Cardinals-Phillies Preview

Jake Westbrook has gotten plenty of offensive support from his

St. Louis Cardinals teammates during one of the longest winning

streaks of his career.

The right-hander, though, may need to rely on himself more in a

bid to win a career-high fifth consecutive start Saturday night

against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Westbrook (11-8, 3.76 ERA) has benefited from a combined 30 runs

from the Cardinals (61-52) in winning his previous four outings.

After giving up five runs in a win at Colorado on Aug. 1, the

right-hander performed better in his return home Monday against San

Francisco, yielding two solo homers and walking none in an 8-2

victory.

“I was locating a lot better than I did in Colorado,” he told

the team’s website after throwing just 79 pitches. “The key for me

is getting ahead and controlling counts, which I did a good job of

today. It’s good to get back on track in that sense.”

Westbrook got five runs from his teammates over his six innings

in that game, but the Cardinals have hit .180 and scored six runs

in losing three of four. Before that, St. Louis hit .306 and

outscored opponents 105-53 while winning 13 of 17.

The Cardinals got their only run in a 3-1 loss Friday from

Carlos Beltran’s fourth homer in seven games. Chase Utley’s

tiebreaking two-run shot in the eighth inning was his third in

seven contests, and he helped Philadelphia (51-61) improve to 4-1

against St. Louis.

“You’re not trying to do too much, you’re trying to get that guy

in any way you can,” Utley said. “That one felt pretty good. I

squared that one up decently.”

Cliff Lee (2-6, 3.78) will try to lead the Phillies to another

win over the Cardinals while earning his second victory in three

starts. After tossing seven scoreless innings in Washington on July

31, the left-hander had difficulty keeping the ball in the park

Sunday against Arizona.

Lee gave up four runs on three homers over eight innings and did

not get a decision in a 5-4 victory. He’s 0-4 with a 4.53 ERA in

eight outings at Citizens Bank Park, where has given up seven home

runs over his past two games there.

“I have to do a better job of keeping the ball down and in the

ballpark, especially when it’s hot here because the ball travels

really good,” he said.

The left-hander has given up one homer in five regular-season

starts against the Cardinals, going 3-1 with a 1.93 ERA. Lee didn’t

give up any during Game 2 of last year’s division series, but he

allowed five runs and 12 hits over six innings of a 5-4 loss.

Westbrook also struggled May 24 against Philadelphia, his lone

matchup this season, giving up a season-high six runs over a

season-low 3 2-3 innings. He did not get a decision in that 10-9

loss.

Westbrook has won five consecutive decisions only once, over a

six-start span from July 20-Aug. 14, 2004, while with

Cleveland.

Beltran is batting .133 (2 for 15) in his career against Lee,

his worst average versus any active pitcher he’s had 15 or more

at-bats against.