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Phillies-Cardinals Preview 2009-05-05


Phillies-Cardinals Preview 2009-05-05
Thanks to Ryan Howard, the Philadelphia Phillies began their series with the St. Louis Cardinals by handing Kyle Lohse his first loss of 2009. Now, the reigning World Series champions will try to do the same to Adam Wainwright.

The Phillies go for a sweep of the two-game set and a fifth straight road win on Tuesday night when they face the Cardinals, who are expected to be without Rick Ankiel after he ran face-first into the wall while tracking down a fly ball.

Lohse was trying to move to 4-0 on Monday, but Philadelphia (13-10) ensured that wouldn't happen. Howard hit his seventh career grand slam, tying Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt's franchise record in the 6-1 win.

But that was overshadowed by Ankiel's frightening injury. In the eighth inning, the converted pitcher tracked down Pedro Feliz's long drive but couldn't stop from crashing into the center field wall.

After about a 15-minute delay, Ankiel was placed in a neck brace and strapped to a gurney before being carted off the field, flashing a thumbs-up sign. Team physician Dr. George Paletta told manager Tony La Russa that Ankiel showed signs of whiplash.

"As soon as he hit, the first thing you want is to see him move," Howard said. "It took a little while, but when he gave the thumbs-up that was a good feeling."

A St. Louis native, Howard was 2-for-3 and is batting .383 (23-for-60) with seven homers and 28 RBIs in 16 career games at Busch Stadium.

"Here is where it all kind of began," he said. "I just play well. I'm not going to knock it, I'm going to take it."

Howard is 2-for-7 with four walks in his career against Wainwright (3-0, 2.76 ERA), who was wild in his last start but still won.

Pitching in Atlanta on Wednesday, the Georgia native walked a season high-tying five over six innings of a 5-3 win. Wainwright told the Cardinals' official Web site he wasn't happy with how he's performed in 2009.

"I'm not pitching good," he said. "I'm not pitching my best, I'll say that. But I have gotten out of a lot of hairy situations with minimal damage. ... I'm not exactly proud of how I'm pitching, but I will pitch better."

Facing the Phillies could help Wainwright move closer to that goal. Wainwright is 2-0 with a 1.17 ERA in five appearances against them, including three starts.

In 12 career at-bats against the right-hander, Jimmy Rollins has three hits - the most by any player currently on Philadelphia's roster - but he also has four strikeouts.

Brett Myers (1-2, 4.83) has had three straight quality starts for Philadelphia, but he hasn't been able to notch a win in any of them.

After failing to get decisions against San Diego and Florida, the right-hander lost to the worst team in the majors Wednesday. Myers gave up three runs and eight hits with three walks over six innings of a 4-1 defeat to Washington.

"I thought I did a good job of locating my pitches, but other than that, not much I can take from it other than I got beat," said Myers, who had no record and a 6.00 ERA in two starts versus the Cardinals in 2008.

Albert Pujols is hitting .346 (9-for-26) with two homers in his career against Myers. Two of Skip Schumaker's five hits off the Phillies hurler have been home runs.

The NL Central-leading Cardinals (17-9), held to one run in each of their last two games, will try to avoid a season-high third straight loss.


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 5, 2009

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