St. Louis (54-31) at San Francisco (36-48)

Partly Cloudy Currently: San Francisco, CA
Temp: 60° F
  • Game info: 10:15 pm EDT Fri Jul 8, 2005
  • TV: FSMW, FSBA
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Mark Mulder knows he needs to keep the ball in the park to be effective.

He hopes to sharpen his location for the St. Louis Cardinals in the opener of a three-game series with the San Francisco Giants at SBC Park.

The 27-year-old left-hander has surrendered seven homers over his last four outings, and 14 overall this season. He allowed four runs and seven hits— including three homers—but did not receive a decision in St. Louis’ 5-4 win over Colorado on Sunday.

“Each fastball I was throwing, they were getting a pretty good hack at it,” Mulder said. “I don’t know if I was doing something a little obvious or not, but regardless, those pitches were up and they were over the plate. I really didn’t make a ton of mistakes besides those couple homers, and lately the homers have been killing me.”

Mulder will be facing an opponent he is familiar with from interleague play during his years in Oakland. He is 5-2 with a 3.42 ERA in seven career starts against the Giants, winning his lone outing last July 4 by surrendering three runs and eight hits over seven innings in a 9-6 victory.

Giants catcher Mike Matheny will play his first game against his former team. Matheny spent the last five seasons with St. Louis before leaving for San Francisco as a free agent.

The veteran backstop will be presented with his second straight Gold Glove by Cardinals manager Tony La Russa before Friday’s game.

Matheny homered and matched a season high with four RBIs in San Francisco’s 5-1 victory Thursday over Cincinnati. Known for his defensive play, Matheny has a career-high nine homers and 42 RBIs in possibly his best offensive season.

St. Louis missed a chance at a four-game sweep at Arizona with a 2-1 loss Thursday. The Cardinals, who posted a 1.80 ERA in the series, had a four-game winning streak snapped.

San Francisco starter Jason Schmidt had a rough outing his last time out, allowing six runs and six hits over four innings in a 9-6 loss at San Diego on Sunday. Schmidt had a personal three-game winning streak snapped.

”(I) lacked focus a little bit,” Schmidt said. “I wasn’t throwing the pitches I wanted to throw. It wasn’t intentional. It was just one of those days. It was a struggle for some reason.”

Schmidt is 7-7 with a 3.23 ERA in 16 career starts against St. Louis. The right-hander is 1-3 with a 3.54 ERA in four starts against the Cardinals since joining the Giants in 2001.

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Starting Pitchers

M. Mulder LAA vs. J. Schmidt LAD
16-8 Record 12-7
3.64 ERA 4.40
111 K 165
70 BB 85
1.38 WHIP 1.42