ST. LOUIS -- Since Adam Wainwright tossed seven innings last Monday, only one Cardinals starter has pitched into the seventh, when Lance Lynn reached 6 2/3 innings Friday.
Shelby Miller lasted just two pitches before he took a line drive off his elbow Wednesday, and Carlos Martinez and Michael Wacha only got to the fifth, putting additional strain on the Cardinals' bullpen.
"You look at the success we've been able to have at times, consistent winning, it starts with consistent starting pitching," manager Mike Matheny said. "When that happens we've got a good opportunity. But we said this early on, too, when our starting pitching was getting so much attention. We knew the times were going to come when it just wasn't going to be as easy, it wasn't going to be night after night of these quality starts.
"There's times you just got to fight your way through, and right now we're fighting and our bullpen is going to have to fight right along with the starters."
Matheny said heading into the finale with the Cubs that there were certain players in the 'pen that likely wouldn't be available to pitch Sunday. The Cardinals are currently operating with 13 pitchers on the roster, one more than usual, sacrificing a fifth bench player for the pitching help.
"Well evaluate it at the end of the day, but we've got some guys that are pretty beat up right now," Matheny said. "We need the pitching. We could use the extra guy on the bench, no question, but right now we need the extra pitching."
Chad Thornburg is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.