The St. Louis Cardinals aren’t scoring, and they’re fading from
postseason contention as a result.
Shut out in their first two games in Houston, the Cardinals look
to avoid a fifth straight loss and a series sweep Wednesday at the
hands of the Astros.
St. Louis (69-61) has not been blanked in a series of three or
more games in the modern era, but that’s on the verge of happening
after the club recorded five hits the last two nights. John Jay,
Matt Holliday and Brenden Ryan provided the Cardinals’ three hits
in a 3-0 loss Tuesday.
“It’s a good thing (Wednesday) starts a new month,” Jay said
after the Cardinals went 11-15 in August. “Hopefully we can all
stay positive and keep looking at the big picture.”
That picture isn’t pretty. The Cardinals have dropped 12 of 16
and are seven games behind the first-place Reds.
St. Louis is 2-7 on a 10-game trip to Pittsburgh, Washington and
Houston – all teams with losing records. The Cardinals have scored
26 runs while losing seven of eight, with a good chunk coming in an
11-10, 13-inning loss to the Nationals on Thursday.
“It’s not for lack of trying or lack of adjusting,” manager Tony
La Russa said. “It’s not lack of concentration, we’re just not
making it work.”
Albert Pujols is a .320 hitter with 23 homers at Minute Maid
Park, but is 0 for 6 in this series. He has gone 5 for 25 in his
last seven games.
After they were shut down by J.A. Happ and Wandy Rodriguez in
the first two games, the Cardinals look to break out of their slump
against Nelson Figueroa (3-2, 2.77 ERA).
The right-hander is 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA in four starts against
the Cardinals, the most recent coming in 2004. He has made three
relief appearances against them this season, however, going 1-0
with a 5.06 ERA.
Figueroa has posted a 1.50 ERA over his last three starts but
has gone 0-1 in that span, getting only four runs of support. He
gave up one earned run and three hits while walking five in seven
innings of a 2-1 loss at New York on Friday.
“I’ve got to go back and work on some timing issues and maybe
some command,” Figueroa told the Astros’ official website.
St. Louis’ Jeff Suppan (1-6, 5.72) is expected to come off the
disabled list Wednesday after being sidelined with a groin strain.
The right-hander struck out five in 5 1-3 scoreless innings of an
11-1 win over Pittsburgh in his last outing July 31.
Suppan is 3-8 with a 4.97 ERA in 17 starts versus Houston. He
allowed four runs in 4 2-3 innings of a 4-1 loss to the Astros on
July 10, falling to 1-3 with a 5.49 ERA in seven starts at Minute
Hunter Pence, 5 for 15 with a double and two home runs against
Suppan, is 4 for 8 in this series and 8 for 19 against the
Cardinals at home in 2010.
The Astros (61-71), winners of eight of 10, are 9-5 against the
Cardinals this season. Houston swept a three-game set at St. Louis
from May 11-13.