Pittsburgh (57-69) at St. Louis (70-58)

Fair Currently: St. Louis, MO
Temp: 70° F
  • Game info: 8:15 pm EDT Wed Aug 20, 2008
  • TV: FSPI, FSMW
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Like most of the NL, the St. Louis Cardinals have enjoyed teeing off on the Pittsburgh Pirates’ dreadful starting pitching this season.

Yet for all their offense has accomplished, they’re still trailing in the season series against Pittsburgh.

After losing a rare pitchers’ duel, the Cardinals will look to get their bats going and even their record against the Pirates on Wednesday when the teams continue a three-game series at Busch Stadium.

St. Louis (70-58) owns the third-best record in the NL, but trails the first-place Chicago Cubs by 8 1/2 games in the Central and is 2 1/2 games behind wild card-leading Milwaukee. Those teams are a combined 16-5 against Pittsburgh, but the Cardinals are 6-7.

Facing the Pirates’ starting rotation, which has an NL-worst 5.44 ERA, has been good for St. Louis’ offense - it had put up 72 runs in 12 games against Pittsburgh heading into Tuesday’s series opener. The Cardinals, though, had given up 74 runs while going 6-6 in those contests.

St. Louis couldn’t score in the first eight innings against Pirates starter Ian Snell in Tuesday’s series opener, ultimately losing 4-1 after Pittsburgh (57-69) broke open a 1-0 game in the ninth.

“Every time we play these guys it’s never an easy win,” Pirates manager John Russell said.

When the Cardinals have scored four or fewer runs in a game they’re 13-53, by far the worst percentage of any team with an overall winning record. They’re 57-5 when scoring five runs or more.

St. Louis will try for better luck against Jason Davis (1-2, 1.80 ERA). The veteran right-hander, who made four relief appearances before replacing the struggling Yoslan Herrera in Pittsburgh’s rotation, has pitched well in two starts.

The Pirates’ offense hasn’t given Davis much support though, scoring four total runs in those outings. Davis gave up two runs over seven innings on Friday against the New York Mets, losing 2-1.

“You do a job like that and give up only two runs, that’s giving your team a good effort,” Russell told Pittsburgh’s official Web site. “He gave us a very good chance to win the game.”

The Cardinals look for a strong effort out of Todd Wellemeyer (10-4, 3.79), who’s given them plenty of effective innings lately. The right-hander hasn’t lost since July 6, and is 2-0 with a 2.05 ERA in his last four outings.

On Thursday, Wellemeyer limited Florida to three hits over 7 2-3 innings of a 3-0 victory.

“A clutch performance by Todd to shut this club down the way he did,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa told the team’s official Web site. “It was very impressive.”

Wellemeyer is 3-1 with a 3.40 ERA in 16 career appearances against the Pirates, five of them starts. He’s 2-0 with a 3.42 ERA and .196 opponent batting average in four starts against them in 2008.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Davis Pit vs. T. Wellemeyer ChC
2-4 Record 13-9
5.29 ERA 3.71
13 K 134
17 BB 62
1.62 WHIP 1.25

Scoreboard

Wednesday, Aug 20