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News » Astros-Cardinals Preview 2009-04-11


Astros-Cardinals Preview 2009-04-11


Astros-Cardinals Preview 2009-04-11
Roy Oswalt has been successful pitching against the St. Louis Cardinals at the new Busch Stadium. Adam Wainwright, meanwhile, has done the same versus Oswalt's Houston Astros no matter where he's pitched.

In a matchup of opening-day starters, the Cardinals look for a third straight victory as they continue a three-game set with the Astros on Saturday.

Oswalt (0-1, 3.86 ERA) takes the ball after allowing three runs and seven hits, including two homers, in seven innings of Houston's 4-2 loss to Chicago on Monday.

"I felt better later," Oswalt said. "I thought I threw the ball pretty well after the third or fourth inning. Before that I wasn't getting up on the ball."

The right-hander hopes a trip to Busch - one day after the Cardinals (3-2) celebrated the ballpark's third anniversary - will provide better results.

Oswalt is 9-5 with a 2.86 ERA in 24 starts against St. Louis and 1-1 with a 1.83 ERA in five starts in the most recent edition of the stadium - his lowest ERA at any ballpark where he has made at least five starts. Oswalt, though, hasn't received much support in those contests, with the Astros scoring 14 runs in losing four of the five.

Houston (1-3) didn't give Oswalt much help against the Cubs and didn't score until the sixth inning in a 5-3 loss to St. Louis in Friday's series opener.

The Astros, who have scored more than three runs once in their first four games, might be challenged against Wainwright, who is 5-0 with a 2.14 ERA against Houston in six appearances since becoming a starter in 2007.

While the right-hander has pitched well against the Astros, he'll likely need to be better than he was Monday to continue that success.

Wainwright (0-0, 3.38) allowed two runs and four hits with seven strikeouts and five walks in 5 1-3 innings of St. Louis' 6-4 loss to Pittsburgh on Monday.

Cardinals rookie closer Jason Motte allowed four runs in the ninth inning of that contest and struggled in the ninth Friday before Kyle McClellan replaced him to get the final two outs for his second career save.

"That's life in the bullpen," McClellan said of the Cardinals, whose bullpen woes from last season might be carrying over to this one. "We're constantly doing that, getting ready for this guy and something changes and then we're getting ready for next inning."

Ryan Ludwick homered and drove in two runs, and Skip Schumaker had three hits for St. Louis, which looks for a fourth straight home win over Houston.

Ludwick is 6-for-15 with two homers, four RBIs and has a 15-game hitting streak dating to the last 11 contests of 2008. He is 0-for-5, however, against Oswalt.

Albert Pujols went hitless for the first time in 2009, but is 7-for-17 with two RBIs.

Carlos Lee went 3-for-4 with a solo homer and Lance Berkman added an RBI double Friday for Houston, which stranded nine runners and went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

"We had plenty of chances," said Houston manager Cecil Cooper. "We just kind of missed the big hit."

Lee has four hits in his last two games after going 0-for-8 in his first two. He is only 1-for-13 versus Wainwright. Berkman, meanwhile, is batting .300 (6-for-20) with two homers and four RBIs against him.


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 11, 2009

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