Adam Wainwright has been in an uncharacteristic funk lately, but on Thursday he gets to face a struggling offense while trying to get back on track. After all, the Red Sox have scored the fewest runs of any American League team this season.
Wainwright and righty Brandon Workman will share the rubber in the finale of a three-game series at Busch Stadium.
The usually reliable Wainwright has allowed 11 earned runs over his last three starts, including seven in 5 1/3 innings against the Brewers on Friday. Prior to this three-outing rough patch, he had allowed just six runs over his seven previous starts.
"It was not an easy night," Wainwright said after the outing against Milwaukee. "I made some good pitches tonight, and they worked me hard. A good team does that sometimes. There's really nothing to point to. There's a couple of key plays in that game that they made good on. [When you're] playing good teams, a couple of key moments here, a couple of key moments there, that's the game."
The 25-year-old Workman, meanwhile, spent most of July with Triple-A Pawtucket before starting last Wednesday when Jon Lester was scratched amid speculation he'd be traded. Lester was, indeed, moved to Oakland the following day, and Workman has taken one of the vacant spots in Boston's rotation.
In nine starts this season, Workman has a 4.41 ERA but a strong .228/.308/.392 slash line against. He surrendered four walks, four hits and five runs (two earned) over five innings against Toronto last Wednesday.
He needed 36 pitches to get through the first inning of that one, giving up two runs.
"Couldn't get ahead of anybody," Workman said. "I put the first two guys on, they both ended up scoring. So, yeah, it was definitely a matter all game of fighting command a little bit."
Red Sox: Craig taking it slow with sprained foot
Tuesday was supposed to have been a homecoming of sorts in St. Louis for Allen Craig, who was traded to the Red Sox by the Cardinals last Thursday. But a sprained left foot put him on the disabled list instead, and the Red Sox want to be careful with their newly acquired outfielder.
"He feels good," general manager Ben Cherington said. "He doesn't feel like he's that far away from playing. But we're just going to try to be methodical on this one, because he's new to the organization, because we're managing a new case and because there's a lot of information to digest. We just want to go through all of that before we make a decision on when he's going to play again."
Craig injured the foot running out a ground ball in his debut with the club on Friday and hasn't played since. He won't resume baseball activities until the organization has a better idea of his condition; there's no timetable for his return.
Cardinals: Pierzynski finding stroke
Catcher A.J. Pierzynski's struggles with Boston ultimately led to his arrival in St. Louis. Now he is hitting well with the Cardinals.
Entering Wednesday, Pierzynski, 37, was batting .320/.370/.360 with his new team. Although he hasn't hit for much power, he worked two walks -- against just three strikeouts -- in 27 plate appearances.
"He's been taking good at-bats, and he's been getting big hits for us. He's also doing a great job, obviously, on the defensive side with game-calling and putting together a game plan with our guys," manager Mike Matheny said. "We know he's capable of putting together a really tough at-bat. That ball he hit today was almost in the dirt off the plate away and he was able to cover it and flip it over the infield. That's not something you see very many hitters be able to do. He's doing a great job for us."
The play to which Matheny referred was Pierzynski's single in the eighth inning of Tuesday night's win, when he went way out of the zone to poke a Junichi Tazawa fastball into the outfield with none on and two outs. He later scored on Jon Jay's single, and that turned out to be the game-winning run.
The Cardinals signed Pierzynski for help behind the dish when Yadier Molina went on the disabled list about a month ago with a torn ligament in his right thumb.
"Things didn't work out in Boston," said Pierzynski. "To end up here was pretty cool. We have a long way to go, and hopefully, we can find a way to get to the postseason."
• The Cardinals lost both games Wainwright started in the 2013 World Series. He allowed six earned runs and 14 hits over 14 innings against the Red Sox.
• After playing first base on Tuesday, Red Sox slugger David Ortiz sat out on Wednesday in favor of Mike Napoli. With no designated hitter in use in St. Louis, either Napoli or Ortiz is forced to the bench each night.
Steven Petrella is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.