Cardinals Major League Notebook: 08/07/09

The Cardinals head into a segment of their schedule during which they are expected to win. Chris Carpenter gets the Friday night start in Pittsburgh.



Based on the schedule, the Cardinals have their best chance to make some headway toward a potential playoff berth in the next 3 1/2 weeks.


Beginning with a three-game series that starts Friday in Pittsburgh, the Cardinals will play 19 of their next 22 games against teams with losing records, including 16 with Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, San Diego and Washington, which have the four worst records in the National League.


Following two off days this week (Thursday and Monday), the Cardinals' starting pitching is loaded for the three-game set at Pittsburgh. In order, the Cardinals will have their three best in Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright and Joel Pineiro.


Carpenter notably has been deadly against Pittsburgh. Including a win against the Pirates in St. Louis on April 9, he is 10-1 against the Pirates in 12 career starts.


A strong Comeback Player of the Year candidate, Carpenter is 10-3 after not winning the previous two seasons as he fought elbow and shoulder problems.




• RHP Brad Thompson was suspended for three days and fined an undisclosed amount for his pitch near the head of Mets 3B David Wright in the sixth inning Wednesday. Thompson has appealed the suspension.


• RHP Kyle Lohse is expected to rejoin the team in Pittsburgh on Saturday to throw a bullpen session, preparatory to his next scheduled start Monday at home against Cincinnati. Lohse, who hasn't won since May 23, was lit up by the Mets on Wednesday, a day after learning of the death of his cousin in a California jet ski accident. Lohse returned to California for the memorial service.


• LF Matt Holliday and 1B Albert Pujols aren't on the same page quite yet. Holliday went 20-for-33 while Pujols was struggling. Now, Pujols has had two homers, three doubles and a single in the last two games, while Holliday has gone 1-for-10 in those two games and 1-for-14 in his last three.


By The Numbers:   39—At-bats without an extra-base hit for 1B Albert Pujols before he doubled July 29.


Quote To Note:   "He's a relentless hitter, is what he is."—Manager Tony La Russa, on hot-hitting LF Matt Holliday.




• CF Colby Rasmus, an offensive stalwart just before the All-Star break, has seen less and less playing time. Rasmus, seemingly weak after an early-summer illness, has six hits in his last 64 at-bats and looks slow at the plate.


• 1B Albert Pujols is 7-for-9 with five grand slams and 24 RBIs this season when hitting with the bases loaded.


• INF Mark DeRosa has just eight other hits besides the seven home runs he has hit in 81 at-bats as a Cardinal. His sprained left wrist probably still is bothering him.


• 3B David Freese, who was on the opening-day roster before being sent out and then having more trouble with an ankle injury suffered in a winter car accident, has begun hitting for power at Class AAA Memphis. He might rate a September recall.

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