After enjoying four off days in the first two weeks of the season, the Cardinals are scheduled to play 13 days in a row beginning Friday in Milwaukee.
All 13 games will be against National League Central Division teams -- Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Houston and Milwaukee again. The two series with Milwaukee could prove particularly interesting in that the Cardinals were only 9-8 against the Brewers last year and the Brewers seem improved
The Cardinals' pitching staff will take on a different look in the process. The Cardinals will go to a five-man rotation on Tuesday when RHP Matt Morris joins them from two rehabilitation starts for Class A Palm Beach.
Morris, though he had started several times in spring training, had been on the 15-day disabled list after off-season shoulder surgery
LHP Carmen Cali already has been brought up from Class AAA Memphis to replace injured LHP Bill Pulsipher (strained right hamstring). And it is possible that RHP Cal Eldred, who has had an upper respiratory problem, may have to on the shelf for a while and be replaced.
After seven games, the Cardinals still are looking for some offensive consistency. For instance, they have singled to score a run only once all season. 3B Scott Rolen has been the biggest culprit, going nothing for nine with runners in scoring position.
When RHP Jason Marquis pitches, the Cardinals have a nine-man lineup. Marquis, who led all big-league pitchers with 21 hits last year, hit the first triple of his career to clear the bases in the second inning of a 5-1 win over Cincinnati Tuesday.
Marquis also didn't pitch poorly, allowing one run in a start for the second straight time. He has recaptured the sinker that helped him to a breakout, 15-win season last year, and he is developing a curveball.
The Cardinals scored only on home runs the rest of the way after Marquis' three-base hit. CF Jim Edmonds and LF Reggie Sanders hit back-to-back blasts off Cincinnati RHP Aaron Harang in the sixth. Edmonds has two homers for the season and Sanders three.
Other than Marquis, the Cardinals had only one hit with a runner in scoring position. 2B Mark Grudzielanek singled to load the bases in the second.
Before the game, the Cardinals were batting only .211 with men in scoring position but they were two for six on Tuesday. For the first six games, three of which they have won, the Cardinals have been out-hit, 71-43.
--RHP Cal Eldred was admitted to a hospital for rests after suffering a relapse of his upper respiratory problem Monday night. Eldred, 37, missed the first series of the season in Houston but pitched in two games against Philadelphia over the weekend and struck out all three hitters he faced Sunday.
--Eldred was not immediately replaced on the roster but LHP Bill Pulsipher, who has a strained right hamstring, was supplanted by LHP Carmen Cali, recalled from Class AAA Memphis, where he did not allow a hit or run in 3 1/3 innings over four games. Cali then worked a scoreless ninth to finish Tuesday's game.
--The Cardinals hit three homers on Sunday. In the first two games of their home schedule, they had gone homerless, marking the first time since 1991 that that had happened.
--2B Abraham Nunez's first hit as a Cardinal was a two-run homer in the eighth inning Sunday (April 10).
BY THE NUMBERS: 17 -- Number of years it had been since the Cardinals had allowed 10 or more runs in back-to-back home games. Philadelphia hit the Cardinals with 10 and then 13 runs on Saturday (April 9) and Sunday (April 10).
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Absolutely. We wouldn't be fooling around with it if we didn't think he could do it." -- General manager Walt Jocketty on getting former LHP Rick Ankiel through waivers so that he could start his second career as an OF.
MEDICAL WATCH: LF Reggie Sanders has recovered from an appendectomy. RHP Matt Morris is well ahead of schedule after offseason shoulder surgery. RHP Mike Lincoln is sidelined while recovering from Tommy John surgery. UTL Abraham Nunez fractured a rib in Wednesday's game and may be added to the DL.