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Series Preview: Cardinals at San Diego

The Cardinals survived a couple of stumbles against Kansas City to take two of three games against the Royals.

Now they need to keep their focus and edge as they pay a visit to the Padres, the team with the second poorest record in the National League.

San Diego is having real problems scoring runs these days despite the sudden surge from former Cardinals outfield Ryan Ludwick. He had trouble hitting .200 the first month of the season and drew boos from the home crowd at Petco Park. But he's got a 10-game hitting streak going with four homers during that stretch.

Just 19-28 overall, the boos must be troubling the home nine because the Padres are only 8-18 at home while they're 11-10 on the road. St. Louis is 14-11 on the road compared to 14-9 at Busch Stadium.

It is unknown at the time of this posting who the Cardinals will field in the San Diego series. Matt Holliday was pulled out of the Sunday game against Kansas City, presumably because he aggravated his sore quad while running the bases. Ryan Theriot missed the Sunday start because of the flu. Gerald Laird seems like a candidate for the disabled list after having his index finger broken when he was hit by a pitch while substituting for Holliday as designated hitter.

Of the guys left standing, Yadier Molina's bat it the hottest. Yadi has two or more hits in five of his last seven games including four Sunday against the Royals to raise his batting average to .333 for the season. Allen Craig has eight hits over his last four games to raise his average to .319 and Jon Jay is hitting .317 thanks to cracking at least two hits in three of his last five games.

Pitching match-ups:

Kyle Lohse (5-2, 2.17) will take on Dustin Mosely (1-6, 3.40) in the opener. Lohse has been very effective in his last three outings, although he has only one win to show for it, earned in a 5-1 drubbing of the Astros. Lohse has, historically, not been very good against San Diego with a 2-3 record and a 6.14 ERA. Mosely has one start against St. Louis and he allowed one run on four hits over seven innings. He was very hot early in the season but has seen his ERA, which is still very respectable, double over his last four starts.

In game two, Kyle McClellan (6-1, 3.43) will start against Aaron Harrang (5-2, 4.31). McClellan rebounded from his first loss on May 14 by beating the Astros 4-2 May 19 with four hits and two runs allowed over eight innings. Harrang has seen more than his fiar share of the Cardinals as a former member of Central Division rival Cincinnati's rotation. He's 7-13 in his career against the Birds with a 4.63 ERA. In his most recent start Harrang threw eight shut out innings against the Brewers. But he couldn't make it through the fifth inning in his previous start against the Rockies.

Chris Carpenter (1-4, 4.88) will get the start in the finale against Mat Latos (1-6, 4.60). Carpenter has given up nine hits or more in each of his last five starts. But he had a lot of help from shoddy defense in a pretty good start last time out against the Royals. He's 3-2 with a 3.12 ERA in his career against the Padres. Latos has been pummeled by the Cardinals in the past. He's 0-2 with a 25.31 ERA against the Redbirds over the course of his career.