St. Louis (54-44) at Chicago (45-53)

Cloudy Currently: Chicago, IL
Temp: 76° F
  • Game info: 8:05 pm EDT Sun Jul 25, 2010
  • TV: ESPN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

It’s been four years since the St. Louis Cardinals were swept by the rival Chicago Cubs. They have perhaps the right man heading to the mound to help them avoid that fate Sunday night.

Chris Carpenter(notes) will try to earn his third win in as many starts and fourth in a row over the Cubs in the finale of a three-game set at Wrigley Field.

St. Louis (54-44) hasn’t gone winless in a road series against Chicago (45-53) since dropping four in a row July 27-30, 2006. The Cardinals also suffered their previous three-game sweep to Cubs that same season - April 7-9 also in Chicago.

To avert a season high-tying fourth straight defeat, St. Louis will turn to Carpenter (11-3, 3.05 ERA), who has rebounded from his two rough outings to begin this month.

The right-hander had an 11.00 ERA in those starts but has a 1.13 mark in his consecutive victories. He allowed one run and five hits over eight innings to earned his latest win, 7-1 over Philadelphia on Tuesday night.

“My delivery was much better tonight, and I will continue to work on it between starts and try to get better,” Carpenter told the team’s official website.

Carpenter has delivered wins in most of his career outings against the Cubs, going 10-3 with a 2.73 ERA in 18 matchups. He’s 3-0 with a 1.40 ERA in his last four starts versus Chicago and 3-1 with a 2.77 ERA in his past four games at Wrigley.

This time, he’ll face a Cubs team that’s batted .321 and averaged 7.2 runs since putting Tyler Colvin(notes) and Starlin Castro(notes) at the top of the order. Colvin has homered three times since moving to the top spot July 18 and hit his second to lead off a game in Saturday’s 6-5 victory. Castro, hitting .489 over his last 11 contests, had a two-run homer among his three hits in the win, the Cubs’ fourth in six games.

“He adjusted so quickly,” said Colvin of his teammate, who batted .227 in June. “He scuffled a little bit and now he’s hitting every ball hard.”

Ryan Dempster(notes) (8-7, 3.70) will try to benefit from his young teammates’ hot hitting to record his third consecutive win and first over the Cardinals since Sept. 21, 2008.

Dempster has a 4.86 ERA during his win streak but has also received a combined 17 runs of support over those three outings. He escaped without a loss Tuesday against Houston as the Cubs rallied from a six-run deficit for a 14-7 victory following manager Lou Piniella’s announcement that he would retire at the end of this season.

Dempster allowed seven runs - four earned - over five innings, topping the six runs he gave up to St. Louis in a 9-1 home loss May 30. He’s 4-6 with a 4.68 ERA in 16 starts against the Cardinals and 0-2 with a 4.28 ERA in his last five.

The return of outfielder Ryan Ludwick(notes) from the disabled list coincided with St. Louis’ end to a 21-inning scoreless drought Saturday, but the Cardinals are batting .175 in their last three games after hitting .303 during eight consecutive wins.

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Starting Pitchers

C. Carpenter StL vs. R. Dempster ChC
16-9 Record 15-12
3.22 ERA 3.85
179 K 208
63 BB 86
1.18 WHIP 1.32

Scoreboard

Sunday, Jul 25