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Giants series preview

It's a good thing that the Cardinals were able to pull out a victory in their Wednesday game at Arizona... Because they are going to have a tough time this weekend against the Giants.

On Friday night, the Birds will face Tim Lincecum who edged out St. Louis Starters Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter in 2009 for the Cy Young Award. Lincecum is 3-0 this season with an ERA of 0.90. Cardinals pitchers were roughed up in the Arizona series by Arizona starter Dan Haren who had four hits in four at bats Tuesday. So look out for Lincecum at the plate where he's 3-for-7 with three RBI's. Lincecum has driven in three runs, but he's only allowed two.

The Cardinals send Rookie Jaime Garcia to the mound, which it many ways seems like a mismatch. But Garcia will actually start the game with a better ERA than Lincecum, 0.68. In his last start, Garcia dueled Mets ace Johan Santana through seven scoreless innings, pitching a no hitter through five frames. So the kid can certainly take care of himself. The question is, now that he has made a couple of starts, will teams start to get a book on Garcia and find ways to have more success against him?

While the Giants are possibly the best pitching team in the National League, the Cardinals are no slouches on the mound. And they ought to have the advantage at the plate.

Who's hot:

Over his last nine games, right fielder Ryan Ludwick is hitting .345 with three homers, 10 runs scored and seven batted in.

Rookie third baseman David Freese has settled down recently with the glove and improved at the plate at the same time. He's hitting .371 over the last eight games.

Colby Rasmus is hitting .438 with three homers in his last four games. He's scored five runs and driven in seven over that span.

Who's not:

How often can anybody complain about Albert Pujols being cold? Well, you can right now. He's two hits in his last 17 at bats (.118) and has two runs scored and one RBI from a solo homer in that stretch.

Mitchell Boggs,
in his last three appearances, has surrendered seven hits and four earned runs over four innings pitched. But three of those runs came on one swing of the bat, a homer by Arizona third baseman Mark Reynolds. Boggs, in that time, has struck out four while only walking one.

On Saturday, Wainwright (3-0, 1.50) will start the second game ofthe Giants series against resurgent San Francisco starter Barry Zito (2-0, 1.86) who fits the mold of the soft tossing lefty that typically gives the Cardinals fits.

On Sunday, Brad Penny (2-0, 1.29) will face Matt Cain (0-0, 3.86) who has a 4-1 strikeouts to walks ratio this season after having trouble with giving out too many free passes in the past.