The right-hander looks to remain unbeaten on the season when he takes the mound against the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday.
Ponson (3-0, 3.13 ERA) signed a one-year, $1 million contract with the Cardinals (17-9) in December after Baltimore released him following an Aug. 25 arrest for driving under the influence and driving while impaired.
He also was charged in January with driving under the influence in Florida, and spent 11 days in an Aruban jail after he hit a judge during a Christmas Day fight at a beach in his home country.
“Old issues will rise and things like that, I know that, I’ve been in this game for so long,” he said. “You lose a couple of games and they’re going to ask you if you’re doing this or doing that, and I have to deal with that.”
Ponson promised Cardinals manager Tony La Russa that his problems are behind him, including a 7-11 record and 6.21 ERA last season. His solid start shows that he’s headed in the right direction.
“He’s gotten better every time, that’s how I’ve been describing it,” La Russa said.
Despite being undefeated in the first month of the season for the first time in his career, Ponson still isn’t satisfied.
In his last outing against Washington on Thursday, Ponson allowed two runs and five hits over 6 2-3 innings in a 6-2 win. However, his inability to make it through the seventh inning has been a source of frustration for the right-hander. He’s lasted five, 6 1-3 and five innings in his other three starts.
“I will be happy if I can pitch seven complete innings instead of 6 1-3 and 6 2-3,” Ponson said. “In the American League I had a lot of pride in going deep into the game, seven or eight innings.”
Ponson beat the Reds (18-8) on April 15, giving up two runs and five hits in 6 1-3 innings in a 9-3 victory.
The Cardinals fell behind early Monday in a 6-1 loss to the Reds, and Bronson Arroyo won his fifth game of the season for Cincinnati. Arroyo threw his second career complete game, limiting St. Louis to just four hits with the only run coming off a homer by Juan Encarnacion.
Dave Williams (1-2, 9.53) will try to lead the Reds to their eighth win in nine games when he starts Tuesday. Williams won his last start on April 25 against the Nationals when he gave up nine hits—including two homers—and four runs over five innings.
“It’s definitely a start in the right direction,” said Williams, who walked one and did not strike out a batter. “I think the first one is probably the toughest one any time you start the season. It’s good to have it behind me.”
Williams, who has pitched just 17 innings over four starts, is 2-5 with a 4.83 ERA against the Cardinals.