Colorado (34-34) at St. Louis (41-26)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: St. Louis, MO
Temp: 70° F
  • Game info: 2:15 pm EDT Sun Jun 18, 2006
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The St. Louis Cardinals have been playing well and appear to have ace Chris Carpenter completely healthy.

Those aren’t good signs for the Colorado Rockies, who’ll try to avoid being swept when the teams conclude their three-game series at Busch Stadium on Sunday.

The Cardinals (41-26) have won three straight and six of their last eight, including a victory by Carpenter (5-3, 2.57 ERA) on Tuesday that showed the 2005 NL Cy Young Award winner is back in form after going on the DL with right shoulder bursitis.

Carpenter limited Pittsburgh to three hits in seven innings and struck out a career-high 13 as St. Louis held on to win 2-1.

“My stuff was as good as it ever has been,” Carpenter said. “Those guys are a good-hitting team, but when you can execute a game plan and don’t make a lot of mistakes, you can have some success.”

Carpenter lost to Cincinnati on June 6 in his return from the DL, allowing nine hits and three runs in five innings of a 7-0 defeat. He showed his Cy Young form against the Pirates and will try to do the same against the Rockies (34-34), against whom he’s had success in two starts.

He beat Colorado last season, and pitched well on May 9, but didn’t earn a decision despite allowing only four hits and one earned run in seven innings of a 4-2 victory.

“Mechanically, I’ve been working hard to get myself back to where I was last year,” Carpenter said. “I’ve been struggling a little bit with my mechanics, but I think they’re coming back to where they need to be.”

The Cardinals are also playing well following a slump at the start of the month in which they lost five of six games, all at home.

St. Louis beat Colorado 8-1 in Friday’s opener, then won 6-5 on Saturday. Juan Encarnacion had two homers, a double and three RBIs.

The multihomer game was his first since Sept. 24, 2002, and Encarnacion, in his first season with St. Louis, is batting .459 (17-for-37) with nine RBIs during a nine-game hitting streak.

“There was a couple of times he popped up with the bases loaded (this season) and somebody hooted, but overall I think our fans were definitely giving him the benefit of the doubt,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. “He’s rewarded them.”

La Russa said shortstop David Eckstein, who’s missed the last two games with a concussion, is probable for Sunday.

To avoid the sweep, the Rockies will turn to Josh Fogg (4-4, 4.91), who’s been terrible in his career against the Cardinals.

Fogg is 1-8 with a 7.11 ERA in 13 appearances—11 starts—against St. Louis, and has lost seven straight decisions to the Cards.

Fogg’s ERA against St. Louis is his highest against any team he’s faced more than twice.

He matched up with Carpenter on May 9 and had his best game against St. Louis since his only win in 2002, allowing six hits and one run in seven innings, not earning a decision in the Cardinals’ 4-2 victory.

The teams Fogg has pitched for—the Chicago White Sox, Pittsburgh and Colorado—are 2-11 against the Cardinals when he’s on the mound.

Colorado had won four straight, all on the road, entering this series but is on the verge of being swept for the third time this season.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Fogg Phi vs. C. Carpenter StL
11-9 Record 15-8
5.49 ERA 3.09
93 K 184
60 BB 43
1.55 WHIP 1.07