Despite a terrible start to the Pittsburgh series, thanks to stealing a win Saturday night from the Pirates ace, the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday have a chance to win their second-consecutive series and come to Busch Stadium for their Monday home opener in first place with a 4-2 record.
It's the Redbirds' turn to sent their ace to the mound in a paper mismatch. Adam Wainwright, who dominated the Cincinnati Reds in his season debut, will face Edinson Volquez.
Wainwright is 9-4 over his career against the Pirates and is 5-1 at PNC Field. Volquez was terrible during spring training with a 9.64 ERA and an 0-3 record. He gave up 19 hits and seven walks in 14 innings of work. He's 3-5 with a 5.56 ERA over his career against the Cardinals.
Despite a bit of an offensive break-out Saturday, the Cardinals continue to struggle overall at the plate with a .200 team batting average. Right fielder Allen Craig is hitting .105 with no extra base hits and two RBI from the cleanup spot in the batting order. New shortstop Jhonny Peralta has a pair of home runs to his credit. But he's struggled to find consistency with a .111 batting average.
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The biggest struggle of all is being suffered by centerfielder Peter Bourjos who not only is hitless through five games. He looks like he's playing scared. Former Cardinals Gold Glove centerfielder Jim Edmonds said last night on the Fox Sports Midwest post-game show that he players are eager to make a good impression when they come to a new team. Edmonds said he was lucky to start his first season in St. Louis on a hot streak. But he said Bourjos seems to be playing afraid both at the plate -- where his is lunging at pitches -- and in the field where he's herky-jerky instead of taking a smooth route to the ball.
Also struggling is the Cardinals bench which has combined for just one hit over the first five games of the season. That was a double by the guy Bourjos replaced in the starting line-up, Jon Jay.
For all the talk about the Redbirds desire to add the element of speed to their offense, they are without a stolen base through five games.
Jay has the club's only stolen base attempt, an ill-advised try to swipe third, and he was thrown out. Bourjos, of course, can't steal second when he can't get to first. But the Cardinals' other speed threat, Kolten Wong hasn't stolen a base in his seven times reaching base.