Penny takes the mound for the first time with his new team at Busch Stadium on Wednesday night, when he’ll try to add to the Astros’ misery by dealing the Cardinals’ NL Central rivals an eighth straight loss to open the season.
Penny (0-0, 1.29 ERA) and Myers (0-0, 6.00) signed one-year deals a month apart, with Penny guaranteed at least $7.5 million and Myers set to earn at least $5 million before bonuses.
There’s plenty for Myers left to prove after one shaky start, but it appears St. Louis (5-2) may have made a wise investment. Penny allowed a run and six hits while striking out four over seven innings Thursday in Cincinnati, though the Reds left with a 2-1 walk-off win on Jonny Gomes’(notes) homer in the ninth.
“It’s a tough loss,” Penny told the Cardinals’ official Web site. “If we do our job and keep the team close, usually this team is going to come through and score a few runs. We’ve got a great lineup, so you’ve just got to tip your hat.”
Penny is 1-2 with a 5.58 ERA in five career starts against the Astros (0-7), whom he hasn’t faced since Aug. 15, 2007. Wednesday is his home debut at the new Busch Stadium, where he’s 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in two lifetime outings.
Houston third baseman Geoff Blum(notes) has had success against Penny, going 10 for 23 (.435) with six RBIs, but like most of the Astros so far in 2010, he’s struggling. Blum is hitting .190 without an RBI in 21 at-bats, making him one of five players in the lineup Monday at St. Louis with an average under .200.
The Astros have scored 13 runs in their seven losses, and could muster only seven singles in their 5-0 series-opening loss to the Cardinals.
“Baseball is a funny game,” right fielder Hunter Pence(notes), who’s hitting .120, told the Astros’ official Web site. “We’re having a rough go at the start, but we’re holding our heads up. We just have to control what we can control. We have to relax and go out there and let it fly a little bit. Attack some more.”
Houston’s pitching hasn’t been good, either. Opponents are hitting .340 against the Astros’ rotation, and Myers surrendered a career-high 12 hits and four runs over six innings in a 10-4 loss to San Francisco on Wednesday.
“I felt like it was a battle from the first inning on,” Myers said. “I had to pitch certain ways that I’m not used to throwing. But you’ve got to make an adjustment when they’re getting that many hits off you.”
Myers is 2-0 in four starts at the new Busch Stadium, but has a 7.33 ERA. Several Cardinals have teed off on the right-hander. Skip Schumaker(notes) is 6 for 13, Matt Holliday(notes) is 6 for 10 and Ryan Ludwick(notes) 5 for 8 against Myers, with each having homered twice.
Pujols’ 2010 numbers, however, are anything but pedestrian. The three-time NL MVP is hitting .407 with five homers and 14 RBIs - 10 of which have come in his last three games.