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Series Preview: Cardinals vs. Reds

Who woulda thunk that the Cardinals would be looking up in the standings at the Reds when Memorial Day rolled around?

Not me. But that's the reality. Cincinnati, built on pitching and defense by former St. Louis General Manager Walt Jocketty, has won 16 of its last 21 games and moved ahead of the Cardinals in the National League Central race. But it's not exactly like the Reds have been beating up on the 27 Yankees. That stretch includes seven games against the Pirates, three against the Indians and two each against the Astros and Brewers.

The Cardinals are 5-4 so far this season against the Reds, which makes St. Louis the only NL Central club with a winning record against them.

On Monday, Bronson Arroyo (5-2, 4.30) will face Jaime Garcia(4-2, 1.14). Arroyo has won his last four decisions and tamed the Cardinals the last time he saw them, a 7-2complete game victory on May 16. But that was a very different Redbirds club than the one he'll face this time. Then, Felipe Lopez was on the disabled list, rookie Jon Jay started in right field and batted second, Jason LaRue started in place of Yadier Molina and minor leaguer Tyler Greene started at shortstop. Garcia beat the Reds -- who will be the first team he faces twice -- 4-3 on May 14. He gave up five hits, a walk and a run in 6 1/3 innings while whiffing six.

P.J. Walters (1-0, 2.00), fresh off his first career victory in the majors over the Padres will face Johnny Cueto (5-1, 3.25) Tuesday.

Ace Chris Carpenter (6-1, 2.93) will pitch the Wednesday finale against Sam LeCure (1-0, 3.00). That's right, the dreaded pitcher you've never heard of before making his first career appearance against the Cardinals -- and only his second appearance overall. This should be interesting, to say the least.