Matt Morris hopes to shake off the effects of a bothersome shoulder and get his mechanics back in order as the St. Louis Cardinals continue a three-game series with the rival Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.
Morris was scheduled to start Monday against San Francisco, but was scratched as a precaution due to tenderness in his right shoulder. The veteran right-hander has not pitched since ending a two-start losing streak with a 9-6 win over Cincinnati on June 25.
Morris has surrendered 28 runs over 31 innings in his last six outings since tossing consecutive shutouts on May 19 and 24.
Aside from resting, he was also hoping to make some adjustments to his delivery during the time off.
“We were just trying to compare the times when I was throwing good and how I’ve been the last bunch of times,” Morris said. “Came to the decision that when I was sore I made an adjustment for my arm’s sake.
“I don’t even know if it was a conscious adjustment.”
Jim Edmonds and Albert Pujols hit consecutive homers in the first inning and Tino Martinez tied a season high with four RBIs as the Cardinals beat Kerry Wood and the Cubs 11-8 in Friday’s series opener.
St. Louis has won two straight since dropping three in a row, moving two games in front of Chicago for the top spot in the NL Central.
STANDINGS: Cardinals - 1st place, NL Central. Cubs - 3rd place, 2 GB, NL Central.
CARDINALS PROBABLE STARTER: Morris (8-5, 3.85 ERA). Morris, who has yielded three runs over 17 innings in beating the Cubs twice this season, is 9-2 with a 3.53 ERA in 17 career appearances, including 14 starts, against Chicago.
CUBS PROBABLE STARTER: Shawn Estes (6-7, 5.38 ERA). Estes is winless in his last four starts, allowing 15 runs over 20 innings during the skid. The veteran left-hander was reached for four runs and seven hits over seven innings in Monday’s 4-3 loss at Philadelphia. Estes is 3-3 with a 5.01 ERA in 12 career starts against the Cardinals.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Cardinals - Pujols, .377 avg., 77 RBIs and 76 runs; Edmonds, 26 HRs; Edgar Renteria, 20 SBs. Cubs - Corey Patterson, .296 avg., 48 runs and 16 SBs; Patterson and Alou, 13 HRs and 55 RBIs.
SEASON SERIES: Cardinals, 2-1.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Cardinals - OF Pujols is 1-for-7 in his career against LHP Estes. … The Cardinals have won three in a row and six of their last seven on the road. … RHP Morris is 4-2 with one save and a 4.96 ERA in nine career appearances, including seven starts, at Wrigley Field. Cubs - OF Sosa is currently tied with Mel Ott (511) for 16th place on the all-time homer list. … RHP Antonio Alfonseca has given up 11 runs and 12 hits in his last six games. … The Cubs activated RHP Dave Veres on Friday and optioned RHP Juan Cruz to Triple-A Iowa.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Cardinals - 18-22 on the road; Cubs - 20-19 at home.
INJURIES: Cardinals - C Joe Girardi (back), 15-day DL; C Steve Torrealba (elbow), 15-day DL; INF Miguel Cairo (hand), 15-day DL; INF Fernando Vina (hamstring), 15-day DL; OF Eli Marrero (ankle), 15-day DL; RHP Russ Springer (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Kiko Calero (knee), 60-day DL; RHP Chris Carpenter (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Gene Stechschulte (shoulder), 60-day DL. Cubs - LHP Will Ohman (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Scott Chiasson (elbow), 60-day DL.