ST. LOUIS – The St. Louis Cardinals will promote young pitching prospect Matthew Liberatore for his first big-league start of the season Wednesday, moving to a six-man starting rotation during a busy stretch of action.

Liberatore will start Wednesday’s series finale against the Milwaukee Brewers. The former first-round pick has impressed with the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds, compiling a 4-1 record and a 3.13 ERA over eight starts this season.

Nearly one-quarter through the 2023 season, the timing of Liberatore’s promotion is intriguing. The starting pitching staff, missing Adam Wainwright for the first month of the season, has struggled to find consistency early and go deep into games, only tossing nine quality starts.

Liberatore, meanwhile, tossed at least five innings in each of his Memphis starts, holding opponents to two runs or fewer five times through April. Given that, and a pitching staff taxed during a 3-15 stretch from late-April to early-May, some are still wondering why he didn’t get called up sooner.

Oli Marmol told several media members after Tuesday’s 3-2 loss that Liberatore was coming up with the intention of a six-man rotation for the forseeable future. None of the main rotation pieces are dealing with significant injuries right now. A six-man rotation will allow for more rest in between starts in hopes the Cardinals can keep starters healthy for the long run.

St. Louis is also in the early stages of a stretch in which they will play games on 19 consecutive days, one of the longest such stretches of the year.

Adding Liberatore to the rotation, regardless of how long, gives the Cardinals the following projected starters in an upcoming four-game set against a dangerous Los Angeles Dodgers squad:

  • Adam Wainwright (Thursday)
  • Steven Matz (Friday)
  • Miles Mikolas (Saturday)
  • Jack Flaherty (Sunday)

The Cardinals, despite winning seven of their last nine games, enter Wednesday with the National League’s worst record at 17-26.