With a better performance against teams with losing records, the St. Louis Cardinals might not be on the verge of missing the postseason.
Looking to improve their record against teams below .500, the Cardinals open a three-game series with the major league-worst Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday night.
Another loss will eliminate St. Louis (80-75) from postseason contention, but that won’t stop the Cardinals from making the most of the final week.
“What’s to lose? We’re going to go out there and continue to do what we’ve been doing since day one and go out there and play hard,” said Albert Pujols(notes), who hit his NL-leading 42nd homer during an 8-7 win at Chicago on Sunday.
Though the Cardinals took two of three from the underachieving Cubs, they are 45-49 against teams below .500 in 2010.
“That’s been ridiculous,” manager Tony La Russa said. “It’s one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen in all my years. I have no explanation, we’ve just had a tough time beating clubs with a losing record.”
St. Louis is 7-5 against Pittsburgh (55-100) this season, including losses in four of the last five meetings - all on the road. The Cardinals, however, have outscored the Pirates 32-7 during a six-game home winning streak in the series.
Pujols is batting .455 with six homers and 15 RBIs in his last 18 games versus Pittsburgh at Busch Stadium.
The right-hander had allowed five total runs while winning his two previous starts, but gave up six in three innings of an 11-6 loss at Pittsburgh on Wednesday. The defeat was Lohse’s first in eight career starts against the Pirates.
“Nothing against those guys, but it’s a team I’ve had good success against,” Lohse said. “To go out there and perform like that is really frustrating.”
“I think if I go out and pitch well, I’ll get a win,” said Morton, who has a 3.63 ERA in his last three starts. “That’s the attitude I have to have.”
The right-hander is 1-3 with an 8.44 lifetime ERA versus St. Louis.
With a 15-59 mark away from home, the Pirates are on pace for the NL’s worst road record since the 1963 Mets finished 17-64. The Pirates have also lost 45 of their last 51 on the road, but begin this trip with momentum after going 7-2 on their final homestand and averaging 6.3 runs in those games.