Game Day Preview with Ray Mileur 04/19

Matt Morris will be making his first start for the St. Louis Cardinals tonight, as the Cardinals play game two of a two game set in Pittsburgh. <p> Morris coming off the DL and back after having shoulder surgery during the off season, will be limited to 85 pitches tonight. <p> For the record, the Cardinals have gone 79-46 (.632 win pct) in Matt's 125 starts since the start of the 2001 campaign. <p>

GAME NOTES

Just when you thought it might get boring watching the Cardinals win, stand by because Matt Morris will take the mound for the first time this season tonight against the Pirates at PNC Park.

The 7-4 Cardinals are visiting 4-9 Pittsburgh for the first time in the 2005 season. Tonight's game is the second of the two game series with a start time of 7:05 CDT and will televised on the FSN/FSMW network.

The Cards are coming off of a sweep of three games from Milwaukee during the first part of this road trip. The Cards will return home on Wednesday for a three-team, eight-game home stand beginning with the Chicago Cubs.

Matt Morris, the Cardinals' former 20 game winner and former staff ace, struggled last season but still managed to put together 15 wins, thanks in big part to the Gold Glove defense behind him and the explosive offense of the 2004 National League Champion Cardinals.

Morris who is just coming off the disable list, has been in Florida on a rehab assignment with the Palm Beach Cardinals, the Cardinals High A, affiliate.

In his last start on April 13, he faced Florida's Brad Penny and took the loss by allowing five runs on eight hits in 5 2/3 innings.

Morris said he felt good in his two high-A rehab starts after making several starts during the spring.

"The last two starts have been my best," Morris reported. "That's where I should be just as far as the ball coming out of my hand and the number of pitches, and the innings and the time to recover has been faster and I'm able to get more work in during the week. So it's coming along even though we're increasing intensity and pitch count it's recovering better."

One thing about Matt Morris no matter how bad he pitches, he always feels good afterward.

For Cardinal fans they can take some comfort in that Morris is 8-4 with a 2.37 ERA in 12 career starts against the Pirates, and even better He is 4-0 with a 2.84 ERA in five career starts at PNC Park.

WHO's HOT?

Cardinals closer Jason Isringhausen is leading the team in appearances with seven, picking up five saves in five opportunities, including one in each of the games vs. MIL.

WHO's NOT?

Contrary to popular belief, Matt Morris is not. His two rehab starts at High A were less than impressive, in my opinion. He will be limited to 85 pitches tonight.

HEALTH WATCH

Right-handed pitcher Cal Eldred was placed on the 15-day DL Friday, retroactive to Monday, 4/11, with a viral infection that affects the lining and muscles of the heart...he will be out at least three to four weeks...to take Eldred's place on the roster, the Cardinals recalled RHP Jimmy Journell from Memphis (AAA).

Reserve infielder Abraham Nunez broke a rib on his left side last Wed., but will not be placed on the DL and is able to play according to his pain level. He has not appeared in a game since his injury.

SURPRISE, SURPRISE, SURPRISE

St. Louis was 12-5 vs. PIT last year, including a 7-3 mark at PNC Park but it may surprise you to know that the Cardinals trail the all-time series, 993-1065, but on a positive note for Redbird fans, the Cardinals are 26-9 at PNC Park.

COMING UP

Tues., April 19 at PIRATES: Matt Morris (First App.) vs. Josh Fogg (1-0, 2.03) 7:05 p.m.*

Wed., April 20 vs. CUBS: Jeff Suppan (1-1, 3.65) vs. TBA 6:10 p.m.*%

Thurs., April 21 vs. CUBS: Chris Carpenter (2-1, 6.35) vs. TBA 12:10 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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