.
"I've enjoyed it a lot, just being able to go out there and face some really tough lineups and be challenged in certain ways, but at the same time, see that a lot of the hard work that I've put in is showing a lot of results," Ortiz said through an interpreter. "Every day, there's something to learn. There are ways to grow and I'm just very excited and grateful for the opportunity."
Ortiz, 23, sustained a hard-luck loss in his last start despite limiting the Chicago Cubs to one run on one hit and two walks in 4 2/3 innings. The right-hander struck out seven of the 19 batters he faced before reaching his predetermined pitch count of 80.
"I really believe in just continuing to go out there, continue with the mindset of attacking the zone, executing good pitches, continuing to work hard," Ortiz said. "Those are the things that I can control, just going out there and giving my maximum, remaining positive and always giving my 100 percent."
--Field Level Media