After being rained out Sunday in
"They're playing good. And we're playing good. It's going to be like the playoffs," said catcher Yadier Molina.
Even manager Tony La Russa didn't discount the fact that the series would be one of the Cardinals' most significant of the season.
"You get to the last two months... the end is in sight... and you've got six games left with each other, I think it's a different series than the other ones that you play," said La Russa. "But if you look at the bigger picture, how many games are left in the season (52)? And this is six of them.
"The team that wins those two series isn't necessarily the winner. It's the team that plays the best from here to the end.
"But there's no doubt about it. (The series) is an opportunity."
Right-hander Chris Carpenter, who will start the series in
"I think we go in there like any other time. I mean, you have to," said Carpenter. "To try to put extra pressure on yourself or to put extra pressure on the team is going to take away from your normal routine of how you get prepared."
"It's getting late," said second baseman Skip Schumaker.
"It's a critical series because you could end the series in first place or close the gap, at least, and not go out of there down more than you already are."
The Reds could afford a sweep -- they would be only one game down if that happened -- while the Cardinals probably couldn't. They would be down five games at that point.
"You don't want that," said Schumaker. "But I think we have our pitching lined up the way we want."
CARDINALS vs. MARLINS (PPD., rain): Sunday's game was rained out after a three hour and seven minute postponement. No makeup date was announced
NOTES AND QUOTES
RHP Kyle Lohse, who had
right forearm surgery in early June, is slated to make his next rehabilitation
start in the minors on Tuesday for Class AAA Memphis at
Lohse, who has had three
starts in the minors, last pitched at Class AA Springfield on Thursday but
1B Albert Pujols has not walked in 11 straight games, tying his career longest stretch in his rookie season of 2001 despite hitting safely in eight straight games (17 for 36)—one of his best spurts of the season. "I don't get paid to walk," said Pujols. "I get paid to drive in runs. I'm getting good pitches to hit and I'm not missing them. I don't care about the walks. I don't need to strike out and chase balls out of the strike zone." In his eight-game streak, Pujols has fanned just twice.
Sunday's rainout of the
Cardinals game with the Florida Marlins in
Manager Tony La Russa indicated that the Cardinals' need for 13 pitchers isn't as great as it once was. There are off days coming up this Thursday, next Monday and the Thursday after that. "I don't think (13 pitchers) is a great place to be," said La Russa.
2B Skip Schumaker, out since last Wednesday with a left wrist irritation, has shown marked improvement after taking a cortisone shot last week and should be ready to play Monday in Cincinnati.
By the Numbers:
1.22 - RHP Adam Wainwright's earned run average at home in 12 starts. This leads the National League.
Quote to Note:
"There's no whining in baseball."
- GM John Mozeliak after losing 3B David Freese for the rest of the season with a severe ankle injury that required surgery.
2B Skip Schumaker (sore left wrist) hasn't played since Aug. 3, could play on Aug. 9.
RHP Jason Motte (AC sprain in right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Aug. 3. He hopes to return as soon as he's eligible.
SS Tyler Greene (bruised right hand) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Aug. 1. Greene was struck by a pitch July 17, and the injury was still bothering him.
RHP Adam Ottavino (right shoulder strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 4. He won't need surgery, but he is probably out for the year.
3B David Freese (bone bruise on right ankle) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 28. He also broke his left big toe in mid-July. He tore a right ankle tendon Aug. 2 in his first rehab game with Class AA Springfield, and he had season-ending surgery Aug. 6.
RHP Kyle Lohse (right forearm strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 23, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 5. He had surgery May 28 to alleviate muscle discomfort. Lohse began a minor league rehab assignment July 26 and will next start for Class AAA Memphis on Aug. 10.
RHP Brad Penny (strained upper back) went on the 15-day disabled list May 22. He threw bullpen sessions June 28 and July 1 but had to cut short a bullpen session July 6 because of tightness in his triceps area. He underwent an MRI on July 7, which found nothing that hadn't been diagnosed before. As of Aug. 5, he was playing catch but not throwing off a mound. Penny is out indefinitely.