Matheny keeping Westbrook in Cardinals' rotation

Matheny keeping Westbrook in Cardinals' rotation

Matheny keeping Westbrook in Cardinals' rotation

CHICAGO -- A day after Jake Westbrook was roughed up in a loss to the Cubs, manager Mike Matheny announced that the veteran right-hander will make his next start as scheduled. That means Westbrook will take the mound in Wednesday's series finale in Milwaukee.

Chicago scored seven runs (six earned) on eight hits and five walks off Westbrook on Friday. The results were more of the norm than an anomaly for Westbrook, who has had a run of four straight poor outings. He has a 10.13 ERA and more walks (15) than strikeouts (10) over those 21 1/3 innings. Opponents are batting .333 off him during that stretch, and 15 of the runs have been scored in his first inning of work.

"It's a little bizarre with the first-inning stuff, then he's so effective after that," Matheny said. "I know it's frustrating to him and baffling to us on how to put that all together. He said, physically, he feels good -- and if he can get past that first inning, he looks good."

Had the Cardinals wanted to make a change, they could have swapped Westbrook with Michael Wacha, a starter turned temporary reliever, who is on the Major League roster. In his five Major League appearances (four starts), Wacha has allowed 11 earned runs on 22 hits and seven walks in 24 2/3 innings. He has 22 strikeouts.

Though Westbrook's struggles have been particularly glaring since late July, the righty has not pitched all that well since returning from the disabled list in June. He has a 5.86 ERA in 12 games since sitting with an elbow injury. In those 70 2/3 innings, Westbrook has walked 30 and struck out 23.

"I think it's just a matter of controlling counts," Westbrook said. "When I make a mistake, it's getting hit. I'm not putting myself in a good position to succeed. It's really cost me."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.