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Series preview: Cardinals @ Diamondbacks

After losing their third straight series to start the season, the Cardinals will head for Arizona where they'll start a three-game set with the Diamondbacks tonight.

Arizona is 4-4 in the National League West, half a game in front of the Giants thanks to the Cardinals' victory over San Francisco on Sunday. The Birds, thanks in part to three blown Ryan Franklin saves, are 3-5 and in fifth place out of six teams in the National League Central.

On the bright side, the Cardinals will have Matt Holliday in the line-up. He came back Sunday after missing a week and a half because of a balky appendix and sparked the club to its biggest scoring output of the season. But the Diamonbacks have also been sparked by the return of one of their stars: shortstop Stephen Drew who missed the first week of the season because of a strained abdominal muscle.

Converted reliever Kyle McClellan (1-0, 3.00) will make the start in the series opener for the Cardinals against Diamondbacks hurler Barry Enright (0-0, 6.00). McClellan pitched very well in his season debut, allowing two runs on six hits and a walk against Pittsburgh to earn his club's first win of the season. He struck out seven in the appearance. Enright gave up four runs in six innings in his first game of the year against the Cubs. He allowed seven hits and three walks while striking out three. He's 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA in his career against St. Louis, winning his only previous start in 2010.

In the middle game Chris Carpenter (0-1, 2.08) will take on Armondo Galarraga (1-0, 5.14.) Carpenter has pitched very well in his first two starts but has had very little offensive support. So if anyone is grateful to see Holliday return it should be him. Galarraga allowed five hits and two walks over seven innings during his first start, a 6-4 win over the Cubs. The former Tiger has only made one appearance against St. Louis in his career -- and it didn't go well. He was clubbed for eight hits and four earned runs over 4 2/3 innings.

Jake Westbrook (0-1, 9.90) has been the Birds shakiest starter so far. But he's tasked with the responsibility of starting the finale against Arizona pitcher Ian Kennedy (1-0, 2.57). Westbrook was a little better in his second go-round. But he's still being hit hard and giving up a lot of fly balls. Kennedy, a 10-game winner with a 3.80 ERA in 2010. But the former Yankee has never started against the Cardinals.

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