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News » Cardinals-Diamondbacks Preview 2009-04-13


Cardinals-Diamondbacks Preview 2009-04-13


Cardinals-Diamondbacks Preview 2009-04-13
The St. Louis Cardinals got off to an excellent start in baseball's first week thanks to some outstanding starting pitching from four-fifths of their rotation.

Todd Wellemeyer would love to make amends for the staff's one subpar effort.

He'll get a chance to do so Monday night, when the Cardinals send Wellemeyer to the hill to open a seven-game road trip that starts with three against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

St. Louis (5-2) has won its past four games and five of seven to open the season, and its starting staff has led the way. The Cardinals' five starters are 5-1 with a 2.20 ERA, and haven't given up more than two earned runs in six of seven games.

The lone poor performance came in Wellemeyer's (0-1, 9.00 ERA) first start, as he allowed five runs and 12 hits over five innings in a 7-4 loss to Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

"They got a lot of singles," Wellemeyer told the Cardinals' official Web site. "They found a lot of holes. And it was a battle. My command was iffy. ... Every broken bat, the ball found a hole. That's just the way it goes sometimes."

Wellemeyer had only nine career wins prior to 2008, but went 13-9 with a 3.71 ERA last season while emerging as a consistent innings-eater in St. Louis' rotation.

He only had one chance to face Arizona (2-4) last season, giving up three runs on nine hits over six innings in a 4-2 loss at Busch Stadium on Sept. 22.

While the Cardinals didn't give Wellemeyer much run support that day, they've done a solid job supporting the pitching staff this season. They've scored 38 runs in seven games, led by three homers and nine RBIs from Albert Pujols.

A day after Pujols tied a career high with seven RBIs in an 11-2 rout of Houston, he went 0-for-3 on Sunday as St. Louis mustered only six hits. Kyle Lohse, however, tossed a three-hitter, leading the Cardinals to a series sweep of the Astros with a 3-0 win.

"He was masterful," manager Tony La Russa said.

The Diamondbacks' offense has been anything but in four of their six games, and that lack of pop has resulted in four losses. Arizona has put up nine runs apiece in its two victories, but has combined to score five runs in its other four games. The Diamondbacks totaled just three hits Sunday in a 3-1 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"It seems like we either have a real good game offensively or a bad game," manager Bob Melvin told the Diamondbacks' official Web site. "We've had a couple of decent games, and the rest of them, we haven't done much offensively at all."

The Diamondbacks were 27th in batting average (.251) last season, and they're not finding many holes through the first week in 2009, either, hitting a woeful .218.

Arizona's lack of production isn't much of a surprise considering the struggles of last season's two leading run producers. Third baseman Mark Reynolds and center fielder Chris Young combined for 182 RBIs in 2008, but they've combined for two through six games while hitting .244.

The Diamondbacks' pitching hasn't been good either - they have a 6.00 ERA and allowed nine homers - and they'll hope Doug Davis (0-1, 7.20) can bounce back from a tough first start.

The veteran left-hander allowed four runs on four hits and four walks in five innings Wednesday in a 9-2 loss to Colorado.

Davis was 0-0 with a 5.40 ERA in two starts against the Cardinals in 2008, as St. Louis won the season series 4-3. Pujols, the 2008 NL MVP, is 12-for-33 (.364) with two homers and nine RBIs in 33 career at-bats versus Davis.


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 13, 2009

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