The Inside Pitch with Ray Mileur

The Cardinals will conclude their play with the National League West when they entertain Arizona and then San Francisco for three games each starting Tuesday night.

With their only off day of the month on Monday, the Cardinals' starting pitcher each will get an extra day of rest, just as they did last week when manager Tony La Russa summoned RHP Anthony Reyes from Triple-A Memphis for a successful spot start.

The club still will have four regulars on the disabled list when the homestand begins, although there is some hope that C Yadier Molina, who suffered a broken hand on July 7 when hit by a pitch, might be close to playing before the homestand ends. He is starting to catch pitchers in the bullpen and between innings.

RF Larry Walker, on the DL with a herniated disc in his neck, is progressing well and is beginning to take some batting practice, as is LF Reggie Sanders, who is recovering from a broken bone in his leg.

As for 3B Scott Rolen, who has an inflamed left rotator cuff, don't look for him until after Sept. 1.

RHP Jeff Suppan will open and close the homestand. He faced both the Diamondbacks and the Giants in the space of a week on a trip just before the All-Star break and beat both.


--RHP Jason Marquis, winner in just one of his 10 previous starts, put in a quality effort on Friday, but the Cardinals were held scoreless until the ninth inning in a 4-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs.

Marquis allowed just one run until the seventh but weakened with two outs in the inning, allowing a run-scoring double on a 3-0 pitch to 1B Derrek Lee and, then perhaps losing his concentration, immediately surrendered a run-scoring single to 3B Aramis Ramirez.

Marquis is 9-11 and is the only Cardinals starter with a losing record. The Cardinals are 1-10 in his last 11 starts since June 15 and 30-10 in the other 40 games they've played in that span.

--Manager Tony La Russa outdid himself Wednesday. After starting only three regulars on Tuesday night in a 5-2 win over Milwaukee, he started just two Wednesday -- SS David Eckstein and CF Jim Edmonds -- against Brewers RHP Ben Sheets. But that was enough to do the job, as RHP Jeff Suppan and three relievers outdueled Sheets, 3-0.

La Russa correctly perceived early that the game would be a pitcher's duel and, after Eckstein opened the game with a double to left, the Cardinals bunted twice in succession. So Taguchi squeezed home Eckstein with the game's first run -- and the only run of the game until the eighth inning.

"Tony was managing for one run and we got it," said Eckstein.

Eckstein, who had gone just one for 10 in the first two games of the series after winning a game Sunday with a grand slam, singled home the two insurance runs in the eighth. This hit came after C Einar Diaz had contributed a key hit-and-run single with pinch runner Skip Schumaker, just recalled from Triple-A Memphis, going to third.

Suppan, who scored a league high 10 road wins last year, is treading the same path this season. His win was his fifth straight on the road this year and he is 10-2 against the Brewers in his career, 4-0 at Miller Park.

--Cardinals hitters had gone 23 innings without a walk before CF Jim Edmonds took four balls from Cubs RHP Carlos Zambrano in the fifth inning Friday.

--Rookie LF John Rodriguez had two hits Friday but fanned with two runners on base twice, got picked off second after his first hit and threw to the wrong base once from the outfield.

--RHP Jason Marquis got two more hits Friday, giving him 23 in 65 at-bats this season. Twenty of those have come as a pitcher (he has three as a pinch hitter), which is the most for any hurler in the majors.

--OF Skip Schumaker got his first major-league hit and run batted in Friday when his ninth-inning looper felt in front of RF Jeromy Burnitz, who slipped on the play.

--RF John Mabry missed the first two games of the Cardinals' road trip because of a minor back ailment.

--2B Hector Luna got clipped in the right knee Wednesday by a hard slide from Brewers CF Brady Clark in the third inning but stayed in the game.

BY THE NUMBERS: .529 -- OF So Taguchi's batting average with the bases loaded (9-for-17).

QUOTE TO NOTE: "He's got a lot to learn, but the potential is most definitely there." -- 2B Mark Grudzielanek, on rookie RHP Anthony Reyes.




1. LHP Mark Mulder

2. RHP Chris Carpenter

3. RHP Jason Marquis

4. RHP Jeff Suppan

5. RHP Matt Morris



RHP Jason Isringhausen (closer)

LHP Ray King

RHP Julian Tavarez

RHP Al Reyes

RHP Brad Thompson

RHP Cal Eldred

LHP Randy Flores



1. SS David Eckstein

2. 3B Abraham Nunez

3. 1B Albert Pujols

4. CF Jim Edmonds

5. 2B Mark Grudzielanek

6. RF So Taguchi

7. LF John Rodriguez

8. C Einar Diaz



C Mike Mahoney

INF Hector Luna

3B Scott Seabol

OF Skip Schumaker

INF/OF John Mabry



RF Larry Walker, neck, 15-day DL.  Took batting practice Sunday could return by the first of September.

3B Scott Rolen, inflamed rotator cuff, 15-day DL.  The word is Rolen could return around the first of September.

C Yadier Molina, fractured left pinky finger, 15-day DL.  Molina is expected to be ready to play before September 1st.

LF Reggie Sanders, hairline fracture in left tibia, 15-day DL.  We are projecting Reggie Sanders may be out until mid September.


The Cardinal Nation Top Stories