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Cardinals try again for first sweep of 2012

It was unfortunate -- if not understandable -- that the Cardinals lost their first series of the year last week to the lowly Cubs.

But it would more than make up for it, in my book, if the Redbirds were able to complete a three-game sweep of their most dangerous competitor today at Busch Stadium.

That's apparently what was on the mind of manager Mike Matheny as he made up the line-up card: Gone is the Tony La Russa-esque junior varsity team that we've all become accustomed to on getaway days. In its place is pretty much the same set-up we've seen previously in the series with Rafael Furcal leading off, the red hot Jon Jay in centerfield, Matt Holliday and Carlos Beltran in the middle with support from David Freese and Yadier Molina and Matt Carpenter and Skip Schumaker bringing up the rear.

Jaimie Garcia -- 17-9 at Busch Stadium over the course of his career with a 2.33 ERA -- gets the start for St. Louis.

The Cardinals are 14-7 as they near the end of their season-opening stretch of 27 games out of 28 against National League Central foes. On Tuesday the Birds start a three-game set against the 9-11 Pirates and then on Friday they travel to Houston for a three-game series against the Astros. After that, they'll get cozy with the NL West, heading to Arizona. After series at home against Atlanta and the Cubs, the Birds head to San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego.

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