Cincinnati (6-3) at St. Louis (5-4)

Fair Currently: St. Louis, MO
Temp: 54° F
  • Game info: 8:10 pm EDT Fri Apr 14, 2006
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Jason Isringhausen knows he has been one of the reasons for the St. Louis Cardinals’ unimpressive start.

The veteran closer hopes to get an opportunity to rectify that problem Friday when the Cardinals continue their homestand at the new Busch Stadium in the opener of a three-game series with the Cincinnati Reds.

Isringhausen had 86 saves for St. Louis (5-4) over the previous two seasons and has three more this year, but has struggled recently.

After blowing a save chance Sunday at Wrigley Field in which he gave up a grand slam to Cubs catcher Michael Barrett, Isringhausen served up another go-ahead homer Thursday to Brewers outfielder Carlos Lee in a 4-3, 11-inning defeat to Milwaukee.

“In games where he hasn’t been in a closing situation, he hasn’t been the same,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. “Which is kind of typical for closers.”

Isringhausen, who is 0-2 with a 15.00 ERA in five appearances, disagrees and feels more work will solve the problem, regardless of the situation when he enters a game.

“Maybe one of these days I’ll pop one up or something,” he said. “As of right now, they’re putting good swings on the pitches I’m throwing that are bad.

“I’ve just got to keep going out there and hopefully the phone will keep ringing and I’ll keep going out there.”

Chris Carpenter (1-0, 3.27 ERA) will try to build off an impressive start, and this time, be rewarded for his efforts. The right-hander allowed four hits and one walk while striking out nine in six scoreless innings Saturday, but did not have a decision as the Cardinals lost 3-2 to the Cubs.

Carpenter went 1-0 in two starts against the Reds last season, striking out 16 in 14 innings. He is 2-1 with a 1.96 ERA in five lifetime starts versus Cincinnati, fanning 42 in 36 2-3 innings.

The Reds (6-3) fared well in their first road series of the season, taking two of three games from the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Cincinnati hit six home runs in winning the series opener, and added three more Thursday in an 8-3 victory in the deciding game.

Felipe Lopez and Austin Kearns each had three-run homers, while Adam Dunn added a solo shot for the Reds, who have 20 homers and 60 runs in their first nine games. Dunn hit three homers in the series and has five in 31 at-bats.

Reds center fielder Ken Griffey Jr. sat out Thursday with a knee injury, and is questionable for this game. He has 15 homers in 153 career at-bats against the Cardinals, but only one in his last 10 games against them.

The Reds may be one of the teams happier to see a new stadium in St. Louis. They went 1-6 last season at the old Busch Stadium, losing the last five, and were 17-34 there from 2000-05.

Aaron Harang (1-1, 8.49) tries to win consecutive starts for the Reds. The right-hander was the beneficiary of eight runs of support during his 6 2-3 innings Saturday against the Pittsburgh Pirates, getting the win despite allowing five runs and eight hits in an 11-9 victory.

Harang lost all three of his starts against the Cardinals in 2005, giving up 12 runs and 19 hits in 19 1-3 innings. He is 1-5 with a 4.69 ERA in seven lifetime starts against the Cardinals, though the one win was a three-hitter.

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Starting Pitchers

A. Harang Phi vs. C. Carpenter StL
16-11 Record 15-8
3.76 ERA 3.09
216 K 184
56 BB 43
1.27 WHIP 1.07