MLB Insiders - Cards Have The Day Off

MLB Insiders a look at the St. Louis Cardinals, 0-for-Chicago. The Cards have the day off Monday before beginning a six-game homestand.

Not since 1972 had the Cardinals been swept in a four-game series at Wrigley Field, but the Cubs dumped the Cardinals 6-3 Sunday to finish the four-game sweep.

Not only are the Cardinals 3-10 for the year against the lowly Cubs, but they are 0-10 in Chicago -- 0-7 at Wrigley and 0-3 at U.S. Cellular Field against the White Sox. Albert Pujols was out of the starting lineup Sunday with a hyperextended right elbow suffered Friday, but manager Tony La Russa deemed him healthy enough to use him as a pinch hitter in the seventh inning. Pujols also made the last out of the game in the ninth.

But by the time Pujols got into the game, it was pretty much over, as 2005 Cy Young Award winner Chris Carpenter uncharacteristically was tagged for five runs in the first two innings, suffering his fifth loss in 15 decisions.

Scott Rolen knocked in two runs for the Cardinals, who maintained their 3 1/2 game lead over Cincinnati in the National League Central. The Cardinals were 51-29 against the division last year but are 21-24 this year.

REPLAY: Chris Carpenter, 4-0 for July prior to Sunday, closed the month with a bust, allowing five runs in the first two innings of a 6-3 loss to the Cubs. Carpenter was chased after four innings, his earliest KO since going only four against Chicago and Carlos Zambrano, his opponent Sunday, last September.

One of the few scoring rallies mounted by the Cardinals on Sunday featured a pinch double by pitcher Jason Marquis in the fifth inning. The Cardinals scored once in that inning, once in the sixth and once in the ninth.

--2B Ronnie Belliard, acquired from Cleveland in exchange for UT Hector Luna, is expected to give the Cardinals more pop and perhaps better defense than either 2B Aaron Miles or Luna had provided. Belliard had eight homers and 44 RBIs this season for the Indians.

--OF John Rodriguez had to come out of Sunday's game with a sprained right ankle. He was injured sliding into second base.

--LHP Mark Mulder is expected to throw 50 or 60 pitches in a three-inning simulated game Tuesday night in St. Louis. Mulder has been on the disabled list since late June with a shoulder impingement and has tried to adjust his delivery to relieve stress and increase velocity and movement.

--GM Walt Jocketty still was hopeful of making another trade before Monday's deadline. The Cardinals, instead of pursuing high-priced outfielders, may try to do some business with Philadelphia concerning RHP Jon Lieber and LHPs Rheal Cormier, originally a Cardinal, and Aaron Fultz. The latter two both are relievers.

--The Cardinals were baffled by their lack of success in Chicago against the Cubs. "We haven't played well here," hitting coach Hal McRae said. "There's no other way to describe it. We came in here thinking split at worst. This is not a good series."

--Other than Sunday's starter, RHP Chris Carpenter, the St. Louis rotation has a 33-28 record with a 5.24 ERA in 83 starts.

BY THE NUMBERS: 2 -- Number of runs RHP Jeff Suppan gave up in his first three starts after the All-Star break.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It sounds like the appropriate punishment." -- General manager Walt Jocketty on the three-game suspension handed down to former big-league infielder Junior Spivey, now playing at Triple-A Memphis, after Spivey had an argument with manager Danny Sheaffer.

Editor's note: LHP Rheal Cormier has been dealt to the Reds this morning.

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