The Redbird Report - 04/06

The Cardinals started off April by losing three games in a row to the Mets, but that isn't out of character with how they played in the second half of last season.

Obviously, they had a good October in winning the World Series, but they had losing months in June, August and September. Counting this season, they have lost 12 of their last 15 regular-season games.

"You can't pinpoint it on one thing," center fielder Jim Edmonds said. "I'd like to say we could.

"But we can't blame it on looking back. We can't blame it on celebrating the World Series. If we had come out here and blown the Mets out, we'd be talking about how we have something to build on. But we didn't play well, and that's all there is to it.

"We didn't hit and we didn't play defense. Our pitchers did a pretty good job, but we didn't catch a few balls for them. You can blame it on a lot of things, but the bottom line is you just have to play well, and we didn't."

The Cardinals had just 18 hits and two runs in the three games and were only 1-for-15 with men in scoring position. That hit, by Preston Wilson, didn't score a run because David Eckstein was thrown out at the plate trying to score from second.

It's always a bad sign when a team has more outfield errors (three) than runs scored (two) in a series.

NOTES AND QUOTES

--Pitching coach Dave Duncan is counting on RHP Chris Carpenter, who won't pitch Friday in Houston because of elbow stiffness, being ready to pitch Tuesday in Pittsburgh. "He felt a lot better (on Wednesday)," Duncan said. "That's important."

--The Cardinals are the first defending world champion to start the season 0-3 since the Baltimore in 1984.

--INF/OF Scott Spiezio should be ready for duty in the field after shaking neck and back ailments that had plagued him for more than a week. He was limited to pinch-hitting in the Mets series.

--RHP Adam Wainwright, one of the heroes of the World Series victory last October, will make his first big-league start Friday night in Houston. RHP Anthony Reyes and RHP Kip Wells will follow, and then RHP Braden Looper will pitch against Pittsburgh on Monday in the Pirates' home opener.

--Five of the eight Cardinals regulars are hitting .222 or worse, with only SS David Eckstein (.333), LF Chris Duncan (.325) and CF Jim Edmonds (.286) above that figure. 1B Albert Pujols has one hit and 3B Scott Rolen two, including the Cardinals' only homer.


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