After an extremely disappointing road trip that saw the Cardinals lose five of six -- including two of three to one of the worst teams in the National League -- they come home to play one of the worst teams in the American League.
The suddenly Ken Griffeyless Seattle Mariners roll into town tonight for a three game set. They've won only two of their last 10 games and are 9-22 on the road with a 2-4 mark in interleague play.
The Redbirds need to take advantage of the fact that they will miss Seattle's best two starters -- Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez -- on this visit...
The Cardinals send co-ace Adam Wainwright (8-4, 2.30) to the hill Monday against Mariners lefty Luke French (0-0, 6.35). Brace yourselves, Cardinals fans, this is French's third appearance of the season and his first start. So the Redbirds batters are bound to be baffled. In his last outing, French pitched 5 1/3 innings of relief against the Rangers and allowed seven hits and four earned runs. I guess it's too much to hope that the Birds batsmen take a little bit of pride in their craft, get angry and start bashing these inexperienced nobodies brains out... Wainwright labored his last time out against the Dodgers, allowing four runs on eight hits.
Jeff Suppan (0-2, 7.84) makes his return to the Cardinals Tuesday against another very shaky lefty, Ryan Rowland-Smith (0-5, 6.62.) Rowland-Smith got plastered by the Rangers in his last start. He allows a ton of baserunners -- including an average of close to a walk every other inning -- so the Cardinals will have to exercise some unusual patience. He also allows a ton of homers, 12 in 51 2/3 innings. But he's never faced the Redbirds before, and you know how that goes... Suppan was terrible with Milwaukee, so much so that the Brewers let him go with about $12 million still owed to their winter of 2006 free agent splurge. But St. Louis pitching coach Dave Duncan thinks he has ironed out some flaws in Suppan's delivery. The Cardinals didn't have anything to lose by giving Soup a chance since their rookie re-enforcements were ineffective. We'll see if Duncan can work another miracle.
Rookie Jaime Garcia (6-2, 1.49) pitches the finale Wednesday against yet a third lefty, Jason Vargas (4-2, 3.05). What will happen when the Cardinals face Vargas, I cannot say. He has the best numbers of the three Seattle pitchers the Cardinals will face... But he used to pitch in the National League for the Mets and Marlins, so St. Louis hitters aren't entirely unfamiliar with him. He's pitched twice against the Cardinals in his career, notching an 0-1 record with a 9.95 ERA and a 3.79 batting average against. Garcia has seemingly begun to nibble in his last couple of starts and has labored. But, when he's gotten himself into trouble, he's become more aggressive and been able to work out of jams.