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Series preview: Cardinals vs. Cubs

The Cardinals took care of business against the Reds. Now it's time to tend to some unfinished business with the Cubs.

The last time they met at Wrigley Field, the Birds dropped two out of three to the Wee Bears. Not only should St. Louis be looking for some payback, it also needs to take advantage of the fact that Chicago has seriously weakened itself by running up the white flag of surrender. Gone are Ted Lilly, Mike Fontenot and Ryan Theriot. The result is a 2-8 record in their last 10 games.

Following their sweep of Cincinnati, the Cardinals are 15 games over .500 for the first time this season. They're 7-3 in their last 10 contests.

Pitching matchups:

Jake Westbrook (0-0, 3.46) will try for the third time to get his first win in a Cardinals uniform Friday night against Chicago rookie Thomas Diamond (0-2, 8.00). Westbrook has struck out an uncharacteristic 21 hitters over his last three starts. Diamond faces the Cardinals for the first time in his career. Unfamiliarity is unsually a problem for St. Louis batters. But, hopefully, the Cardinals will employ the same patient approach they used against the Reds.

Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter(13-3, 2.89) will take on Cubs whackjob Carlos Zambrano(3-6, 5.46) in the middle game on Saturday. Zambrano is 10-6 with a 3.50 ERA lifetime against the Birds. But you can throw that out the window. Not only hasn't he been the same pitcher the last couple of seasons. Zambrano will only be making his second start after being exiled from his team for a month for criticizing his teammates. Zambrano has bounced back and forth between the rotation and the bullpen this year, not having much success in either role. Carpenter is 10-3 with a 2.79 ERA in his career against the Cubs. In his last three starts, Carpenter is 2-0 with a 1.61 ERA.

Kyle Lohse(1-4, 5.89) will make his first start Sunday since undergoing forearm surgery a couple of months ago. He struggled in his second and third rehab starts. But he was dominant over seven innings last time out for Class AAA Memphis. Hopefully Lohse will regain his 2008 form that inspired the Cardinals to reward him with a $40-million contract. The Cubs counter with Ryan Dumpster... I mean Dempster... (10-8, 3.66). Dempster is 5-6 with a 4.39 ERA lifetime against the Cardinals.