As the Cardinals prepare to meet the New York Mets on Tuesday, the only National League team they have not year played this season, they are looking for some semblance of order in their rotation.
Only right-hander Chris Carpenter and left-hander Jaime Garcia really have pitched well and won in the last seven weeks. On the other hand, since the end of May, right-handers Jake Westbrook, Kyle Lohse and Kyle McClellan have earned a total of only four victories.
Lohse, who has had 10
days to rest an arm which might have been tiring after he had complicated
forearm surgery last year, was the Cardinals' best starter for parts of the
first half and they will need him to regain that form beginning Tuesday at
In Lohse's last seven starts since May 29, he is 1-4 with an earned run average of 5.62.
McClellan, who will pitch on Wednesday, is 0-5 in six starts since May 24 with an ERA of 5.03.
Westbrook, who will start on Thursday, is a deceiving 2-1 since May 27. His ERA in that time is 5.36.
LHP Jaime Garcia, who had a strong, though losing game on Sunday, has pitched at least seven innings in seven of his first 20 starts. Protected last year, his first as a major league starter, Garcia went that long in only six of 28 starts.
3B David Freese has tailed off after a good start when he returned from spending two months on the disabled because of a broken left hand. Freese is 14- for-54 (.259) with only three extra-base hits.
The Cardinals have only
three games remaining with division foe
RHP Jason Motte, though he rarely is used in the eighth or ninth innings any more, has put together a stretch of eight scoreless outings covering five outings. He has scattered seven hits and struck out five while walking nobody in that span.
1B Albert Pujols still has a shot at an 11th consecutive season of at least .300 average, 30 home runs and 100 runs batted in. His easiest target should be the home runs. He already has 20. To reach 100 RBI, he will have to knock in 45 in the next 67 games. To reach .300, Pujols will have to average about .328 the rest of the season, if he gets 250 more at-bats in the remaining games.
BY THE NUMBERS: 7 - Games
the Cardinals have left with NL West teams: three with
QUOTE TO NOTE: "He knows me. He knows that I'm going to throw there, and he hit it."
INF Nick Punto (sore right elbow) left the July 16 game, and he will be placed on the disabled list. Punto missed the season's first 16 games after having abdominal surgery in February, then missed 36 games from mid-May to late June due to a right forearm strain.
LHP Brian Tallet (strained right intercostal muscle) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 4. He was injured while sneezing.
RHP Eduardo Sanchez (mild right shoulder strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 13. He began a rehab assignment with Class AA Springfield on July 7 but had renewed soreness soon after and was shut down until late August or early September.
OF Allen Craig (broken right kneecap) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 8. He might return in late July.
RHP Adam Wainwright (Tommy John surgery in February 2011) went on the 60-day disabled list March 25. He will miss the entire 2011 season.
July 19 vs. METS: Kyle Lohse (8-6, 3.32) vs. Dillon Gee (8-3, 3.76) 6:10 p.m.