The Redbird Report 04/15

RHP Braden Looper apparently has solved his nighttime problems. Looper, 5-11 with a 6.75 earned run average in 20 night starts for the Cardinals last season, is 2-0 in his first two starts at night this season, giving up four earned runs in 11 2/3 innings and he will make his third nighttime start of the season Tuesday night when he faces Milwaukee at home.

The Cardinals and National League Central rival Brewers will play eight times in the next three weeks and Milwaukee will be the first Cardinals opponent other than Colorado that had a winning record last season.

First baseman Albert Pujols, who had most of Sunday off, will enter the game on a 10-for-24 streak, featuring three home runs.

"I felt I was back where I was in spring training and could trust my hands," said Pujols.

Pujols had better get used to teams pitching around him. He already has been walked 13 times in 13 games.


--Each Cardinals starter will have an extra day off before his next appearance. RHP Braden Looper, who will pitch Tuesday night, last worked on Wednesday in Houston.

--RHP Todd Wellemeyer has pitched scoreless ball for six and then five innings in his last two starts. But, in the next inning on both occasions, he gave up two home runs.

--After RHP Joel Pineiro was charged with six runs in 3 2/3 innings on Sunday, the ERA of the starters jumped to 3.42.

--LHP Mark Mulder, recovering from shoulder surgery, is expected to make his first start Tuesday night for Class A Palm Beach (Fla.) on the minor league rehabilitation program.

--Monday's day off was the first for the Cardinals since March 18. "It was good for some guys to recover a little bit," manager Tony La Russa said. "They've been grinding."

BY THE NUMBERS: 15 1/3 -- Number of scoreless innings as a Cardinal for RHP Kyle Lohse before he allowed two runs in the fourth inning last Friday against San Francisco.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "People pay attention to the ninth inning and sometimes overlook what goes before." -- RHP Jason Isringhausen, extolling the virtues of such setup men as RHP Ryan Franklin.

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