The St. Louis Cardinals (3-3) opens their brand-new stadium, today against the red-hot, first place, Milwaukee Brewers (5-1), in a National League Central Division battle.
The new Busch Stadium will open its doors for the first Major League game today vs. the surprising Milwaukee Brewers. The gates to the new stadium will open to fans at noon with pregame ceremonies starting at approximately 2:15 p.m. for the 3:10 first pitch. The Cardinals will take part in the traditional motorcade introducing all the 2006 Cardinals players as they parade around the field in convertibles. The Anheuser Busch clysdales will also be part of the pregame festivities.
Today's home opener, the battle of the breweries, against the Milwaukee Brewers will be the fourth time St. Louis has opened it's season at home facing the Brewers...since the Brewers joined the National League in 1998, St. Louis has opened at home three times vs. MIL...the Cards are on the short end of those opening games, trailing 1-2...the team won over MIL in 2003, 11-9, but fell 10-8 in 1999 and 8-6 in 2004.
Milwaukee suffered its first loss of the season on Sunday, a 7-0 setback to Arizona at home. The Brewers had opened the season with five straight victories, the first time they've done that since 1987.
St. Louis followed up a three-game season-opening sweep in Philadelphia by dropping three straight in Chicago over the weekend, including an 8-4 loss on Sunday night. In that contest, Cards closer Jason Isringhausen got smacked, turning a one-run lead in the eighth inning into a three-run deficit.
Right-hander Tomo Ohka (0-0, 1.29) takes to the mound for Milwaukee after a solid start in his opening game. Ohka went seven innings, giving up five hits and two runs (one earned) in a 3-2 victory over Pittsburgh on Wednesday.
Southpaw Mark Mulder (0-0, 3.86) toes the rubber for the St. Louis Cardinals. Mulder opened the season at Philadelphia on Wednesday, giving up seven hits and three runs in seven innings, but getting a no decision in the Cardinals' 4-3 victory.
The Brewers are familiar with Mulder and gave him his worst beating of the season in the final week of the campaign. Mulder lasted only 1 2/3 innings, allowing seven runs and seven hits in an 8-7 loss at Milwaukee.
St. Louis has owned the Brewers recently, going 39-17 in the last 56 meetings.
REPLAY: The Cardinals blew a two-run lead for the second day in a row and lost 8-4 to the Cubs on Sunday. Albert Pujols, who had been hitless in eight previous at-bats in the series, singled in two runs, and Scott Rolen drove in the other two with a home run.
But St. Louis pitchers, who hadn't walked any batter all night, walked the first three hitters in the eighth, and all three scored.
NOTES & QUOTES: --2B Hector Luna became the last Cardinals position player to get into a game when he started against Chicago LHP Sean Marshall on Sunday night. Luna had two hits and played well in the field.
--RHP Sidney Ponson, Sunday's starter for the Cardinals, was the last Cardinals' pitcher to appear in a game. Ponson worked five innings in his debut, giving up a three-run homer to RF Jacque Jones, but his sinkerball was good. He got 11 of his 15 outs on groundouts.
--CF Jim Edmonds has struck out nine times and has had just four hits in the first six games.
--RF Juan Encarnacion is 1-for-10 with men in scoring position, including failing in his last nine opportunities.
BY THE NUMBERS: 10 -- Number of hitters Cardinals pitchers walked in the first four games of the season. They were also well ahead of the other 29 teams in spring training in this category.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "He made a very intelligent choice to go out and get the rust off." -- Manager Tony La Russa, on 2B Junior Spivey's acceptance of an assignment to Triple-A Memphis after he hit .147 this spring.
DEDICATION CEREMONY: The new Stadium will be dedicated in a formal ceremony at 10 a.m. Monday at 8th and Spruce Street under the stadium's bridge...the ceremony will include a rededication of the Stan Musial statue and an unveiling of the cornerstone at the main entrance...dignitaries expected to be in attendance include: Cardinals Chairman of the Board, Bill DeWitt, Jr.; team President, Mark Lamping; Senior VP Business Development, Bill DeWitt, III; Hall of Famers Red Schoendienst and Stan Musial; Missouri Governor, Matt Blunt; St. Louis Mayor, Francis Slay; and St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley.
THE BIRDHOUSE: The staff of the Birdhouse, fromwww.stlcardinals.scout.com, in association with Fox Sports, BirdonBat.com & Mileur Media Group, will be present for opening day ceremonies, passing out the Birdhouse's NEW Busch Stadium, Opening Day posters, to the first 5000 fans, plus thousands of Fox Sports Net (FSN), St. Louis Cardinals baseball cards and bubble gum for the kids.