The Cardinals have won only five of the first 12 games in that stretch and are just 16-18 in the division after going 51-29 last year against the NL Central and playing at a 54-36 clip against the Central in 2004, when they also won the division title.
Manager Tony La Russa pointed out, however, "It all comes down to Cincinnati and Chicago. (The Cardinals are 5-12 against those two teams). The thing is you wait until October and see if it was that way all year long or just the way we started against them.
"I think we're going to do all right." Third baseman Scott Rolen said, "I haven't made anything out of it. I didn't know we had a losing record.
"I'm not one to over-sensationalize it. My theory is to play good baseball and hope the team you play is not playing better baseball. When you're not playing good baseball is when you start scratching your head and panicking."
The Cardinals are 5-1 against the Pirates this season and have won three-fourths of their games at PNC Park since it opened in 2001.
--3B Scott Rolen has hit .435 in the seven games that 1B Albert Pujols has missed and has driven in nine runs.
--SS David Eckstein leads the league with 83 hits and is on his way to his first 200-hit season. His career high was 185 last year, his first with the Cardinals.
--RHP Chris Carpenter will make his second start Tuesday night since coming off the disabled list (bursitis). He lasted only five innings last Wednesday, giving up three runs to the Cincinnati Reds in a 7-3 loss.
--The Cardinals have received just 13 innings from their starters in the last three games, and those starters have walked 12 hitters. "We've got to get that rotation straightened out," said manager Tony La Russa.
--RHP Jeff Suppan's next try for his 100th win -- he has failed in the last four -- will come Saturday at home against Colorado.