MLB Insiders - Cardinals Mired in Slump

St. Louis is making its first visit to Milwaukee this weekend as the two teams meet for the second of their five series meetings in 2006...the Cardinals took 2-of-3 games from the Brew Crew in the opening series at new Busch Stadium, April 10-14.

MLB Insiders

Cardinals closer Jason Isringhausen, plagued by control issues this season, should be ready to resume pitching by Friday night in Milwaukee after receiving two days off in the bullpen and then a scheduled off day Thursday.

"Right now, I'm thinking too much," Isringhausen said. "Walk 24 guys in 23 innings, what do you think you're going to be thinking?"

Pitching coach Dave Duncan said, "He hasn't had the consistency with his control that he has had in the past. I don't think he needs to be that fine."

--Even though he is feeling better, Albert Pujols is expected to be out three to five more weeks with his strained oblique muscle, an injury suffered when he chased a foul fly in Saturday's game.
Pujols said, "My best doctor is God. I'm going to leave everything to him. Hopefully, I'll feel great in 10 days and go rehab down in the minors."


--The offense without 1B Albert Pujols hasn't been so bad, although the Cardinals were blanked by Cincinnati LHP Eric Milton and others on Tuesday. But now the starting pitching has hit a clunker.
The last time through the rotation, the starters gave up 21 earned runs and 42 hits in 28 innings (6.75).

"It's not good, but it can turn around just as quick," pitching coach Dave Duncan said. "We're not pitching aggressively. Trying to be too fine."

--3B Scott Rolen has taken command of the offense with 1B Albert Pujols out and CF Jim Edmonds still limited by his lower abdominal strain. Rolen has a 12-game hitting streak (20-for-48) and has raised his average to .343.

--In being swept by the Reds, the Cardinals suffered their first losing homestand at 3-6 and were blanked at home in a series of three games or longer for the first time since April 2004, when Houston did it.

--OF Larry Bigbie underwent surgery Thursday for an umbilical hernia, and he is expected to be sidelined three to four weeks. "I asked if this was something we could take care of at the end of the season," Bigbie said, "but they didn't think that would be a good idea."

--PH/OF Chris Duncan made his first start of the season in the outfield Wednesday. He went 0-for-2 and committed an error.

--UTL Scott Spiezio is back in the lineup Friday night, starting at First Base.

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