The Inside Pitch with Ray Mileur

The Cardinals will make their second West Coast trip in a month when they go to San Diego and Los Angeles Tuesday through Sunday. They might be getting the Padres at the wrong time.

San Diego, which is getting some of its injured regulars back now, lost all six games it played on an Eastern trip, so the Padres are desperate for wins. And the Padres can play with some confidence against the Cardinals, having beaten them three out of four games in St. Louis in May.

LHP Mark Mulder takes a brilliant 10-1 record and 2.14 ERA at night into Tuesday's game against RHP Woody Williams, whom the Cardinals know well. Williams, who spent the previous four seasons with the Cardinals, was injured the first time the teams played this year but apparently passed along some knowledge of the Cardinals' lineup to his friends when the Padres won the series in St. Louis.

The Padres will be seeing a different Cardinals team than last time. 3B Scott Rolen, LF Reggie Sanders and C Yadier Molina all are on the disabled list.

Molina is expected to be out another two to four weeks and Sanders and Rolen are not expected to return until September 1, even if then.

Rookie LF John Rodriguez is battling a sprained ankle, and 1B Albert Pujols has a troublesome left shoulder. CF Jim Edmonds has multiple injuries, and RF Larry Walker is having trouble with a herniated disc in his neck again.

The presumably cooler nights may help revitalize SS David Eckstein, who may be wilting a bit in the summer heat of St. Louis.

NOTES, QUOTES

---We expect the Cardinals to place outfielder Larry Walker on the DL today and recall John Gall from the minor leagues.

Walker has been battling soreness in his neck all season, and he has already undergone two cortisone injections to ease the discomfort.

As the trade dealine approaches it appears that Cardinals' General Manager Walt Jocketty may be forced to make a move to shore up the Cardinals for the stretch run.

--The Cardinals, who belatedly put C Yadier Molina on the disabled list last week and added LF Reggie Sanders shortly thereafter, grudgingly placed 3B Scott Rolen to those rolls Friday.

Rolen, who has an impingement in his left rotator cuff, had played three games since that latest diagnosis and had looked helpless at-bat. The Gold Glover, who had been trying to rebound from May 13 shoulder surgery, had been experiencing more discomfort lately and had to pass up the All-Star Game. He is 18-for-87 since he got hurt on May 10, with no home runs.

Abraham Nunez, who played 3B Friday, will be the main replacement, with Scott Seabol, recalled Wednesday, and John Mabry, who had a key pinch triple to start the 11th-inning rally, also to see time there.

Cardinals RHP Chris Carpenter gained no decision although allowing just one run over nine innings Friday. He has given up three runs over 59 2/3 innings in his last seven starts.

"(Carpenter) is one of the best pitchers in the National League, no doubt," said Chicago RHP Carlos Zambrano, who also worked nine innings of one-run ball. "He has a good curve, an excellent fastball and his change is pretty good, too. He makes me throw my 'A' game."

"I was beginning to wonder if anybody was going to win it," said Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan.

--LF John Rodriguez hit safely in all of his first six of his big-league games, getting eight total hits. He has two homers and will continue to play every day. He is suffering from a sprained ankle but is expected to start Tuesday.

--Sometimes, Jason Marquis' sinker was working Thursday. He threw three double-play balls in the first four innings and the Cardinals made errors on two other grounders.

But, at many other times, Marquis went away from his sinkerball, relying on his mediocre breaking ball instead. Consequently, he was up in the strike zone and this inconsistency doomed him. He allowed 14 runners in four innings as the Milwaukee Brewers rapped the Cardinals, 12-7.

The Cardinals would turn five double plays for the day but they got little offense from the top of the lineup other than 1B Albert Pujols, who had three of the Cardinals' 10 hits.

One of the other hits by Marquis, who is 18-for-50 (.360) for the season, with eight runs batted in. Both the hit total and RBI total lead big-league pitchers.

--Had he won Thursday, Marquis would have been the fourth 10-game winner on the staff. Last year, the Cardinals had four starters with 15 or more wins at the end of the season.

--RHP Jason Isringhausen's save Wednesday was his 128th as a Cardinal, putting him one behind second-place Todd Worrell. Lee Smith is the leader at 160.

BY THE NUMBERS: 18-18 -- Cardinals' record after 36 day games. At night, they are 44-18.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "They're going to have rip this uniform off me." -- Rookie LF John Rodriguez, upon finally making it to the major leagues after 8 1/2 seasons in the minors. You got to love this guy.


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