RYAN HOWARD - Photo credit: Steve Trapani
After losing a series to the Seattle Mariners, the Phillies look to bounce back against a Albert Pujols-less St. Louis Cardinals team. Â Roy Halladay will getÂ the start, looking for his 10th win. Â He and fellow Phillie Cole Hamels lead the National League with nine wins each. Â Hamels was handed a loss on Sunday but alsoÂ pitched his 1,000th career strikeout. Hamels is the third-fastest active pitcher to accomplish that. Â Only San Francisco’sÂ Tim Lincecum and Seattle’sÂ Felix Hernandez reached it faster.
St. Louis is Ryan Howard‘s hometown and he absolutely thrives in Busch Stadium. Which is definitely a positive thing!
Aerys Sports St. Louis Cardinals’ senior reporter Christine Coleman provided her insight into the Cardinals and below is what she had to say. Please check out her siteÂ Aaron Miles Fastball for coverage of this series and all things Cardinals:
The latest Cardinals news is something you likely heard about yesterday:Â Albert Pujols fractured a bone in his forearm during a collision on Sunday and is out from four to six weeks. He will be going on the disabled list before tonightâ€™s game, becoming the eighth Cardinal on the DL at the moment and the 14th for the season. (By comparison, the Cards used the DL 13 times total in 2010.) Even with that, the Cardinals leading the NL Central by half a game with a record of 40-33.
Already on the disabled list for the Cards are 20-game winnerÂ Adam Wainwright, rookie relieversÂ Bryan Augenstein andÂ Eduardo Sanchez, third basemanÂ David Freese, infielderÂ Nick Punto (for the second time this season), outfielderÂ Allen Craig (also for the second time) and backup catcherÂ Gerald Laird. Just last week, leftfielderÂ Matt Holliday and starting pitcherKyle McClellan returned. One plus is that the many players the Cardinals have called up from Triple A-Memphis this season have jumped into starting roles and done well.
Although theyâ€™ve now won two consecutive games, the Cardinals lost seven straight before that. The winning has coincided withÂ Matt Hollidayâ€™s return â€“ heâ€™s 5 for 12 with two homers and four RBI and currently batting .347. Heâ€™s also worn Hall of Famer Red Schoendienstâ€™s pants for the last two games, to go along with the new high-sock look many of his teammates are sporting â€“ Hollidayâ€™s usual pants wouldnâ€™t accommodate the socks. The 88-year-old Schoendienst is still a Cardinals special assistant and in uniform. And, considering the results the pants have brought about, Holliday will be wearing Redâ€™s pants a while longer.
Ryan Theriot had a 20-game hitting streak recently, and now has a new streak of four games going. Heâ€™s hitting .500 (7 for 14) over those games and has raised his average back up to .303.
With Albert on the DL, itâ€™s nice that the Cards have an All Star first baseman inÂ Lance Berkman available as a backup if needed. No determination has yet been made who will be playing first, nor if Berkman or Holliday will take over Albertâ€™s customary No. 3 spot in the batting order. Berkman had cooled off a bit hitting-wise after his incredible start to the season, but is still hitting and driving in runs rather consistently. His average is .308 and he leads the team with 51 RBI, fourth-best in the NL. Heâ€™s tied with Albert for the team lead in homers with 17, which also ties them for second in the NL.
Tuesday â€“Â Kyle McClellan (6-3, 3.96)
McClellan joined the starting rotation out of the bullpen this season, taking Wainwrightâ€™s spot. Heâ€™s been fairly good and was even the first NL pitcher to reach six wins. His start last Wednesday was his first in a couple weeks, as heâ€™d been on the DL with an injured hip. He was a little rusty, giving up three earned runs in five innings in a loss, so hopefully will bounce back â€“ although he has a big task ahead of him in facing Roy Halladay.
Wednesday â€“Â Kyle Lohse (7-3, 2.88 ERA)
Lohse got off to a terrific start this year, ending May with a 7-2 record and 2.13 ERA. He hasnâ€™t been quite as good in June, having allowed four earned runs in each of his last three starts and lasting between five and six innings. Heâ€™s also given up five homers in those three starts, after having allowed only three homers total up until that point. A more efficient and longer outing would definitely be welcome, especially with Cliff Lee opposing him.
Thursday â€“Â Chris Carpenter (1-7, 4.47 ERA)
Carpenterâ€™s season has been puzzling. Heâ€™s pitched well enough to win far more than one game, but also has victimized himself at times â€“ often having only one bad inning that ultimately costs him the game. Heâ€™s also allowed a lot of hits this season, more than he typically does: heâ€™s allowed 10 or more hits four times this season (and allowed a season-high 13 in his only win). But heâ€™s also had some bad luck, as heâ€™s thrown a complete game loss and pitched nine innings in a 10-inning team win for which he received no decision. Maybe seeing his friend and former teammate Halladay will help?
Tonight’s game preview is after the jump…
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