After a rough stretch against the Dodgers -- which resulted in the first sweep of the Cardinals in Los Angeles since 1988 -- the Birds cruise into Arizona for a matchup with the struggling Diamondbacks.
Arizona is 24-37 and mired in last place in the National League West 12 1/2 games back of the first place Dodgers. They're 4-6 in their last 10 games and are 7-10 this season so far against National League Central foes. The Cardinals won two of the three games the teams have played previously this season. But Arizona is a much better team at home. In the desert, the D-Backs are 15-15. On the road they are 9-22.
The Cardinals will send rookie phenom Jaime Garcia (5-2, 1.47) against Arizona righty Rodrigo Lopez (2-4, 4.27). Garcia got off to a bad start Sunday against the Brewers, the first game of the Redbirds' current four-game losing streak. He gave up a pair of runs in the first and another in the third but settled down to hold the Brew Crew scoreless for the next three innings. The Cardinals tied the game at 3 runs after Garcia was gone, but lost the game in extra innings. Lopez hasn't won a game in nearly a month. But he's had the misfortune to be paired up against some of the game's best starters, most recently the Rockies Ubaldo Jiminez.
Cardinals rookie Adam Ottavino (0-1, 5.06) is matched up Friday against former Cardinals hurler Danny Haren (6-4, 4.83). Ottavino could be making his last start for a while. The Cardinals have days off in each of the next two weeks. Newly re-acquired righty Jeff Suppan will likely pick up the fourth starter spot next week and -- Hopefully -- Brad Penny will be back by the time the Birds need five starters. Haren had been going through a rough patch but things have been going better lately. He pitched eight shut out innings against the Dodgers June 1 and got no decision in a 1-0 loss. Haren has said lately that he wouldn't mind a return to St. Louis and, based on that outcome, it sounds like he'd fit right in. In his June 6 start against Atlanta Haren gave up three runs in 5 2/3 innings against Atlanta.
Chris Carpenter (7-1, 2.54) starts the finale against Edwin Jackson (3-6, 5.38). Carp threw seven shutout innings in the opener against the Dodgers -- a game I thought was his best outing so far this year -- but he got no decision because the Cardinals batsmen couldn't do a darn thing. Jackson shut out the Dodgers when he started against them June 2. In his next start at Atlanta, Jackson allowed four runs in six innings.