Game Day Preview with Ray Mileur

Chris Carpenter will be going for his fifth win of the season in Cincinnati. St. Louis is 24-9 (.727 win pct.) in Chris' starts. He's seeking his 20th career win as Cardinal tonight.

The Cardinals make their second stop on their six game road trip tonight in Cincinnati to take on the Reds. The Cards are seeking to avoid their first 3-game losing streak of the season.

Chris Carpenter will take the mound for the Redbirds and will going for his fifth win of the season as the Cardinals open a three-game series at Great American Ball Park.

Carpenter will be trying to get the Cardinals back on the winning track. The Redbirds just lost two out of three this weekend to the Atlanta Braves, their third loss in four games since the end of a six-game winning streak that propelled them to the top of the NL Central Division.

Carpenter won his third straight start on Wednesday, allowing three earned runs and eight hits in 7 2-3 innings of a 6-3 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Reds who have in the past have given the Cardinals fits at time, were swept in three games at Milwaukee over the weekend, including Sunday's 13-3 loss. Tonight they send Eric Milton to the mound.

Eric Milton, is 2-2 with a bloated 6.75 ERA and will have his hands full with the Cardinals lineup. Entering tonight's game, all but two of the Cardinals' position players have compiled a lifetime batting mark of .290 or better at Great American Ball Park...Albert Pujols leads the way with a .355 career BA at GABP, followed closely by Mark Grudzielanek at .353...Pujols has hit 8 homers here,just one shy of the leading total for a visting player (Lance Berkman & Geoff Jenkins have hit 9)...Scott Rolen, Jim Edmonds & Reggie Sanders each have 6 homers here at Great American.

The Cardinals at 15-8 are three and a half games ahead of the Chicago Cubs and five and a half games ahead of the 10-14, fourth place Reds and look to improve that lead during the next three games.

The two teams are meeting for their second series meeting of the year, their first in Cincinnati, they split their earlier meeting (April 12-13), a two-game set at Busch Stadium.

The Cardinals are coming off a record April. The last time the Cardinals began a season with 15 wins in their first 23 games was 1968 when they also started 15-8...the team's 15 wins last month set a club record for April, surpassing the 1963 club (14-6) for the most wins during the month.

Since last May 27, the Cardinals have won a major league best 97 games (97-43) for a .693 winning pct...their combined 120-65 (.649 win pct.) mark over the past two seasons is also tops in the majors, followed by the Dodgers (116 wins), Yankees (111), Braves (111) & Red Sox (111).

Inside the numbers, Cards' starters have posted 3.35 ERA (150.1 IP/56 ER) which ranks third in the National League...the Cardinals have quality starts in 11 of their last 16 games...four of the Cardinals five starters currently have ERAs under 4.00, with Chris Carpenter at 4.01...the overall staff ERA is at 3.34, which also ranks third in the National League.

The bullpen, has allowed just seven earned runs in their last 37.0 innings over the last 17 games and have lowered the bullpen ERA from 6.62 after games of April 10 to its current 3.35...relievers have given up 25 hits while striking out 32 and walking 16 during the 17 games...the relievers have stranded 39 of 49 inherited runners to begin the season.

The Cardinals were 14-5 against the Reds last season, the best record vs. an N.L. Central opponent, and had a 7-3 winning mark at Great American Ball Park...the two teams will face each other 16 times this season...the Redbirds hold a 1,017-904 advantage all-time vs. the Reds.

COMING UP

Tues., May 3 at REDS: Jason Marquis (3-1, 3.27) vs. Aaron Harang (1-1, 4.30) 6:10 p.m.*

Wed., May 4 at REDS: Mark Mulder (3-1, 3.50) vs. Brandon Claussen (1-2, 2.51) 6:10 p.m.*%

Thu., May 5 vs. PADRES: Matt Morris (2-0, 2.12) vs. Brian Lawrence (2-3, 5.45) 7:10 p.m.*

Fri., May 6 vs. PADRES: Jeff Suppan (2-3, 3.23) vs. Woody Williams (2-2, 4.84) 7:10 p.m.*

Sat., May 7 vs. PADRES: Chris Carpenter (4-1+) vs. Adam Eaton (2-1+) 1:15 p.m.*

Sun., May 8 vs. PADRES: Jason Marquis (3-1+) vs. Tim Redding (0-4+) 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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