Cardinals to go for the sweep today, behind Morris

It's the Game Day Preview with Ray Mileur. <p> The Cardinals, with a win today will have the third sweep in the past four series. <p> Matt Morris is coming off an exceptional start on the road against the Pirates, where he limited Pittsburgh to one run and only four hits in six innings of a 7-1 victory. Today he will be making his first start of this season at Busch Stadium. <p> Last year Morris was 2-1 with a 3.08 ERA against the Astros. <p>

The Cardinals are hot and they are turning up the heat on the NL Central. This afternoon they will be going for the sweep against perhaps the only team that could potentially challenge them for the NL Central Crown.

If the Cardinals today, behind Matt Morris can pull it off the Cardinals will have the third sweep in the past four series.

Matt Morris is coming off an exceptional start against the Pirates earlier this week, that took many Cardinal fans by surprise. Morris who underwent shoulder surgery in the off season, had been ineffective in Spring training and was less than impressive in his two minor league rehab starts for the Palm Beach Cardinals.

Lifetime Morris is 8-9 against the Astros, as he will look to even his record to .500 today when he takes the mound at 1:15 pm CDT at Busch Stadium. If last season is any sign as to what to expect to come today, Morris was 2-1, 3.08 vs. the Astros and Morris looked better Tuesday night against the Pirates than I've ever seen him and that is bad news for the rest of the National League, especially the Central Division.

The Cardinals start the day three and a half games ahead of the Astros, Cubs and Reds. All three rivals are quickly falling behind the Cardinals with an 8-9 records.

Yesterday in the chilly confines of Busch Stadium, over 40,000 fans were treated to a great game. Cardinals starter Mark Mulder threw a 10-inning shutout, out pitching future Hall of Famer and seven time Cy Young award winner, Roger Clemens in a marquee match up and leading the St. Louis Cardinals over the Houston Astros 1-0 Saturday.

Today it will be Matt Morris taking the mound for the 11-5, St. Louis Cardinals in only his second major league start of the season and his first start at Busch Stadium. His opponent will be Brandon Backe, for the 8-9 Houston Astros, who pitched twice against the Cards in last year's National League Championship Series. St. Louis has, for the most part, had a tough time hitting Backe, though the right-hander was roughed up a bit in Game 1 of the NLCS.

The Redbirds have won three-of-four games so far against the Astros, splitting a two-game series at Houston to open the season. The Cardinals hold a 141-113 advantage over the Astros at home.

In contrast, the Astros are 1-7 on the road and this is the Astros slowest road start since 1992, when the club went 1-9 through its first 10 away games. "Houston, we have a problem!"

The Astros are looking to get back to Houston where the Astros have won 25 of their last 27 home. Unfortunately for the Astros, you can't play all your games at home.

WHO's HOT?

They didn't need him yesterday in Mark Mulder's impressive 10 inning shutout, but HERE HE IZ AGAIN...Cardinals closer Jason Isringhausen leads the team lead in appearances with eight, picking up six saves in six opportunities, including one in each of his last four outings.

What does this mean to Cardinal fans? Just more opportunities to Go Crazy, Go Crazy.

Someone else picking it up as of late is Scott Rolen, going into Saturday's game Rolen was batting .357 (10-28) with 3 HR & 8 RBI in past seven games since 4/16 with only two strikeouts.

WHO's NOT?

The rest of the NL Central Division, only the St. Louis Cardinals can boast of a won-loss record of above .500 (11-5).

COMING UP

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 (3-0, 2.77) vs. Victor Santos (1-0, 1.64) 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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