Game Notes - Opening Night

The Hunt for a Red October begins tonight. It's the St. Louis Cardinals (0-0) at Houston Astros (0-0) at 6:05 CDT <p> Chris Carpenter (15-5, 3.46 in 2004) vs. Roy Oswalt (20-10, 3.49 in 2004)

The Hunt for a Red October: The National League Champion St. Louis Cardinals begin defense of their 2004 pennant tonight against the team they defeated to capture the crown...the Cards defeated the Astros in a hard-fought National League Championship series four games to three last was St. Louis' 16th N.L. title...the Cardinals are 6-8-1 in season openers in the years following N.L. championships.

114th Season: The Cardinals open their 114th season of play in the National League tonight...the Redbirds own an alltime record of 8,801-8,539 (.508)... tonight's game is the first of a two-game series with the Astros...the Cardinals will return to St. Louis for a three-game series with the Phillies beginning Friday afternoon.

Chris Carpenter is ready: Chris Carpenter will make his second career Opening Day start...the New Hampshire native also earned the Opening Day nod in 2002 while with the Blue Jays and posted a no-decision against Boston at Fenway Park...Chris missed the final two weeks and all of the postseason in 2004 due to nerve irritation in his upper arm but felt great all spring...Carpenter fanned 25 batters in 24 IP during the spring, the most spring strikeouts by a Cardinals pitcher since Todd Stottlemyer fanned 31 (26 IP) in 1997.

TONIGHT's STARTER: CHRIS CARPENTER RHP • 6-6 • 230 • 29 yrs • #29 15-5, 3.46 ERA in 2004 vs. Lefthanders: .268 (83-310), 16 HRs vs. Righthanders: .226 (86-381), 8 HRs Carpenter - Career Is his first Cardinals Opening Day start and his second Opening Day start of his career. Started for the Blue Jays in 2002 and recorded a no decision at BOS (2.1 IP, 6R). St. Louis was 20-8 (.714 win pct.) in Chris' 2004 starts. His career record as a starter stands at 61-55 with a 4.65 ERA (519 ER/ 1005.1 IP). Carpenter in 2005 Made six spring training starts and went 3-1with a 3.38 ERA. Tied for 1st in the N.L. with 25 strikeouts this spring (Willis, FLA), the most spring strikeouts by a Cardinals pitchers since Todd Stottlemyer fanned 31 (26 IP) in 1997. Struck out a combined 15 in his last two starts spanning 10.0 IP. Gave up just one home run all spring and walked four. Led the Cardinals' starting core with 6.25 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

NEW CARDS: There are 10 different Cardinals on this season's Opening Day roster compared to last year's...Einar Diaz, Mark Grudzielanek, David Eckstein, John Mabry, Yadier Molina, Mark Mulder, Abraham Nunez, Al Reyes, Randy Flores and Bill Pulsipher were elsewhere a year ago today.

NEW DP COMBO: Mark Grudzielanek and David Eckstein combined to go 55-114 (.482) at the plate this spring...Mark ranked T-6th in N.L. batting average this spring at .397 while Eckstein placed 10th (.393).

YOUNG YADY: At 22 years of age, Yadier Molina will become the youngest catcher to start an Opening Day for an N.L. team since Jason Kendall did so for the Pirates in 1996 at age 21.

RECENT REDBIRDS: The Cardinals posted a 15-11-2 spring training record as the club completed its eighth spring in Jupiter, Fla...the Cards split a two-game series with the Orioles in Oklahoma City on Thurs. & Fri, and won twice against their new Double-A club in Springfield, MO over the weekend...Chris Carpenter led the club with three wins, while Bill Pulsipher had a team-best 2.61 ERA... Albert Pujols led the team in batting (.458) for the third straight spring...the Cardinals pitching staff topped N.L. clubs with a 3.73 ERA.


Wed., April 6 at ASTROS: Jason Marquis vs. Andy Pettitte 4:05 p.m.* Thu., April 7 OFF DAY-- **Workout at Busch Stadium 12:00 p.m.** Fri., April 8 vs. PHILLIES: Mark Mulder vs. Cory Lidle 3:15 p.m.# Sat., April 9 vs. PHILLIES: Jeff Suppan vs. Brett Myers 1:15 p.m.* Sun., April 10 vs. PHILLIES: Chris Carpenter vs. Jon Lieber 1:15 p.m.# Times listed are Central...All games broadcast on KMOX Radio # WB11-TV * Fox Sports-Net/Midwest + FOX Network % ESPN @ESPN2

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