Game Day Preview with Ray Mileur

Today it's a rematch of last year's All-Star pitching matchup, with Cardinals left-hander Mark Mulder going up against the Astros' Hall of Fame-bound righty Roger Clemens at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.

The National League Champion St. Louis Cardinals continue defense of their 2004 pennant as the Houston Astros make their first visit to St. Louis since the 2004 NLCS.

The Cardinals are 10-5 and are on top of the Central Division, with a two and a half game lead over the Astros, Cubs and Reds.

The Astros, playing .500 ball at 8-8 may find their future defined by the final two games of this three game set with the Cardinals. A sweep by the Cardinals could prove devastating to the physic of the Astros.

The Redbirds split a two game series at Houston to open the season, and held on for an 8-7 victory Friday night. Last season, St. Louis was 8-10 vs. the Astros, the only team they had a sub-.500 record against, and were 3-6 vs. the Astros at home.

The Cards lead their all-time series with their rivals the Houston Astros, 306-274.

The Cardinals have a home field advantage over Houston. St. Louis is 140-113 versus the Houston at the current Busch Stadium, and will need that advantage, because they, will have their hand full today facing future Hall of Famer Roger Clemens in today's game.

Today's pitching match up pits the Astros' Roger Clemens against Cardinals lefthander Mark Mulder,the last time these two squared off was the 2004 All-Star Game in Houston. Mulder earned the win, allowing a run on two hits in 2.0 innings and Clemens allowed six runs (three earned) on five hits in an inning of work.

Mulder the guy the Cardinals brought in from Oakland to be their staff ace, is looking for his first home win in three starts at Busch.

Clemens is putting a 16 inning scoreless streak on the line in the middle game of the three game series.

The Cardinal fans finally got a glimpse of the potential of Mulder in his last outing, allowing an unearned run on two hits in 8.0 innings at PIT for his first win as a Redbird.

Previously Mulder received the loss on 4/13 vs. Reds (6-5) when he was tagged for six runs on 11 hits in 5.0 IP, a loss that was cause of concern throughout Cardinal Nation. Was this the savior the Cardinals brought in to take them back to the World Series?

Roger Clemens is a shoe in first round ballot Hall of Famer and forget about him being 42 years old. The seven-time Cy Yong Award winner (most all-time) and 10-Time All-Star is making his fourth start of the season is off to his best start ever.

Look at these numbers, it's unbelievable. He is 1-0, with a 0.43ERA. In three starts he's pitched 21 innings allowing only 12 hits and one earned run, and get this two walks vs. 26 strike outs.

Clemens is 3-0 with a 2.43 ERA (9ER/33.1IP) in five career starts against the Cardinals.

He is on a seven-game winning streak that dates back to 8/23/04 (includes four no decisions), Clemens has not lost since the Expos defeated the Astros 5-2 on 8/8/04.

If Mulder can match up face to face with Roger Clemens and the Cardinals can come away with another win over the Astros, it will go along way to calming the fears of Cardinal fans who wonder if a return trip to the Fall Classic is in the cards.


Sat., April 23 vs. ASTROS: Mark Mulder (1-1, 4.74) vs. Roger Clemens (1-0, 0.43) 1:15 p.m.#

Sun., April 24 vs. ASTROS: Matt Morris (1-0, 1.50) vs. Brandon Backe (0-0, 3.93) 1:15 p.m.#

Mon., April 25 vs. BREWERS: Jeff Suppan (1-2, 3.38) vs. Ben Sheets (1-3, 3.95) 7:10 p.m.*

Tue., April 26 vs. BREWERS: Chris Carpenter (3-1, 4.15) vs. Doug Davis (2-2, 4.76) 7:10 p.m.*

Wed., April 27 vs. BREWERS: Jason Marquis (2-0, 1.33+) vs. Victor Santos (0-0, 2.08+) 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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